Parents and Families

Every year, excitement fills the air in Ann Arbor as Commencement approaches. Spring has arrived and seniors are eager to graduate and move on to the next phase of their lives. This year, as the university welcomes President Obama as its Commencement speaker, families should prepare for a packed and lively event.

The most up-to-date and detailed information about Commencement is available on our Spring Commencement website. But we’ve included the answers and links to more information about some basic questions below.

Where and when is Commencement?
Spring Commencement will be held May 1 at Michigan Stadium. The gates will open at 6:30 a.m.; graduates and guests should arrive no later than 9 a.m. in order to get through security by the time the ceremony begins at 11 a.m.

Who can participate?
All graduates and candidates of the Winter Term 2010, Spring/Summer Term 2010, or Fall Term 2009, may participate. Students who are unsure of their eligibility should contact the appropriate Registrar’s Office.

Will my student need a cap and gown?
Yes, academic attire (cap and gown) is required for participating graduates. It is available at several locations in Ann Arbor.

Will my student sit with me?
No, graduates will sit together during Commencement. They will assemble at nearby Elbel Field, beginning at 6:30 a.m. and no later than 9 a.m.

Does my family need tickets?
Yes. All graduates and guests attending Spring Commencement, including children over age 2, must have a ticket to enter Michigan Stadium.

How do we get tickets?
Graduating students must attend Ticket Distribution on April 26, 27 or 28 to pick up tickets, and must present their student identification (MCard) in order to receive tickets. This is a change from previous years. Tickets are available at no cost, and each undergraduate participating in Commencement may receive up to eight tickets.

What should we know about security?
Graduates and guests should plan to arrive by 9 a.m. in order to pass through security before the ceremony. Bags of all sizes, all bottles and containers, umbrellas and some other items are prohibited. All graduates and guests must also pass through metal detectors. See our instructions for families and guests for more details.

How should I get to the stadium?
Families should plan for traffic congestion and difficulty parking. If you wish to park and walk to the stadium, a number of lots are available. Shuttle service will be offered, beginning at 5:30 a.m., to and from select hotels, central downtown locations and select university parking lots shown on this map. Shuttles will run approximately every 20 minutes, subject to traffic conditions.

Won’t my family get hungry and thirsty?
Families may purchase food and beverages at the concession stands inside Michigan Stadium, which are expected to open around 7 a.m.

What will happen the rest of the day?
A Buffet and Memories Reception are both scheduled for May 1. Many schools, colleges and programs also hold their own recognition events.