The University of Iowa

Virtual Ceremonies

Virtual Commencement Participation Information

RSVP Information

The Virtual Commencement opt-in RSVP is now available in MyUI.

We encourage participation in your fall 2020 virtual commencement ceremony. Participation now does not prevent participation opportunities in the future. 

Please let us know if you will or will not attend the ceremony for your major(s).



Please Note:

  • Students will need to confirm name and participation intention within the RSVP form.
  • Students who RSVP "Yes" will have the option to include a photo to be used on their individual recognition slide.
  • Photos will be approved by commencement coordinators and final slides will be available for download approximately two weeks prior to the ceremonies.
  • The deadline to RSVP is December 2, 2020.

Please contact with any questions about the RSVP.

Students who have an active degree application on for the current commencement session, individuals with a conferred degree in the past calendar year, and students who have a degree application on for a future commencement session (one session forward) will see the RSVP link in MyUI. 

After logging in to MyUI, click the Degrees/Graduation tile on the Home page. Under the Graduation header on the next page, select the Commencement Attendance link. Next, click on the RSVP link to access the RSVP form. Students must click a box at the end of the RSVP to save their response.

For virtual ceremonies, students will select either the Official Name or the Preferred Name for both inclusion on the slide and how the name will be read. There is a link to the Preferred Name and Pronouns screen in MyUI if a student would like to update or add a Preferred Name. There is an optional text box to provide pronunciation instructions, and there is also a link to record Name Pronunciation if they have not already done that.

Students who wish to upload a photo for the slide will do that in the RSVP as well. It will allow for zoom, crop, and rotation.

Any of the selections made or information provided on the RSVP can be changed at any time until the RSVP deadline. There is no “save and return” option, but students can submit a response then edit it later.

Students will only see one RSVP link in MyUI, but they will respond for each ceremony individually. If a student wants to participate in both ceremonies, they can copy their first response into the second response, or they can enter different information (such as a different picture).

No message will be sent, but a timestamp will appear near the top of the RSVP form. This timestamp will remain even if a student leaves the screen or logs out of MyUI. It will only change if a new response is recorded.

Students who have an active degree application on for the current commencement session, individuals with a conferred degree in the past calendar year, and students who have a degree application on for a future commencement session (one session forward) will be able to download the commencement slide approximately two weeks prior to the commencement ceremony for that session. 

A photo can be added to an individual's slide by accessing the RSVP and indicating they plan to attend their ceremony. Individuals who RSVP no, do not reply, or are ineligible to RSVP due to programming rules will have a slide but will not be able to add a photo. Finalized slides without a picture will have text shifted to the left compared to the draft.

Slides will change from Draft to Final status approximately two weeks prior to the commencement ceremonies for that session. 

Individuals who choose to participate in commencement will have the opportunity to upload a photo to be displayed on their commencement slide. Adding a photo is optional.

A few notes about choosing a photo for your commencement slide:

  • Photo should be of you and only you
  • You should be the focal point of the photo. Photos can be cropped within the RSVP page.
  • Photos will be reviewed by your college(s) and are subject to removal. If your photo is not approved, you will be contacted and will have the opportunity to upload a new photo. 
  • To verify photo quality, individuals are strongly encouraged to preview their slide photo on a computer screen, instead of a phone or other small personal device. Keep in mind your slide will be viewed on televisions during the virtual ceremonies.

Students can only RSVP for the fall ceremonies during the fall semester. Students will need to login to MyUI during the spring session to RSVP for spring commencement. The RSVP for spring ceremonies is anticipated to open around the first week of March. Information will be communicated to eligible participants as it becomes available. 

We encourage students and guests to sign up for the Subscription List to receive important commencement information and updates. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The virtual ceremonies will be livestreamed using an embedded link on individual college virtual ceremony pages; see the full list of ceremony pages here.

After the conclusion of each livestream, the video will be uploaded to the University of Iowa YouTube Channel.

The virtual commencement ceremony will include many of the same components as a live ceremony, with messages from academic leaders as well as students and guest speakers, academic traditions, and most importantly individual recognition of graduates.

All virtual ceremonies will be live streamed via YouTube premiere on the collegiate ceremonies pages at the originally-scheduled time.

Students will not be required to participate in the virtual ceremonies but are encouraged to fill out the RSVP form and select "Not Attending".

You will still have the option to produce a downloadable slide (without a photo) even if you choose not to attend the virtual ceremony.


A fall 2020 printed commencement program will be mailed to qualifying students' diploma mailing address. It is important that student diploma addresses are updated in MyUI to help with delivery.

We will also post a pdf copy of the commemorative program to our commencement program page.

Diploma covers will be mailed in the package containing the commencement program. 


Yes. Please see below for more information.

Undergraduate and Professional Graduates

The Hawk Shop is open and is currently accepting apparel orders along with other items related to commencement. More information, including a discount code can be found on their website.

Graduate College Graduates

Graduate student apparel can be rented or purchased online at If you have questions, please contact Herff Jones at or 952-447-4449.

Honor Cords

Cords will be sent by departments/colleges. If you have questions about Honor Cords, please contact your college. 

University Honors

Graduating seniors who are members of the Honors Program received communication from to their UI email address to complete the Honors Commendation Survey by April 24th at 5 PM. Students who missed the deadline may contact the Honors Program directly.

Please note, the form of acknowledgement may not be a medal as historically done in the past. Learn more here.

Distinction Stars

Were sent via US mail from the Office of the Registrar and will be mailed to the graduate’s residing address listed in MyUI. 

Please contact with questions.

The UI Commencement team does not coordinate or have specific information on the distribution of cords or stoles. Please reach out to the department or organization with questions about these items.

The university continues to monitor the coronavirus outbreak and to adhere to state and national public health recommendations. The UI is working with its partners and vendors to determine future in-person ceremony options; we will communicate with students when more solidified information is available.

The university understands how important the commencement experience is to its graduating students, friends, and families. These virtual celebrations allow the university to honor graduates in a timely way.

Additionally, these virtual ceremonies allow those students who won’t be able to return in fall 2020 or spring 2021 to participate in a commencement celebration.

Fall 2020 Commencement Message

What will commencement look like this fall?

Please see this video message from Tanya Uden-Holman, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of the University College.