Commencement FAQ

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If you have any additional questions, please visit the University's commencement website or email .

Department Receptions

What are the department receptions?

Departments in the College of the Liberal Arts have receptions celebrating their graduating students earlier in the day on May 6 (before the college's commencement ceremony). These are opportunities to spend time with your classmates, and they allow you to interact with your favorite faculty members. Light refreshments are provided.

Where are the receptions located?

Receptions are located on the Pattee Mall between the Sparks Building and Burrowes Building. There will be multiple tents set up with signage to indicate where your particular department's reception is being held.

How can I double check the time of my reception?

Reception times are listed on the Liberal Arts commencement webpage, but you can also check with your individual department(s) to confirm the time of their receptions.

How many guests can attend the department receptions, and do they need tickets?

Students are permitted to invite six guests to attend receptions with them. Tickets are not required.

Is there assigned seating at the receptions?

As a rule, there is not assigned seating. There may be seats reserved for select students or for faculty, but most of the seating is general seating.

Can double majors attend multiple receptions?

Absolutely! You may attend the receptions for any and all of your majors. Due to the limited time frame for receptions, many happen concurrently, but there is nothing stopping you from mingling between them if they are at a shared time.

Where should I park for the receptions?

You can park anywhere on campus that has available parking on the day of commencement unless it is explicitly restricted. The nearest parking (that includes handicapped parking) is in the lot on the backside of Sparks. It is accessible from Fraser Rd. but has very limited space available. The Nittany Parking Deck is a short walk away.

What's the dress code?

Typically, students wear what they would wear under their regalia or their regalia itself. These are intended to be semi-formal affairs, and guests should dress in a manner consistent with the gravity of the day.

Am I obligated to attend once I sign up?

No. The RSVP allows the college to plan, but it is not a binding agreement. We understand that things can come up unexpectedly, but we'd love to see you there.

College Ceremony

What time is the College of the Liberal Arts commencement ceremony?

The Liberal Arts commencement ceremony is at 4:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 6. Students and their guests should arrive to the BJC at 3:30 p.m. EDT to ensure that guests can be seated and that students can be checked in with time to spare.

Is there a rehearsal for the ceremony?

There is no rehearsal for the Liberal Arts commencement ceremony. An information packet will be emailed to all students who have applied to graduate around April 10. It should address all questions related to the commencement process.

Where is the college ceremony located, and where should I park?

The Liberal Arts ceremony is located in the Bryce Jordan Center. Parking is available in the lots surrounding the BJC. There will be signs and parking attendants to help you find the appropriate parking. A parking map is available on the University's commencement website, and one will be included in the information packet that is sent out to students on April 10.

How will I know where to sit?

Students sit with their major on the main floor of the BJC. The seating sections will be marked, and you will receive a seating chart in the information packet you receive. There will also be a QR code for a digital program at the BJC which will include a seating chart. This will allow guests to have a general idea of where to look for you.

How many guests can attend the ceremony, and do they need tickets?

There is no limit on the number of guests students may invite to the commencement ceremony, and tickets are not required. Seating is on a first come, first served basis, so you will want to arrive at 3:30 to ensure your group can sit together.

Is there assigned seating at the ceremony for guests?

There is no assigned seating at the BJC. Seating is first come, first served.

What's the dress code?

Students are required to wear academic regalia or the uniform of one of the U.S. Armed Forces. Tassels should be worn on the right front edge of the cap.

Where do I get my cap and gown?

You can purchase a cap and gown at the Penn State Bookstore in the HUB-Robeson Center.

Am I required to attend?

No, students are not required to attend. Diplomas are not handed out at commencement. Final graduation checks will occur in the weeks following commencement, and all students who have successfully completed all of the requirements for their degrees will have their diplomas mailed to them.

I am graduating from Schreyer Honors College as well. Should I attend that ceremony on Friday night in addition to the Liberal Arts one on Saturday?

That is entirely up to you. All of the ceremonies are celebrations of your accomplishments. You should feel free to attend any and all ceremonies to which you are invited.

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