Disability Resources

The information below is under review and will not be accurate until the beginning of March, 2023.



How do I order special needs tickets?

When the graduating student orders guest tickets, there is an option to order special needs tickets. Guests who will remain in a wheelchair for the duration of the University Commencement Ceremony should request General Admission tickets.  Wheel chair seating areas are located in the lower and upper bowls of the Stadium, with most in the upper bowl.  Within the wheelchair areas, there are folding chairs available to permit a guest in a wheelchair to be accompanied by a companion.  There is additional seating nearby for your other guest, which is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Special Needs tickets are meant for special needs guests, including hearing impaired guests, and those who wish to sit in the seats with back supports due to medical issues. Please note that guests with these tickets should be in their seats by 9:00 a.m. Ushers will release all remaining special needs seats to the general public at that time.

Will the seats for my guests be located together?

All tickets for the University Commencement Ceremony in the Stadium are “open seating” so it is not possible to guarantee adjacent seating.  The wheelchair seating areas and the special needs seating areas are in high demand and become quite congested as the starting time of the Ceremony approaches.  The Stadium gates will open for guests at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Guests using the Special Needs Tickets should proceed to Gates A, B, D, or E.  Guests with Special Needs tickets can sit in the blue seats in Sections 8 and 9 on the East side of the stadium, or Sections 29 and 30 on the West side of the stadium.  Please note that guests with Special Needs Tickets should be in their seats by 9:00 a.m. Ushers will release the remaining special needs seats to the general public at that time.

How many Special Needs Tickets should my student order?

They should order one ticket for your guest with special needs and another ticket for someone to accompany that person.  For example, if a grandparent will be attending the ceremony and needs special seating arrangements, 2 Special Needs Tickets should be requested.  Similarly, if a pair of guests needs seats with back support, please order three Special Needs Tickets so that they can be assisted by a member of your party.  Due to high demand, there is a limited supply of these types of tickets to sit together.

How can we make adjustments to the ticket request if our plans change?

Only the student can make adjustments to guest tickets through their action items page instructions. Guest tickets are not required for individual College, Department, or School diploma ceremonies; however, you may be required to R.S.V.P.  Guest ticket distribution for the University Commencement Ceremony will be electronically delivered to the graduate during the week of May 9.

What if there is severe weather on Sunday morning?

All general admission tickets and special needs tickets become VOID if the University's Severe Weather Plan is implemented on Sunday. Due to space limitations, each graduating student is issued a limited amount of Severe Weather Tickets. These should only be distributed to your guests if severe weather requires the University to move the Stadium ceremony to the Purcell Pavilion of the Joyce Center. An announcement concerning the implementation of the Severe Weather Plan will be made by 7:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Guests without a Severe Weather Ticket may view a live broadcast in the Joyce Center's North Dome, in DeBartolo Hall, or other close buildings as announced. Guests with a Severe Weather Ticket who have special seating needs should go to the south side of the Joyce Center to the Main Gate (Gate 9), enter the Purcell Pavilion doors in the center, and seek directions from an usher. Further information can be found on the Severe Weather Plan page.

When should my guests arrive at the Stadium on Sunday morning?

The Stadium gates will open for all guests at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.  Guests with Special Needs Tickets should proceed to gates A, B, D, or E.  Guests with Special Needs tickets can sit in the blue seats in Sections 8 and 9 on the East side of the stadium, or Sections 29 and 30 on the West side of the stadium.  Please note that all guests should be in their seats by 9:00 a.m. Ushers will release the remaining special needs seating sections to the general public at that time.

Where do my special needs guests enter the Stadium?

Please enter through Gate A , B, D, or E.  Guests with Special Needs tickets can sit in the blue seats in Sections 8 and 9 on the East side of the stadium, or Sections 29 and 30 on the West side of the stadium.  Guests holding general admission tickets are welcome to assist with the seating of the family members/guests with the Special Needs Tickets. Once those family members are situated, general admission ticket holders should find seats within the other areas of the Stadium. 

