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Actor Michael Ealy to headline 2021 commencement at Dillard

Pandemic means no processional, limited guests among other changes

By Taiyler Mitchell Editor-in-chief
On April 23, 2021

Photo provided by IMBD/Courtbouillon

Michael Ealy

NEW ORLEANS (April 23, 2021) – Actor Michael Ealy will speak at the 2021 commencement May 15 as the university restores face-to-face graduation on the Rosa Freeman Keller Avenue of the Oaks with modifications in light of the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

The plan, which adheres to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, means graduates will not have the traditional processional through The Oaks, and only four family members per graduate may attend each event. All attendees must be masked, and each graduate will exit after receiving his or her diploma to lessen the crowd.

Commencement will be livestreamed here at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 15. The 2021 Spring Baccalaureate will be livestreamed here at 6 p.m. Friday, May 14.

Ealy, known for a variety of roles in films such as “Barbershop,” “Think Like a Man” and its sequels, “2 Fast and 2 Furious” and the television series “Almost Human,” follows in the line of black celebrities who have spoken at commencement. Ealy, born Michael Brown, grew up in Maryland and received his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Unlike last year’s graduation Class of 2020, which had a “virtual degree conferral” in response to the growing pandemic, this academic year has seen a string of socially distanced face-to-face events such as Founders Day Convocation in the fall and two Honors Convocation events earlier this spring.

Registrar Robert Mitchell shared a nine-page graduation ceremonies document by email to prospective graduates that included the new guidelines.

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