Skip to main content
Tulane Home

Commencement FAQ

All in-person commencement activities originally scheduled for May 15-16 have been postponed. The university is exploring all options for rescheduling the ceremonies and additional information will be posted on this site as details are confirmed. The conferral of degrees will still take place on schedule on May 16 and President Fitts will invite graduates and their families to participate in a virtual event to acknowledge this academic achievement. Concerns and questions about ceremony are addressed below and additional questions can be directed to tugrad@tulane.edu.

Concerns About Coronavirus/COVID-19 and Postponement

Will Commencement be canceled?

All commencement activities originally scheduled for May 15-16 have been postponed. The university is exploring all options for rescheduling the ceremonies.

When will the rescheduled, in-person celebration take place? When will Wave Goodbye be?

The university plans to host an in-person ceremony sometime later, once we know it is safe to bring people together again to celebrate. The events will have all of the pomp, circumstance and tradition that is typical of a Tulane commencement and will include as many of the traditional campus festivities that typically occur on commencement weekend as possible. As soon as more details for the postponed festivities are finalized, they will be announced via email and posted on this site.

Where will the rescheduled ceremonies take place?

The location of the rescheduled University Commencement Ceremony and other school ceremonies will depend on a number of factors, including the timing and availability of venues across campus and the city of New Orleans. Additional information will be distributed as those details are finalized.

When will the conferral of degrees take place?

The conferral of degrees will take place on schedule, on May 16 for all students who have been certified by their schools.

Is the event on May 16 a virtual replacement for the in-person ceremony?

No. The virtual event on May 16 is a celebration of all of our graduates academic achievements as we mark the conferral of degrees. However, in-person ceremonies are postponed and additional information will be released as those details are finalized.

Where do we watch the May 16 virtual event?

Graduates and their families are invited to join President Michael A. Fitts and our very special guests for a livestream event on Saturday, May 16, 2020 at tulane.edu/TUgether2020. Prelude with slideshow and musical performance by Dr. Michael White begins at 1:45 p.m. CT. The main program will begin at 2 p.m. CT as we bring together the class of 2020 to celebrate the conferral of degrees.

When will I get my diploma?

With the exception of Doctor of Medicine students, diploma distribution will not change and all graduates will receive their diplomas delivery four to six weeks after degree conferral. The diploma will be mailed to the diploma mailing address provided by the student on the application for degree. This address can be updated via Gibson Online at the “Update Diploma Address” link found under the Student tab. Doctor of Medicine students typically need to receive their diplomas on commencement day, and we are currently exploring all options for distribution.

What about my cap and gown?

Graduates interested in taking graduation photos or watching the May 16 event in regalia, and haven’t previously purchased, cap and gown be ordered online and shipped to a home address. Students who are not able to attend the rescheduled ceremony, and would like to return their regalia can for a refund. Details for refund process are still being finalized with the vendor and this site will be updated as that information is available.

I wanted to take a cap & gown portrait at Grad Fest. Will there be retakes?

Unfortunately, due to the restrictions on group events on campus, at this time we are unable to schedule photo retakes. If an opportunity becomes available, we will reach out to all graduating students to let them know.

 

General Ceremony Information

What about accessibility for guests with disabilities?

It is very important to us that the University Commencement Ceremony is an inclusive, accessible event that enables all individuals, including those with disabilities, to participate fully. Yulman Stadium is ADA-compliant and there is a form available to request accommodations for the ceremony. 

What if it rains?

University Commencement will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will proceed rain or shine, unless severe weather (such as lightning, tornadoes, flooding, etc.) poses a significant threat or danger to the personal safety of graduates and attendees. In the event of severe weather, graduates and their guests should plan for two scenarios if the University’s rain plan is initiated:

Rain delay: the start time of the University Commencement ceremony could be delayed by up to two hours, for rapidly moving weather events. The following ceremonies could also be delayed after the University Ceremony:

  • School of Professional Advancement
  • School of Law
  • School of Science & Engingeering

Postponement: In the unlikely event that severe weather conditions are expected to persist throughout the morning, the University Commencement ceremony will be postponed until the evening, Saturday, May 16th at 7:00 p.m. in Yulman Stadium. Postponement will only occur in extreme circumstances.
 

