After two years of virtual or limited-attendance gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities are returning to traditional in-person commencements this month.
The initial wave of the pandemic closed many campuses and led to online-only ceremonies for thousands of graduates in 2020. Last year, as social-distance mandates relaxed to a degree, schools like St. Elizabeth University and County College of Morris livestreamed hybrid commencement exercises that allowed students to receive their diplomas onstage in front of a masked, limited-capacity audience.
Fairleigh Dickinson University did hold its traditional commencement at MetLife Stadium in 2021, but to limit audience capacity, it held separate ceremonies for students of its College at Florham Campus in Florham Park and its Metropolitan Campus in Bergen County.
This year, FDU students will once again walk together, as they will at dozens of other schools in the coming weeks.
The following is a roundup of in-person commencement events beginning this week in New Jersey:
Bloomfield College - The school's 149th commencement begins at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 20, at the college Quadrangle. A livestream will be available.
Caldwell University - The 80th commencement is Sunday, May 15, in the Newman Center on campus. The ceremony for master’s and doctoral graduates will begin at 10 a.m. Undergraduates will follow at 1 p.m.
Centenary University - Olympic gold medalist and World Cup soccer champion Heather O’Reilly will address the graduates at Centenary's commencement on Saturday, May 7. The East Brunswick native will speak at two ceremonies that day, at 9 a.m. for the bachelor of science and associate of science degree recipients, and at 1 p.m. for the bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, bachelor of social work, and associate of arts degree recipients.
Alissa Brianna Mor of West Milford will deliver the valedictory address.
Drew University - In-person commencement returns to Madison for commencement exercises on Friday, May 13, for the Theological School (10 a.m.) and Caspersen School of Graduate Studies (3 p.m.). The College of Liberal Arts commencement will follow the next day at 10 a.m. Weather-permitting, the first in-person commencements will take place outside on the Mead Hall Lawn.
Fairleigh Dickinson University - The university will stage its 79th commencement at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday, May 18. More than 2,400 students will receive degrees. John Harmon Sr., president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and an FDU alumnus, will deliver the commencement address. The procession begins at 9:30 a.m. A livestream will be available on the FDU website.
Felician University - The 58th commencement for the Bergen County-based school will be held at the Rink at the American Dream mall in East Rutherford on Saturday, May 21.
Georgian Court University - Commencement will begin for undergraduates at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, outside on campus grounds in Lakewood. Graduate students will get their degrees at 5:30 p.m. The event also will recognize the graduates of August 2021, December 2021, February and May who did not have an in-person ceremony.
Kean University - Undergraduate commencement will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, at the Prudential Center in Newark. Graduate commencement will begin at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 17, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.
Montclair State University - Commencement at MetLife Stadium begins at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 20.
Monmouth University - The various schools of the Jersey Shore institution will take place on May 11 and 12 at Kessler Field. A livestream will be available for all.
New Jersey City University - Commencement will be held at the Prudential Center in Newark on Thursday, June 2.
New Jersey Institute of Technology - Undergraduate and graduate ceremonies will take place Friday, May 13, at the NJIT Wellness and Events Center in Newark. Commencement will be held Tuesday, May 17, at Prudential Center in Newark, beginning at 8:40 a.m.
Princeton University - The 275th commencement will be held on Tuesday, May 24, at Princeton Stadium. The Ivy League school also will hold a commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 in Princeton Stadium on Wednesday, May 18.
Ramapo College - The undergraduate commencement ceremony will begin with a procession at 8:45 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark on Thursday, May 12. Doors open at 7:30 a.m.
Rider University - The graduate ceremony will take place on May 12 and the undergraduate ceremony on May 14. Both will be held at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton.
Rowan College - Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for various degrees May 9 to May 13 under a tent on the University Green at Bunce Hall.
Rutgers University-New Brunswick/Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences - Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Remnick has been chosen as the commencement speaker for the 256th commencement of Rutgers University in New Brunswick and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.
