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Frequently Asked Questions for Parents and Guests, Undergraduate Commencement

How long is the main ceremony? How long are the individual ceremonies? When is everything over so I can make dinner reservations?
Many variables affect the specific length of ceremonies each year, but on average, the main ceremony concludes between 11:45­ a.m. and ­noon, at which time graduates and guests proceed to separate sites across campus for diploma presentation ceremonies. These start and end at vastly different times based on location and number of graduates. As a general guideline, ceremonies and receptions conclude between 2 and 2:30 p.m.

Is my child going to graduate?
Seniors should have already applied to graduate through their individual colleges. If not, they should get a graduation application from the evaluator at their college. Access the contact information for each evaluator here. The official Commencement program will reflect the record of graduates through April 13, 2018. The names of any students who apply to graduate after April 13 will not be included.

What do I wear?
Dress for the weather, rain gear if the weather is inclement, and a hat and sunglasses if it is sunny and warm. There is limited seating for guests under cover; much of Sunday’s guest seating is outdoors. Wear comfortable shoes. You may be walking across campus from the main ceremony on the campus green to your graduate’s diploma presentation ceremony. Part of this walk will be on grass.

Where do we stay?
UHart has partnered with a number of hotels—both downtown and in suburban locations—that are an easy drive to and from campus. Go here to browse and reserve online.

My child will be graduating on Sunday. Where do I go? Where is a good spot to park? How far is the parking?
Sunday’s main ceremony will be held on the green in the middle of the academic side of campus and will begin at 10 a.m. As you enter campus, you will be directed into the first available parking lot. Many parking areas are within an easy walk to the main ceremony site. Shuttle buses will be available to transport guests from parking lots to the main ceremony—and later in the morning from the main ceremony to diploma presentation ceremonies in the Sports Center (A&S) and Lincoln Theater (The Hartt School).

One of our family members can’t walk very far. Is there handicapped parking available? If so, where? Can someone provide assistance to get her to our location? What happens when we leave one location and go to another?
Lot K, adjacent to the main tent and a reserved seating area within for guests with disabilities, has been designated for handicapped parking. Please mention your special needs to the public safety officer upon entering campus. For those requiring shuttle transportation to a diploma presentation ceremony, accessible buses will board in front of the Hartford Art School (for those headed to the Sports Center) and in the circle in front of the Fuller Music Center (for those going to Lincoln Theater). Golf carts will offer additional assistance to those with mobility limitations. There will be a booth near the main tent where those with mobility limitations can coordinate transportation needs.    

How does my child order a cap and gown? How about class rings?
You can order your cap and gown here and your class ring here. Also, Alumni Relations will be hosting a Countdown to Graduation event on April 4 from 5–8 p.m. in the Konover Campus Center. Representatives for cap/gown and class rings will be present along with Career Services staff. 

Is my child able to participate in Commencement despite being a class or two away from graduating?
Yes, the soon-to-be-graduate needs to be within six credits of meeting the requirements for graduation. The individual will also need to fill out a Walk-Through Form that can be secured from their college evaluator and signed off by the college. The individual will not be listed in the program and the diploma case they are handed will not have a diploma in it.

Do I need a ticket to attend?
With the exception of The Hartt School’s diploma-presentation ceremony, tickets are not required to attend Commencement. Seating for guests is available on a first- come, first-served basis. 

Will there be time to get something to eat during the main ceremony or between ceremonies? Where are the food locations?
There will be a food concession tent at the main site and both Einstein Bros. (Gengras Student Union) and Starbucks at the Goodwin Café (Harrison Libraries) will be open. Your ability to eat between ceremonies will likely depend on the location of the college ceremony you are headed to and the time you need to get there.   

I understand there will be a reception Commencement Weekend for families of graduates.
A reception for graduates and their families, sponsored by the Alumni Association, will be held on Saturday, the evening before Undergraduate Commencement, at Gengras Student Union from 4–6 p.m. Postcard and e-mail communication will be sent to graduates and parents with a link to RSVP.

Is the bookstore open?
The University of Hartford Campus Store will be open extended hours during Commencement Weekend for the convenience of graduates and their guests. Hours are Saturday, 9 a.m.–2 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

Additional Frequently Asked Commencement Questions for Undergraduate Students

Who do I speak to about applying for graduation?
The degree application deadline was in February but late applications are currently being accepted. See your school evaluator immediately. The official Commencement program will reflect the record of graduates through April 13, 2018. The names of any students who apply to graduate after April 13 will not be included.

How do I order my cap and gown, and where do I return it after the ceremony?
Eligible graduates may order their cap and gown online through April 7. Caps and gowns can be picked up in Konover Campus Center on Thursday, May 10, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Friday, May 11, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Saturday, May 19, 8 a.m.–3 p.m.; and Sunday, May 20, 8 a.m.–start of main ceremony. Gowns are to be returned to a designated area at each diploma presentation site at the conclusion of the ceremonies (caps can be kept).

Where do I go when I arrive on Commencement Sunday? What happens in the event of rain?
Graduates should report to the lawn area between the main tent and the Gray Center lawn, where signs are posted by school and degree. Faculty marshals will coordinate the lining up of students. In the event of rain, there will be no processional and graduates will be seated inside the tent upon arrival.