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Earlier today, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Chancellor Donde Plowman announced plans for in-person commencement ceremonies this November to celebrate both spring and summer 2020 graduates, and fall 2020 graduates.

Socially-distanced ceremonies will take place each day for four consecutive days November 19-22, with three ceremonies per day before the end of the fall semester.

“I know how disappointing it was for spring and summer graduates to not be able to celebrate in person with their friends and family, and we have been looking for a way to create a meaningful experience for them,” said Plowman. “We are still in the middle of a pandemic, but we have learned a lot about this virus since May. It is still very difficult to hold large events, particularly indoors, but we have a solid plan in place. I appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to do this in a way that celebrates our graduates and creates a safe experience for them and their families.”

Plowman said these ceremonies will be a bit different from previous years but that finding a way to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of these graduates has been a priority for the administration, deans, and faculty.

Details are still being finalized; however, the university plans to have 200 graduates per ceremony and a limited number of guests per graduate. Everyone will be required to wear a mask and stay socially distanced.

“We know this is not perfect solution, and unfortunately, we know these dates may not work for everyone, but we are also committed to giving spring and summer graduates the opportunity to attend May 2021 ceremonies if they so choose,” said Provost John Zomchick.

All spring and summer 2020 graduates will receive information next week with details on how to register. Fall 2020 graduates will receive information about commencement ceremonies by email in the coming weeks.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,