Why is the university holding two ceremonies for every student?

The growth of the university means that it is no longer feasible to have a university-wide commencement in which each student is individually recognized. In May, we held 10 ceremonies for 7,000 graduates over four days, resulting in the ceremonies being rushed and falling short of the quality of a top-10 public university.

As a result, we have decided to follow the practice of most of our peer top-ranked universities, which is to have two ceremonies for every student. One will gather all graduating students and guests together in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Degrees will be conferred, and there will be an orchestra, choir, and external invited speaker, which was not previously possible when we had multiple ceremonies spaced over several days. The other ceremony will be a college-specific ceremony in which each college will recognize and celebrate each graduating student. The college-specific ceremonies will be held at various UF venues depending on the number of graduates and family members.

UF's tradition is to have commencement ceremonies in August, December, and May every year. Future May ceremonies will follow the two-ceremony model. August ceremonies are much smaller, and thus it is feasible to have a single ceremony for every student in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.

What is the difference between the university-wide commencement ceremony and the college recognition ceremonies?

The university ceremony is a campus-wide ceremony in which all students from all degree levels in all colleges participate. Degrees will be conferred by college.

College recognition ceremonies are celebrations of individual student achievement and will provide a more intimate celebration setting. Ceremonies will vary in length, format, venue and presentation style.

What should I expect to see at the university-wide commencement ceremony?

UF President Kent Fuchs will preside over this ceremony where students of all degree levels from 14 of our colleges will process into The Swamp college-by-college, led by their deans. A band and choir from the College of the Arts will perform, we'll hear from a guest speaker, faculty speaker and the president of the UF alumni association. Degrees will be conferred by a member of the UF Board of Trustees and our undergrads will enjoy the pivotal moment where they move their tassels from right to left altogether. Finally, we'll sing the alma mater as a Gator family.

What should graduates do on Saturday morning to be ready for the university-wide commencement ceremony?

Arrive on the Reitz Union Lawn at 8 am in your regalia. Find your College's line up area. There will be a flag with the college's name on it; check in and you're ready to go. Our staff and faculty marshals will give you directions from there.

Helpful hints:

  • If you're carrying anything, it must be in a plastic bag no bigger than 12"x6"x12."
  • This is an outdoor ceremony, and you're lining up on grass; choose clothing (especially shoes) that make sense for the weather and venue.

How long will the ceremonies last?

We expect the doctoral ceremony to last approximately two and a half hours for the May commencement, including the processional. The university-wide ceremony will last approximately two hours for the May commencement, including the processional. The college recognition ceremonies will vary in length, but we anticipate that most will last approximately two hours.

Do graduating students need a ticket in order to attend the university-wide ceremony or college recognition ceremony?

No, your cap and gown is your ticket. You will not be able to check in at your line-up area if you are not wearing your cap and gown.

Do family members and guests need tickets for the ceremonies?

The university-wide ceremonies will not require tickets for family members. Some college ceremonies may require tickets.

If I have a disability and have concerns about participating in the university-wide ceremony, what should I do?

Contact the Disability Resource Center, which will work with the university's Director of Commencements to assist. The commencement team will work with you to find a solution that is right for your need.

Does the stadium's clear bag policy apply to the university-wide commencement ceremony?

Yes, for commencement, both graduates and guests must comply with the procedures that are required by Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. You can find those procedures here.

If I am not graduating in the semester I would like to walk in, what should I do?

Speak to your academic advisor about whether you are eligible to request to Walk Out of Term. If you are eligible, your advisor will provide you with the necessary form and help you file it through the proper channels.

Will I get my diploma at one of these ceremonies, and if so, which one?

No, diplomas are not given out during the university-wide commencement ceremony or during college recognition ceremonies. Grades have not been finalized by graduation weekend. Diplomas are mailed out approximately eight weeks after the close of the semester.

If I have questions about a specific ceremony, who should I contact?

For information about the university-wide doctoral or all-degrees commencement ceremony, contact Stephanie McBride, Director of Commencements, at stephmcbride@aa.ufl.edu.

What about inclement weather?

We've scheduled the Spring university-wide ceremony to begin at 9 a.m. to minimize the chance of rain. The ceremony will take place rain or shine. In the event of severe weather, the ceremony will be canceled. Most college recognition ceremonies will occur indoors.

How do I get my regalia (cap and gown) and from where?

You may order your regalia from the UF Bookstore. For further information, contact the bookstore directly at cap-gown@ufl.edu or 352-392-0194.

What is the role of the commencement task force?

The task force is charged with conducting a review of UF commencements and graduation recognition ceremonies. The goal is to have ceremonies that celebrate and are meaningful for all graduates. A balance will be sought between efficiency, tradition, celebration and individual recognition. The task force will recommend principles, values and goals to serve as a guide for all of UF's numerous commencements and graduation recognition ceremonies. It is chaired by Dr. David W. Parrott, vice president for student affairs, and Mr. Ian Green, student body president.

For more about the re-conceptualization of UF commencement, see President Kent Fuchs' column in The Independent Florida Alligator.

What is the schedule for upcoming commencement ceremonies?

Please visit the ceremony schedule.

What kind of cameras and camera bags are allowed at the commencement ceremonies?

Video, film and digital cameras are permitted, including those with interchangeable lenses. For both the safety and consideration of those around you, the following rules are in place:

  • No tripods, monopods, selfie sticks or similar apparatuses that can obstruct aisles or others' view are permitted in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center or Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
  • Due to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium's clear bag policy, camera bags are not permitted in this venue.
  • While camera bags are permitted in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, they are subject to individual security inspection.
  • Professional photographers are in place to take pictures of our graduates at the stage and the floor of the ceremonies. Family and friends are not permitted in these spaces.