Commencement: What You Need to Know

You've heard your name called as you walked across the stage at Class Day. Now, it's time to hear President Bollinger confer your degree #Columbia2014.

The University Commencement ceremony of the 260th Academic Year is Wednesday, May 21, at 10:30 a.m. (note: procession begins at 9:30 a.m.) on the Morningside campus.

Graduating students should arrive at their designated locations (see map) on upper campus by 9:00 a.m. to line up for the procession. (Yes, it IS different for CC and SEAS.)

Keep reading for the last minute things you need to know and what you should do now to prepare for tomorrow.

What to Bring

1. Cap & Gown. (Pick yours up today if you have not already.)

Beginning at 6:00 a.m. on Commencement Day and lasting beyond the end of the ceremony, navigation across campus will be difficult. Therefore, we urge you to pick up your caps and gowns from the bookstore prior to the morning of the event. Also, under your gown, make sure you are dressed for the weather! Commencement is held rain or shine, and unlike Class Day, the event is NOT tented.

2. CUID or photo ID + commencement registration confirmation.

If you wish to participate in the ceremony, you must wear your cap and gown and carry a University ID* in order to gain entry to line up for the procession.

*Students participating in Commencement who officially graduated before May 2014 and no longer hold University IDs should bring a photo ID and their Commencement registration confirmation email to indicate their participation in the ceremony.

What to Leave at Home

For security reasons and to save time, don't bring bags to campus on Commencement Day. Note that any bags or packages brought to the ceremony will be subject to search. (Not fun, but safer.)

Family and Friends

Please distribute your guest tickets to friends and family before Commencement Day (that means tonight if you have not done so already). Graduates and guests enter campus through different locations that morning, and it is incredibly difficult to coordinate getting last-minute tickets from graduates to guests.

Guests may enter campus starting at 8:30 a.m. and must present their tickets for scanning in order to enter campus.

Guests with general admission tickets should enter at 114th Street and Broadway. Guests with disabilities or limited mobility, elderly guests needing assistance, or guests needing sign language interpretation should use the gates on Amsterdam Avenue at either 116th Street or 115th Street.

Tickets are required for entry and can only be scanned once, meaning guests will not be permitted to re-enter campus after exiting. This also means tickets cannot be shared as they will be invalid and not allow admittance after the initial scan. There should not be a need to exit campus as there will be plenty of portable toilets at the event, and Café 212 will be open inside Lerner Hall should guests need a refreshment.

Let your guests know that tickets do not guarantee a seat and that seats are 1) taken on a first come first served basis, 2) are unassigned, and 3) cannot be reserved. In addition, please note that the selling of tickets is strictly prohibited.

And finally, discuss with your guests where you will meet them after the ceremony. If you can't decide on a place, just have them look for the person in the blue cap and gown. (Kidding!)

Live Webcasts for Commencement

If you have friends and family members who are unable to attend or who don’t have tickets to the Commencement ceremony, encourage them to watch live online.

Commencement footage will begin streaming at 9:30 a.m. on May 21. For details, check the Commencement website.

Celebrate Responsibly

It's time to celebrate, but please do so safely and responsibly! Throughout this memorable time, keep in mind University, school-specific, and residence hall policies. For more information, please review the GradZone website or revisit the full list of policies to which all students are held accountable through the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Standards.

The Empire State Building Goes Blue for Columbia

On Wednesday, May 21, from dusk until dawn, the top of the Empire State Building will be blue and white in honor of Columbia’s graduates! (So, yes! In your honor!)