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Statement concerning the use of deadnames at Convocation ceremonies

May 20, 2021

The University is very sorry about the distress graduates experienced when their deadnames were used during Convocation stage crossing ceremonies, and we sincerely apologize for the error.

We learned of instances of deadnames being used at stage crossings, and as soon as those graduates alerted the staff, our Commencement team worked with them immediately to correct the mistake and allow them to walk again using their name of choice.

Due to changes in the timeline to produce a virtual Commencement celebration and stage crossings, the new registration system required that graduate data be uploaded in late March. Some graduates did not have the opportunity to provide updated information that would have allowed them to cross the stage again using their chosen name.

Before COVID, our normal process allowed us to alert students later in the semester of the process for submitting their preferred name for their in-person ceremony and the Commencement program. We are determining what happened this year, and we will work diligently to correct it in time for future Commencement ceremonies.

We are reaching out directly to the graduates who were affected and encouraging graduates whose names were misread during a stage crossing ceremony to contact the registrar at registrar@illinois.edu to ensure their printed diplomas will reflect their preferred first name and legal last name. Please note that in some situations, the name appearing on a diploma may need to match other legal documents.

We are inviting all 2020-2021 graduates to the next university-wide Commencement ceremony at Memorial Stadium when it is safe to resume large, in-person gatherings.

The University values every student, and we will continue to improve our systems, so we demonstrate to each graduate how much we value them.