The University of Dubuque to Celebrate 169th Commencement

Apr 27, 2021 | University Relations staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa – To accommodate proper health and safety protocols, the University of Dubuque will celebrate its 169th commencement with three in-person commencement ceremonies at 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. Saturday, May 1, 2021, in the Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center. Ceremonies will also be livestreamed at and

Graduates were assigned a specific ceremony time and wristbands for up to six guests. COVID-19 safety measures will be in place, including a requirement of wristbands for individuals age 4 and older as well as face coverings inside all campus buildings.

Nearly 400 students are eligible to participate in the in-person ceremonies including 308 undergraduate and 78 graduate students. Twenty 2020 graduates plan to return to participate in the 6:00 p.m. ceremony.

Gail Hayes, PhD, dean for academic affairs, graduate and adult studies, will deliver the commencement address, titled “Lessons in the Rearview Mirror.”

Hayes provides oversight of curriculum development, assessment, and operations of programs like the master in management, master in business administration, master of science in physician assistant studies, and LIFE – Learning Institute for Fulfillment and Engagement at UD. She will retire this summer.

Hayes began her working relationship with UD in January 2000 as an adjunct instructor. In fall 2001, she joined UD as the chair of the computer information systems department. By 2006, she joined the administration team as the associate dean for professional studies and director of online programming. She remained predominantly in this role, while growing in responsibility to her current position of dean for academic affairs, graduate and adult studies. From 2006 to the present, Hayes has been instrumental in revising or developing new programs including sport marketing and management, human health sciences, criminal justice, sociology, physician assistant, and the master in management, to name a few. She also introduced the learning management system, Moodle, to undergraduate programs and continues to provide leadership and guidance on the direction of online learning.

A native of Dubuque, Iowa, Hayes holds a bachelor of science in physical education from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, a master of arts in computer applications in education from Clarke University in Dubuque, and a doctorate of philosophy in information systems from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The University Baccalaureate Service will be held at 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 30, 2021, in John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center. It will also be livestreamed at and

For more information, please visit

Seminary Commencement Events

The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary will hold a virtual commencement ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 1, 2021, at and Thirty-nine students will receive degrees and five students will earn certificates.

Rev. Eric Hoey, pastor of Presbyterian Church of Henderson, Kentucky, will deliver the commencement address titled, “Navigating the Ups and Downs of Ministry.”

Rev. Hoey was born and raised in Southern California. After completing seminary at Talbot School of Theology, he served two growing PC(USA) congregations for 15 years until he moved to Kentucky. For eight years, he served in the Presbyterian Mission Agency in Louisville as the director of Evangelism and church growth. Rev. Hoey has been serving a small Presbyterian congregation in Henderson, Kentucky, for the past four years.

In his presbytery, Rev. Hoey serves as the Church Development Committee Chair. In the community, he sits on the Rotary board, the Library Trustee board, Volunteer Information Center board, and the Henderson Christian Community Outreach board. Rev. Hoey has been serving on the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary Council of Advisors since 2013. He loves living and serving in a small community.