2019 Winter Commencement
December 15, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.
Dean E. Smith Center
Graduates should arrive at 1:00 p.m. and enter the arena through Entry D. Guests should use Entry A. No tickets are required.
- The Winter Commencement includes graduating undergraduate, Master's degree, and Doctoral degree candidates.
- Doors to the Smith Center will open at 1:00 pm on December 15; the ceremony will begin promptly at 2:00 pm.
- All degree candidates should be in academic regalia. Doctoral and master's degree candidates should be wearing their academic hoods. Having received your bachelor's degrees already, tassels are worn on the left side before, during, and after graduating. They are not moved from the right side to the left side. Please do not carry gifts or other valuables with you to the processional line as there will be nowhere to store them.
Master's degree candidates
- All graduating master's degree candidates are invited and welcome to attend the Winter Commencement. No RSVP or check-in is necessary.
- Master's graduates will not be called to the stage.
Doctoral degree candidates and recipients
- All December 2019 doctoral candidates, as well as August 2019 graduates, will receive an electronic invitation in mid-October via their UNC email address. August graduates should make sure to have an updated personal email address listed with the University Registrar through ConnectCarolina or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Please check all of your inboxes and folders in case the invitation is inadvertently directed to junk/spam folders. If you can attend, please RSVP by clicking through the link in the invitation and completing your registration by November 20, 2019 so that we can have your name and, if necessary, pronunciation recorded.
- If you have not received the invitation by mid-October and/or believe your UNC email address to be inactive, please reach out to Hoi Ning Ngai, Associate Dean for Student Affairs with an alternate email address.
- If you do not successfully complete all of your degree requirements to have your degree conferred at the ceremony, you will not be allowed to participate. No exceptions will be made.
- Doctoral graduates will be called to walk across the stage by the Dean of The Graduate School.
- Basic black regalia will be available to purchase through the UNC Student Stores – online or in store. Please make sure to provide specifics on your master's (school/department/program) or doctoral (PhD, EdD, DNP, or DPH) degree so that you can request the proper hood for purchase. All PhD students (regardless of school affiliation – e.g., School of Medicine) will receive the dark blue PhD hood.
- Online Orders: October 1-November 30 through UNC Student Stores
- In-Store Sales: October 21-December 15 (Commencement Day)
- Online Orders: October 1-November 30 through UNC Student Stores
- Doctoral students interested in custom Carolina blue regalia will need to place their order by the end of October to guarantee delivery before Commencement weekend. Please send an email to email@example.com for more information.
- Faculty can rent regalia through UNC Student Stores October 1-November 6. Rentals will be available for pick-up at UNC Student Stores beginning December 9.
- For questions regarding regalia, stop by the store or contact the graduation department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Commencement announcements can be purchased through Herff Jones. For questions, call (919) 544-3332 or 800-837-4235.
- Diplomas for all December degree recipients are ordered after graduation and mailed in mid-March to each graduate’s home address (as it appears in ConnectCarolina at the posted deadline - see Important Graduation Dates).
- Diploma frames can be purchased through UNC Student Stores.
- Additional information is available from the Office of the University Registrar.
Arrival and Entry on the Concourse Level:
- Graduates should arrive at 1:00 p.m. and enter the Smith Center through Entrance D and proceed downstairs via the closest elevator or stairwell.
- GradImages™ photographers will be set up on the concourse level inside Entrance D to take pictures of any candidate who wishes; this is optional for all student candidates regardless of degree; do not get in the photography line if you do not wish to have a professional photo taken. (NOTE: Only doctoral degree candidates will have professional photographs taken during the ceremony as they descend from the stage.)
- If you are not having a professional photo taken, please proceed downstairs to the tunnel level for the processional line-up using the elevator or stairwell at Entrance D.
- If you are having a professional photo taken, when done, please proceed downstairs to the tunnel level for the processional line-up using the elevator or stairwell at Entrance D.
Processional Line-Up on the Tunnel Level and Ceremony Details – Master's Candidates:
- Master's candidates should line up by degree for the processional in the tunnel as directed by staff and volunteers; there is no check-in required with The Graduate School staff.
