Planning Graduation Weekend - Families
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Commencement ceremonies for Cornell’s Class of 2014 are rapidly approaching! The details below are meant to assist you in planning for your or your student's graduation. If you have questions or concerns regarding commencement activities contact the Student Affairs Office at 319-895-4234 or at Dean_Students@cornellcollege.edu.
Commencement for the Class of 2014 will be held Sunday, May 11. See our Commencement Schedule for a full listing of events planned for Saturday and Sunday.
Baccalaureate Service: This touching Cornell tradition features playful and meaningful words of gratitude by graduating seniors on behalf of their faculty, family, staff, and friends, as well as music played on the College's impressive Moller organ, and inter-spiritual wisdom for the life journey which includes a message by College Chaplain Catherine Quehl-Engel. This optional event for graduating seniors and their loved ones lasts about an hour. Family and friends should arrive early as King Chapel typically fills for this event which begins at 3 p.m. In the event that all seats in the Chapel fill, the ceremony will be shown live onscreen in nearby Law Hall, a building which is fully accessible.
Commencement Service: This culminating moment in each student’s college experience is celebrated with traditional rituals including mortarboards, gowns, faculty in colorful academic regalia, and celebratory music. This event features traditions more unique to Cornell such as student and faculty keynote speakers chosen by the senior class as well as seating arranged by student preference instead of alphabetically or by major. The ceremony will take place on the lawn behind College Hall just west of 5th Avenue SW. The area will be open for guests at 8:30 a.m. Adequate seating is available for all who wish to attend. Family members and friends should be seated by 9:45 a.m. so the ceremony can begin at 10:00 a.m. This event typically concludes by 12:00 p.m. Umbrellas will not be allowed in the seating area. Ponchos will be provided in the event of rain. If severe weather is expected, Commencement will be held in the Small Multi-Sport Center. Notification of the venue change will occur by 12:00 p.m. Friday via e-mail to all seniors and on the college’s homepage.
Parking: Numerous parking lots are available on and around campus, and can be viewed on the parking map here. Some lots will require a further walk than others so be sure to allow extra time. If you would like one of the college golf carts to pick you up from one of the campus parking lots, please call Campus Safety at 319-895-4299 when you are ready to be picked up.
Accessibility: Individuals in wheelchairs or with mobility limitations can be dropped off closer to the event spaces. Drop-off locations include: Cole Library via Library Lane for events in King Chapel or Law Hall (use elevator in Cole Library to access the Ped Mall); Thomas Commons Circle for events in Thomas Commons or Kimmel Theatre; and the parking lot west of the Small Multi-Sport Center if Commencement is moved to that location (the northwest entrance will be open for individuals with disabilities). For the College Hall lawn, individuals can be dropped off along 5th Avenue SW near the intersection with 2nd Street SW, which is adjacent to the seating area. 5th Avenue SW will be closed to through traffic. See the detailed map here. If guests would like one of the college golf carts to pick them up from one of the campus parking lots, please call Campus Safety at 319-895-4299 when they are ready to be picked up.
An ASL interpreter will sign during both the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies. When arriving, let an usher know if you need seating within vision of the interpreter.
Information Centers on Campus
Thomas Commons (upper level) - 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
First-Aid Station and Information Center
College Hall lawn (near South Hall and 5th Ave) - 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
RSVP for Campus Dining: To assist the College with being appropriately prepared for attendance at events involving food, we would appreciate your RSVP. Please click here to RSVP.
Accommodations, Maps and Area Info
You can find information on hotels and other lodging options Visit Cornell section of our website.
During the Commencement ceremony, a professional photographer from GradImages will photograph each student accepting his or her diploma. Color proofs will be sent within five days following the event. You may pre-register your email address with GradImages on-line at the GradImages website.
Live Video Streaming
For those unable to attend, Baccalaureate and Commencement will be live streamed on the Cornell website. Archived video of the event will be available on the college's YouTube channel.
Cornell will produce a news release announcing your student’s graduation in the weeks following the ceremony. The service we use sends an electronic copy to your student, and, if we have an email address, to you, as well as sending a copy to your local newspapers, which publish the announcements at their own discretion.
Bouquets of flowers are available for purchase for $15 in advance using the online order form through April 8. This flower sale is a fundraiser for Alternative Spring Break service trips sponsored by Cornell’s Civic Engagement Office.
All students living on campus are expected to follow all residence hall check-out procedures. Refer to Residence Life's website on moving out for dates and an overview of the process. Please remember to plan ahead, as packing often takes longer than expected.
Please refer to our list of Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.