When and where is the 2016 University Commencement?
In 2016, University Commencement will be held on Wednesday, May 18, from 10:15 a.m. to noon. The degree candidate procession will begin at 9:30 a.m. General admission gates open at 8:30 a.m. The ceremony is a ticketed event held outdoors on the Morningside Campus. All guests must present a ticket for scanning on the morning of the ceremony at any of theentry gates.
October 2015, February 2016, and May 2016 graduation candidates from every Columbia school are invited to participate in the ceremony.
In addition to University Commencement, each of Columbia's eighteen schools will hold a graduation ceremony (sometimes called Class Day) during Commencement week (May 15 - 19, 2015.) Inquiries about these ceremonies should be made directly to the schools.
For more information about University Commencement, please visit the official Commencement page.
Who will be speaking at Columbia’s University Commencement ceremony?
It is the Columbia tradition that the president of the University speaks at University Commencement. There is no guest speaker at University Commencement. However, many of the schools within Columbia have guest speakers at their individual ceremonies. Please contact the schools directly for this information.
Is there a video recording available from University Commencement?
A webcast of the University Commencement ceremony is available for viewing online live the day of Commencement as well as after the ceremony via the Commencement website.
In addition to University Commencement, webcasts of the graduation and Class Day ceremonies for the Gradaute School of Arts and Sciences, School of General Studies, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Columbia College, Columbia Law School, and the School of International and Public Affairs are also available for viewing on the website.
The webcasts are available in RealPlayer and Live Multicast. If you need the required software, please follow the links on our webite to download the free players to your computer.
Please note: these webcasts are available to be viewed on demand via the Commencement website. There are no DVDs or downloadable copies available for purchase.
Photos of University Commencement are not available for distribution or purchase. Please direct any inquiries about photos taken at Class Day ceremonies directly to the schools. Appropriate school contact information can be found on the Commencement website under "School Ceremonies and Events."
What should I do if I’m sick or one of my guests isn’t well on the day of University Commencement?
If you or one of your guests is feeling ill on University Commencement day (i.e., experiencing muscle aches, fever, fatigue, coughing, etc.), we respectfully request that you reconsider your attendance, for the sake of your own health and the health of those around you. To safeguard against the spread of illness, it is recommended that anyone feeling sick remain at home and rest until 24 hours after the symptoms pass. If you or one of your guests becomes ill during the ceremony, please notify an event host, an information booth staffer, or a member of Public Safety, all of whom will be able to find you immediate medical attention. You may also call Health Services at Columbia University at 212-854-2284.
To learn more about precautionary measures recommended for preventing the spread of illness, please visit the University’s prevention tips page.
Are children allowed at the University Commencement ceremony?
Children are welcome at University Commencement. All children over the age of three must have a ticket to attend.
Because of the tight space constraints, it is recommended that you leave strollers at home. There is no stroller parking or storage available, however, if you must bring a stroller to University Commencement, please do not use the general admissions gate to enter. Please enter at the accessible gate at Amsterdam and 115th Street.
Please keep in mind that the University Commencement is a very crowded outdoor event with no extra space to move around and may prove to be a challenging environment for small children. Weather may vary, so please be prepared for a variety of conditions.
If I have a disability, limited mobility, need assistance to the seating area, or need sign language interpretation, how should I arrive to campus?
There are designated gates for guests with disabilities, limited mobility, the elderly needing assistance, or those needing sign language interpretation.
The following gates should be used for University Commencement Day:
• 116th Street and Amsterdam Avenue
• 115th Street and Amsterdam Avenue (between Wallach and Hartley Halls)
It is important that guests with disabilities enter campus through the above designated gates. The general admission gates on 114th Street have stairs and are a considerable distance from the designated disability seating areas. The large crowds at Commencement will make movement on campus difficult. Additionally, there is no access across campus on Commencement Day. Movement from Broadway to Amsterdam Avenue may require traveling long distances around the campus perimeter. Therefore, we suggest you consider the location of these gates when planning your arrival to campus.
When do graduating CC and SEAS undergraduate students need to move out of the residence halls?
Unless they have made arrangements for summer housing, graduating CC and SEAS undergraduates must move out of university housing by noon on the day after (Thursday, May 19, 2016) the University Commencement ceremony.
Where can I get information about the Class Day or graduation ceremony for my school?
Columbia University tradition holds that all degrees are conferred at the University Commencement ceremony in which members of all schools are invited to participate. However, each of the eighteen schools in the University also honors their graduates with a separate and unique event.
Please note that these events are organized separately by each school, take place at various times and locations, and may require tickets. Any questions that are not answered on the official Commencement website should be directed to the contact listed for each school. Although the Commencement website is updated regularly, please confirm all dates, times and locations with your school before making final plans, as some information may change.
Undergraduates from Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences should visit Gradzone for more information.
For more information on specific ceremonies, class days and receptions, as well as diploma pick-up times and locations, choose your school from the list of school ceremonies.
When is the Baccalaureate Service and who can attend?
Columbia University will hold its annual Baccalaureate Service on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at 9:30 a.m. The service will be held at St. Paul's Chapel on the Morningside Campus. This service is for degree candidates from the undergraduate schools: Columbia College, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, General Studies, and Barnard College.
