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Frequently Asked Questions

When will Commencement 2021 take place?
We will appreciate your patience as we implement both a flexible starting time and a day-ahead foul weather date. We know that it would be a great disappointment to the Class of 2021 should all our good plans be ruined by inclement weather.

  • Commencement is planned for Sunday, May 16, starting at 11 a.m. We reserve the right to flex that start time should weather conditions warrant. The window of possible start times is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This would be communicated to graduates and parents and families by email and posted on the Commencement website by 9 a.m. Sunday, May 16. We encourage umbrellas, ponchos and such should rain be in the forecast.

When will Baccalaureate Mass take place?
Baccalaureate Mass is scheduled for Saturday, May 15, at 4 p.m. 

Where will Commencement weekend festivities be held?
Both Mass and Commencement will be held outdoors on the quad just west of the Campus Center. Due to the need to maintain physical distancing, not all families will have direct viewing of the stage. Family seating will be available in adjacent green spaces, with screens set up to aid in viewing. The map below, with Main Hall in the center, shows seating areas for families and guests (purple and pink), faculty (yellow) and graduates (green).

Tentative Commencement seating areas
What should we bring?
Chairs will be provided for all graduates and each of their two guests. Guest chairs will be set up in pods of two with adequate physical distancing in accordance with our COVID-19 protocols, so we ask that you do not move them. You no longer need to bring chairs, but you may wish to bring blankets, umbrellas, ponchos, etc., depending on the weather. Keep in mind that Commencement will be outdoors and a rainy day may not necessarily alter plans.

Will indoor seating be available?
Limited indoor seating will be available in Walter Theatre for those who may need accommodations. To register for special-accommodation indoor seating, fill out this form.

What if it rains?

  • A rainy day will not necessarily alter plans. If the timing of expected rain warrants, we may flex the start time of commencement to increase hopes of a dry event. The window of possible start times is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This would be communicated to graduates and parents and families by email and posted on the Commencement website by 9 a.m. Sunday, May 16.
  • We encourage umbrellas, ponchos and such should rain be in the forecast.

How many guests may attend? 
We understand that Commencement is a family celebration! Even in our outdoor format, we will need to limit our capacity to ensure safe physical distancing. We are able to allocate two Commencement tickets to each graduate. A waitlist will not be offered this year. The majority of tickets have been distributed. Those who have not yet received their tickets should collect them at the SNC Bookstore in Todd Wehr Hall as soon as possible.

What safety precautions will be implemented?
Our outdoor commencement ceremony will be set up to meet physical distancing requirements, in consultation with our local public health department.

  • Families will seat themselves together in chairs provided in adjacent green space. Chairs will be set up in pods of two with adequate physical distancing between pods in accordance with our COVID-19 protocols. We ask that families seat themselves together in these pods and that you do not move chairs.
  • Basic precautions required by members of the St. Norbert College campus community and visitors include:
    • Conducting self-checkups before arriving on campus.
    • Staying away from campus if you have a fever, unexplained cough or shortness of breath (even if symptoms are mild), or are otherwise not feeling well. If you have been identified as a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you are not allowed to come to campus for 10 days.
    • Wearing face masks in all indoor public spaces on campus. Face masks are not required outdoors, in private offices or bedrooms, or when seated to dine in Ruth's Marketplace or other dining outlets.
      • While Commencement seating is being set up to ensure safe physical distancing, we remind you that some points in the day (especially before and after the ceremony) may include times of informal gathering where distance varies. Masking, though not required outdoors, is considered a helpful safety precaution during such times when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained.
    • Observing physical distancing requirements of 6 feet or more.
    • Adopting enhanced surface and object cleaning and disinfecting, per CDC guidelines.
    • Washing hands often.
    • Covering coughs and sneezes.
  • All graduates and family members are encouraged to make the choice to attend based on their risk factors and comfort. Commencement will be livestreamed for those who do not wish to be present in person. A link to the livestream will be posted on the Commencement websiteThe video recording of the ceremony also will continue to be available via YouTube after Commencement weekend.

When do graduates need to decide if they are participating in the in-person ceremony?
The dates to declare your intention to participate and order your cap and gown have already passed. If you have decided you do not feel comfortable participating in the in-person event, please contact the Registrar’s Office.

How early should we arrive for the Commencement ceremony?
All seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests are welcome to begin taking their seats at 9:30 a.m. Graduates will receive detailed information about arrival and seating a couple days prior to Commencement.

On our arrival to campus, where can we park?
All campus parking lots are available for Commencement parking, as is the Tweet/Garot parking lot near campus. Please refer to the Commencement parking map. ADA parking is available in lot P2. Vehicles must have a handicapped permit displayed.

Some city streets will be available for parking. Please park properly and legally. Street-parking requires a 4-foot setback from driveway entrances. Please cooperate in allowing emergency vehicle access by not parking on the dead-end streets south of campus. Also, we ask your cooperation in not parking on college-owned or public lawns in the neighborhood before or after Commencement.

Will I be allowed to take photos from in front of the stage?
Due to space constraints, we will not be able to allow families to position themselves in front of the stage for photos this year. A professional photographer will capture the moment of each graduate being congratulated by President Brian Bruess, and the free color photo will be mailed to each graduate in June or early July, along with a form to order extra prints for a nominal fee.

How will Commencement be different?
Other than taking place outdoors, something we last did in 2016 when the Mulva Family Fitness & Sports Center was under construction, a number of things will be different:

  • Graduates will not march in a processional or recessional before or after the ceremony. Instead, graduates and faculty will go directly to their seating areas, which will be color-coded by degree type.
  • Due to space constraints, we will not be able to allow families to position themselves in front of the stage for photos this year. A professional photographer will capture the moment each graduate is congratulated by President Brian Bruess, and the free color photo will be mailed to each graduate in June or early July, along with a form to order more prints for a nominal fee.
  • Even in our outdoor format, we will need to limit our capacity to ensure safe physical distancing. We are able to allocate two Commencement tickets to each graduate. A waitlist will not be offered this year.
  • The typical, on-campus full brunch will not be possible. That event typically seats 1,000 guests in about an hour, something that will not be feasible under COVID-19 health guidelines. See more information on hospitality offerings below. Graduates and families are certainly welcome to make brunch reservations in the local community.

Will Commencement be televised?
No, but audio of the ceremony will be broadcasted live on 90.7 FM.

Will Commencement be streamed live on the internet?
Yes, the Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement ceremony will be livestreamed. Links to access the livestreams will be posted on the Commencement home page. Additionally, audio of the ceremony will be broadcasted live on 90.7 FM.

The video recording of the ceremony will continue to be available via YouTube after Commencement weekend.

How long is the Commencement ceremony?
The Commencement ceremony will last approximately two hours.

Will accommodations for persons with disabilities be made available?
A limited supply of assisted-listening devices will be available at the information tent located between the family seating areas.

Limited indoor seating will be available in Walter Theatre for those who may need accommodations. To register for special-accommodation indoor seating, fill out this formLoaner wheelchairs will be available to guests upon request.

Will there be a first aid station at Commencement?
First aid will be available inside the Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts, in Room 104, during the Commencement ceremony. St. Norbert College registered nurses will staff the first-aid station. De Pere Fire Rescue also will be on site to ensure quick response by ambulance should there be a need. Loaner wheelchairs will be available to guests upon request.

What hospitality offerings will be available on campus?
Coffee and water will be provided on the morning of Commencement outside Michels Commons, prior to the 11 a.m. ceremony. We invite graduates and guests to join the campus community for a reception with drinks and light snacks following the ceremony.

We also are working with a number of area food-truck companies to offer delicious meal options for families to purchase.

  • If the Commencement ceremony takes place at 11 a.m. Sunday as planned, food trucks will serve food from 1-3:30 p.m.
  • If the start of the ceremony flexes to later in the day Sunday, food trucks will serve food two hours after the adjusted ceremony start time, and will serve food for 2.5 hours.

The Campus Center building will be open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Phil’s Grill will be open for business from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Ed’s Café in the Mulva Library will be closed on the day of Commencement.

Will we be able to take photos on campus before or after Commencement?
Yes! You are always welcome to use our beautiful campus as a backdrop for photos of your graduate and your family.

Taking a photo with the Abbot Pennings statue, located in the lobby of the Mulva Library, has become a beloved SNC tradition for our Green Knight grads – and this year will be no different! The library foyer will be open to allow students to snap a photo with the abbot and check this off their SNC bucket lists.

Is smoking allowed on campus?
St. Norbert College is a tobacco-free campus. Smoking, vaping and chewing tobacco are not permitted in any college building or on the college grounds. Please respect this campus policy, which was endorsed by the SNC Student Government Association.

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