Guests should plan on arriving on campus by 7:00 a.m. to secure parking (which is free), and to find a seat in or around Alumni Park. Please note, guests will be allowed to save no more than an additional two seats each. Ceremony programs will be available for guests at tented information booths on campus; programs will be pre-set on graduates’ seats.
There is reserved seating at the front of the park for guests with wheelchairs. Because space is limited, we can only allow one escort per disabled guest in this section.
Students must line up at their assembly points by 8:00 a.m. Commencement begins at 8:30 a.m. as 5,000 degree candidates march into Alumni Park from its four corners. Students process with their school, behind cardinal and gold banners listing the name of the school, and heraldic flags depicting the school’s traditional academic icons.
The main ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m. This ceremony includes addresses from the president, the valedictorian, and the commencement speaker; honorary degrees are bestowed; and students are officially recognized (en masse) as graduates of the university. The ceremony concludes by 10:15 a.m., and students march out of the park back to their assembly points.
Following the main ceremony, most students and families head to their schools’ satellite ceremonies. Many ceremonies begin around 10:45 a.m., and most conclude within two hours. Some schools will host a reception before or after their ceremony.