What to Expect at University Commencement

University Commencement may be a centuries-old tradition, but it's one many participants may be experiencing for the first time. Below is a brief look at what the ceremony will entail for degree recipients.

Come Prepared

  • If you plan to sit on the field with the other graduates, please come dressed in your academic regalia—your cap and gown. See Academic Regalia for details on acquiring regalia.
  • Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking and standing for a duration. You’ll want to be comfortable!
  • Be aware of the Stadium Policies and leave prohibited items at home. No one is allowed to bring liquids into the stadium; however, cups of water will be provided for you on the field.


  • Please allow at least two hours to park and get to High Point Solutions Stadium. The gates will open at 8 a.m. and shuttle buses will start running at 7 a.m. on May 14.
  • All graduates should plan to arrive by 9 a.m. Please arrive early to allow for parking and travel to the stadium, especially if you plan to take photos with GradImages. Note that you must have a special Commencement parking hangtag to park on campus on Sunday, May 14, 2017. 
  • At the stadium, graduates should go to the marshaling area at the south end of the stadium (under the large video screen).
  • The ceremony will start promptly at 10 a.m.
  • View the stadium seating/marshaling map (PDF).

Carry on the Tradition: Ring the Red Lion Bell

Ring the Red Lion BellThe Red Lion Bell was gifted to Rutgers in 2011. It is named after the former tavern, the Sign of the Red Lion, where Rutgers held its first classes in the 1770s.

The gift triggered a new tradition at Rutgers. Students ring the bell at the beginning of their studies during New Student Convocation and at the end of their journeys at University Commencement.

The bell will be located on the main concourse at the south side of the stadium (under the video screen). You may ring the bell to signify your graduation before descending the stairs to the marshaling area.

The Ceremony

Show Your Spirit

Carry on the Tradition: Make Yourself Seen

At the start of the event, you’ll be given your school’s spiritmaker. When you are asked to stand with your fellow degree candidates, wave your spiritmaker so everyone can see where your school is located on the field.