Frequently Asked Questions
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Office of University Events
Email: University Events
Main Commencement Ceremony
Are tickets needed?
Tickets are not issued. Seating is first come, first served.
Is there a limit on the number of guests a student can bring?
There is no limit on the number of guests a student may bring. Seating is first come, first served.
What time should guests arrive?
Gesling Stadium opens at 9 a.m. All guests must be seated by 10:15 a.m. for the procession of graduates into Gesling Stadium.
Where should guests sit?
Can I reserve seats?
Any attempt to reserve seats is based on the cooperation of other guests. It is advisable to keep a member of your party with your seats at all times. University staff is not responsible for reserving seats or watching belongings.
What if it rains?
The ceremony takes place outdoors in Gesling Stadium, rain or shine! The stadium is NOT covered and there is no shade. Please plan accordingly. In the case of rain, complimentary ponchos will be distributed. The ceremony may also be shortened. Weather is monitored the day of the event. Any changes to the ceremony will be provided to guests on site, on this website, and through push notifications on the CMU Events app.
Simulcast Locations in the Cohon University Center
- Au Bon Pain, second floor
- Kirr Commons, first floor
- McConomy Auditorium, first floor
- Studio Theater, first floor
- Wiegand Gym, first floor
Are diplomas distributed?
No, diplomas are not distributed nor are students' names read aloud. Graduates will receive their diplomas at department/college diploma ceremonies, which take place throughout the weekend. View a schedule.
Guests Who Are Elderly or Have Disabilities
Is Gesling Stadium wheelchair accessible?
All campus buildings, including Gesling Stadium, are wheelchair accessible. Please be aware that the main commencement ceremony takes place outdoors in Gesling Stadium, rain or shine! The stadium is NOT covered and there is no shade. If you or a family member cannot be in the direct sunlight or heat for a long period of time, we strongly encourage you to watch the ceremony from one of our indoor simulcast locations in the Cohon University Center:
• Au Bon Pain, second floor
• Kirr Commons, first floor
• McConomy Auditorium, first floor
• Studio Theater, first floor
• Wiegand Gym, first floor
Where should guests who are elderly or have disabilities park?
All campus parking lots/garages are equipped with handicapped parking spaces. On Sunday only, the entire first floor of the East Campus Garage will be reserved for elderly and guests with disabilities. You do not need a handicapped parking placard or hangtag to access this parking area. Tickets or prior arrangements are not needed.
Where should guests who are elderly or have disabilities sit in Gesling Stadium?
Seating sections for guests with disabilities will be available on the field surface. Up to three guests may be seated with guests who are in wheelchairs, who have difficulty with stairs and cannot access the bleacher seating, or guests who have other seating needs due to a disability. Tickets or prior arrangements are not needed.
What are diploma ceremonies?
Each department or school/college hosts a diploma ceremony, where diplomas are distributed to graduates. These take place throughout the weekend. View a schedule.
How do I determine my graduate's department?
A student's department or college is determined by their major. Dual degree students who are receiving two diplomas are invited to participate in both ceremonies, if scheduling permits.
How do we get to an off-campus diploma ceremony?
Most off-campus diploma ceremonies are within walking distance of Carnegie Mellon. Walking and driving directions will be available at the Commencement Welcome Area. Complimentary shuttle service will also be provided to most (although not all) sites on Sunday. More details.
Where should guests park?
Over commencement weekend, free parking will be available in the following locations:
On-campus parking is limited, however. On-street metered parking is also available on Margaret Morrison (Saturday only; see below), Frew and Tech Streets. Spaces are monitored by city police except on Sundays. Violations may be ticketed. Please be advised that Margaret Morrison Street will be closed on Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. to accommodate the diploma ceremony shuttles.
Where should guests get something to eat/drink?
Entropy+, the campus convenience store, is located in the Cohon University Center. Complimentary coffee will be available in the Commencement Welcome Area on Sunday and complimentary bottled water will be available at the main commencement ceremony.