If the University’s rain plan is initiated, details about the changes will be communicated by: 

  • Updates on the Commencement website, commencement.tulane.edu. 
  • Text message updates will be sent by the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response. Guests can sign up for updates by texting "tugrad" to 888777.
What are you doing to address the heat?

The average high that week in May in New Orleans is 82 degrees, according to Accuweather —our weather tracking partner. Our ceremony begins at 9 a.m., when temperatures should be lower and the chance for rain is minimal. The university is currently mapping out staging and seating plans that include assessing the optimal locations for hydration stations, misting fans and air circulation and potential shade structures.

What about parking?

Parking will be available on campus free, without permitting restrictions, on Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16. Parking for guests will be available in Claiborne lot, Diboll Garage, Tailgate Village, and both Loyola's West Road and Freret garages. Additional information on traffic flow, ADA drop-ff, and garage entrance restrictions for Saturday will be released as that information is finalized.

How many guests can each graduate have? Will there be tickets?

Yulman Stadium has a seating capacity of more than 15,000 for this event. We anticipate being able to hold the 13,000-15,000 guests that we typically accommodate at the University Commencement Ceremony. Tickets are not required for this ceremony, so there is not a limit on the number of guests each student can have.

Will the ceremony be live streamed?

Yes. As usual, the University Commencement Ceremony will be live streamed at commencement.tulane.edu.

Will alcohol and other concessions be served?

Concessions will be served. The university is currently exploring options with our food vendors for a breakfast menu appropriate for the 9 a.m. ceremony. Alcohol is not served at any of the commencement ceremonies on campus.

Where will graduates and/or guests be seated?

Students will be seated on Benson Field, with guests in the stadium seating. As plans for the day are confirmed, additional information about what to do and where to enter the stadium will be available at commencement.tulane.edu.

How do I order regalia if I wasn't able to attend to Grad Fest?

If a graduate is currently on campus, visit the bookstore to purchase regalia. Orders can also be placed through the online shop at https://tulane.shopoakhalli.com/purchasewizard/Welcome.

Why didn’t I get the commencement email announcement that went out to students and parents?

The initial commencement communication regarding the venue change that was issued on Wednesday, Sept. 18 was sent to students who graduated in 2019 summer, students who applied to graduate in 2019 fall, undergraduate students who were registered with greater than/equal to 96 earned credits, graduate students with greater than/equal to 24 credits; and to parents with email addresses included in students’ Gibson online accounts. Additional commencement communications (including the February 2020 message and the April 2 postponement letter) were sent to the same, but updated lists from the Registrar's Office. Please email tugrad@tulane.edu if you are concerned that you did not receive communications regarding commencement.

Additionally, to add parent email addresses to their account, students can log in to Gibson, use the “Student” tab, then the “Update Emergency Contacts” link in the “Records” link in the left side column. Alternately, parents and guests can opt-in to the commencement email announcements here.

 

 

 

Moving to Yulman Stadium

Why move the ceremony to Yulman Stadium?

The University Commencement Ceremony will be in Yulman Stadium because the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is undergoing renovations and is unavailable for our annual celebration of academic achievement.

Were venues other than Yulman Stadium considered?

Yes. The university explored and assessed other options in the city, including the Smoothie King Center, the Morial Convention Center and Mardi Gras World. Yulman Stadium offers the best solution when considering size, availability, parking, traffic and overall experience. The Smoothie King Center is not available and holding the event at Convention Center would have required both rescheduling the event and restricting guest attendance.

Will there be enough parking?

The average number of cars parked at the University Ceremony is approximately 1,500 cars, with many guests utilizing additional transportation options such as shuttles and car service. Game Day parking plans set a good model for the venue and can accommodate more than 1,500 cars. Parking will be available on campus.

 

Commencement Newsletter

Guests can sign up for the commencement newsletter for additional updates and information from the commencement planning committee: