Commencement Ceremony - Sunday
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Parking lots open and buses begin transporting guests from parking lots to stadium crescent.
Stadium opens for guests.
Arriving on campus by 8:00-8:30am should allow time to park (signs will direct you), ride a bus to the stadium, and be in seats for the procession.
Guests should be in seats by 9:00, 9:30 latest, to see students arriving in the procession, prior to the ceremony.
10:00-11:00am Procession arriving. Watch for your student! 11:00am-Noon Commencement Ceremony
Cornell University's 149th Commencement Ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 28, 2017, at Schoellkopf Stadium. The event begins at 10:00am with an hour-long academic procession into the stadium, followed by the formal ceremony from 11:00am until noon. University Commencement is a university-wide ceremony at which the president of the university formally confers all undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded throughout the past academic year. It is an exciting and festive occasion, with student and faculty representatives from all of Cornell's schools and colleges participating in academic regalia.
Commencement at Cornell is comprised of two components: the ceremonial Commencement exercises where all university graduate and undergraduate degrees are formally conferred en masse, and separate events at each student's college or department. The large university ceremony is on Sunday morning and ends at noon. The smaller college/department events are scheduled throughout the weekend, so students and families should check college and department event schedules to find the day and time of their additional event.
Sunday's University Commencement is a ceremony distinct from the various individual college and department events happening throughout the weekend. Also, it should not be confused with Senior Convocation which takes place on Saturday with an invited guest speaker.
About The Ceremony
- Approximately 6,000 candidates will earn degrees, including undergraduate and graduate degrees. Of those, about 5,500 will attend the May ceremony.
- It takes nearly an hour (10:00-11:00am) for students, faculty, and administrators to process into the stadium and be seated. An announcement and large banner will designate the arrival of each college. This is a fun & festive time - watch for your graduate on the Jumbotron or webcast!
- Degree candidates will be seated in folding chairs on the stadium floor, grouped by college (diagram). The procession entry and seating is completed by 11:00am and the formal ceremony begins.
- At this large university ceremony, students do not cross stage and names are not read aloud. Rather, each college's degree candidates will rise, when instructed, and degrees will be formally conferred en masse.
- The ceremony will end by noon, with the singing of the Alma Mater.
- Next, all graduates and guests will leave the stadium to go to the graduate's college or department event, if one is planned. These events are happening at various locations all across campus. Graduates exit the stadium to walk to their event. Families will exit the stadium (walk or board a bus behind the Crescent) to meet up with their graduate at the next event. (IMPORTANT: Make sure everyone in your party knows the graduate's college AND department!) The college/department event is where families like to take photos and celebrate with their graduate. Most events on campus are over by 3:30pm or before, but check with the college/department event planner for exact times.
- Diplomas are mailed to graduates in June.
Per Cornell tradition, the university president delivers the Commencement address.
(See also: Senior Convocation guest speaker)
Ceremony Viewing Options
We offer many ceremony viewing options:
Attendance - outdoor ceremony at Schoellkopf Stadium
Indoor Viewing on Campus - to avoid weather, crowds, etc.
Television - local homes/hotels with Time Warner Cable
Livestream - watch procession & ceremony online in real time
Archival Webcast - view archival footage online at a later date
Commencement DVD - professionally edited DVD for purchase
Students wear their cap & gown to this event.
Guests may dress per their personal comfort level (business-casual is common). If you are planning to attend a college/department event following the Commencement Ceremony, you will want to dress per that event's suggested attire. We suggest comfortable shoes for walking. Also, the stadium does not have a roof, so please be adequately prepared for weather (sunblock, hat, umbrella, jacket), as deemed necessary for conditions.
Cornell reserves the right to search persons and property.
On Sunday, all central campus roads, including those surrounding Schoellkopf Stadium, will be closed 8:00am-4:000pm for the safety of pedestrians. Please do not plan to park or drop off family members at the stadium, as vehicles will not be allowed through (this includes taxis, limousines, chartered buses, and hotel shuttles). Guests should plan to park in (or be dropped off at) the A Lot or B Lot then walk or ride a bus to Schoellkopf Stadium. Signs and traffic personnel will direct vehicles to these and other available parking areas. Parking is free all day. Free buses will be running continuous routes around campus to transport guests from parking lots to Schoellkopf Stadium (Crescent Lot), from Schoellkopf Stadium (Crescent Lot) to college events, and from college events back to parking lots. Please review Parking & Seating information for Sunday for available parking locations on campus. Helpful information is also posted on the Maps page.
Accessible Parking Permits
Upon advance request, the Commencement Office will provide a special parking permit to allow parking at a specific location at or near Schoellkopf Stadium. Accessible seating arrangements at the stadium will be included with the parking permit. Please review the Accessibility page for more information and a link to request an Accessibility Plan. Note: Our accessible parking permits are not the same as medical handicap permits/tags. Any guests with limited mobility or medical concerns are encouraged to request an Accessibility Plan for special parking & seating accommodations.
(See also: Wheelchair Rentals, Webcast viewing)
- Time: Guests should be in seats by 9:00am, 9:30am latest. Schoellkopf Stadium opens at 8:00am on Sunday, and seating is first-come, first-served.)
- Seats: Guests sit in bleachers or accessible seating. (diagram) (photo)
- Mobility-Impaired: request Accessibility Plan.
- Strollers: Stadium is not conducive to large strollers.
- Pets: Not allowed.
- Weather: The stadium does not have a roof so come prepared for hours of exposure and conditions, including rain, as we will remain outdoors in normal rain situations. Indoor viewing locations are available for guests (see Large-screen Viewing below). Also, please become familiar with the Severe Weather Plan for Commencement.
Dining - Sunday
There are several campus dining locations open on Sunday.
There are NO TICKETS required for the outdoor Commencement Ceremony in Schoellkopf Stadium, and there is no limit to the number of guests who may attend.
Severe Weather Plan
Click here for severe weather plan schedule and other details.
Commencement Programs will be distributed at Schoellkopf Stadium on Sunday morning, at no cost. Programs list degree candidates, Sunday college events and a campus map with bus routes, and a stadium diagram noting student seating, restrooms, concessions, water coolers, and first aid stations.
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