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Graduation

Drive-In Graduation FAQs

Spring 2021 graduates will be invited to participate in our May 15th ceremonies. Three ceremonies will occur during the day and scheduled based on the college in which graduates earned their degrees:

  • 9 a.m. - College of the Arts and the Turner College of Business
  • 12:00 p.m. - College of Letters and Sciences
  • 2:30 p.m. - College of Education and Health Professions

To make adequate arrangements for the number of ceremony participants, graduates planning to be present for the May 15th ceremonies must register online. Links to register follow:

Any graduate's accommodation needs can be requested through the online RSVP form.

Columbus State University is planning three in-person, yet physically distanced, graduation ceremonies - all to be held on Saturday, May 15th, 2021. Vehicles will be parked with view of the event stage, which will include a large screen that broadcasts events occurring on the stage so attendees can easily view that from their parked positions. During the drive-in-style ceremony, graduates will remain in their cars for the duration of the program.

Graduates arriving by personal vehicle will be directed by CSU Parking Services staff to a designated graduate parking area with full view of the event stage. At this time, event planners anticipate cars being parked in a general admission, first-come, first-served basis. Graduate vehicles will not be parked by section based on college, program or degree.

Only one vehicle per graduate will be allowed in the graduate parking area; a guest parking area will be available for vehicles containing a graduate's additional guests. Multiple graduates may occupy the same vehicle if they wish. Likewise, vehicles may contain a mix of graduates and guests. CSU advises that each participant make these decisions with public health guidance in mind.

To ensure adequate parking arrangements are made, graduates should indicate their plans to participate by completing the online RSVP form.

The Columbus Civic Center is located at 400 4th Street Columbus, Georgia 31901.

If you are attending Saturday's ceremonies in person, please remember to arrive one hour prior to the start of your ceremony. Upon arrival, you will be directed to the check-in area, where you will be greeted by a presidential envoy. The presidential envoy will provide you with your name card and any other graduate items from the registrar.

After you check-in, you will be directed to the Ceremony Lot. Graduates will be arranged by order of their arrival in the Ceremony Lot (Lot B - see map here). If you have guests in a separate vehicle, they will be directed to a lot immediately behind the graduate parking area, where they too will be arranged in the order of their arrival.

Please refer to the map linked above for the following additional guidance:

  • The main entrance from Veterans Parkway will be closed completely. Everyone will enter the Civic Center through Lumpkin Boulevard. Please look for the signage and parking staff for direction upon your arrival!
  • Everyone will exit through the Skate Park exit (onto 4th Street).
  • The ceremony will take place in Lot B in front of the Ice Rink building.
  • Lot E is a staging lot.
  • Lot C is a holding lot.
  • Graduates may decorate their vehicle, but it must be prior to entering the Civic Center parking lot. Vehicles will not be permitted entrance to the parking areas if their decorations will obstruct the view of others (i.e. balloons, standing posters, etc.)
  • All vehicles must fit into a single standard parking spot (which precludes limousines), not have an attached trailer, or people riding in the truck bed, or cars with people standing in the sunroof or pose some similar safety or nuisance risk.
  • Everyone should have a mask with them upon entry to wear anytime they are speaking to or exchanging information with someone outside their car.

The Platform Party will include only those CSU officials with an active part in the graduation ceremony, which will follow the traditional order of program as circumstances allow. Some portions of the ceremony, such as musical performances, may be pre-recorded and streamed to the stage's screen, through the live stream and audibly through the radio broadcast.

At the point of degree conferral, cars containing graduates will drive up to the stage to receive their graduation tube as their names are called. CSU Parking Services staff will line up and direct cars to "drive-by" the front of the stage to receive their graduation tube from President Markwood, Provost Bordelon and the graduate's respective dean. Graduates will remain in their vehicles as graduation tubes are distributed. There will be no photography or handshaking, and face coverings will be required of all parties during those times as well.

The presentation of the graduation tubes will be the final element of the ceremony. Upon receiving their tubes, graduates in the drive-by vehicle procession will be directed out of the parking lot. Vehicles with guests will be dismissed similarly.

Yes. In addition to printed programs distributed for in-person attendees, a downloadable version will be available in conjunction with the live-stream for friends and family members.

