Commencement 2021: Virtual but traditional

Commencement ceremony celebration

Commencement 2021: Virtual but traditional

By Laura Mansfield 

Students at UW Bothell will don cap and gown and take pictures by the bronze W on campus this week in advance of the University’s 30th annual Commencement ceremony, which takes place Sunday, June 13. This year’s affair is virtual and it features UW Bothell’s largest graduating class to date. There are 2,061 undergraduates receiving degrees, along with 252 master’s degree recipients for a total of 2,312 graduates.  

“We were hoping to be back in T-Mobile Park this year,” said Lisa Walker, director of ceremonies, events and advancement operations at UW Bothell. Nevertheless, Walker promises this year’s ceremony will have “all the pomp and circumstance of an in-person ceremony.”  

The ceremony 

Dr. Keith Nitta, associate professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, will convene the ceremony in his role as grand marshal and chair of the General Faculty Organization. The national anthem will be sung by Ananya Sengupta (Business Administration ’19) 

Chancellor Wolf Yeigh will offer his congratulations to the Class of 2021, honor recent award recipients and extend an invitation to students from the classes of 2020 and 2021 to attend the next in-person ceremony at T-Mobile Park. Djelli Berisha, president of the Associated Students of the University of Washington Bothell, will also address his fellow students. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Sharon A. Jones will then share her congratulations and honor additional award recipients.

The keynote speaker is Abigail Echo-Hawk, (American Studies ’07, Master of Arts in Policy Studies ’09). Echo-Hawk is the chief research officer for the Seattle Indian Health Board. 

The planners behind this year’s virtual event have gone to great lengths to make the occasion meaningful and memorable. 

Each registered graduate has received a celebration box that, among other gifts, includes a free, one-year digital membership to the UW Alumni Association. The physical diplomas will arrive in the mail later this summer. Graduates will also receive a short video clip with their image from the virtual ceremony. 

There are some surprises built in, and as many traditional elements as possible incorporated. There’s even a 7th-inning stretch. The Husky Pep Band will also perform. 

“We are proud of each and every one of our graduates,” Walker said. “They have exhibited grace and perseverance under extremely difficult circumstances.” 

The UW Bothell ceremony is part of the UW Commencement, in which more than 18,300 new graduates from all three campuses will be recognized. Thousands of graduates and their families in more than 30 countries are expected to watch online.  

Graduate students will be recognized during a special hooding ceremony on June 12. There’s also a special recognition ceremony June 4 for students receiving academic honors.  

This year’s graduates will join a body of more than 27,000 UW Bothell alumni — most of whom stay in the area to work following graduation. 

How to watch 

Go to to watch the 2021 Commencement ceremony. The event begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 13. 

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Bothell, WA 98011

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