Graduation Week is traditionally comprised of many activities and events across the U.S. Air Force Academy. Cadets and their guests take part in receptions, awards ceremonies, baccalaureate services, concerts, parades, air demonstrations, and commissioning ceremonies. The week culminates at Falcon Stadium with the iconic graduation ceremony. Commencement speakers often include the President of the United States, Vice President, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Air Force and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At the close of the ceremony, cadets are dismissed and ceremoniously toss their caps into the air. Cheers and celebration are quickly silenced by the roar of the legendary Thunderbirds flying overhead to honor the graduating class.
The 2021 Graduation Ceremony is Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 9:30am-1:15pm at Falcon Stadium.
The 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, will serve as the commencement speaker. Stadium gates will open at 7:00am and we recommend guests arrive early. Each graduating cadet is allowed eight guests for the graduation ceremony. Guests must sit together in assigned, non-socially distanced seating. No ticket trading is permitted. Attendance to the parade, awards, and commissioning ceremonies is further restricted due to coronavirus mitigation efforts. The graduation ceremony will be livestreamed via this webpage, including the traditional Thunderbird flyover! As one of the few universities in the nation planning to have an in-person graduation ceremony with guests, we appreciate everyone’s patience and flexibility. This website will be updated daily with the latest, most accurate, information.
Visit the Schedule of Events site with important daily attendance information.
To learn more about the Prep School graduation, click here.
- The U.S. Air Force Academy is committed to the health and safety of our visitors and requires everyone on Academy grounds to follow Federal, Department of Defense, state, and local COVID guidelines while on the military installation. Your expected cooperation and strict adherence to these policies is what has made it possible to hold Graduation 2021 in person.
- The State of Colorado is currently under a public mask mandate, meaning face coverings are required in indoor public places. For specific information on mask requirements in Colorado and mask wear guidance, please visit the State of Colorado COVID-19 Information website.
- Due to Executive Order 13991 and subsequent Department of Defense policy, all visitors over the age of five (5) must wear face coverings and maintain 6 foot social distancing between families/cohorts while on the military installation. Cloth masks that comply with CDC guidelines must cover the nose and mouth, and be worn continually except for brief periods of time when eating and drinking. This policy is in effect indoors and outdoors, including at Falcon Stadium, and will be strictly enforced. For guests who cannot tolerate a cloth mask due to a medical condition, a face shield is an acceptable alternative. Please understand that guests who are not wearing a face mask or a face shield will not be permitted to enter any U.S. Air Force Academy venue.
Base Entry During Graduation Week
- USAFA is not open to the public due to the ongoing COVID pandemic and public health emergency but will be open to guests of the Class of 2021 with a graduation ticket. Each cadet in the Class of 2021 will be permitted eight (8) tickets for the Graduation Ceremony in Falcon Stadium on 26 May, 2021. These tickets will serve as base access during graduation week. All guests must show a government-issued ID and a digital Graduation 2021 ticket to gain entry.
- Digital tickets will be sent to all graduating cadets no later than 14 May 2021 for distribution. If you have not received your ticket, please contact your Cadet.
Cadet Area Access
Access to the Cadet Area (Terrazzo, dormitories, academic departments, and athletic facilities) will be limited to guests with wristbands on Tuesday, 25 May from 10:00am – 4:30pm. Guests who are accompanying their Cadet to an awards ceremony or a Commissioning ceremony inside the Cadet Area are exempt from this restriction. Please note that transportation to the Cadet Area will be unavailable during these hours.
- Security Procedures for Grad Week
- Graduation Ceremony Stadium Policy
- Grad Week Dress Code
- Handicapped and Hearing Impaired Guests
- Graduation Week Maps
Highlights from the Class of 2020
Private commissioning ceremonies for the Class of 2020 occurred on April 17. Family and friends were unable to attend in-person; however, many squadrons offered virtual attendance. To view pictures from each squadron, click here.
Since the Class of 2020 graduation was closed to the public, we had a team of photographers spread across the Terrazzo to capture the memories. Click here to see all of the pictures that have been published to our Flickr account, where they are 100% free to view and download in high resolution.
Air Force Thunderbirds Flyover
The USAF Thunderbirds soared above the Terrazzo from south to north during the Class of 2020 traditional hat toss. There was no demonstration, as has taken place in year’s past at Falcon Stadium. To watch the flyover, click here.