We’ve got all the virtual party supplies you’ll need right on our website to celebrate this special day. Visit graduation.columbusstate.edu/ celebrate, where you’ll find links to the graduation livestreams, instructions on how to share a social media shout-out to your graduate, and graphics for the whole family to share their pride. Hashtag your tweets with #CSU20Grad and you might even see them on the big screen this Saturday!

No, however, graduates participating are encouraged to wear regalia, but it will not be required. You may return regalia to the CSU Bookstore if the regalia package has NOT been opened. Regalia may be purchased through Jostens.

As with traditional commencements, graduates will receive their degrees by mailing following the ceremony.

Due to safety protocols, we will not take traditional photos of graduates receiving their graduation tubes. Furthermore, graduates and guests must remain in their vehicles, eliminating the opportunity for personal photos. The university will have photographers travel around the event space to take photos of individuals as they remain in their vehicles. Those photos will be made available after the event.

Yes, guests (including family members, faculty and staff) will be directed by CSU Parking Services staff to a designated guest parking area with full view of the event stage. Guest parking will be accommodated as space allows.

Alternately, graduates may have family members within their own COVID bubble in the same vehicle with them, which will be parked in the graduate parking area. Only one vehicle per graduate will be allowed in that area. If non-related guests are included in the same vehicle, they should also be within the graduate's COVID bubble, which would mean roommates, athletic teammates, or others with whom graduates and those in the vehicle have limited their regular contact.

Graduates without transportation will be transported upon arrival at the Civic Center in CSU golf carts or other vehicles to participate in the ceremony. Since onsite physically distanced seating areas will be extremely limited, graduates are encouraged to arrange for their own transportation. At the point of degree conferral, seated graduates will again be transported by golf cart to receive their graduation tube. The university is unable to accommodate guests without transportation; all guests must arrive by personal vehicle and remain seated in their vehicles during the duration of the ceremony. Any graduate's accommodation needs can be requested through the online RSVP form.

Graduates and guests arriving while a ceremony is in progress will be directed to a staging parking lot where vehicles will remain until attendees from the previous ceremony have cleared the parking lot. This staging parking lot will open no sooner than one hour prior to the start of the next ceremony. Those in the staged parking lot will be among the first to park for the next ceremony and their order of arrival will be considered when moving them to the commencement parking lot.

The university will expect all attendees to adhere to public health guidelines currently ordered by state and federal agencies. These include the use of face coverings and physical distancing anytime a person is outside their vehicles. Any materials - printed programs, name cards, graduation tubes and the like - will be exchanged by CSU staff wearing gloves and face coverings. Those with speaking parts during the ceremony will remove their face coverings only while speaking.

All graduates and guests will be required to remain in their vehicle during the duration of the ceremony. Graduates who need golf cart transportation will be seated in a separate area and six feet apart from one another until time to receive their graduation tubes. Graduates and guests are encouraged to exercise caution before they interact with others outside their "COVID bubble" without these precautions in place.

Graduates will be instructed in advance that vehicles will not be allowed to park if they do not fit in a single standard parking spot (which precludes limousines), have an attached trailer, including trucks with people riding in the truck bed, cars with people standing in the sunroof, or pose some similar safety or nuisance risk. Guests will be advised to turn off the ignition to their vehicles to reduce engine noise and emissions during the ceremony.

Graduates and guests may extend the practice of decorating their mortar boards by decorating their vehicles. Vehicles must arrive decorated; graduates and guests will not be permitted to decorate their vehicles in the parking lot once they are parked. Vehicles will not be permitted entrance to the parking areas if their decorations will obstruct the view of others.

All vehicles will be parked facing the stage, which will include a large screen that broadcasts events occurring on the stage so attendees can easily view that from their parked positions. Sound will be broadcast through the Civic Center's online radio band. The ceremony will also be live streamed for anyone who wishes to view from their vehicle or who are unable to attend in person, and a sign language interpreter will be included in the live stream.

Restrooms on-site and in the Columbus Civic Center and will be available to all attendees. CSU golf carts will transport attendees unable to walk to the restrooms with transportation to and from those facilities. Visiting the restroom will be one of the few reasons attendees will be allowed to leave their vehicles during the ceremony.

For additional questions, please contact graduation@columbusstate.edu.