Social distancing at the Coliseum

Commencement for Two

USC Marshall and Leventhal conferred degrees to graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 in historic in-person ceremonies at LA Memorial Coliseum

May 19, 2021

A graduate of the Marshall School of Business Fights On May 17, 2021Hundreds of graduates from the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Leventhal School of Accounting “walked” in outdoor commencement ceremonies held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum May 17-18, 2021.

“What you’ve been through over the past year has prepared you to excel and lead,” USC President Carol Folt told the group in her remarks. “You’re dreamers and doers, pioneers and trailblazers, visionaries and change agents. You make me optimistic about the future.”

Dean Geoff Garrett also spoke at the ceremony—his first commencement as dean of the Marshall School since arriving in July 2020.

“As the old saying goes, ‘If you want to travel fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ You will all go far, and I know you will all go together. That is what you and the Trojan Family are all about. Heartiest congratulations for all you have done.”

The two Marshall ceremonies Monday, May 17, blended graduate students from all of Marshall’s MBA programs and specialty master’s degrees with undergraduates. Leventhal graduates walked on Tuesday, May 18 along with graduates from other schools, including the Price School of Public Policy. Each ceremony included graduates from 2020 and 2021. 

The Path Forward

It was a joyous occasion for graduates and their families, even while social distancing protocols were strictly observed. Because of the COVID pandemic in 2020, in-person commencement ceremonies could not be held for the class of 2020, and graduates made due with a virtual ceremony.

But by the spring of 2021 the pandemic was under enough control that University officials, under advisement of the Los Angeles County Department of Health, announced that a number of in-person ceremonies would be held for both classes at the Coliseum.

It was the first time graduation ceremonies took place in the Coliseum since 1950. Each school and unit took its turn, in a series of two ceremonies each day from May 15-May 20.

Watch the clips here (click through to register and find the ceremony you want to watch.)

Geoff Garrett of the Marshall School speaks at Commencement 2021

First Commencement

Geoff Garrett, who arrived from Wharton to the Marshall School in July 2020, gave his first remarks as Dean, May 17, 2021 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Graduates walk through tunnel to Coliseum field

"Walking"

Graduates make their way through the tunnel to the field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Graduates on the field

You Who are About to Graduate

Students await the first commencement speakers while sitting in a socially distanced fashion on the field of the LA Memorial Coliseum. 

A special message to his family

A Special Message

One graduate sends a heartfelt message to his family.

Graduates show their diplomas

Just Did It!

New graduates hold up their diploma folders.

graduate takes a selfie at the Coliseum

Pictures or it Didn't Happen

 A new Marshall graduate takes a selfie to preserve the memory of her 2021 USC Marshall commencement ceremony.

Geoff Garrett of the Marshall School speaks at Commencement 2021

First Commencement

Geoff Garrett, who arrived from Wharton to the Marshall School in July 2020, gave his first remarks as Dean, May 17, 2021 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Graduates walk through tunnel to Coliseum field

"Walking"

Graduates make their way through the tunnel to the field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Graduates on the field

You Who are About to Graduate

Students await the first commencement speakers while sitting in a socially distanced fashion on the field of the LA Memorial Coliseum. 

A special message to his family

A Special Message

One graduate sends a heartfelt message to his family.

Graduates show their diplomas

Just Did It!

New graduates hold up their diploma folders.

graduate takes a selfie at the Coliseum

Pictures or it Didn't Happen

 A new Marshall graduate takes a selfie to preserve the memory of her 2021 USC Marshall commencement ceremony.