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December 21, 2021

SPH Winter 2021 Commencement

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST
Students at UMD Commencement Ceremony wearing caps and gowns

Location: UMD Xfinity Center

The University of Maryland will be holding its campuswide Winter 2021 Commencement in person on Monday, December 20, 2021, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm EST.  

The School of Public Health's in-person ceremony will be held on Tuesday, December 21 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm EST. SPH graduates should plan to arrive at 5:15 pm. 

A live stream link will be available soon. 

In accordance with the University of Maryland's mask policy, masks will be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. 


Winter Commencement Speaker: Gloria Aparicio-Blackwell

Gloria Aparicio Blackwell

Gloria Aparicio-Blackwell is the founding director of the Office of Community Engagement at the University of Maryland. 

Through advocacy, planning, service, partnerships, and storytelling, Ms. Aparicio-Blackwell and her team build bridges between the university and the surrounding neighborhoods. She has been at the university for more than 24 years.  

Her work is based on building long-lasting relationships, learning community challenges, opportunities and assets, fostering a sense of trust, and listening to the stories unfolding in the community.  With that knowledge in mind, she convenes campus stakeholders, community leaders, residents, faith-based, non-profits, government agencies, and businesses to work together and explore solutions, resources, ideas, towards the common good.

Ms. Aparicio-Blackwell serves on the School of Public Health’s Community Advisory Council and is an important participant and facilitator of some of the school’s community engagement activities, including the work led by the Center for Health Equity to increase COVID-19 vaccinations through Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons

Before coming to the University of Maryland in 1997, Gloria worked in safety and fire management at Potomac Electric Power Company and for higher education institutions, including American University and Montgomery College (as a student worker).

Ms. Aparicio Blackwell has been awarded prestigious recognitions, most recently, the state of Maryland Census Champions as well as the Latin American Youth Center Outstanding Community & Youth Award, the President’s Distinguished Service Award under the category of Public Service at the University of Maryland, Rotary Club of College Park Citizen Award, and the Governor’s Certificate of Merit for Crime Prevention in the State of Maryland. 

Outside of her work, Aparicio-Blackwell serves on various organizations, including as a trustee on the Montgomery College Board of Trustees, board member of Non-Profit Prince George’s, and the Association of Community Colleges Latino Caucus. 

Winter 2021 Commencement Information

Tickets are NOT required for graduates or guests to attend the School of Public Health Commencement Ceremony for Winter or Spring.

Students are required to wear regalia in order to participate in the commencement ceremonies. Regalia information is available at

We will be selecting one undergraduate to serve as the commencement speaker for the ceremony in December. To deliver the student commencement address is a great honor and a true challenge. A great commencement speaker shares something about themselves and their journey in the school, engages with students and parents, reflects on opportunities and inspires us for the future and helps us understand what a career in public health means to them personally. 

To be considered, you must be an undergraduate student who is graduating in December. If interested, please complete the SPH Commencement Speaker Application. The application deadline is November 1, 2021. We will select top candidates for an interview.

Parking in all UMD surface and pay lots is free and available on a first-come, first-serve basis on commencement days.

Parking for guests with disabilities is available at the Xfinity Center in Lot 4, 6 (Terrapin Trail Garage), 9, and 11 surrounding the Xfinity Center. No special permit is required for the SPH ceremony. The Terrapin Trail Garage has elevators that will take guests to the entrance level of Xfinity.    

The University of Maryland does not have wheelchairs available. If you have difficulty walking long distances, consider renting a wheelchair from an off-campus vendor. If you require accessible transportation for a disabled guest on the day of commencement, please make arrangements by calling dispatch services at (301) 314-0318.

Section 105 and 110 inside Xfinity are reserved for elderly or disabled guest seating. Ushers can direct you to these sections once inside the building. Due to limited space, the university recommends that only the person with the disability and one other guest sit in the accessible seating. Additional members of your party should sit in regular seating areas. You do not need to reserve seating for special needs guests.

Students participating in the SPH Commencement Ceremony should report to the Xfinity Center's Small Gym (Pavilion) at 5:15 pm for the lineup.


Security measures, such as wanding or bag checks, may be in place for entrance into XFINITY. Backpacks and bags larger than 8"x11"x12" are prohibited. Having to go through security will slow you down and delay your entrance. Please be sure to allow enough time for this potential delay.

Visit the UMD Xfinity Center Items Allowed and Security Procedures webpage for additional information about security in the Xfinity Center.

Students should leave coats, purses, etc. with family members--we are not responsible for lost items.

Be sure to arrive at 5:15 pm to line up for the processional. Upon entering the Pavilion (room 0601/Auxiliary Gym) at the XFINITY Center look for Check-In/Registration tables.

Each graduate should:

  • Obtain an announcement card from the Check-In/Registration tables in the Pavilion Room 
  • Complete the survey on the back of the card
  • Find the sign with your degree/major and lineup
  • Hold the card and give it to the person reading your name on stage

For more information about the University of Maryland campuswide Commencement Ceremony, visit the UMD Commencement website.