2021 Commencement

The Class of 2021 and 2020 will celebrate Commencement on Saturday, May 8, 2021, with two in-person ceremonies at INTRUST Bank Arena.

  • Graduate Commencement Ceremony – 10 a.m.
  • Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony – 2:30 p.m.

We wish to honor all graduates with a memorable and meaningful celebration, as safely as possible. Each graduate is allowed a maximum of six guests. Family groups must socially distance themselves from other groups and all persons (ages two and older) are required to wear a mask. Watch this page for additional updates and more information to come.

Commencement Ceremony Keynote Speaker

Friends University is pleased to have Dr. Alicia Thompson, superintendent of the Wichita Public Schools, give the commencement address. Dr. Thompson is a native of Wichita and began her educational journey in the Wichita Public Schools. For more than 25 years she has shared her professional life with the district as a teacher, administrator and in 2017 she was named Superintendent of the Wichita Public Schools. Dr. Thompson received her undergraduate degree from Langston University, her master’s degree from Newman University and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Wichita State University.

Livestream and Tweeting

For those who are not able to attend the commencement ceremony but would still like to watch a loved one receive his or her diploma, the University will be streaming the event live on our website.

Visit friends.edu/commencement-live to see the livestream.

In addition, friends and family can tweet messages of congratulations to their graduates that will be shown on the large screen in INTRUST arena. Live tweeting will occur 30 minutes before the ceremony and while graduates are crossing the stage. To participate, sign into Twitter and use this hashtag: #FriendsUGrads. Only users with public accounts will be able to have their tweet shown on the screen.

Commencement Exercises

Saturday, May 8, 2021 | 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
INTRUST Bank Arena, 500 E Waterman, Wichita KS
www.intrustbankarena.com | Parking information

  • Graduates need to check-in starting one hour before each ceremony. Graduates should enter at Entrance B on the southeast side of the arena. You will need to stay in line once you check in. All graduates need to be checked in no later than 15 minutes prior to the ceremony.
  • Doors open to guests one hour before each ceremony. Guests may use Entrance A or B on the south side of the arena. There will be no access from Entrance C on the north side of the arena.
  • INTRUST Bank Arena Policies:

Commencement Ceremony Details

  • The ceremony will last approximately 1.5 hours.
  • Graduates will remain seated with their classmates for the duration of the ceremony.
  • There is no rehearsal or practice.
  • Entrance tickets are not required for guests.
  • Your prompt arrival for check-in and line-up is appreciated.
  • Diplomas are not distributed at Commencement. Graduates will be notified when a final audit determines all degree requirements have been met (approximately 4-6 weeks after Commencement). For Wichita area residents, diplomas will be available for pick-up in the University Registrar’s Office. Diplomas for non-Wichita area residents will be mailed to the address designated on the Intent to Graduate form.
  • Minimum standards for undergraduate honors recognition include an overall GPA and Friends University GPA of 3.60. 2021 honors candidates will receive red cords at the Commencement ceremonies. 2020 honor candidates need to bring their honor cords to the ceremony.

2020 Graduates Participating in this year’s Commencement Ceremony

We are excited that you are participating in this year’s Commencement Ceremony. Since you have already received your diploma in the mail, you will receive a diploma cover when you walk across the stage but we ask that you return the cover immediately after taking your official graduation picture. If you want to take pictures with your family after the ceremony, please bring the diploma cover you received last year.

For those that received honor cords in the mail last year, you will need to bring those honor cords with you, along with your regalia. We will not have extra honor cords to hand out to the 2020 Graduates.

2020 Graduates RSVP for the ceremony


Regalia (cap, gown, tassel and hood) is available for purchase from the University Bookstore. Bring your cap, gown, tassel and hood to the ceremony. Gowns should be pressed. Hoods are for graduate students only.

Bookstore hours:

  • Monday – Thursday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Commencement Day)

Bookstore contact phone number: 316-295-5869 or 800-794-6945 ext.5869.

Website: https://www.cbgrad.com/school/FRIENDS

Wichita Hotel Accommodations

The following hotels offer discounted rates to Friends University students and families. Mention the University’s graduation weekend when calling to book your room.

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Wichita Airport, 2098 Airport Rd., 316-945-197
  • Drury Inn, 400 W. Douglas Ave., 316-262-5000

Commencement Photographs

GradImages is Friends University’s official commencement photographer. Friends University provides GradImages with your email and mailing addresses. You can also register your contact information (and the contact information of up to six friends and family members). Proofs will be sent to your home and email address within five days of graduation. Pictures can be ordered online, by phone or by mail. GradImages can be contacted at 800-261-2576 or www.gradimages.com.

Commencement Video

A professionally produced DVD of the Wichita ceremony is available from Kent Audio Visual for $15. Please contact Kent Audio Visual for more information at 316-262-4487, and reference your Friends University graduation ceremony.