LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For the first time since 2019, University of Louisville graduates will be able to celebrate their accomplishments during in-person ceremonies.

UofL transformed Cardinal Stadium to be able to safely accommodate the graduates, their family and friends, and excited staff for commencement ceremonies this weekend.

What You Need To Know

  • In-person commencement ceremonies at Cardinal Stadium on May 7th and May 8th will honor 2020 and 2021 graduates

  • More than 2,300 graduates are expected to cross the outdoor stage this weekend

  • UofL has divided the commencement proceedings into three outdoor ceremonies that will allow for adequate social distancing

  • Masks are required and the ceremonies have been shortened to two hours

These University of Louisville graduates not only get to celebrate their new degrees. But, this year’s commencement is extra special. For Murphy Lamb, having his family, including his grandmother in the stands means the world to him.

“It makes the results so much more satisfying finally making it to graduation,” said Lamb who will graduate from the School of Music this weekend with a minor in physics. 

Many students enjoyed the beautiful Kentucky weather Friday to snap pictures by famous campus landmarks. Lamb shared that the last few semesters have been tough for many due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“College is typically a crucible for the development of those skills that will serve you well in the future. But, this has been to the max. Just forcing you to find motivation and find love for learning and find ways to connect and coordinate with your peers in ways that were unheard of," Lamb said.

This weekend was also a momentous occasion for Kevin Orr. Orr earned his master’s degree Friday night at Cardinal Stadium and was also commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Friday morning.

“It was two years of a lot of life changes and differences in career and day to day life especially with the pandemic. Definitely a culmination of a lot of hard work and flexibility and it feels good,” Orr said.

More than 2,400 graduates are expected to cross the outdoor stage with their excited friends and family pulling for them in the stands. Students who didn’t have the opportunity for an in-person ceremony in 2020 were invited to return to celebrate this weekend. Dr. Michael Mardis, the Dean of Students at UofL said that about half of the participants will be students who graduated back in 2020 who will get the chance to have their in-person ceremony.

“Each graduate has their own story, their own journey of how they persevered and everybody has had to overcome during the pandemic. So for each of them they get to celebrate. They are going to have at least 8 members of their families to be here and celebrate with them,” Mardis said.

These graduates had to endure a lot of changes. Their college experiences were very different from their older siblings or families. One of the biggest realizations for Lamb during the last few semesters is just how much he cherishes connections. He said he’ll never take those precious moments for granted.

“There’s nothing more than connection. Yes, you’re going to leave with a degree, but life is a never ending chain of these moments of connections we have with people we care about and graduation is a good reminder of that reality. We need to keep looking for those moments where we can connect to the people around us.”

The College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School, School of Dentistry, School of Law and School of Law participated in Friday’s commencement ceremonies.

The final two commencements take place Saturday at 10am and 4pm.