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Guest/Parent Checklist

Before You Arrive

Key Deadlines
Be sure to check out these important dates.  Click here.

Sign up for monthly e-newsletters to receive updates directly. 

Book Travel and Accommodations
Hotels and flights to Nashville during Commencement weekend sell out quickly due to high demand. We recommend making reservations well in advance. Click here for travel and logistics information.  

International Guests  
If you live out of the country and need a visa to attend commencement, you may request an Invitation Letter.  For more information, please visit the International Student & Scholar Services website.

Plan for Guests Needing Special Accommodations
If you or a member of your party is in need of any assistance, we can help. For more information, click here, or contact the Vanderbilt Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department’s Disability Services Program at (615) 322-4705.

Plan for Commencement Seating
Seating for the Commencement Main Ceremony on Alumni Lawn is open. Tickets are not required. We do ask that you limit your group size so that all students will have room for their guests.
Please note that saving seats is strictly prohibited. All members of one’s party must be in attendance to claim seats. Please be respectful of this rule and of those who enforce it.
If you wish to see your graduate as he or she processes into the ceremony, we recommend viewing the Graduate Procession and Seating map. This map indicates where and how each school will process into the ceremony. You may want to select a seat along your graduate’s route to get the best view.

Socks for Grads

With a gift of $35 to any area of Vanderbilt University between April 8th and April 30th, your graduating senior will receive a pair of limited-edition Anchor Down socks as our way of saying thanks. Give now and get socks! April 30th is the deadline to make a gift online to ensure that seniors receive their socks before Commencement. The socks will be included in regalia bags for pick up May 8th and 9th at Barnes & Noble Vanderbilt. 


Indoor Viewing of the Ceremony

 For those who wish to view the ceremony from an air-conditioned location, there are various indoor seating options at the following locations:

Sarratt Cinema
The cinema is located in the Sarratt Student Center adjacent to Alumni Lawn. This is an ideal location for guests of Graduate and Professional students who wish to view the main ceremony prior to their graduate’s ceremony.

Baseball Glove Lounge
Located on the Alumni Lawn side of Sarratt Student Center, the Baseball Glove Lounge is a casual area to see the ceremony on the small screen.

Old Gym The Old Gym is located at the north end of Alumni Lawn adjacent to West End Avenue.

Neely Auditorium Neely is located on the southeast corner of Alumni Lawn near Rand Hall.

Rand Dining Hall Rand Dining Hall is located on the south end of Alumni Lawn and is connected to the Sarratt Student Center.  Screens are located throughout the hall. Food and beverage options are available for purchase.

Remember to...

Download the Commencement App     

weeiconWe recommend that all guests sign up for Commencement App. This is the only way to receive direct alerts of event changes. Not only will you have up-to-the-minute event changes, you'll be able to view maps, schedules and create your own personalized schedule. In the event that the ceremony will need to be moved indoors, this is the best method for receiving that information.

Prohibited Items :
Umbrellas (so as not to impede the view of other guests) - use ponchos instead

Plan Your Attire
Commencement takes place during May in Nashville, so anticipate the weather to be warm and potentially humid. The main ceremony takes place outdoors on grass in an area with limited shade. You may also be required to walk a considerable distance from shuttle stops or parking lots to the event site. Please dress accordingly. We recommend breathable, light colored fabrics and comfortable shoes without heels.

Purchase Party Tickets
If you plan to attend The Party on Wednesday, May 8th, you must purchase tickets in advance. Tickets are $20 a person and required for anyone over the age of 13. Vanderbilt University degree candidates may attend free of charge. They must, however, redeem their complimentary ticket here.

All tickets are e-tickets and must be printed by the ticket holder in advance or be readily available on a smartphone or mobile device to scan upon entry. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here

Purchase Party Tables
Tables for 10 are $75 *admission tickets not included.  With your purchase of a table is the opportunity to purchase a Gourmet Picnic Tote filled with food for 10 for $125.  These will be available for table holders through April 20th. 

Click here for more ticket information. 


Vanderbilt University Public Safety has recently launched VandySafe (previously SafeVU) and it is now available for download on your smartphone through the Apple or Google Play stores. VandySafe is available for anyone who wishes to communicate with VUPD for non-emergency or emergency assistance while on the University or Medical Center campuses. 

Users of VandySafe can: 

  • Contact VUPD via phone call or real-time chatVandySafe
  • Submit an iReport with a photo or video directly to VUPD Communications Officers
  • Trigger a mobile blue light that shares your location instantly with VUPD
  • Virtual Walkhome - allow VUPD Dispatch to monitor your walk home, to your car or office
  • Share your location with a friend
  • Access support resources, such as Facilities and EAP
  • View campus emergency guides
  • And much more!

Commodore Yearbook and Parent Congratulatory Messages

Yearbook 2019We are now taking orders for the 2018-19 Commodore Yearbook and Parent Congratulatory Messages to appear in the yearbook.

Simply visit  The Commodore Yearbook  to place your order and also reserve your Parent Congratulatory Message spot. You can reserve your space now to make sure you have one and then submit your message text and photo(s) by May 13th. You will also find information throughout the year on yearbook and resume portrait dates and times for your student to take their Yearbook/Resume portraits.


WE WANT YOUR VU PHOTOS PARENTS and STUDENTS! We are also inviting parents, families, students, faculty, staff and Vanderbilt community members to submit photos of Vandy events that they attend to our Scrapbook Section. If you are attending events on campus such as Move-in Weekend, Homecoming, Parent and Family Weekend, Rites of Spring, Commencement or just making a family visit on a quiet weekend, we hope to include your photos in the yearbook.

Please let us know if you have any questions about placing your order or about the yearbook in general. We may be reached via email at or via phone at 615-343-3064.


     Order Now »

Memorabilia and Gifts

You may order additional, optional commencement related items, which include the following:

Diploma frames
Class rings
Video Downloads