Back in the Skydome: NAU honors 2021 graduating class in two ceremonies

Graduates celebrating in front of old main

For the first time in two years, Northern Arizona University will be back in the Walkup Skydome to celebrate the graduating class of fall 2021. 

NAU will host two ceremonies celebrating the almost 2,800 students who have applied to graduate this year. The ceremonies will be at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10. 

The ceremonies are held in the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome (Bldg. 73), which will open 90 minutes before each ceremony. The clear bag policy will be in effect; all attendees, including guests, should familiarize themselves with the policy ahead of the event. For those unable to attend, the program will be live-streamed via NAU-TV.  

Commencement ceremonies will recognize candidates for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees as follows: 

10 a.m. 

  • College of Education 
  • College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences 
  • College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences 
  • NAU Online, NAU Yavapai and NAU Yuma 

3 p.m. 

  • College of Arts and Letters 
  • College of Health and Human Services 
  • W. A. Franke College of Business 
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 

“I am inspired by the determination our students have shown, especially throughout the pandemic, and I am so proud of all of their achievements—both in their academic work but also in how they have helped strengthen this incredible community,” NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera said. “I am thrilled that for the first time in two years, we will be able to gather in the Skydome as a Lumberjack family to celebrate the class of 2021 and honor this important life achievement.” 

Commencement speaker 

Honors College Dean Kevin Gustafson will speak to the graduates. Gustafson, who was a first-generation college student, focuses on the role of Honors programming in making academic excellence accessible, particularly for higher education. He earned degrees in English and studies medieval and early modern literature, especially vernacular religious writing in 14th-century England, 15th– and 16th-century literature, rhetoric and pedagogy, and Honors administration. 

What to know about travel and parking 

When driving through campus on Friday, please remember:

  • The busiest times on campus for traffic will be from 8-10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 4:30-6 p.m. Driving on campus should be relatively hassle free between 10-11:30 a.m. and 3-4:30 p.m. if you are able to take advantage of these times.
  • If you do not need to be driving on campus or through campus on Friday, please consider an alternate route.
  • If you must drive on campus on Friday, please give yourself extra time to reach your destination and understand you may not be able to take a direct route.

Parking is available at multiple locations across campus as well as shuttles from the South Commuter parking lot (P62), San Francisco parking garage (P96) and an ADA accessible route along Lone Tree Road. A map can be found online. NAU parking has designated specific traffic patterns for the commencement ceremony: 

  • From I-40 east, take exit 191. Follow Route 66, turn left on Milton Road and then right on Butler Ave. to gain access to parking on campus. 
  • From I-40 west, take exit 198. Turn left on Butler Ave. to gain access to parking on campus. 
  • From I-17 north, take exit 339. Turn right on Lake Mary Road, left on J.W. Powell Blvd., left on Lone Tree Road and finally left on Pine Knoll Drive. Attendees can also take exit 341. Turn right on Milton Road and then turn right to gain access to university parking. 
  • The Skydome parking lot (P66) is reserved for individuals with disabilities. 
  • Participants and guests are encouraged to download the NAUgo app in order to keep commencement ceremony information at your fingertips. Download it from the App Store or Google Play. 



NAU Communications