2023 Commencement Update

Dear Twin Cities students, faculty, and staff,

As we approach our campuswide 2023 Commencement Conferral Ceremonies scheduled in May, I am pleased to share some exciting updates with you.

Historic events

These will be the largest commencement ceremonies in University history. We now have more than 1,300 graduate students registered to participate in the Graduate Student Conferral Ceremony on Friday, May 12, and more than 4,500 undergraduate students registered to participate in the Undergraduate Student Conferral Ceremony on Saturday, May 13. Many of these students are also participating in the stage crossings held May 11–13, with more than 5,800 students scheduled to cross the stage over the course of those three days.

Along with the Class of 2023, faculty and staff from across the campus will join thousands of families and other guests to celebrate with and cheer on our graduating Gophers!

Commencement keynote speakers

Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan will be the keynote speaker at the Graduate Student Conferral Ceremony on Friday, May 12. Flanagan is Minnesota’s 50th Lieutenant Governor, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, and currently the country’s highest ranking Native woman elected to executive office. She earned her bachelor’s degree in American Indian studies and child psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Stéphane Bancel, the founding CEO of the American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Moderna, will be the keynote speaker at the Undergraduate Student Conferral Ceremony on Saturday, May 13. Bancel has served as Moderna's CEO since October 2011 and as a member of Moderna’s board of directors since March 2011. He received a master of science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota.

Fun, fireworks, and fanfare

The program at each conferral ceremony will include a faculty and student processional, alumni and student speakers, and musical performances. Additional fun at the undergraduate ceremony will include fireworks, performances by members of the University’s marching band and spirit squad, an appearance by the one and only Goldy Gopher, and much more.

Both ceremonies will also be live streamed on YouTube so that any guests who cannot attend can celebrate our graduates from anywhere around the world.

Join in the celebration

Students who are not graduating, as well as any faculty or staff member, can volunteer to help make this an amazing celebration. We will need hundreds of volunteers between May 11–13, and I thank you for whatever you’re able to do to ensure our graduates get the meaningful send off they deserve, and that their guests are welcomed to campus with enthusiasm.

For more about all commencement activities planned, including the ConGRADuation Celebration hosted by the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, please visit the commencement website. For any questions, please feel free to email us at [email protected].

To our graduates, we know how hard you have worked to earn your degree, especially through the dual pandemics of the past few years. We join you in looking forward to an exciting and meaningful celebration of your impressive accomplishments.

Sincerely yours,

Rachel T.A. Croson
Executive Vice President and Provost