- Master's candidates will process in after the doctoral candidates; remain standing until all processionals are complete.
- Master's candidates will be recognized and asked to stand by their appropriate academic dean during the course of the ceremony.
Processional Line-Up on the Tunnel Level and Ceremony Details - Doctoral Candidates:
- All doctoral candidates must check in at The Graduate School table located downstairs on the tunnel level right by the elevator and stairwell.
- At check-in, you will receive a name card containing your name, degree, and academic program. This card is to be kept and handed to the Dean on stage as you ascend the stairs to walk the stage. DO NOT LOSE THIS CARD. If you need to make any changes to the card at check-in, please do so immediately and quickly so as not to impede the check-in process for others.
- Following check-in with The Graduate School, doctoral candidates will line up for the processional in the tunnel as directed by staff and volunteers.
- Doctoral candidates will process in after the University faculty; remain standing until all processionals are complete.
- At the Dean’s cue, staff and volunteers will signal doctoral candidates to rise and approach the stage.
- Staff and volunteers will assist as you ascend the stage steps; step up to the stage and hand your name card to the Dean on stage.
- As the Dean calls your name and degree information, proceed to the Chancellor for their congratulations and handshake.
- Descend the stage and stand for a final posed picture at the base of the stairs in front of The Graduate School banner.
- Walk down the side aisle and up the middle aisle to return to your seat for the remainder of the ceremony.
Departure from the Floor Level after the Ceremony:
- At the end of the ceremony, after the platform party and faculty recess, students will be free to exit the floor and connect with family and friends. There is no recessional for students and hooding faculty.
- Due to the timing of other events in the Smith Center, staff will direct everyone off the floor and into the stands as soon as the ceremony is done.
Accessibility Services, Seating and Parking:
- Services for students and guests with disabilities or medical conditions are available.
- Students who have accessibility needs should contact Accessibility Resources and Service at email@example.com who will work with staff from The Graduate School and University Events accordingly to navigate ceremony details.
- If guests have a state-issued handicapped hangtag, they can park in the Williamson Lot directly across from the Smith Center. The lot will be clearly marked with the appropriate signage. Golf carts will pick up guests needing assistance from the lot and drop them at Gate A.
- Accessible seating is located all along the concourse level in the Smith Center. No ticket is required for seating. If you require other accommodations (interpreter services, more specialized seating, etc.), please contact Accessibility Resources and Service at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 962-0754; NC Relay 711.
- Students do not have designated parking, so all applicable lots for guests (see below) can be used by students.
- Parking for guests will be available in most lots surrounding the Smith Center (map of these parking lots). They include: the Manning Lot (on Bowles Drive between the Smith Center and Family Practice), the Bowles Lot (on Bowles Drive behind Craige Dorm), and the Business School Deck.
- Disability parking is available in the Williamson Lot across the street from the Smith Center by presenting a disability permit/placard or license plate. Guests needing parking accommodations for the elderly and not having a disability permit, plate, or placard should Accessibility Resources and Service at email@example.com or at (919) 962-8300.
- All guests are welcome to attend the ceremony. No tickets are necessary and there is no restriction on the number of guests invited per each graduate. There are no assigned seats.
- Guests can arrive as early as 1:00 p.m. and enter the Smith Center at Entrance A where programs will be available. Please do not bring gifts into the Smith Center.
- No refreshments will be available at the ceremony. Please bring water as needed.
- All guests and their belongings are subject to screening by entry personnel. The following items will not be permitted in the Smith Center:
- Backpacks, duffel bags, oversized purses, or computer cases
- Alcohol, bottles, cans, food, thermoses, coolers, drugs, chains, and fireworks
- Weapons, noisemakers, laser pointers, and other items deemed inappropriate by Smith Center personnel
- No signs larger than 8.5 inches by 11 inches
- Students and scholars who want to invite international family members to visit the U.S. as tourists may use the information below to assist those family members in applying for a visa.