FAQ

  • Do graduates need to RSVP for Commencement?

    In the spring semester, all graduates will indicate their attendance for Commencement when they fill out the Graduation Confirmation Form in YES. There is no RSVP for guests.

  • Where do I purchase my regalia and when is the deadline to order?

    Regalia for the Class of 2024 is available here. The deadline for ordering is March 29, 2024. 

    All graduates taking part in Commencement must wear Vanderbilt's newly designed regalia (cap and gown) to participate in person at Commencement ceremonies. 

    • Doctoral graduates may rent or buy regalia. If you wish to buy your regalia, please note the deadline for ordering is March 1, 2024. There is no late order option.
    • The Graduate School covers the cost of regalia rentals or provides a $200 discount on the purchase of fine regalia for all Ph.D. students participating in the May ceremony.

    For regalia ordered after the deadline, there is a $10 late fee for shipping to Vanderbilt Bookstore.

  • What is the Nichols-Chancellor's Medal?

    The Nichols-Chancellor's Medal is awarded by Vanderbilt University to someone who defines the 21st century and exemplifies the best qualities of the human spirit. The award is presented at Graduates Day.

  • Do I need tickets for Commencement?

    Tickets are not needed for Undergraduate Commencement. For graduate and professional student commencement activities, please check with your respective schools regarding event ticketing.

    For international student graduates, letters of invitation are not drafted by the university. Please find more information on the International Student & Scholar Services webpage.

  • How long is the Commencement ceremony?

    Generally, undergraduate Commencement lasts about three hours. Concession stands will be open for guests to purchase food. We anticipate the ceremony ending around 12:30 p.m. Shuttles will then take graduates and guests back toward campus. Details about shuttle locations will be shared soon. 

  • Do graduates need to stay for the entire Commencement ceremony?

    All graduating Vanderbilt University students participating in undergraduate Commencement activities at Geodis Park on Friday, May 10, are required to stay for the entire ceremony.

    Only in the case of a personal medical emergency are students permitted to leave the ceremony early. The ceremony typically lasts three hours, and graduates and their guests can expect to begin leaving the stadium at 12:30 p.m.

  • What can I bring to Geodis Park?

    Geodis Park encourages guests NOT to bring any type of bag to expedite entry. If a bag is necessary, the bag (including all Diaper Bags) must be clear and not exceed 12"x12"x6". For more information, please read through the current park policies.

  • What is the current plan for inclement weather?

    The undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 10, will remain at Geodis Park; however, it will be on a delay. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the latest.

    • Graduates and their families will be notified via email the morning of both events regarding any changes to the schedule.
    • Graduate and professional students will be contacted by their schools or colleges about any changes to their Commencement ceremony locations on May 10.

    Shuttles and Parking

    • In the event of inclement weather for Commencement, shuttles will adjust their routes accordingly. For all other events, parking will remain the same.
  • If I registered for Commencement, why have I not received any emails?

    All summer, fall and eligible graduates should receive Commencement communications to their Vanderbilt email. Please reach out to the Commencement team if you are not receiving emails.

    An email archive is available to access information about Commencement.

  • Can we use ride-sharing to get to Geodis Park?

    Ride-sharing to Geodis Park is not recommended as there is no designated drop-off point near the park entrance.

    We strongly encourage guests to utilize the provided shuttles, as they will drop off directly in front of Geodis Park. If graduates have guests who need special assistance, please have them fill out the ADA request form, and we will accommodate their needs.

  • What are the traditions of Vanderbilt's Commencement?

    While the history of Vanderbilt's Commencement reflects the university's growth, the traditional icons are the seal, mace, Chancellor's Insignia and the Gonfalons.

  • When will I receive my diploma?

    Summer and fall graduates should have already received their diplomas. Please reach out to the registrar if you have not. These undergraduates will receive an empty diploma cover when they cross the stage.

    Spring graduates will receive their diploma when they cross the stage. Spring graduates who are unable to attend Commencement will have their diploma shipped in June to the address on file. Please check with the Registrar's Office for more information.

  • Will the events be livestreamed?

    The undergraduate ceremony will be livestreamed and a recording will be made available on the Commencement home page. Graduate and professional school students should ask their schools about plans to livestream specific ceremonies.

  • I am a summer or fall graduate. May I participate in Commencement 2024?

    Summer and fall 2023 graduates are invited to participate in the 2024 Commencement ceremony. Undergraduates will receive an empty diploma cover when they cross the stage.

    Summer or fall 2024 graduates will be invited to participate in the 2025 Commencement ceremony. Graduates receive an official diploma at the Commencement ceremony and therefore must complete all degree requirements to participate. 

  • How do I know when next year's Commencement will be?

    Vanderbilt Commencement is traditionally on or just before the second weekend in May, though specific dates may change based on the needs of the university community and the graduating class. 

  • Will the events be accessible?

    All events will be accessible for those needing mobility accommodations and we encourage guests to bring their state issued handicap placard if applicable.

    If you need accessibility assistance, please fill out this form. The submission deadline is Wednesday, May 1. Applicants will receive additional correspondence after the form closes.

  • What parking and shuttle services are available for Commencement?

    Parking and shuttle information will be announced closer to Commencement.

  • What is the university adornment policy?

    Please find the Vanderbilt adornment policy here: https://wpfsx.vanderbilt.edu/commencement/adornment-policy/

  • How do I receive my official Commencement images?

    Graduates will have their pictures taken as they walk across the stage by an official photographer. Details about receiving those pictures after the ceremony will be shared closer to Commencement. 

  • When will Graduates Day and the Commencement celebration take place?

    David Brooks, an internationally acclaimed journalist whose work has shaped timely conversations around controversial and complex issues, will receive Vanderbilt University’s prestigious Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal when he speaks at the university’s 2024 Commencement activities.

    Brooks’ Graduates Day address will be on May 9 at 11 a.m. at the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center Indoor Practice Facility. Doors will open at 10 a.m. with the event beginning at 11 a.m.

    The Commencement Celebration will directly follow the speaker event in the same space. Graduates and their families can enjoy music, dessert, champagne and a time of celebration.

  • Are there any hotel or lodging accommodations available for Commencement?

    Yes. Please find a list of hotels and overnight options on our accommodations page of the commencement website.

Please reach out if you have any comments or questions about Commencement.