Trinity hosts first in-person graduation ceremonies since COVID-19 closure

Posted on: 11 August 2021

Trinity College Dublin today hosted its first in-person graduation ceremonies since the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of its campus in March 2020.

Trinity is the first university in Ireland to proceed with an in-person graduation event, and more are planned over the next ten days. In keeping with COVID-19 protocols the events are being held outdoors and attendance is limited to 200. Each session will involve around 60 candidates (or graduands) plus two guests.

The events will take place daily in a marquee on Trinity’s Front Square between August 11 and August 20. Attendance at the events is subject to presentation of proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within the 72 hours prior to the event.

At the August 11 ceremony, Trinity Provost Linda Doyle urged the graduands to go out and make the world a better place. The new Provost took office on August 1 so was officiating at her first graduation.

Trinity Registrar Brendan Tangney said:

These are not graduation events as we have known them but Trinity has, since March 2020, tried to innovate as best it can to meet the needs of students in the face of the pandemic. With appropriate safeguards in place, we believe our students will have a memorable – and safe – graduation day.  

A total of some 950 students  (graduands) who would normally have graduated in 2020 will attend the events. Graduands are both undergraduate and postgraduate students, representing most disciplines across the university.

Registrar Brendan Tangney applauds the graduands during the first face to face ceremony since the COVID-19 closure of campus

The graduation events are a slightly simplified version of the traditional full graduation ceremony. Graduates will receive their parchment at the event, but to ensure that all University protocols in the awarding of the degree are adhered to fully, a separate “in absentia” ceremony will be held behind closed doors at which all formalities will be completed.

Given Covid-related restrictions it is not possible to confer all graduands who are waiting to graduate in person but it is hoped that this will be possible in the coming academic year.  It is also hoped to put on graduation events for all those graduates who, since the pandemic began, were awarded their degree in on-line ceremonies.