2021 Graduation

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Welcome, Class of 2021 family and friends! Please return to this page on Saturday, May 15, to watch CCAD's 142nd Commencement live.

Parents, family, and friends of the Class of 2021 are invited to join Columbus College of Art & Design for our 142nd Commencement on Saturday, May 15, at 10 a.m. (EDT). In addition to this virtual event, the days leading up to Commencement will include a moment for students who wish to receive their diplomas on campus to do so at a special photo opp. 

The virtual ceremony will be held online on this page. As in a traditional Commencement ceremony, each graduate’s name will be read and celebrated. The virtual ceremony will also include remarks from CCAD’s President, Dr. Melanie Corn, and other college leadership, as well as from student representatives. In addition to formally recognizing this year’s MFA and BFA graduates, the college also will confer an honorary doctorate upon Professor Emeritus Ric Petry during the virtual ceremony. 

In advance of the online Commencement, CCAD will host an opportunity for our graduates-to-be to receive their diplomas from Dr. Corn and a representative from their major from 11 a.m. to noon on one of three days:  

  • Tuesday, May 11 (Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts: New Projects, Advertising & Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture & Design, Fashion Design)
  • Wednesday, May 12 (Comics & Narrative Practice, Contemporary Crafts, Fine Arts, Illustration)
  • Thursday, May 13 (Animation, Cinematic Arts/Film & Video, Photography)

For this on-campus photo opportunity held at the Canzani Center, students are encouraged to dress in their cap and gown and can bring up to two guests. Professional photos will be available for students and their families to download later in May.


Tell the world

(or, at the very least, your friends and family!) you're graduating with one of these forwarding-friendly PDF invites. It's an easy way to share info about the big day and invite your loved ones to join the Commencement ceremony online.

Meet our Valedictorians and the Outstanding Seniors


people on campus in front of the art sign

Your Class of 2021 in photos 

CCAD is gathering a presentation of the academic year in photos to be shown during commencement and on this page.

See the photos here

mortarboard and columbus sign

In-person photos

Find your photos from the in-person events here, on or before June 15, 2021.

See the photos here


Share in the Celebration 

We encourage you to host your own celebration (with appropriate social distancing, of course) on Saturday, May 15 at 10 a.m. Class of 2021, please share your virtual commencement conversation using the hashtag #ccadlasts. 


The information is current as of March 9, 2021.

What is the difference between graduation and Commencement?
Graduation is the process of CCAD confirming that students have completed their degree requirements, “conferring” the degree award in our system and on your transcripts, and finally, producing official documentation for you that supports your credential.

Commencement is a ceremony that allows us to celebrate your graduation and provide opportunities for families and friends to honor you as well. CCAD’s 2021 Commencement will take place online at 10 a.m. (EDT) Saturday, May 15.

What is the graduation application fee?
CCAD’s non-refundable $115 graduation application fee is assessed after the first week of classes each term, once we’ve collected all graduation applications. It offsets costs not supported by tuition and goes toward the administrative work of processing graduates, graduation announcements, diplomas, and some components of Commencement including regalia. The total cost of graduation and Commencement activities exceed the revenue brought in by the graduation application fees collected. The fee is applied to all students who apply to graduate, regardless of their intentions of participating in the Commencement ceremony or in-person event.

Why isn’t CCAD hosting a fully in-person Commencement?
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s revised restrictions for gatherings and venues may have caused some of you to conclude that we would be able to return to a traditional Commencement ceremony this year. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Developments and guidelines around preventing the spread COVID-19 have been rapidly changing, and these events require months, and sometimes years of planning and venue reservations made far in advance. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control continues to advise against attending medium- and large-size gatherings, and to protect the health of our entire community, we have decided to abide by these advisements.

What will happen at the virtual Commencement ceremony?
You and your classmates will join via Zoom, which will provide you the opportunity to see each other one last time as a group. At the same time, we encourage your family and friends to visit ccad.edu/2021graduation at 10 a.m. (EDT) Saturday, May 15, for the ceremony, so that they may hear your name be called and cheer you on in the comments.

In addition to acknowledging the graduating class of 2021, the ceremony also will include remarks from CCAD’s President, Dr. Melanie Corn; Board of Trustees Chair Jack Beeler; and student representatives. Commencement also will include the conferring of an honorary doctorate upon Professor Emeritus Ric Petry, video appearances by CCAD faculty, and more.

As many of your family and friends as you wish will be able to attend the virtual Commencement and cheer you on in the comments section during the live program.

Before the event, we will be asking members of the Class of 2021 to share photos and memories from your time at CCAD, as well as pictures of your decorated mortarboard. More information on that will be forthcoming.

What will happen at the in-person photo op?
Members of the Class of 2021 can opt to receive their diploma on campus, from Dr. Corn and a representative from their academic area from 11 a.m. to noon on one of three days:

  • Tuesday, May 11 (Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts: New Projects, Advertising & Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture & Design, Fashion Design)
  • Wednesday, May 12 (Comics & Narrative Practice, Contemporary Crafts, Fine Arts, Illustration)
  • Thursday, May 13 (Animation, Cinematic Arts/Film & Video, Photography)

Graduates are encouraged to dress in your full regalia (cap and gown) for this event. A professional photographer will also be on-site to document the diploma hand-off; photos will be shared with you a few days later, after they are edited, and will be available for download at no charge.

In addition to having your picture taken by a professional photographer at the event, we will have locations marked near the Art Sign for members of the Class of 2021 to take your photos of the sign as a backdrop. Guests may take photos of the hand-off and other moments during the in-person event, and we encourage you to post your photo on social using #CCADlasts.

Will students who graduated in December 2020 be able to take part in the May 15 virtual Commencement ceremony and preceding on-campus photo opp?
Yes. When students completed their graduation application there was an option to select if you would like to attend the spring 2021 Commencement. Those students will be invited to attend the virtual ceremony and the in-person photo opp. December graduates attending are welcome to bring their diploma if they wish, but a folder will be provided for the photo. As a reminder, dressing in full regalia (cap and gown) is encouraged.

What COVID-19 precautions and restrictions are in place for those who come to campus for the in-person event?
CCAD has numerous health and safety protocols in place for those who choose to come to campus in the spring semester. See them here. We are currently finalizing plans related to the in-person event and will share that information with students soon.  

When will I get my diploma?
If you choose to attend the on-campus photo opportunity, you will receive your diploma then. Otherwise, it will be mailed to you.

How will I receive my graduation regalia and Commencement materials?
We’re aware that some of our students may not have a secure address to where CCAD can send these items. If you have a situation that doesn’t allow you to receive mail, we will establish a way for you to receive your materials. If you are in this type of situation, please email the Registrar, Michele Kibler, at [email protected].  

How can I share information on Commencement and graduation as a whole with my friends and family?
In addition to print invites that the Registrar is including in your package, you will receive digital invitations that you can forward to your loved ones. You may also share this FAQ with friends and family who have specific questions regarding CCAD’s graduation plans.

What is the gift for graduates and how is it funded?
This gift is organized, funded, and distributed by our CCAD Alumni and Student Affairs offices. These are small mementos to symbolize your time at CCAD and to welcome you to the Alumni Family. This practice is very common in higher education and we hope you enjoy it. The funding for this package is not connected to the graduation fee.