FAQ

General Questions

When will my student receive specific information regarding May Commencement?

May 2017 degree candidates and August 2016 and January 2017 graduates will be sent information from the Office of the Registrar the first week of March. This includes information for cap & gown ordering, name and hometown verification of the diploma and program, Commencement Ceremony guest tickets, graduation announcements, information concerning Commencement Weekend events, and links to information concerning on-campus housing for families and meal ticket orders. Undergraduate May degree candidates also received directions concerning completing a required senior survey. This website is updated as new information becomes available throughout the academic year.

Do I also receive information about my student’s Commencement?

This Commencement website will be regularly updated throughout the academic year as decisions are made concerning the Schedule of Events for Commencement Weekend. The beginning of March, information will be emailed to the students concerning the opportunity to purchase meal tickets or reserve on-campus housing through the Notre Dame Conference Center, along with a post card sent to the home address. The Notre Dame Conference Center staff can be reached at (574-631-7640) for questions dealing with these areas. Information regarding  on-campus dining options can be found on the Meals and Housing page.

What accomodations are made for guests with wheelchairs or special needs?

Please visit the Wheelchair and Special Needs FAQ page.

When should we plan on arriving for Commencement?

A complete list of weekend activities, is available on the Schedule of Events page.

Which events do we need to attend?

All graduates are encouraged to take part in all departmental and college/school ceremonies and events. In addition, most graduates traditionally participate in the Commencement Mass and the University Commencement Ceremony. For a full schedule, see the Schedule of Events. No event requires your attendance, but we encourage graduates and their guests to take part in as many of the weekend activities as possible. These events provide the opportunity for graduates, faculty, and guests to interact in these celebratory activities.

Will wireless service be available on campus?

The ND-guest wireless service is open to visitors on the Notre Dame campus during Commencement Weekend. To access this service, just select “ND-guest” in your WiFi settings. The ND-guest wireless service is offered for casual personal use on an "as is" basis with no guarantee of availability and no warranty of any kind.

Where can I purchase a diploma frame as a gift for my student?

You can purchase a diploma frame at the Hammes Bookstore. Gift wrapping is also available.

Will a professional photographer take pictures as diplomas are distributed or will I be allowed to take pictures from in front of the stage?

Photographers will be available at each of the diploma ceremonies to take individual student photographs while they cross the stage. Your graduate should receive specific information from event coordinators if guests may take photographs during a ceremony.


University Commencement Ceremony

How early should we arrive for the University Commencement Ceremony on Sunday?

The Stadium gates will open at 7:00 a.m., guest tickets are required. Seating is not assigned (stadium map). Guests may select their seats in the Stadium at the direction of the Stadium Ushers. Ushers will direct seating by sections, making certain that seats are efficiently used to assure the best viewing opportunities for all attending. Students will begin to assemble (at assigned times). The academic procession of the graduates, faculty, and platform party will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and the ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.

How long is the University Commencement Ceremony?

The University Commencement Ceremony begins with the academic procession at 9:00 a.m. with the ceremony starting at 9:30 a.m. Once the academic procession is complete and the ceremony begins, it will last approximately two hours.

If weather conditions are not ideal and some guests prefer to be indoors, is indoor viewing of the University Commencement Ceremony available?

No indoor view locations are provided in the Stadium; however, several large lecture halls will be available to guests at DeBartolo Hall, where guests can view a live broadcast of the ceremony. DeBartolo Hall is located right next door to the entrances on the West side of the Stadium.

It is stated that the University Commencement Ceremony will be held in Notre Dame Stadium on Sunday morning “rain or shine”. What does that mean?

It is the intent to conduct the University Ceremony in the stadium even if it is raining or the weather conditions are not ideal. Also, the event could be delayed for up to an hour while a storm passes through the area. Only if there is severe weather (lightning, high winds, heavy and persistent rain, etc.) will the event be moved indoors to the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center and the Severe Weather Plan will be implemented.

If the University Commencement Ceremony is moved indoors because of severe weather, who will be allowed to attend, given the more limited seating capacity in the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center?

Each student who has stated that he/she will attend the University Commencement Ceremony will be allotted “Severe Weather” tickets. Each undergraduate student will receive up to three Severe Weather tickets to the Purcell Pavilion, the ceremony location under the Severe Weather Plan; Graduate students will receive up to two guest tickets. Students and faculty will be admitted to the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center with their Student ticket. Only guests with a severe weather ticket will be seated in the Purcell Pavilion. The event will be broadcast live to the Joyce Center North Dome, auditoriums in the DeBartolo classroom building, and to other large auditoriums in nearby buildings, as announced. No ticket will be required for entry into these secondary locations. This will allow guests without a severe weather ticket to the Purcell Pavilion to view the event live.

When will the decision be made to move the event from the stadium in the event of severe weather?

In the case of severe weather, the decision to declare and implement the Severe Weather Plan and to move the event indoors will be made and announced by 7:00 a.m. on Sunday. If the ceremony is moved to the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center or delayed, a message will be sent to graduates and faculty members using cell phones registered with the ND Emergency Alert system. A notice will also be posted on the Commencement website and by other means. It is expected that graduates will notify their guests.

How will the decision to move the University Commencement Ceremony indoors, due to severe weather, affect the undergraduate diploma ceremonies that are held that afternoon?

