Commencement 2021

The 74th Commencement Ceremonies of Bethel University are scheduled!

Join us Saturday, May 1, for in-person events*, at:

  • 10 a.m. for Adult and Graduate students
  • 1:30 p.m. Nurse Pinning Ceremony
  • 5 p.m. for Traditional Undergraduate students

Additionally, the Class of 2020 will be welcomed back to campus for a ceremony in their honor, Fri., April 30 at 6:30 p.m.

*Please review the Stronger Together page for complete information regarding safety precautions during the pandemic.

All Events will be livestreamed. (link to come)

Commencement 2021 and Celebrating the Class of 2020

In-person* commencement ceremonies are planned for May 1 for the class of 2021, and April 30 for the class of 2020. COVID-19 precautions, including face coverings and physical distancing, will be observed throughout the ceremonies. All seating is reserved to facilitate contact tracing.

All commencement ceremonies are ticketed events with assigned seating to observe St. Joseph County Health Department guidance and facilitate contact tracing (see Tickets below for more detail). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, each graduate will be provided two guest tickets only. Guest tickets will be for reserved seating with 6 feet of distance between family groups. Guests will be seated next to their graduate for the ceremony. No additional tickets will be available. Graduates can pick up their tickets in the Campus Store beginning April 15.

*Plans are pending official approval from the St. Joseph County Health Department. Please check back for more detailed information as it becomes available.

Masked admission staff and faculty greet 2019 graduates who didn't get a traditional commencement.

Friday, April 30:
Rescheduled Ceremony for 2020 Graduates

6:30 p.m., Ceremony
in Wiekamp Gymnasium

  • December 2019 Graduates
  • May 2020 Graduates
  • August 2020 Graduates

5:30 p.m., Rehearsal in the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium

Please be on time! The graduates will begin the traditional walk through campus from the Everest Rohrer Auditorium to the Wiekamp Gymnasium.You must RSVP if you plan to attend!

Saturday, May 1, Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremonies

10 a.m. Ceremony
in Wiekamp Gymnasium

  • Adult and Graduate Studies
  • Masters programs
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) completion

9 a.m. Rehearsal in the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium

Please be on time! The graduates will begin the traditional walk through campus from the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium to the Wiekamp Gymnasium.

Please RSVP to Janet Praklet in the Adult & Graduate Studies Office at 574.807.7678 orJanet.Praklet@BethelUniversity.edu.
 

5 p.m. Ceremony
in Wiekamp Gymnasium

  • Traditional Undergraduate programs
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

4 p.m. Rehearsal in the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium

Please be on time! The graduates will begin the traditional walk through campus from the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium to the Wiekamp Gymnasium.

 

Nursing Pinning

Nursing pinning is planned for May 1, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. in the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium. Details below.

Details for Graduates and Guests

University Offices and Graduation Requirements

From the Office of the Registrar

Before you may receive your diploma at graduation, please take note of the following:
  • Diplomas will not be presented if all grades or credit is not received by noon, Tuesday, April 27, or if there is an outstanding balance on the student account.
  • Transfer credit. All transfer credit must be received in the Registrar’s Office by Friday, March 26.
  • CLEP credit. Credit by Examination scores must be received by Friday, March 26.
  • Proficiency requirements. Make sure all proficiency requirements have been satisfied.
  • Feel free to contact the Registrar’s office at 574.807.7410 or simply stop by the office.
  • Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). If you are earning credit through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), you must ensure that your petitions have been approved and submitted to the registrar. The grade must be received the semester prior to the student’s final semester.

From the Office of Student Financial Services

Diploma and transcripts will not be provided while there is a balance due on the student account. Contact Student Financial Services at 574.807.7214 if you are not sure of your balance.

Education loan exit Interviews

If you obtained any type of education loan while attending Bethel University, it is imperative that you complete an exit interview prior to graduation.

  • For Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, or alternative loans – Your exit interview must be completed online. You will receive information by April 9, from the Financial Aid Office regarding your total indebtedness, along with instructions for completing your interview. You may contact the Financial Aid office at 574.807.7415 with any questions.
  • For Perkins Loans – Your exit interview must be completed online, and there is required paperwork that must be completed and returned to the Financial Aid Office. You will receive information by April 9, from the Financial Aid Office regarding your total indebtedness, along with instructions for completing your interview. You may contact the office at 574.807.7415 with questions.
Graduating with Honors

Graduates receiving a bachelor's degree with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or greater, and have earned at least 45 credit hours at Bethel, will be awarded the following academic distinction:

  • Cum Laude - GPA of 3.5
  • Magna cum Laude - GPA of 3.75
  • Summa cum Laude - GPA of 3.9
Tickets

The Friday, April 30, 2021, and Saturday, May 1, 2021, commencement ceremonies are ticketed events. Tickets will be required to attend the ceremony. Each graduate will be given 2 guest tickets due to COVID-19 restrictions. No additional tickets will be available. Graduates can be pick up their tickets in the Campus Store beginning April 15, during normal business hours. The Campus Store will be open on Friday, April 30, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 1, 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Seating

All seating will be reserved for graduation guests to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, contact tracing and guidelines by the Saint Joseph County Health Department. There is seating in chairs on the floor. Guests will be seated next to their graduate for the ceremony. We suggest arriving about 1 hour prior to the ceremony start time. Ushers can assist with moving chairs for wheelchairs, walkers, etc.

Seating is also available in Sufficient Grounds Coffee House and Campus Store, where the ceremony will be shown via livestream.

Please contact Susan Williams with specific questions via email at Susan.Williams@BethelUniversity.edu, or by calling 574.807.7190.

Diploma / Cap and Gown

Diploma Distribution: Diplomas will be presented during the ceremony. Diplomas for August graduates will be mailed in September.