Can my guests change their mind about where they prefer to sit within the Stadium?

Yes.  Upon arrival, your guests may decide that the availability of ramps, ushers, and aisle seats negates the need for special seating. The Special Needs Tickets may be used to sit anywhere in the Stadium. 

Can portable stadium seats be brought to the ceremony in the Stadium?

Yes, with a doctor's note.

Does everyone need a Special Needs Ticket to sit in those areas?

Yes, guests seated in these designated areas must have a Special Needs ticket.  Stadium ushers will be available to assist guests in these areas. 

Where can a wheelchair be stored during the Ceremony if it is not needed?

Scooters, wheelchairs, and walkers may be placed within the concourse of the Stadium if they are not needed during the ceremony. Please consider marking such items with the name of the guest for easier recovery at the ceremony's conclusion. Please note that guests with special needs tickets for the special need seating area should be in their seats by 9:00 a.m. Ushers will release the special needs seats to the general public at that time. 

How can someone sit with a guest who is in a wheelchair?

Within the wheelchair areas, there will be extra folding chairs. Please note that there are no wheelchair tickets; rather guests needing wheelchair seating should request General Admission Tickets.  Wheelchair seating is on a first-come, first-served basis in both the lower and upper bowl of the stadium.  If the demand for wheelchair seating is extremely high, every effort will be made by ushers to seat guests as close as possible to the wheelchair areas. Stadium ushers will be available to assist guests with elevators, ramps, or stairs. 

What if I have a hearing impaired guest?

Please bring this to the attention of an usher.  A Signer will be stationed in Section 8 on the East side of the Stadium, in the Special Needs area (blue seats), to assist hearing impaired guests. Guest tickets for those with hearing impairment should be ordered by the student.
Commencement Mass seating for the Hearing Impaired will be located in Section 8 of the Purcell Pavilion. 

What are the special needs accommodations for the other Diploma Ceremonies and Receptions during the weekend?

Please contact your individual college or school for any special seating arrangements for college and departmental diploma ceremonies and receptions.  All ceremonies are in accessible facilities. 

What are the special needs accommodations for the Commencement Mass on Saturday evening?

Tickets are not required for the Commencement Mass, but the immense popularity of the event makes arriving early a good idea. Guests requiring special assistance should enter the center doors of the main entrance (Gate 9) of the Joyce Center for easier elevator access, where they will be guided to appropriate seating. There will be a section for the Hearing Impaired. 

Are golf carts, vans, or shuttles available for transporting guests on campus?

Designated golf carts for mobility limitations will be patrolling campus throughout the weekend to transport guests as needed.  It is on a first-come, first-serve basis, flag down an available golf cart you need assistance. Operating times for golf carts will be Friday (11 a.m.-8 p.m.), Saturday (8 a.m.-8 p.m.), and Sunday (7 a.m.-5 p.m.).

Also, Campus shuttles will be available Saturday (8 a.m.-8 p.m.) and Sunday (7 a.m. - 6 p.m.)

What if I have questions or need assistance while on campus?

Throughout Commencement weekend, Guest Services representatives will be stationed across campus to assist guests (Saturday 2:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. and Sunday 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.). These Guest Services representatives can be identified by their green blazers and white Notre Dame baseball caps. The team is happy to help you with directions, campus information, and more. If you have any questions regarding the Guest Services team prior to your trip to Notre Dame, please email gameday@nd.edu. All other questions should go to commencement@nd.edu

Can the University provide wheelchairs for guests?

The University is not able to provide guests with wheelchairs, scooters, or walkers during Commencement weekend. While the University cannot endorse the services provided by any local vendor, an option in the South Bend area for wheelchair rental is Alick's Home Medical at (574)273-6000. This information regarding medical equipment rental is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only. The University makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to the products or services provided. In no event will the University be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising out of or in connection with your decision to rent said equipment.

Back to Top