Ithaca College to Hold Commencement on Sunday, May 23

By Dave Maley, May 20, 2021
Two ceremonies scheduled, with creative in-person and virtual celebration opportunities.

Emmy Award-nominated television creator and producer Liz Tigelaar will deliver the main address at Ithaca College’s 126th Commencement on Sunday, May 23. In alignment with current New York State public health guidelines for physical distancing at large indoor gatherings that include unvaccinated individuals, there will be two identical ceremonies held for some 1,300 graduates—at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.—in the Athletics and Events Center.

Both ceremonies will include a hybrid of creative in-person and virtual components so that every student who wishes to participate may do so. The ceremonies will be streamed live at and can be viewed in the Ithaca area on Spectrum cable channel 16.

professional headshot of Liz Tigelaar

Liz Tigelaar (Photo by Ricky Middlesworth)

A 1998 Ithaca College graduate, Tigelaar was most recently the creator, showrunner, and executive producer of the acclaimed Hulu series “Little Fires Everywhere,” which received five Emmy nominations—including Outstanding Limited Series—as well as five NAACP Image Award nominations, a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Limited Series, and a WGA Award nomination for Adapted Long Form Series.

Tigelaar started her television career as an assistant on “Dawson's Creek” and went on to serve as a writer/producer on such series as NBC’s “American Dreams,” A&E’s “Bates Motel,” and ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters,” “Revenge,” and “Nashville.” She created her own series, the critically praised drama “Life Unexpected,” which aired on the CW for two seasons.

Ali Kelley by the Dillingham Fountains

Senior Class President Ali Kelley. 

Representing the graduates at Commencement will be business administration major and Senior Class President Ali Kelley, who was selected to serve as the student speaker. The college will also recognize noted economist Raj Chetty and groundbreaking theologian the Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas with honorary Doctor of Letters degrees. Eileen Filler-Corn, a 1986 IC graduate who made history a year ago with her election as speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, will receive the Ithaca College Presidential Medal.

While COVID-19 restrictions and the college’s commitment to the health and well-being of the campus community mean that no family or other guests can attend Commencement in person, those who have pre-registered will have the opportunity not only to see but also to be seen by their graduating student on large screens, via Zoom, as they individually cross the Glazer Arena stage in full regalia.

Well wishes from faculty, staff, alumni and others will also be played on screens during the ceremonies.

For more information on the celebration of the Class of 2021, visit