Message from Chancellor Sartarelli: Commencement and Orientation Updates for the Campus Community

Friday, April 16, 2021

Now that we are less than a month away from commencement on May 7-8, it is time to celebrate the many accomplishments of the Class of 2021. Our stellar Seahawks include a Fulbright grant recipient and Gilman scholarship recipients, a national public health award winner, award-winning student-athletes, and a featured speaker at the Student Veterans of America national conference. Class of 2021 – please remember that graduates must register for their ceremony by Tuesday, April 20. 
We also are preparing to welcome our newest Seahawks to the UNCW community. Orientation is a time-honored tradition on our campus, offering new students a wealth of information and resources to make a smooth transition to the university. This year, our plans include early course registration, open between May 24 and June 3, for first-year students who meet eligibility requirements. Please see this orientation overview for details about eligibility. 
To continue supporting COVID-19 health and safety precautions during commencement and orientation, we have developed hybrid options to benefit our students, families and guests. While these experiences may look a little different than past programs, they still will highlight the energy and heart that our university invests in students, from their first moments on campus to their last steps away as graduates.  
Please see the information below for more details about commencement and orientation. 


UNCW will offer both virtual and in-person ceremonies for May commencement. The university will hold multiple in-person ceremonies on May 7 and 8 in Trask Coliseum for the Class of 2021, as well as a virtual ceremony for graduating students who prefer that option. All graduates will be recognized individually, regardless of whether they choose virtual or in-person attendance. All ceremonies will be livestreamed and fully closed-captioned for remote viewing. All departmental celebrations will be virtual. 
Graduates can select their preferred ceremony on a first-come, first-served basis through their Commencement Registration account. Graduates attending in-person ceremonies will receive tickets for themselves and one guest. 


No Processional for Faculty, Students 
Typically, UNCW’s outstanding faculty attend commencement, joining graduates and their friends and families in Trask Coliseum for each ceremony. Unfortunately, COVID-19 social distancing precautions preclude faculty attendance at this year’s in-person ceremonies. We need every seat available in Trask for our graduates, their guests and the platform party. Faculty Senate President Nathan Grove plans to attend the ceremonies to represent the faculty, and we are grateful for his dedication and service.  
COVID-19 precautions also mean graduates will not walk into the coliseum together as part of a processional during the in-person ceremonies. Instead, they will enter the coliseum with their guest and sit in their assigned seats for the duration of their ceremony. Graduates will be individually recognized from their seats during their in-person ceremony.  
More Commencement Information 
Please visit the Commencement site regularly for additional details, deadlines and updates. 



All first-year students enrolling in courses in the fall will complete a hybrid orientation experience featuring pre-orientation modules, a synchronous orientation program and an in-person program in August. As mentioned above, early course registration is available to new students who register for orientation by May 9 and complete all the pre-orientation modules by May 18. We encourage students to take advantage of this early registration opportunity.  
Transfer students enrolling in summer and fall 2021 courses will be able to choose between two hybrid orientation options. Students who are planning to take summer classes should select a May or June orientation date. An August orientation date is available for transfer students enrolling in the fall. Again, these orientation options include online and in-person components. 

More Orientation Information 
Please visit the orientation sites for first-year students or for transfer students for more information about application deadlines, available dates, pre-orientation modules, math and language placements, information for families and guests, and more.  
Thank you for sharing in the joy we all feel for our new students and, especially, the Class of 2021. At this point on such a long, hard road for so many of us, it is uplifting to know that another class of remarkable Seahawks is taking flight into the future just before a new group joins us to plot their journeys as part of the UNCW experience.