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Frequently Asked Questions

Commencement 2019 ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 10 and Monday, May 13. Schedules and information for students and guests are now available, and all ceremonies will be streamed live. 

What happens in the event of rain?

  • The Undergraduate and Graduate ceremonies will be held outdoors, at Cressy Field, rain or shine.
  • The UMass Law ceremony will be held in the Campus Center Main Auditorium, rain or shine.

It looks like rain is predicted for Friday; what happens if it is raining?

Commencement ceremonies will be held rain or shine. Please dress for New England weather, which changes quickly and is unpredictable. We recommend a rain coat and layers. Umbrellas are not allowed in the venue. We will have ponchos on hand for guests and graduates.

In the event of severe weather, please refer to emergency notifications for details.

Why is there no indoor alternative for commencement?
Based on feedback from students, families, faculty, and staff, we recognized the importance of bringing Commencement back to campus. There is no indoor location on campus that can accommodate all students and their families. Installing a tent to cover thousands of attendees would have been cost prohibitive.
Why are ceremonies held rain or shine?
Like many other institutions, including Boston University, Boston College, Duke University, and UMass Amherst, we are holding our ceremony rain or shine. The planning and logistics needed to produce four events for more than 1,900 graduates and close to 10,000 guests mean that many larger institutions follow a format of rain or shine events.

Do we need tickets?

No. Tickets are not needed for commencement ceremonies as there is ample seating for family and guests.

What time should family and friends arrive?

Check the schedule for details.

Note: The processions for the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies begin 30 minutes before each ceremony's start time. Gates to Cressy Field will be closed during the procession (and will re-open as the ceremony begins).

Where do I park?

Ring Road traffic will be one way during commencement ceremonies.  There will be ample parking available. We will be utilizing all the parking lots around ring road. Guests will have to walk from the parking area to the commencement ceremonies on Cressy Field and should allow extra time to get to the graduation location. There will be a drop off location for those guests who have mobility issues and guests with a state issued ADA placard should proceed to Lot 10 for parking. 

How many guests can attend Commencement?

There are no ticketing procedures for the Undergraduate, Graduate and UMass Law ceremonies and we expect to be able to accommodate all guests.

Will there be special parking and seating for individuals with disabilities or health concerns?

Vehicles with state issued ADA placards will be permitted to park in lot 10. Vehicles transporting persons with mobility issues will be directed to a drop-off area close to the venue and will then proceed to park as directed.

What security arrangements are in place?

For security purposes, only items placed in clear plastic bags will be permitted into the graduation ceremonies. Additional bags will be available in parking lots and at check points during the ceremonies. No purses, food, beverages, or wrapped packages are allowed. 

Prohibited items include:

  • Purses
  • Briefcases
  • Wrapped presents
  • Bags, including gift bags
  • Backpacks
  • Coolers
  • Umbrellas
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Laser pointers or similar items
  • Balloons/beach balls
  • Fireworks
  • Drones

All items not in a clear plastic bag are subject to inspection.