Frequently Asked Questions
All instructions and events listed below are subject to change based on the Pennsylvania State COVID-19 guidelines at the time of the event. Muhlenberg College is committed to keeping all participants, their families and friends healthy and safe. All new information will be posted to this website as soon as it is made available to the campus community. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Where and when will Commencement be held?
The Class of 2021 will gather for two Commencement ceremonies at the PPL Center in Allentown on Monday, May 24, 2021. The first ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. for students whose last names begin with the letters A through K, and the second ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. for students whose last names begin with the letters L through Z.
Will there be COVID testing for students before Commencement? What happens if a student tests positive?
Yes. There will be antigen testing in the week leading up to the Commencement ceremonies. Any student who tests positive on May 14 or after will not be allowed to attend the commencement ceremonies, nor will any close contacts. Withdrawal from the ceremonies due to positive results applies to both the graduate and their guests. Students who test positive and close contacts will be notified by the Health Center. Graduates are responsible for notifying their guests.
Why is the class separated into two ceremonies alphabetically and not by academic degree, program or some other method?
We understand that any way of separating the class into multiple ceremonies is not ideal. In exploring how we can accommodate graduates and guests in-person safely and meet capacity guidelines, while being as equitable as possible, we discovered that an alphabetic division offered the best and most manageable solution available.
No, each graduate is responsible for providing their own transportation; due to current health guidelines, the College will not run any shuttles from the campus to the PPL Center. Graduates and guests will need to arrange transportation and parking. The PPL Center website has information on directions and parking.
When should students and guests arrive at the PPL Center?
Students may begin to arrive at the PPL Center for the 10 a.m. ceremony at 8:30 a.m. and must be present no later than 9:30 a.m. The 2 p.m. ceremony will begin admitting students at 12:30 p.m. and students must be present no later than 1:30 p.m.
The doors for guests will open 45 minutes before each ceremony. Tickets will indicate the appropriate entrance. We ask all guests to leave the building through the same access point they used for entry.
Graduates will enter the PPL Center through the stage door off Linden Street. We will provide additional information closer to May 24 to help you find your way to the correct entrance. Guests will use the arena's main entrances.
Please note: ALL STUDENTS WILL NEED TO SWIPE THEIR ID TO GET INTO THE PPL CENTER. Anyone not currently on our attendance list, who has tested positive or who is a close contact of a positive test will be turned away from the facility.
Graduates will be seated individually on the arena floor. All guest seating remains in pods of 5 seats. Seating for faculty and staff will be in individual seats in designated areas. All seating will be appropriately distanced. Seating has been assigned based on the 25% capacity that was in effect when the College’s plans were finalized.
Will guests be allowed to attend?
Yes. Each graduate will receive five guest tickets with assigned seating; these tickets will be assigned directly to each graduate and distributed electronically to their Muhlenberg email by the PPL Center in early May. Due to state guidelines regarding health and safety at indoor venues, this number is firm and cannot be changed.
Please be aware that in accordance with state guidelines, every person entering the PPL Center for commencement—including infants and small children—must have an individual ticket with barcode.
How will tickets be distributed?
All information, including granted ceremony changes and special seating requests have been submitted to the PPL Center for processing. Students who are attending will receive tickets via email between May 17 and May 19. We will send a reminder for students to look for their ticket email when PPL confirms they have been sent. There will be an opportunity for students who do not receive their tickets to follow up.
Each digital ticket may be forwarded to family or friends who are attending. Each ticket may only be scanned for entry once—if someone attempts to scan a ticket a second time, they will be turned away. The College strongly discourages anyone from giving away tickets to guests of other graduates. Remember, any seating pods that exceed 5 people will have their tickets checked to ensure they are seated properly.
Because of the lead time necessary to plan arena seating, all decisions regarding attendance and seating are now final. Any student who has indicated they will not be in attendance cannot change their decision and attend.
What are graduates, faculty, staff and guests permitted to bring into the PPL Center?
Guests will not be allowed to bring the following or similar items into the arena:
- Outside food or beverages
- Balloons, wrapped packages, whistles or other noise makers
- Signs or banners larger than 24”x36”
- Guests may only bring clear bags into the arena. This includes camera bags, purses and other bags.
Are there ADA seats available?
Yes. ADA seating is available on the concourse around the arena. Families with ADA needs will be assigned two seats in the ADA area (one for the individual with ADA needs and one for another family member) with the rest of the family guests in a pod of three. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about ADA seating.
Can I share my guest tickets with another graduate if I don't require five?
No. The five-ticket model needs to remain intact in order to plan in advance for all seats to be allocated in pods that ensure appropriate distancing. Anyone using a ticket from another graduate who attempts to sit in a pod that would exceed five people will be asked to move. If more than one person attempts to use the same ticket barcode, only the first user will be granted access to the ceremony.
Do the changes in the Pennsylvania State Guidelines change the way that the ceremonies will be held?
No. The changes to regulations regarding capacity for indoor events came too late for any adjustments to be made to Muhlenberg's commencement ceremonies. The PPL Center's protocols and guidelines will still be in place on May 24. That means we are only using 25% of the arena's capacity and that mask wearing remains a requirement for entry.
What happens if it rains?
Commencement ceremonies will be held at the PPL Center, rain or shine.
Will there be any detailed instructions for graduates prior to the Commencement ceremonies?
There will be no senior class meeting to review the ceremony this year. Instead, the College will share a video that describes where you will arrive and how the ceremonies will unfold including instructions for the awarding of degrees on stage. This will be made available on May 20 and will also include information about entry and exit for guests and where you may meet following the ceremony.
A free live stream of Commencement will begin approximately 20 minutes before each ceremony. The stream can be viewed at: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/muhlenbergcollege/
Following the Commencement ceremony, archived video will be available, free of charge, for viewing or downloading.
Where can I order photos of graduates receiving their degrees?
Island Photography 516-767-1234
Where is a good place for hotel and restaurant accommodations?
Visit the College’s website for a list of area hotels and restaurants.
For questions about commencement or other graduation activities, please use the following contacts:
Commencement ceremony -- email@example.com or 484-664-3230
Senior days -- firstname.lastname@example.org and 484-664-3657.
Housing/Move out -- email@example.com or 484-664-3180
Graduation status -- firstname.lastname@example.org or 484-664-3190