A new UTEP graduate celebrated at the spring 2019 commencement ceremony. (Photo courtesy of the University of Texas at El Paso)

The University of Texas at El Paso will have in-person commencement ceremonies in May, the first time the university has been able to do so since the pandemic struck in the spring of 2020. 

The ceremonies will be May 14 and 15 at the Sun Bowl Stadium. The event will be one of El Paso’s first major in-person celebrations since COVID-19 began spreading in the region last spring.

Graduation candidates from  the colleges of Business Administration, Education, and Liberal Arts will be recognized on the first day; candidates from the colleges of Engineering, Health Sciences and Science, and schools of Nursing and Pharmacy will be recognized the second day.  

“Now that COVID-19 cases are declining in our community, and we have been able to vaccinate many of our students, faculty, staff and their family members through the UTEP vaccination program, we can safely host a meaningful in-person ceremony in the Sun Bowl,” UTEP President Heather Wilson said in a news release.

The ceremonies are open to all graduates from the class of 2020 and graduation candidates from the spring and summer of 2021.

COVID safety mandates such as face coverings and social distancing will still be required at the ceremonies.

As of now, students are allowed to bring two guests and must RSVP by April 16. 

UTEP scrapped in-person commencements in the spring, summer and winter of 2020 because of the pandemic. 

Spring and summer graduates were provided a virtual ceremony in September 2020, which Wilson later said “was just disappointing.” As a result, UTEP decided to postpone the winter commencement until May.

Cover photo: A new UTEP graduate celebrated at the May 2019 commencement, the last time the university had an in-person spring graduation. (Photo courtesy of the University of Texas at El Paso)

Jewél Jackson covers higher education for El Paso Matters, through a partnership with Open Campus Media. She is a 2020 graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.