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In Case of Rain

Historically, spring in Nashville is beautiful and pleasant. We occasionally experience heavy rains or other severe weather. In these rare cases, we shift the main ceremony and various other events to safer locations. Please review the information below for complete details on location, parking and other important changes in the event of inclement weather.

Please use this website or download the Commencement app and allow notifications to receive the latest weather-related news on all Vanderbilt Commencement ceremonies.

The Party

The Party will occur rain or shine. Only in the case of extreme weather will The Party be cancelled.

Senior Day Speaker & Nichols-Chancellor Award Recipient

Since Senior Day is being held inside Memorial Gymnasium, it will continue regardless of minor weather. In the event of severe weather conditions that would prevent us from holding the ceremony (tornadoes or other extreme conditions as deemed by the university), Senior Day will be cancelled and no makeup date would be scheduled.

Additional Points to Keep in Mind

  • The main gym where Commencement will be held is NOT air conditioned.
  • The practice gym inside the Memorial Gym complex is the only air-conditioned area and will be set up with a large theater-style screen to view the ceremony (accommodates 1,800 people).
  • Attendees with special needs:
    • Those with special needs or who are sensitive to heat are encouraged to view the ceremony in the practice gym.
    • Wheelchair pickup will be relocated to the corner of Jess Neely Drive and 25th Ave. South (same corner as the baseball field and across from 25th Ave. Garage).
    • The only wheelchair entrance is at the pickup location at the corner of Jess Neely Drive and 25th Ave. South.
  • Holding seats is not permitted inside Memorial Gym as seats are very limited.
  • Graduate/professional parents and guests are encouraged to report directly to the individual school diploma ceremonies (see SCHEDULE – FRIDAY for individual school start times).

Commencement Ceremony

In the event of heavy rain prior to or during the actual Commencement ceremony, Commencement will be moved to Memorial Gym. Shuttles will be re-routed to drop passengers off at the corner of Jess Neely and 25th avenues from the Terrace Place and Wesley Place garages. The Kensington and 25th Ave. parking garages are within walking distance from Memorial Gym and will not offer shuttle service.

Indoor Viewing Areas

  • Sarratt Cinema
    Showing: Commencement ceremony
    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. (Seating capacity: 309)
  • Old Gym
    Showing: Commencement ceremony
    The Old Gym is located at the north end of Alumni Lawn adjacent to West End Avenue. (Seating capacity: 100)
  • Neely Auditorium
    Showing: Commencement ceremony
    Neely is located on the southeast corner of Alumni Lawn near Rand Hall. (Seating capacity: 298)
  • Rand Dining Hall
    Showing: Senior Day and Commencement ceremony
    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.

Rain Plan Viewing Sites

Memorial Gym Overview

Memorial Gym Overview

Undergraduate Seating

Undergraduate Seating


Graduate/Professional Seating