Information for Graduates, Family and Friends

Commencement will be held Friday, May 7, in Spangler Stadium with college and school recognition events scheduled for Saturday, May 8, also in Spangler Stadium. Friday night Commencement will be followed on Saturday by celebrations beginning at 8:00AM where graduates will be recognized as they cross the stage. Following the celebration there will be a reception across from the stadium on the practice field where students can gather with their families, fellow students and faculty. Ticket information, weather plans, schedules, parking and more can be found below:

Per the Governor’s Mandate, masks are optional at Gardner-Webb University’s Spring Commencement outdoor events.

  • Guests of graduates will be required to have a ticket to attend Friday night’s Commencement. Each graduate can claim up to six tickets. An email will be sent to all eligible graduates with instructions on how to access their tickets on April 6. Tickets must be claimed by Monday, May 3.
  • If you are seeking additional tickets, email [email protected]. Additional tickets will be released as available and are not guaranteed.
  • Tickets are not required for Saturday recognition events.

You do not need to RSVP if you have applied (and have been approved) to graduate during Spring Commencement, May 2021.

  • Students who graduated during the following dates are eligible to attend and participate in the face-to-face events on May 7-8, 2021:
    • May 2020
    • August 2020
    • December 2020
  • If you graduated in one of the previous semesters listed above and wish to attend the face-to-face celebrations, please RSVP to the Registrar at [email protected] by April 1.
  • If you have already emailed a request to participate, and you have received acknowledgement, it is not necessary to RSVP a second time.

  • Friday – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday – There will be five separate recognition events scheduled throughout the day. You should plan to arrive and be in place one-hour prior to your scheduled event time.
    • Schedule:
      • 8 a.m. – M. Christopher White School of Divinity
      • 9:30 a.m. – College of Arts and Sciences
      • 11:30 a.m. – College of Education
      • 1:30 p.m. – Godbold College of Business
      • 3:30 p.m. – College of Health Sciences

On Friday and Saturday, graduates should meet in the large red tent across from the Hamrick Field House on Stadium Drive.

View Graduation map for additional reference.

Directional signs and uniformed officers will be available to guide visitors. There will be a variety of parking options on Stadium Drive and throughout campus.

View Graduation map for additional reference.

Doctoral candidates will be hooded on Friday night, and should will wear full regalia Saturday to the recognition event as well.

Undergraduate academic honor recipients will be presented with cords before Friday’s ceremony, and should plan to wear these Saturday to the recognition event. Other cords (clubs, organizations, honor societies, etc.) should be provided to recipients before arrival on Friday.

Yes, you should wear your academic regalia to both the Friday graduation ceremony and the Saturday recognition event.

Your diploma will be shipped to your home address directly from Jostens. These should arrive approximately 6-8 weeks after the ceremony

All attendees on campus and their guests must wear face coverings.

We ask that attendees adhere to any physical distancing protocols in place at that time. We will plan to release details closer to the date as we continue to monitor pandemic-related protocols from local, regional and state recommendations.

Some restricted items include but are not limited to:

  • Food/Drink – bottled water is acceptable
  • Bags *must be clear
  • Umbrellas
  • Strollers

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request ten (10) working days prior to the event. Please call 704-406-4270 or email [email protected] to make a request.

The University plans to host the Commencement Exercises in Spangler Stadium even if the weather conditions are not ideal. A weather delay is also possible as our goal is to have the 2021 commencement ceremonies outdoors so that everyone can celebrate the accomplishments of our students. Only if there is severe weather will the event be moved indoors to the LYCC.

In the case of severe weather necessitating implementation of the University’s Severe Weather Plan, the University Commencement Exercises will be moved from Ernest W. Spangler Stadium to the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center. If the ceremonies are moved or delayed, a message will be sent to graduates who are registered for Send Word Now alerts.

If the May 7 commencement ceremony is moved indoors, our priority will be to seat our graduates. In that circumstance, each graduate will be provided with two (2) inclement weather tickets for their guests. Guests without a ticket can watch the live stream event on our webpage. Students should arrive at LYCC. Seating will be available to graduates on the main floor and there will not be a processional.

If the May 8 ceremonies are moved indoors, our priority will be to seat our graduates. Guests will be seated in LYCC until capacity is reached. Students should arrive at the Dover Theatre to line-up for processional.

The events will be live-streamed, regardless of if the Severe Weather Plan is implemented.

If there is an immediate threat of dangerous weather conditions after the stadium gates open on Friday at 5:00 PM, announcements will be made and event staff will help clear the stadium. All graduates and guest will be instructed to return to their vehicles and remain there until the severe weather passes. The GWU lightning detection system will alert if a strike is within 10 miles of campus at which time the stadium would need to be cleared. The start of program may be delayed. If possible and as conditions allow, the program would resume.

The ceremony will be available on the Gardner-Webb website, livestreamed on Facebook, and on YouTube. A Spring Commencement program will also be available online.

  • Friday, May 7, 7:00 PM – This event is for all 2021 graduates along with previous graduates returning to walk.
  • Saturday, May 8, 8:00 AM – Christopher M. White School of Divinity Ceremony
    • Graduates receiving a Master of Divinity or Doctor of Ministry
  • Saturday, May 8, 9:30 a.m. – College of Arts and Sciences Ceremony
    • Communication and New Media
    • English Language and Literature
    • Health, Sport, and Physical Education
    • Mathematical Sciences
    • Natural Sciences
    • Public Service
    • Religious Studies and Philosophy
    • School of Performing and Visual Arts
    • Social Sciences
    • World Languages, Literature, and Culture
  • Saturday, May 8, 11:30 a.m. – College of Education
  • Saturday, May 8, 1:30 p.m. – Godbold College of Business Ceremony
  • Saturday, May 8, 3:30 p.m. – College of Health Sciences
  • Exercise Science
  • Physician Assistant Studies
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Psychology and Counseling

**We will be making updates to the FAQ please continue to check back here in the future*