The Class of 2022 will gather at SHI Stadium on the Busch Campus in Piscataway at 10 a.m. on May 15. It will be the university's first in-person commencement since 2019.
An estimated 13,329 graduates will receive degrees, certificates and diplomas
Rutgers University-Newark - The Newark campus will conduct its commencement beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 16, at the Prudential Center in Newark.
Rutgers University-Camden - Commencement ceremonies and the Rites of Passage celebration will take place at Waterfront Music Pavilion in Camden for the various schools on May 17 and 18. New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli will deliver the address for the School of Nursing.
St. Elizabeth University - The university will leave campus to gather for a full in-person commencement beginning at 10 a.m. on May 13 at Mennen Arena in Morris Township.
A total of 358 students — 190 undergraduate and 168 graduate — will receive degrees during the school's 120th commencement and hear an address from Jacqueline Fortune Carter, director of community engagement for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Houston, Texas.
St. Peter's University - Commencement will begin at 11 a.m. on May 26 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.
Seton Hall University - United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will deliver the commencement address at Seton Hall's 166th baccalaureate commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 24, at the Prudential Center in Newark.
Stockton University - The school's 50th-anniversary commencement will take place on Friday, May 13, at Jon Whalen Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Stevens Institute of Technology - Four ceremonies are planned for May 25 and 26 for the Hoboken school.
Thomas Edison State University - The Trenton-based school's commencement will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1.
William Paterson University - The undergraduate ceremony begins at 9 a.m. on May 18 at the Prudential Center in Newark. Tickets are not required. The graduate ceremony begins at 7 p.m. on May 19 at the WPU Sports and Recreation Center on campus in Wayne. Tickets are required.
Atlantic Cape Community College - Commencement will begin at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, on the Mays Landing campus. The keynote speaker is James F. Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming.
Bergen Community College - After two years of virtual ceremonies, Bergen will return to a live and in-person commencement ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, at MetLife Stadium. An estimated 2,500 students will graduate. A livestream begins with a preshow at 9:30 a.m. on Bergen.edu and all of its official social media channels.
Brookdale Community College - In-person, traditional commencement ceremonies return to the Lincroft campus beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 12, for AA graduates. A 3 p.m. ceremony will honor AS, AAS, AFA and certificate graduates.
County College of Morris - Ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 20, at the Mennen Arena in Morris Township. Tickets are required (four per student). A livestream of the ceremony is available.
Essex County College - The school will stage its 53rd commencement beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 3, at the Prudential Center in Newark.
Hudson County Community College - Commencement begins at noon on Thursday, May 26, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison. Graduates from the 2019-2021 academic years who were limited to virtual commencements are invited to participate.
Mercer County Community College - Commencement will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 20, at the West Windsor Campus Quadrangle. Tickets are not required for outdoor seating.
Middlesex College - Commencement begins at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, at
Jersey Mike’s Arena at the Rutgers Athletic Center on the Livingston campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway. Tickets are not required.
Ocean County College - Ceremonies will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, at the Gateway Mall on the Toms River campus. The rain date is May 27 at 10 a.m.
Passaic County Community College - Commencement begins at 6 p.m. on June 13 on the Paterson campus. A livestream will be available.
Raritan Valley Community College - Commencement begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, on the soccer field in Branchburg. A livestream is available.
Salem Community College - Commencement will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, in the Davidow Field House. A livestream is available at salemcc.edu/commencement.
Sussex County Community College - Commencement begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, at Connor Green. The rain date is the next day at the same time.
Union County College - Commencement is "rain or shine" on the Cranford campus at 10 a.m. (AS) and 3 p.m. (AAS, AA, CTA) on Wednesday, May 26. A livestream will be available and recorded.
Warren County Community College - Commencement is May 21.
William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on Morristown Daily Record: NJ colleges return to in-person commencements. Here's the full list