The college/school and department undergraduate diploma ceremonies are conducted in covered areas, so they will go forward unless there is a severe weather emergency. If the University Commencement Ceremony is delayed by as much as an hour, the undergraduate diploma ceremonies may also be delayed. If severe weather has affected the Sunday morning ceremony, an announcement will be made at the University Commencement Ceremony concerning any changes to the times or locations of the college/school and department undergraduate diploma ceremonies.

If it is raining for the University Commencement Ceremony in the Stadium, can guests, graduates, or faculty use umbrellas?

Unfortunatley, umbrellas are not allowed. Faculty and graduates will be issued rain ponchos, and it is also acceptable for each participant to wear their personal rain gear. Guests should come prepared should rain be in the forecast and to use personal rain gear. For those guests who wish to view a live broadcast of the ceremony indoors, seating will be available in the DeBartolo classroom building and also in other classroom buildings as announced.


Commencement Mass

Do we need tickets for the Commencement Mass?

No. All guests are welcome to the Saturday evening Commencement Mass in the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center regardless of their faith background. It is expected that when seating in the Pavilion is filled, guests will be directed to the overflow location, the Joyce Center North Dome, where guests can view the Mass live on screens and fully participate, including Communion. The Pavilion will seat approximately 10,500 guests, students, and faculty and the North Dome will seat approximately 7,000 guests.

How early should we arrive for the Commencement Mass on Saturday?

The Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center will open for guest seating for the Mass at 3:30 p.m. (enter through Gate 9). You are asked to arrive no later than 4:30 p.m. The Academic Procession begins at 4:40, and we ask that guests be in their seats prior to the start of the Academic Procession. Seating in the Purcell Pavilion is likely to fill as the Mass time approaches. When this occurs, guests will be directed to the overflow seating location in the North Dome (redirected to Gate 3).

When will the Commencement Mass be dismissed?

The Commencement Mass begins at 5:00 on Saturday and will last approximately 90 minutes.


Parking/Housing/Meals

On our arrival to campus, where can we park?

Parking is available in any of the perimeter campus lots. Central campus lots (A15, A9, A11, etc.) are available for loading and unloading as space permits.

Will a state issued disability hang tag be honored to allow parking on campus and in designated disabled parking areas?

Yes.  State issued permits and license plates authorizing use of accessible spaces for people with disabilities are honored on campus.  Please make sure it is displayed properly. Spaces are available on a first come, first served basis.

What if I have guests who are unable to walk across campus?

A number of golf carts for guests will operate from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and Saturday and from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday to provide assistance for those with mobility limitations. Shuttles will also be available. Contact NDSP at (number to be provided Commencement weekend) for further assistance.

Some students have rented a wheel chair for a family member who has difficulty walking long distances on campus or for someone who might have difficulty walking after a long day.  They reported using the wheel chair to travel about the campus such as the Joyce Center and the Grotto, securing the chair once they arrived at their destination. Rental wheel chairs are available from local vendors.  

Can we stay on campus Commencement weekend?

Information concerning rooms in the Undergraduate Residence Halls will be emailed to students in early March. 

If I am staying on-campus in a residence hall, do I need to bring my own linen?

Linens are provided as part of your housing services. This includes bedding and basic towel service; you may want to bring extra towels with you.

Where can we purchase meal tickets for the weekend?

Information regarding meal tickets will be sent to the students the beginning of March through the Notre Dame Conference Center.  Information regarding  on-campus dining options can be found on the Meals and Housing page.

Do I need to purchase a meal ticket for my student who is graduating?

The valid on-campus meal plan for graduating students expires after lunch on Friday of Commencement Weekend.


Guest Tickets

Do we need guest tickets to the University Commencement Ceremony?

Guest seating in the Notre Dame Stadium will be unlimited for the guests of graduates and each graduate will be provided the number of University Commencement guest tickets he/she requires. Should a “Severe Weather Plan” be declared, each undergraduate will have been provided up to three (up to two for Graduate Students) Severe Weather guest tickets for seating in the Joyce Center Purcell Pavilion. Other secondary viewing locations in Joyce Center North Dome, DeBartolo Hall auditoriums, and other classroom auditoriums will be open for viewing the live broadcast of the event, whether it be in the Stadium or the Joyce Center Purcell Pavilion and no ticket is required for these secondary viewing locations.

What happens if the University implements the Severe Weather Plan and we have more guests than the Severe Weather tickets who would like to attend the University Commencement Ceremony in the Purcell Pavilion?

The Sunday morning ceremony will be broadcast live to the Joyce Center North Dome. It will also be broadcast live to classroom auditoriums in DeBartolo Hall (rain or shine). DeBartolo Hall is located right next door to the entrances on the West side of the Stadium and within easy walking distance of the Joyce Center. A ticket is not required to attend the live broadcasts at these secondary locations. If the Severe Weather Plan is implemented, additional viewing locations will be added and announced.

Can I arrange for special needs or disabled seating for a family member at the University Commencement Ceremony on Sunday morning?

Each graduate attending the University Commencement Ceremony has an opportunity to inform the University of guests who will be attending for whom special services are needed. This information will be of assistance to Commencement planners so that adequate disability seating is provided in the Stadium. If the Severe Weather plan is implemented, each undergraduate will have up to three Severe Weather tickets for the Purcell Pavilion to distribute to their guests (up to two for Graduate students).