Summer 2020 Commencement: a non-traditional approach to a University tradition

Commencement 2020 combated COVID-19 with a drive-in ceremony that included honking car horns instead of applause to accentuate the pomp and pageantry as hundreds of graduates and their families celebrated from their cars in a non-traditional approach to a Shippensburg University tradition.

The in-person ceremony, requested by students, maintained important elements of commencement: the academic processional and recessional of faculty and administration, speeches from Student Government Association President Aven Bittinger, Council of Trustees President Mike Ross, and Shippensburg University President Laurie Carter, and two specially-produced recordings for the ceremony that included Karla Moses ’18, ’21 performing her rendition of the National Anthem and the Shippensburg University Choir performing the Alma Mater.

Shippensburg University Commencement

Saturday August 1, 2020. 10:00 a.m.

Congratulations Class of 2020! Welcome to the proud family of more than 70,000 Raider alumni worldwide! Shippensburg University cordially invites you to participate in our on-campus drive-up commencement ceremony, held in accordance with health and well-being guidelines from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the State of Pennsylvania, the State System, and federal government.

Although we cannot offer handshakes of congratulations when we see you, we are excited to welcome you back to campus and look forward to cheering on our graduates as they accept their doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate degrees.

Viewing options

2020年欧洲杯时间表The ceremony will be broadcast by SUTV, accompanied by a sign interpreter, on:

  • Local Comcast Cable channel 21

Please note that WiFi is not available in the parking areas. Some broadband viewers may be instructed to install .

Listening options

2020年欧洲杯时间表The ceremony will be broadcast via sound system throughout the parking areas and by WSYC Radio on:

  • 88.7FM
  • WSYC app, available in the App Store or Google Play

Ceremony details

Saturday August 1

  • 9:00am Parking lots open
    • ShipRec lot on Lancaster Drive
  • 10:00am Ceremony begins

Rain date: Sunday August 2 at 10:00am

Arrival to event

  • All vehicles to arrive no later than 15 minutes prior to the ceremony.
  • Upon arrival, staff at the hospitality tent will check you in and provide an event program, name card, and instructions to view the event from your vehicle and participate in the program.
  • Staff will help guide you to park in the correct lot and space.

Presentation of candidates

  • While parked, graduates will be asked to step outside of their vehicles and stand to be presented to President Carter, who will confer your degree.  
  • When the president concludes her remarks by saying “...with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities pertaining thereto,” she will instruct you to move your tassel from the right side to the left side of your mortarboard.  
  • Graduates will re-enter their vehicle and await instructions from the parking attendants.

Awarding of degrees

  • With direction from staff, graduates will be asked to exit their vehicle.
  • Graduates must wear their robe, cap, tassel, and a face covering and bring their name card as they proceed to line up for the processional.
  • One family member may accompany the graduate to take photos while the graduate walks across the stage. Family members will queue in a separate, parallel line.
  • Before commencing, graduates will present the name card to the staff member and be instructed when to process and receive your scroll.
  • After exiting the stage, and when instructed to do so, graduates may momentarily remove their face covering to have a photo taken by a professional photographer before returning to their vehicle.

Social distancing guidelines

  • Each student and their family will remain 6 feet apart from other graduates and families during the ceremony. Vehicles will be parked in every other space to allow for social distancing.
  • Graduates will be required to wear a face covering when exiting their vehicles for the awarding of degrees.  All graduates will be provided a Shippensburg University face covering at the event.
  • Graduates will have access to hand sanitizer before and after walking on stage.
  • Attendees will be required to wear a face covering if they need to exit their vehicles, such as when going to a restroom.

Photography during the ceremony

Professional photography will include a photo receiving the scroll and a portrait after exiting the stage. One family member may accompany graduate to the stage in accordance with staff direction. Professional photographs will be available for purchase at .


Restrooms are available in ShipRec and the Luhrs Performing Arts Center. All restrooms are ADA accessible.

Rain date

2020年欧洲杯时间表The rain date for the 2020 Commencements is Sunday August 2 at 10:00am. In case of postponement, information will be shared directly via email, and made available on 717-477 1200, the university’s website, and Facebook and Twitter accounts. The decision to postpone will be made as soon as possible but no later than Friday July 31 at 12 Noon.


  • Cap and Gown: Academic robes are required for everyone participating in the program.
    • If you already have a cap from senior celebration week, you still need to order a robe. To do so, order the complete set online and state "GOWN ONLY" in the comment section when checking out. The bookstore will adjust the cost when the order is processed. You will not be charged the full amount.
    • Academic regalia can be purchased through the university bookstore.
    • Honors cords are distributed by the university bookstore.
    • Graduate students are required to bring their appropriate academic hood to the ceremony, also available for purchase via the bookstore. Graduates will be hooded by a family member immediately outside of their vehicle.
    • Members of the SU ROTC Detachment who participated in the June commissioning ceremony may wear appropriate military uniforms.
    • PSECU members with an active account can receive a $20 voucher good at the university bookstore for their cap and gown purchase. Interested members must email Community Manager, Allison Wallace, at for verification.
    • View additional information regarding cords, medallions, and stoles.
  • Alcohol/Drug Policy: Possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages or other drugs are prohibited. Beverages and substances will be confiscated, and violators will be escorted away from the event. Graduates who appear intoxicated or under the influence of other substances will not be permitted to participate in the event.

Graduates and guests with special needs

  • Unlike a traditional ceremony, this ceremony removes many of the barriers for guests with special needs. Since guests can remain in the car throughout the entire event, handicap parking will be available near the restrooms. Be sure to note if you need handicap parking in your RSVP so we can reserve a space for your vehicle.
  • Any graduate or guest with special needs who are requesting accommodation should email by July 10. The email should include the guest’s name, name of the graduate, and the accommodation requested. An interpreter (signer) will be at the ceremony on the live stream.


  • How many guests can each graduate bring to the drive-in ceremony?
    • Graduates and their families will be limited to one vehicle that fits in a standard parking space. Each graduate will receive one ticket to display on the dashboard of their vehicle for admittance into the parking lots.
  • How can I participate if I don’t have a car?
    • If you do not have a car, but would like to participate, please be sure to email so proper accommodations can be made.
  • What should I do if I lost my ticket?
    • Each ticket corresponds to a specific graduate. If you lose your ticket, be sure to bring your driver’s license or SU ID with you so we can give you your specific packet. Tickets cannot be transferred to other graduates.
  • Inclement Weather: What is the plan for rain?
    • In the event of severe rain or weather, the ceremony will be rescheduled to Sunday August 2 at 10:00am


Please email