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Information for Graduates and Their Families

OBU will hold its Spring Commencement Saturday, Aug. 1, on the south lawn of Raley Chapel on the university’s campus in Shawnee. The ceremony will be held outdoors to follow physical distancing guidelines. It will begin at 8:30 a.m. to protect attendees from the August heat. United States Senator James Lankford will deliver the address. A link to a livestream of the event will be available on the home page of the OBU website.

Commencement Schedule

July 31

August 1

Parking and Seating

Spring 2020 Commencement Map

Graduates and their guests may use any parking lot marked in orange on the map. This includes the Noble Complex, Kerr and Howard Residence Halls, and The Oval.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has enacted numerous safety protocols for the protection of all attendees. To maintain physical distancing, each graduate will be limited to four guests seated on the south lawn area, with guests gaining access to the lawn via a wristband distributed to graduates during commencement rehearsal July 31 at 3 p.mGraduates who are unable to attend the commencement rehearsal will be allowed to retrieve their wristbands Saturday morning, Aug. 1, from 7 to 8 a.m. A table will be set on the west port of the Geiger Center for distributing wristbands. Unclaimed wristbands will not be allowed to be given to another party.

Guests are encouraged to wear face coverings throughout the ceremony and are asked to bring their own seating for the event. One flag per graduate will be placed on the south lawn of Raley. Each graduate’s guests are to gather at a single flagged area. To comply with Federal, State, and CDC guidelines, we ask that guests of each graduate stay as close to their selected flagged area to ensure the minimum 6-foot social distancing protocol between groups. Guests will be allowed to enter the south lawn to claim their seating area beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday morning.

FAQs

Why is the event being held outside?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are following best practices per the CDC guidelines for outdoor events and social distancing to reduce the risk of spread. This includes maintaining proper physical distance from others and avoiding crowded areas. We determined the best course of action for the health and well-being of all in attendance was to hold commencement outdoors.

Why is the event being held so early in the morning?

As commencement is being held outdoors in the Oklahoma summertime, we felt it necessary to keep graduates, their guests and OBU employees outside only for as long as necessary. An early morning start time will ensure the coolest possible environment for the ceremony before the summer heat becomes unbearable.

How do I get a wristband for seating?

Graduates will receive four wristbands for their family and friends. Wristbands will be distributed to graduates at the commencement rehearsal on Friday, July 31. Graduates who are unable to attend the commencement rehearsal will be allowed to retrieve their wristbands on Saturday, Aug. 1, from 7–8 a.m. prior to Commencement. A table will be set on the west patio of the Geiger Center for distributing wristbands. In order to comply with Federal, State, and CDC social distancing guidelines, unclaimed wristbands are not allowed to be given to another party.

Guests may begin arriving onto the south lawn at 7 a.m. Flags will be staked in the south lawn for each family. We ask that guests of each graduate stay as close to their selected flagged area to ensure the minimum 6-foot social distancing protocol between families.

Does my child need a separate wristband?

Children under the age of 5 who are able to sit in a guardian’s lap throughout the entirety of the event do not need a wristband to attend. However, in order to comply with the Federal, State, and CDC social distancing guidelines, children must stay with their guardian at all times and not allowed to wander among the other guests.

Will restrooms be open during the event?

Yes. Restrooms will be open and available to the public in the Geiger Center and also in the Noble Complex. Raley Chapel will not be open for public use.

Do I need to bring my own hand sanitizer?

We encourage you to bring your own hand sanitizer. OBU will not provide hand sanitizer at the event.

Do I need to wear a face covering?

Graduates will be required to wear a face covering during graduation rehearsal, gathering for the processional and during the ceremony. Masks will not be provided by OBU.

Guests are encouraged to wear a face covering throughout the event. Masks will not be provided by OBU.

Will my temperature be taken?

Temperature checks will be performed on all graduates and OBU employees who are onsite. Temperature checks will not be performed for attending guests. Temperature checks will be performed on graduates prior to gathering in Potter Auditorium for the processional.

May I (or my graduate) take photos with professors?

We strongly encourage you to only take photos while observing physical distancing precautions. Please be respectful, however, if individual faculty members or employees prefer not to take photos.

Will commencement be held if inclement weather is forecast?

We are keeping a close eye on the weather for the event and will make the appropriate changes if necessary.

Follow OBU on social media for the latest updates: @obunews on Twitter and Instagram, and Oklahoma Baptist University on Facebook.