A new Northwestern graduate celebrates with his brothers.

Commencement Saturday, July 18, 2020

Graduates' family members and friends are invited to celebrate their accomplishments during Northwestern College's commencement ceremony. We are hosting an outdoor event in De Valois Stadium. The program will include elements from commencement, baccalaureate and the senior honors ceremony.


Those not attending in person are invited to watch a  livestream of Northwestern's 2020 commencement beginning at 8 p.m.


5:00 PM | Campus Open (excluding residence halls and Van Peursem Hall)
6:30 PM | Regalia for master's degree students available (DeWitt Learning Commons) 
7:00 PM | All graduates assemble for processional (Campus Green)
8:00 PM | Commencement (De Valois Stadium)

The opportunity to RSVP for commencement online has closed, but if you would still like to attend, please contact Nancy Van Surksum in the registrar's office  via email or by calling 712-707-7145.

News release

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Event guidelines and information

We have been so eager for this day, and we want our commencement celebration to be enjoyable, memorable and healthy. As members of Raider Nation, you already know what it means to be in community and consider others’ needs above your own. To demonstrate that and minimize the health risks for graduates, guests, and faculty and staff, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Stay home if ... 
    • You or anyone in your family has tested positive for COVID-19 within two weeks of July 18.
    • You or anyone in your family is exhibiting possible symptoms for COVID-19 (fever/chills, cough/sore throat, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, congestion, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea).
  2. Bring and wear a cloth face covering/mask. 
    • Guests will need to wear a mask when entering and exiting the stadium until they are seated.
    • If appropriate physical distancing is challenging in the stands, guests should wear a mask.
  3. Maintain physical distance from other non-family graduates/guests before, during and after the ceremony.
    • Guest family groups should sit together, taking care to leave 6 feet of space between themselves and other family groups.
    • Graduates, please express your congratulations to non-family members from a safe distance.
    • At the conclusion of the ceremony, graduates will be spread out across the stadium field. Family members should move toward their graduate for congratulations, making sure to use the whole field to maintain distance from other family groups..
  4. Bring and use hand sanitizer.
    • We will also provide hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations at De Valois Stadium.

Other helpful information

  • ADA parking will be available in the lot directly west of De Valois Stadium, behind Hospers and Colenbrander halls.
  • Restrooms. Buildings around campus—and their restroom facilities—will be open starting at 5 p.m. De Valois Stadium restrooms and portable toilets (with hand-washing stations) will be available for stadium guests. Plan to physical distance when you are in line for restrooms, which will be staffed and disinfected throughout the evening.
  • Weather readiness. The ceremony will be held outdoors, rain or shine, unless the weather is dangerous. In case of rain, ponchos will be available for graduates. Guests should bring umbrellas or raincoats. It will likely be warm, even at night. We will provide complimentary bottled water for all guests and participants. Graduates and guests should consider bringing sun protection if they plan to spend time outdoors on campus earlier in the day. If the weather is dangerous (e.g. a thunderstorm), we will hold commencement for graduates and faculty/staff inside Christ Chapel. Guests will be directed to multiple sites around campus where they can watch the livestreamed event.