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Southern Arkansas University

Spring 2021 Commencement

Southern Arkansas University’s spring 2021 commencement ceremony is scheduled for Friday, April 30, at Wilkins Stadium.

Ceremonies for associate and bachelor degree candidates will be held at the following times:

  • 8:30 a.m. Rankin College of Business and College of Science & Engineering

  • 11:00 a.m. College of Education and College of Liberal & Performing Arts

The ceremony for all graduate (masters) degree candidates will be held as follows:

  • 1:00 p.m. School of Graduate Studies

The Department of Nursing will host the nursing graduate pinning ceremony at 10:00 a.m. in Reynolds Center Grand Hall.

For those unable to attend, ceremonies will be streamed live on the SAU Facebook page. The names of each candidate will be read aloud regardless of attendance. “We recognize that travel is still not possible for so many families, and the risk to some of our students’ health may prohibit them from attending their college graduation. By streaming the ceremonies live and reading aloud the name of each candidate, we can honor all of our graduates and celebrate this milestone with them,” said President Dr. Trey Berry.

Ed Choate, President and CEO of Delta Dental in Sherwood, will be the speaker for each undergraduate ceremony. Choate has numerous honors, including his selection as the 2006 Arkansas Business Executive of the Year. He was a 2007 SAU Distinguished Alumni selection, 2008’s SAU Executive in Residence, and the 2010 Rotarian of the Year in Little Rock. He graduated from SAU in 1975 with a business degree.

Mary Beth Fain, CFO/manager of finance and accounting at Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation, will be the graduate ceremony speaker. Before joining the electric utility industry, Fain worked at a public accounting firm specializing in individual and corporate income tax. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology and Master of Business Administration, both from Southern Arkansas University. Recently, she began as an adjunct professor in SAU’s Rankin College of Business, fulfilling her desire to stay engaged with up-and-coming professionals.

Guests and Seating

There will be no guest limits or tickets required for guests to attend the commencement ceremonies.

Face coverings must be worn by every attendee over the age of 10 to enter, exit, and move within the stadium.

Guests should enter the stadium through the home (west side) entrance gate, as the visitor entrance gate will be closed due to campus construction.

Seating will be designed for social distancing, and guests are asked to please comply with marked areas.

Guests are encouraged to dress for outdoor temperatures and to bring plenty of water to hydrate. Temperatures can vary significantly during this time of year, so it would be a good idea to check the weather forecast prior to the ceremony.

A first aid station will be available for any health-related issues during the ceremony.

Regalia Information

Graduation regalia (caps and gowns, plus hoods for graduate students) will be available to pick up at the SAU Bookstore from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 19th – 23rd and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 26th – 29th.

Regalia may also be picked up the day of the ceremony at the check-in tent at the SAU track beginning one hour before each ceremony.

If you would prefer to receive your regalia by mail, please contact the bookstore at (870) 235-4050. The cost of shipping is $7.50.

Dress Considerations

All graduates must wear SAU face coverings during the processional and recessional. Face coverings will be available at the check-in tent for any graduates who do not already possess them.

To protect the stadium turf surface from damage, high-heeled shoes may NOT be worn. Students who arrive in high-heeled shoes (including boots) will be asked to change or remove their footwear before they are allowed to join the procession.

Only University-approved accessories, such as academic cords, stoles, and medallions from within academic disciplines, may be worn over regalia. Graduates will be asked to remove any unauthorized items.

Decorated caps are not allowed.


Grisham Photography will take professional pictures during the ceremony.

An envelope included in the regalia bag will provide instructions about purchasing these photographs.

Photography order envelopes can also be picked up and dropped off at the check-in tent before the ceremony, or orders can be made by contacting Grisham Photography directly at (870) 235-1380.


Diplomas for spring graduates will be mailed to the address provided on your graduation application no later than 45 days after commencement.

If this address is not correct, please send an update to to prevent any delay in receiving your diploma.

Southern Arkansas University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. All Rights Reserved.
100 E. University, Magnolia, Arkansas 71753-5000 Telephone: (870) 235-4000