IC commencement week: graduates in person, virtual audience


Illinois College recently announced that graduates will receive their diplomas in person, though there will be no large crowd gathered for its 187th Commencement.

Parents and friends are invited to remotely watch the special Senior Celebration and the 187th Commencement as both events will be streamed for virtual audiences. 

On Tuesday, May 11, at 1 p.m., the College invites graduating seniors to walk on stage and receive their diplomas during a Senior Celebration. The ceremony will be live-streamed from King Fieldhouse in Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center. A recording of the event will also be available for viewing.

On Sunday, May 16, the traditional Baccalaureate will premiere at 11 a.m. including readings, musical performances, and inspiring words shared by members of the graduating class. At 1 p.m., viewers can tune in to the 187th Commencement ceremony as degrees are officially conferred upon the Class of 2021.  

Illinois College President Barbara A. Farley said the decision to limit commencement to only students was a difficult one made in collaboration with student leaders from the Class of 2021. 

Our decision balances the need to keep our campus safe with the desire to provide graduates the meaningful experience they deserve.
President Barbara A. Farley

“While this is not a perfect solution, faculty and staff are working hard to create a ceremony that properly honors our amazing graduates,” Farley added. 

The move to make many elements of this year’s commencement virtual reflects the spirit of the Hilltop READY plan the College has followed closely throughout the year, focusing on the health and safety of the community first. 

Under the plan, in-person gatherings remain limited and visitors to campus have been restricted throughout the year.  Prospective students have been allowed on campus with one parent or family member, but admission events have been limited to 50-70 people. 

A typical commencement ceremony at IC can attract more than a thousand visitors from all over the world. Several alternatives were considered including outdoor venues and a limited-size ceremony, but ultimately, with IC’s nearly 300 graduates, it would still attract hundreds of visitors to campus and would be difficult to manage under the circumstances. 

Farley said this year’s commencement will reflect the hard work and sacrifice students, faculty and staff have made during the past year to be able to complete a full academic year with partially in-person classes during the pandemic. 

“I don't want anyone to take for granted what has been accomplished this year. It's quite extraordinary,” she said. “There are many colleges and universities that have not accomplished what this community has.” 

Illinois College has worked closely with the Morgan County Health Department over the past year to keep infection rates on campus relatively low and to remain mindful of the College’s impact on the surrounding community. 

For a full schedule of events happening as part of the 187th Illinois College Commencement, visit

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Visit or call 217.245.3000 for more information.

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