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Faculty and Office of Administration

Instructions for Commencement Week 2016

We also recommend that you view the “Commencement Week Instructions” for your individual school as it has specific information that will assist you in planning and execution.

If you have questions not covered in these instructions, call 615-322-2870 or email

Wednesday, May 11

Thursday, May 12

  • 11 a.m. Senior Class Day speaker. Memorial Gymnasium. More Information »
  • 3 p.m. Senior Recognition Ceremony for Blair School of Music graduates and their guests. Turner Recital Hall.
  • 3 p.m. Awards Ceremony and Reception for Graduates of Owen Graduate School of Management. Management Hall.
  • 3:00 p.m.  MSN and DNP Pinning Ceremony for May 2015 degree candidates. Wightman Chapel, Scarritt Bennett Center.
  • 4 p.m. School of Nursing reception for graduates and guests.  Godchaux Hall Living Room.
  • 4 p.m. Phi Beta Kappa Initiation Ceremony. Student Life Center, Commodore Ballroom.
  • 4 p.m. Peabody College Awards Ceremony for award winners and their guests. Wyatt Center Rotunda and Lobby. Reception following.
  • 4 p.m. School of Medicine Class Day. Langford Auditorium. Reception following in the North Lobby of Light Hall.
  • 4 p.m. School of Engineering Awards Ceremony for award winners and their guests. University Club.
  • 5 p.m. Divinity School Celebration Service. Benton Chapel
  • 8 p.m. Black Graduates Recognition Ceremony. Student Life Center ballroom. Reception following.

Friday, May 13 – (Commencement Day)

  • 8:25 a.m. Faculty and officers of administration report to the northwest side of Rand Terrace to line up for the Academic Processions. Promptness in lining up is imperative.
    • Part 1 – The Academic Procession will be composed of the provost and the vice chancellor for health affairs who will lead in the 2013 emeritus faculty and the faculty who will remain on Alumni Lawn for the duration of the undergraduate ceremony. Faculty who will be attending graduate or professional diploma-awarding ceremony should line up with that school (in front of the candidates, behind the dean and banner bearer). Emeritus faculty who wish to attend a graduate or professional ceremony may leave their seats when the graduate and professional schools recess at 10:15 a.m.
    • Part 2 – The academic procession will be composed of the Alumni Association president, members of the Class of 1963, followed by the chair of the Faculty Senate carrying the mace, the trustees, the officers of administration, the chancellor and the chairman of the Board of Trust.
  • 8:30 a.m. GUESTS should be seated on Alumni Lawn no later than 8:30 a.m. to see the procession. Bottled water, programs and fans are available on the perimeter of the seating area. Please advise your guests to pick these up on the way to their seats.
  • 9 a.m. The procession of candidates enters Alumni Lawn to seating reserved for candidates and faculty as guided by faculty marshals. After students are seated and at the second trumpet signal the academic procession (the order of procession will be printed in your Commencement Program) will move toward the platform.
  • 10:15 a.m. Recession of graduate and professional school degree recipients and their faculties as instructed by the Chair of the Faculty Senate from the platform. These groups will depart as led by a Faculty Marshal.
  • Noon – 1:30 p.m. Strawberries and Champagne Celebration for the Class of 2015 and their guests. Library Lawn.
  • 12:30 – 2 p.m. Informal luncheon for faculty participating in the graduation exercises. Buttrick Hall Atrium.

Academic Regalia (Cap and Gown)

Picking up Regalia. Faculty should pick up their regalia as instructed by their individual schools. Please contact your dean’s office ahead of time to ensure location. View the regalia contacts in your school.

Returning Regalia. Please pick up and return regalia as instructed by the office that ordered it for you.

Commencement-Text Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement weather the ceremony will be held in Memorial Gymnasium. If in doubt, check the Vanderbilt website or call the Vanderbilt telephone operators at 615-322-7311. An alert will be sent to your cell phone if you have signed up for Commencement Text Alerts.

There will be no procession for candidates in Memorial Gym.

Members of Academic Processions Part 1 and 2 will still process and should enter through the Procession Party Entrance (to the right of the main entrance doors) located on the East side of the gym facing 25th Ave to line up. Faculty marshals will be on hand to assist.

Graduate & Professional (arrive by 8:15)

Faculty who will be attending the diploma-awarding ceremony at their respective schools should sit with the degree candidates in either section 2L (Peabody, Medicine, Law) or 3L (OGSM, Nursing, Divinity, Engineering, Graduate).

Undergraduate (arrive by 8:15)

Faculty who will be staying for the undergraduate diploma-awarding ceremony, and marching in procession, should enter through the Procession Party Entrance (to the right of the main entrance doors) located on the East side of the gym facing 25th Ave.

Procession Party entrance

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Future Commencement Dates

 2018  -  May 9, 10, 11
 2019  -  May 8, 9, 10
 2020 -  May 6, 7, 8

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Text Alerts

Vanderbilt offers a complimentary early alert system for all Commencement attendees. The system is designed to inform you, via text message, if any of the main ceremonies have been moved or canceled due to weather or any unexpected circumstance.