EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — It’s the moment hundreds of students have been waiting for: graduation day.
Beginning Friday, hundreds of students will walk across the stage for in-person commencement ceremonies for the first time since 2019.
UTEP will celebrate all graduates of the Class of 2020 and spring and summer candidates from the Class of 2021 for more than 7,800 individuals in two ceremonies on Friday and Saturday at Sun Bowl Stadium.
The ceremonies will be the first for UTEP in-person since December 2019 and the first time graduates will receive their diplomas in Sun Bowl Stadium since the University’s Centennial Commencement in 2014.
The ceremonies will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Doors will open at 5 p.m. each day.
Friday’s ceremony will recognize bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral graduates from the colleges of Business Administration, Education and Liberal Arts. Saturday’s ceremony will honor graduates and candidates in the colleges of Engineering, Health Sciences and Science and the schools of Nursing and Pharmacy.
All graduates will have their names read as they cross the stage and have their photos taken, but there will be no physical contact between the graduates and the stage party. Graduate and guest seating at the Sun Bowl will be assigned.
Graduating students who RSVPed by the deadline are each allocated up to eight free tickets for guests. Social distancing between family groups will be in place and face masks will be required.
Only clear bags will be permitted and will be checked at the door. No strollers, large bags or outside food will be permitted. Small umbrellas, diaper bags and one sealed plastic water bottle per person will be allowed.
Concessions will be open, hand-sanitizing stations will be set up and stadium seating capacity will not exceed 50 percent. Shuttles will not be available. Carpooling with the graduate is recommended.
A designated safe drop-off zone will be located in Miner Alley behind the Sun Bowl Parking Garage.
Guest parking is located in the perimeter lots of Sun Bowl Drive and ADA parking is located near the north and south stadium entrances. A complete list of recommended parking sites can be found here.
A fireworks display is expected to take place at the conclusion of each ceremony. Due to safety concerns, guests will be asked to remain in their seats during the fireworks display. Guests will be dismissed by section. Graduates will enter and exit through the tunnel.
The ceremonies will be livestreamed and available to view HERE.
New Mexico State University is allowing two guests per graduate and will also show its commencement online. The ceremonies honoring more than 1,800 graduates will take place Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.
Gabrielle Martinez, the NMSU graduation and curriculum data specialist and commencement coordinator, said the ceremonies will take place at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Friday’s ceremony will honor graduate degree candidates. Undergraduate degree candidates will be honored on Saturday. A virtual ceremony will also livestream online at 10 a.m. Saturday.
NMSU’s commencement ceremonies will only honor the candidates for the 2021 semesters. Martinez said those from 2020 will be held at a later date when they don’t need any restrictions at all so they can go all out for that class.
Face masks will be required for students and guests, and social distancing will be enforced. All those who attend an in-person ceremony — including students, guests, volunteers, staff and faculty — will need a ticket to enter the stadium.