Student Information

Franklin Field, Monday, May 18, 2015

The University of Pennsylvania's 259th Commencement will be held on Monday, May 18, 2015, in Franklin Field. The gates to the field will open by 8:30 a.m. for guest seating.  Guests will be seated in the southeast, east, and northeast stands of the stadium.  Degree candidates will assemble in Hamilton Village by 8:45 a.m., process down Locust Walk, and enter the field at 9:30 a.m.  The ceremony will begin at 10:15 a.m. upon the entrance of the academic procession (the President's party and the faculty) and will conclude at approximately 12:00 noon. The ceremony will feature the conferral of degrees, the awarding of honorary degrees, greetings by University officials, and remarks by the Commencement speaker, who will be announced in the spring.  Tickets are not required for admission.  Academic regalia is required. 


Candidates for degrees will assemble, according to school, in Hamilton Village, 39th Street and Locust Walk, no later than 8:45 a.m. School assembly points will be designated by signs. The identifying sign for all M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. candidates, regardless of school, will be "Graduate Faculties."

Please be prompt! Those who are not at their assembly points, in academic regalia, when the procession is formed will not be able to march and sit with their classmates.

Student Procession

The procession of degree candidates will form and move in four columns as directed by the Commencement marshals, who will wear lanyards and marshal tags for identification.  The procession will move along Locust Walk, across 34th Street, down Smith Walk, across 33rd Street, and into the north entrance of Franklin Field.

If you wish to sit with friends on the field, you must line up in front of or behind each other in the same column of the procession. Do not stand next to each other, as each column is directed to a different section of Franklin Field. Once the procession begins, be sure to follow the person in front of you and stay in your original column. Please walk briskly, and make sure there are no gaps in the line in front of you. Do not leave the procession after it is under way.

Candidates will be seated on the field according to school, facing west (looking at Weightman Hall). When you reach the row to which you are directed, please move into it quickly, leaving no vacant seats in the row, and be seated immediately. An end seat in each row will bear a stack of programs; the person occupying that seat should pass the programs along the row. Bottled water will be available on the field for the degree candidates.

Locust Walk

The Commencement Ceremony

Upon the entrance of the academic procession (the President's party and the faculty) into Franklin Field, all graduates should rise and remain standing until after the invocation.

Caps are worn during the procession and are removed for the singing of the National Anthem. When the deans present the candidates for each degree, candidates will replace their caps, rise, and remain standing until the President confers the degrees. After the degrees have been conferred, graduates lift their caps in salute to the President. The tassel is then shifted to the left side, front.

The Provost will acknowledge those receiving various academic honors, prizes and awards, as well as membership in scholastic honor societies. He will ask all persons who have earned these honors to rise for recognition and to remain standing until the completion of his remarks.

Webcast of the Commencement Ceremony

Family members and friends who are unable to attend the Commencement ceremony may view the ceremony live over the internet. Coverage from Franklin Field will begin at 9:00 a.m. EST on Monday, May 18th.

Please visit to learn more about the webcast.

In the Event of Inclement Weather

Commencement will be held rain or shine. In the event of severe weather conditions, only the procession across campus may be cancelled. Students must assemble by 9:30 a.m. at the Palestra. Students are free to wear rain gear over their gowns, since they will be seated on the field. Guests should come prepared for all weather conditions, including rain and hot sun, since Franklin Field is an outdoor stadium. Only a limited amount of covered seating is available, in the top rows of the lower stands under the overhang.

In the Event of Extreme Weather Conditions

In the event of dangerous weather conditions that threaten personal safety (such as a severe thunderstorm, lightening, or tornado), the ceremony will be delayed. In the unlikely event that dangerous conditions are forecast to persist throughout the morning, the ceremony may be moved to the Palestra, where seating would be limited to degree candidates only. These steps would be taken only in extreme circumstances.

If changes are required due to severe weather, details about changes will be communicated by:

  • signs at Hamilton Village (Superblock) and around the campus;
  • announcements on the University's emergency information line (215) 898-MELT, the Commencement information line (215) 573-GRAD, and radio station KYW (1060 AM); and
  • a notice on this website.

Franklin Field Policies

Alcoholic beverages and smoking are prohibited in Franklin Field.

Guests and students are asked not to use cellular phones during the procession across campus and during the ceremony on Franklin Field.