Commencement Week Events

The Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design celebrates the Class of 2021 with Stamps Commencement Week, a series of virtual offerings and activities unfolding Monday, April 26-Saturday, May 1, 2021.

Stamps Commencement Week events are in addition to commencement activities planned for all University of Michigan graduates, detailed at

Stamps Events

Please Stand By… 2021 Senior Virtual Exhibition Reception

Friday, April 30 from 4-6.30 pm ET

Join Stamps Gallery in celebration of the Stamps School of Art and Design Class of 2021. The opening reception for the Virtual Senior Exhibition, titled Please Stand By…, will take place on Friday, April 30 on Zoom. Families and friends, as well as the general public, are invited to join the Stamps community in the Main Meeting Space at 4pm for remarks commemorating this momentous occasion in the careers of our student artists and designers.  These opening remarks will be followed by a series of media-based conversations hosted by faculty members and student facilitators. 

4:00 – 4:30 PM ET / Opening Remarks
  • Main Meeting Space – Click here to register
    Remarks from Dean Gunalan Nadarajan, Professor Nick Tobier, and nominated student, Ellie Ward
4:30 – 5:30 PM ET / Conversations
  • Sculpture – Faculty: Kate Rubin. Join
  • Visual Communication – Faculty: Hannah Smotrich, Led by student Stephanie Li. Join
  • Fibers/Fashion – Faculty: Patricia Beals, Led by student Taryn Wilcher. Join
  • Performance/Installation – Faculty: Roland Graf, Led by students Phoebe Danaher and Allie Burns. Join
  • Narrative/Documentary Session 1 – Faculty: Stephanie Rowden, Led by student Gwen McCartney. Join
5:30 – 6:30 PM ET / Conversations
  • Illustration/Photography – Faculty: Andrew Kirshner, Led by students Sunjae Lee and Emily Harris. Join
  • 4D/Time-based Media – Faculty: Stephanie Tharp, Led by students Maggie McConnell and Karson Schenk. Join
  • UI/UX/Interaction & Product Design – Faculty: Bruce Tharp & Sun Young Park, Led by student Eliana Harrison. Join
  • Painting – Faculty: Robert Platt, Led by student Mac Realo. Join
  • Narrative/Documentary Session 2 – Faculty: Stephanie Rowden, Led by student Kai Hamill. Join

Virtual Commencement: Live Premiere

Saturday, May 1, 4:00 pm ET

The Stamps School of Art & Design will honor the Class of 2021 with a YouTube Premiere commencement ceremony at 4:00 pm ET.

Artist and alumna Nekisha Durrett (MFA ‘00) will be our 2021 commencement speaker, offering her words of wisdom to the graduating class. Durrett’s large scale public art, installations, and drawings result from her longtime interest in the graphic style of comics and advertising; the layered meanings that objects can hold; and the space where fantasy, imagination, and history can converge. Durrett’s work seeks to manifest presence through arresting imagery and scale while bringing to the fore figuration and language that is often underrepresented or overlooked in visual culture.

Stamps leadership will read aloud the names of all class of 2021 graduates as part of the ceremony.


Commencement “Afterglow”

Saturday, May 1, directly following commencement (6:30 pm ET)

Stamps faculty, alums and special guests will host the Stamps Commencement Afterglow, a virtual post-commencement gathering to say our goodbyes, meet one another’s families, and enjoy each other’s company. Featuring high energy contests (with real prizes), photo surprises, fireworks, and a special musical guest. Each graduating student will also get their “:30 on the mic.” – this Stamps commencement tradition gives each student a chance to express parting thoughts, offer gratitude, and share enthusiasm for the future.

Community Events

Opening Night Film Screening – The Lost Scene

Monday, April 26, 8-9 pm

Primetime screening and exhibition premiere of Maggie Roback’s documentary film The Lost Scene. Screening will be done via YouTube Premiere and will have a live chat feature to interact with the artist and other viewers. Film runtime is 45 mins. 

Charlie Blood Pilot Script Table Read

Monday, April 26, 8-9:30 pm

Phoebe Danaher hosts a live table read of the script for Charlie Blood Episode One – “Grimaldi” 

Commencement Mural

Monday, April 26 – Sunday, May 2, 2021
915 E Washington St. (between Thayer St. and Fletcher St.)

To honor the University of Michigan Class of 2021, 29 undergraduate students from the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design created a chalk paint mural on the street outside of the Rackham Graduate School (915 E. Washington St.), on view from Monday, April 25 through Sunday, May 2, 2021 as part of the university’s commencement celebrations.

Learn more: Stamps Mural Honors Class of 2021

Stamps Students Who Write

Thursday, April 29, 3-4 pm

There are many Stamps students who are using text in some creative way, whether it’s in their art or on the page or both–this includes, books, posters, quilts, guides, poems, films, apps, games, and more. This event will offer those who are using (or are interested in using) text in their creative work a chance to share in an informal setting and discuss the ways that writing enhances or defines their work.