Requirements for diploma: Be sure to check the University Offices and Graduation Requirements section below.

Cap and Gown: The cost of the cap and gown is covered. If you did not receive your cap and gown during the Grad Fair, please stop by the Campus Store to pick up your cap and gown.

Name Pronunciation

If you are concerned that your name might be mispronounced at commencement, please send Susan Williams a phonetic spelling or other notes regarding any part of your name. Here is an example:

Davidhizar – (David > hi > zer).

If still concerned, leave Susan Williams a voicemail message with the pronunciation at 574.807.7190.

Rehearsal

Rehearsal will begin one hour before the ceremony (BE ON TIME) the day of commencement in the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium. Please be there promptly so that we are able to prepare well for the ceremony. It is critical that you arrive on time.

  • April 30, Rescheduled 2020 Celebration: 
    Rehearsal begins at 5:30 p.m. with the Ceremony at 6:30 p.m.
     
  • May 1 Adult & Graduate Studies Commencement: 
    Rehearsal begins at 9 a.m. with the Ceremony at 10 a.m.
     
  • May 1 Traditional Commencement: 
    Rehearsal begins at 4 p.m. with the Ceremony at 5 p.m.

In the event of bad weather, rehearsal will be in Goodman Gymnasium. Signs will be posted directing graduates to Goodman, if necessary.

Commencement Line-up

We will prepare for the processional during rehearsal and will begin to march from the Auditorium. Do not be late for rehearsal. Students who are not in the auditorium prior to the commencement line-up will not be allowed to participate in the commencement ceremony.

Campus Store Hours

The Campus Store will be open during commencement. The store will have an extensive inventory of Bethel apparel as well as very attractive diploma frames with mat.

Special arrangements needed?

Please contact Susan Williams if there is an injury or disability that will require special accommodations at commencement.

Nurse Pinning
Pinning Rehearsal
There will be a mandatory rehearsal for pinning prior to the service Saturday, May 1. It will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the Everest-Rohrer auditorium. You must be present to help the service go smoothly. Those with speaking or singing parts are asked to arrive by 12:30 p.m. for a sound check.
 
Guests
Due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines directed by the Saint Joseph County Health Department, each graduate will be limited to 2 guests at the Pinning ceremony. The Pinning program will be livestreamed.
 
Dress for the Pinning Ceremony
Professional dress is required for all graduates. Dress as if you were dressing for a job interview. Suits or dress pants and dress shirts are appropriate. Professional pantsuits are also acceptable. For ladies, high heels should be avoided since you must walk across the stage. Tops that are sleeveless, have spaghetti straps, or are low cut are not professional and are not to be worn.
 
If you Cannot Attend
Since graduates are individually recognized in this ceremony, if you cannot attend, please contact Deborah Gillum at 574.807.7015.
 
Pictures
A professional photographer will be present to capture our Pinning program and these pictures will be made available free of charge to all graduates. Using the photographer will help to maintain COVID-19 social distancing. Pictures  taken by the family will not be allowed during the ceremony, but there will be ample opportunity afterwards to take pictures.
 
About the Nursing Pinning
The pin has tow symbols that represent nursing at Bethel University. The pin also states the degree received with a white pin representing the ADN degree, a blue pin for the BSN degree, and a gold pin for the MSN degree.
  • The Flame: This  represents the vision of the Bethel University graduates in bringing support and comfort to those in darkness.
  • The Shield: This represents the shield of knowledge that enables the Bethel University graduate nurse to provide safe care to clients.

The Pin Guard

Pin guards are an optional accessory graduates can attach to their pin to provide a safeguard against losing the pin and to further represent the degree that has been received.

Questions about Nursing Pinning

Before contacting the university with questions about the 2021 Commencement, please review this website. If you still have questions, feel free to contact the appropriate staff.

MSN Graduate programs and BSN Completion students should contact Janet Praklet.

Students in Traditional BSN & ADN should contact Jeanne Fox.

General Questions

Please visit the Stronger Together page for complete details on the cancellation. If you still have questions, feel free to contact the appropriate staff.

Adult, BSN Completion, and Graduate programs students should contact Janet Praklet.

Students in Traditional and ADN should contact Susan Williams.

About the Speaker 

The speaker for all ceremonies will be alumna Heather Gilbert ’02, J.D., CI/CT, SC:L. Gilbert is the President and Managing Attorney of Gilbert Law PLLC. She is a Plaintiff’s attorney representing individuals of protected classes, primarily deaf and hard of hearing individuals, with discrimination claims against employers, public accommodations, government entities, and/or other entities. Through her work and the courage of her brave clients, Gilbert’s cases have established landmark advances at the federal level for persons with disabilities. Gilbert also has a thriving and growing estate planning practice for preparing trusts, wills, powers of attorneys and health care directives.

Prior to practicing law, Gilbert worked as a certified sign language interpreter in various capacities but primarily in the legal field and for state and federal courts. In addition to practicing law, Gilbert is an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline teaching in the Expert Witness Academy, Advanced Advocacy, Transactions and Settlements, Deals and Dispute Resolution, and Lawyer as Business Owner.  She is a frequent presenter for attorney continuing education on topics including employment law, Americans With Disabilities Act, representing deaf clients, and law practice management. Gilbert achieved the Super Lawyers Rising Star each year from 2014 to present and serves on the Ramsey County Bar Association Board of Directors. Gilbert recently pioneered MasterMind Lawyers, a coaching and accountability collaboration advancing solo and small firm practice. While there is not always a lot of free time for Gilbert, you may spot her, every once in a while, in a musical theater production. Gilbert resides in St. Paul, Minn., with her husband Daniel Gilbert and their three school-aged children.

Heather Gilbert '02