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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Commencement

1) When and where are the 2020 Commencement Exercises being held?

The Commencement Ceremony for the Graduate School of Nursing, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the School of Medicine is Sunday, May 30, 2020, under a tent on the Campus Green, rain or shine. A listing of dates and times for all events scheduled during the Commencement Weekend can be accessed by clicking this link.

2) Are tickets required? Is there any limit on how many people I can invite?

Tickets are required, and graduates may invite up to 20 guests to help celebrate this occasion. If more tickets are needed, graduates should speak with their fellow graduates to acquire any extra tickets that would have gone unused otherwise. All other UMass Medical School students are welcome and can pick up tickets from Kristen Maki in the SOM Dean’s Office. 

3) Where may I park?

All parking areas on campus will be open and free. Please refer to the campus map for specific information. 

4) How early can I be seated for the ceremony?

Guests are kindly asked to walk through security monitored entrances at clearly marked entrances before gaining access to the tent. 

  1. The Commencement tent will open to all guests at 10:30 a.m.
  2. Guests are strongly encouraged to make their way through security no later than 11:30 a.m.
  3. Guests who have not been screened by 11:45 a.m. will be asked to remain in place until after the students, faculty and stage party have entered the tent.
  4. To facilitate the screening process, guests are urged to refrain from taking bags into the tent.

Food is not allowed in the tent. 

5) Will accessible seating be available for those who need it?

Seating for handicapped guests and three companions can be reserved in advance by contacting the Commencement staff person in your school. There will be a separate secured entrance exclusively for accessible seating on the right side of the tent. 3 additional seats are allowed to accompany each accessible seating ticket. Please plan ahead to find seats in general seating if your numbers exceed that. Accessible seating not filled by 11:00 a.m. will be released to the general public. To see a diagram of the tent set-up, click here.

6) What should I know about security arrangements for the event?

We do not anticipate any security problems on Commencement Day but will carry out our usual precautionary measures. Under the direction of UMMS Public Safety and with the help of trained security professionals, we will use metal detectors and handheld security ‘wands’ to establish a secure perimeter around the Commencement tent.

Backpacks, briefcases, large bags, and wrapped gifts will not be allowed into the tent.  Handbags, purses, and camera bags will be allowed but may be subject to inspection prior to entry.  

Staff at all Commencement venues will have the authority to prohibit any item deemed to be a security risk, and all items, including unattended backpacks or bags, at any location on the campus, may be subject to inspection or removal without notice by members of the Department of Public Safety.

Additionally, for the comfort and enjoyment of all our guests, please observe the following restrictions:

  • No artificial noisemakers, air horns, or megaphones
  • No poles, banners, large signs, flags, laser pointers, or incendiary devices
  • No promotional items with commercial slogans or identification
  • No alcohol
  • No pets in the tent
  • These policies are subject to change without notice.

7) What should I wear for events on Commencement Weekend?

There is no formal dress code. We do suggest wearing low-heeled shoes, as you will be walking on a grass lawn.

8) Can I take photographs of my graduate?

UMass Medical School contracts with a professional photographer to take a picture of each graduate being hooded and/or receiving a diploma.  If you wish to purchase a photograph, you may order directly from the photographer's website. There is also a reserved section close to the left front of the stage where you may stand to take your own picture of your graduate; please wait to come forward until near the time when you expect your graduate’s name to be called.

9) Can I watch the Commencement Ceremony online?

Yes. The full Commencement Ceremony will be live streamed here ( Live streaming of the ceremony (onsite in air conditioned rooms) will be available on the 1st floor inside of main Medical School building, in the Hiatt Auditorium. The entrance to the main school building is immediately behind the stage-end of the tent, to your right.

10) What’s the best hashtag for social media posts about Commencement Weekend 2020?


In addition, feel free to follow University Events' social media platforms: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

11) Who can answer questions about Commencement?

If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed anywhere else on this Commencement Website, please contact the Office of University Events.