Office of the President
Campus Messages

Spring 2021 Commencement

Letter from President Darryll J. Pines

By Darryll J. Pines

Dear University of Maryland community,

It is inspiring to see how our students have persevered through even the most challenging of times. In honor of their true determination, we have been working on a plan to give our graduates the option to attend a commencement ceremony, while still following all necessary health and safety guidelines.

Spring Commencement Ceremonies
I am pleased to announce that Spring 2021 commencement exercises will be conducted in person at Maryland Stadium, and live-streamed at In collaboration with Prince George’s County, we have developed plans to create a ceremony on campus that prioritizes safety as we celebrate the academic success of our graduates.

On Friday, May 21, 2021, Spring 2021 graduates are invited to attend commencement in person at Maryland Stadium. To ensure physical distancing and adherence to capacity limits, there will be two in-person ceremonies. All undergraduate and graduate students and two of their guests will be assigned to a ceremony based on their school or college. We are also excited for the opportunity to invite all 2020 graduates back to campus to be celebrated in person. Details on tickets, regalia, and safety measures required to attend, as well as answers to anticipated questions, are available at Additional information will continue to be added as it becomes available.

In tandem with the live ceremony, the university will offer an interactive virtual commencement ceremony for those who are not able to join us on campus. The entire university community is welcome and encouraged to participate in the commencement exercises virtually at Graduates are encouraged to submit photos for a chance to have their photos included in the ceremonies.

To accommodate the in-person commencement ceremonies on May 21, the individual college exercises will be held virtually on Thursday, May 20, at 1 p.m.

Care packages for graduates will be sent out in May. Graduates must update their permanent address in Testudo by April 19 to receive their care package.

Commencement Speaker
I am pleased to announce that Peter Chapman, president and CEO of IonQ will deliver the university’s commencement address on May 21, 2021.

Founded on research from UMD among others, and headquartered in the Discovery District, IonQ is an industry leader in quantum computing. Prior to coming to IonQ in 2019, Chapman spent nearly five years as a director of engineering for Amazon Prime, managing hundreds of engineers to ensure speedy delivery. Along his tech and entrepreneurial journey, he made software breakthroughs that protect mutual funds, support e-readers, and assist the blind in reading; he founded the video game company Level Systems Inc., and invented the first sheet music-reading synthesizer capable of recreating orchestral instruments. Chapman also helped create the world’s first fully automated algorithmic trading system for the stock and commodity markets. The son of a NASA scientist-astronaut, Chapman began his career at age 16 in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Lab.

I share Peter’s passion for the future of computing and technological advancements as we aim to solve many of the grand challenges of our time, and I anticipate compelling, insightful remarks as he addresses our graduates.

In Closing
We must keep in mind that all campus events are contingent on evolving COVID-19 conditions and guidelines from the Prince George's County health department. Hosting successful in-person commencement ceremonies will depend on everyone doing their part, and remaining diligent in following our 4 Maryland guidelines.

I thank our graduates and their families for your patience as we finalize plans. We recognize the significance of an in-person event to celebrate our graduates' proud achievements, and we are happy to be able to offer this option with health and safety top of mind.


Darryll J. Pines

Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland

Twitter: @President_Pines
Instagram: @President_Pines