Families and friends of undergraduate candidates are warmly invited to attend. No tickets are required.
Seating inside the chapel is limited and reserved primarily for the candidates. Guests will be accommodated in alternative seating outside the chapel with a simulcast of the service shown on monitors. We encourage all guests interested in attending this service to arrive by 8:45 a.m. on the day of the service.
Are there services for people with disabilities during Commencement Week?
There is a host of services available at the University Commencement ceremony for guests with disabilities and their parties. General admission tickets are sufficient to access these services. No special tickets are required.
Guests in need of disability services and their parties should come to a specially designated gate (noted on the map on the back of the ticket) to facilitate easy entrance. They will then be escorted to an accessible seating area equipped with hearing assistance devices, closed-caption monitors, and large print programs.
We are not able to offer special parking for guests with disabilities. However, a shuttle bus will be driving the campus perimeter before the ceremony to help transport guests to the designated gate.
Are there tickets for Columbia's University Commencement ceremony, and how many tickets can I get? Can anyone attend?
Tickets to University Commencement are required for everyone except degree candidates and officers of the University in academic attire participating in the ceremony and are valid only for the University Commencement ceremony taking place on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.
Information on the number of tickets per student will be announced in the spring semester. Your graduation from Columbia University is a memorable occasion in your life. While we wish that we could issue an unlimited amount of tickets for your loved ones, we must accommodate some guests. Kindly note that ticket allocations are determined by this year's impressive number of graduates along with the spatial and security contraints of campus.
Note:A ticket will allow admission into campus but does not guarantee a seat. Seats are on a first-come basis and cannot be reserved.
Note: The selling or buying of University Commencement tickets is strictly prohibited. Please be cautious of offers to sell or buy Commencement tickets. Tickets hold no official resale value and may be an unauthorized copy, therefore deemed unusable and denied on University Commencement day. Commencement tickets are solely for the purpose of allowing the friends and relatives of graduating students to attend the ceremony.
The campus will be closed to the general public until the ceremony has ended. Tickets will be checked at designated entrance gates to the Morningside Campus, which open for ticket-holders at 8:30 a.m.
Non-graduating students and employees with CUID may be on campus but should not expect to attend the ceremony without a ticket, as seating is very limited.
All children over the age of three require a ticket. Lost tickets will not be replaced.
For complete information on Commencement and diploma issuance, please visit the Commencement page.
Degrees are awarded for all schools in October, February, and May. They are also awarded in June for some Health Sciences programs. Every candidate, regardless of graduation date, is invited to participate in the annualUniversity Commencementceremony held in May when degrees are officially conferred.
For May graduates, diplomas are distributed only after degrees have been conferred at University Commencement.
Are there on-campus accommodations available for families during Commencement week?
There are limited on-campus accommodations available for guests during Commencement.
The Commencement room package includes a double room with two twin beds and a shared bath for three nights. The suite package includes two double rooms (total of four twin beds) and a private bath for three nights.
In addition to on-campus housing, off-campus accommodations for Commencement are also convenient. Some area hotels may offer special rates to Columbia guests. For a list of these hotels, please visit the Conference Housing website. It is recommended that you make your reservations for hotels in the Columbia neighborhood early.
Please note that if neighborhood hotels become booked, the city's numerous midtown hotels are only a short subway ride from the University.
Is there parking available near Columbia during Commencement week?
Parking in Morningside Heights on University Commencement morning is challenging. On-campus parking, which is extremely limited, is not available to the general public during Commencement Week. If you must drive, please leave plenty of time for a parking search and also allow time for walking to campus. There are only a few parking garages near campus. These fill up early during Commencement Week and cannot be counted on for convenient parking.
A shuttle bus is available to take guests with disabilities and their families to designated campus gates near the accessible seating area on University Commencement day. These passengers can be dropped off anywhere around the perimeter of Morningside Campus and will be shuttled to the designated gate. There is no designated parking for guests with disabilities.
Finally, city parking rules will be in full effect during Commencement Week; please take note of meters and other parking regulations. Please note that many of the streets surrounding campus are blocked off very early on the morning of University Commencement. If you park in a location near campus the night before University Commencement, please diligently check for any signage indicating that the street will be closed. Failure to notice these signs may result in your car being towed.
What is the difference between graduation and Commencement?
Graduation is the term for completing your course of study at the University and fulfilling all the requirements for your degree. In order to graduate and obtain your diploma, you must submit an Application for Degree or Certificate with the Office of the Registrar. Each of Columbia's eighteen schools holds a graduation ceremony (sometimes called a Class Day) to honor the accomplishments of the graduating class.
Commencement refers to the ceremony celebrating those who are receiving their degrees from all Columbia schools in a given year. At the University Commencement ceremony, degrees are symbolically conferred on candidates by the president of the University. Attending University Commencement is not required to graduate from the University and receive your diploma. There is only one University Commencement ceremony for the year, which is held in May. All graduates from the previous October and from February and May of the current year are invited to attend.
What is the date of future Commencement Ceremonies?
Information on the schedule and timing of future Commencement Ceremonies through the 2019-2020 Academic Year can be found on the Columbia University Registrar's website by clicking on the Academic Calendar year on the right-hand side.