Parents and Families

A graduation cap decorated with "I love you mom and dad" letters.

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, your student is probably graduating this spring. We hope this guide will help take some of the stress out of the big day (or days) so that you and your student can enjoy this momentous occasion.

Tip #1: There is more than one graduation ceremony for the University of Michigan. 

Understanding this concept will help you better plan and communicate with your student.

General Commencement (the "big" graduation) is held in the football stadium. It includes important speakers, massive crowds, lots of traffic, and all the pomp and circumstance you would expect. See:

Tip #2: Small graduation ceremonies and events are important too. 

Many smaller entities within the university host their own celebrations during the days leading up to General Commencement. These small ceremonies may mean more to your student than General Commencement. Some events take place as early as Thursday, April 25, so ask your student in advance so that you know when to arrive. See:

Tip #3: International families must be sure to plan ahead.

If you need to apply for a visa in order to attend the commencement ceremonies, be sure to ask your student to submit a request for a “Letter of Invitation.” U-M provides this letter to assist you in getting a visa to attend the ceremonies. See how to obtain this letter.

Tip #4: Plan your meals in advance.

Restaurants in Ann Arbor will be packed during graduation weekend, so make reservations as soon as possible. For a list of local restaurants, see Ann Arbor Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The university also provides several special meals for students and their families. Be sure to purchase tickets and make reservations in advance.

  • Commencement Brunch Celebration will take place on Saturday, May 4 at Pierpont Commons on North Campus.
  • Families who have a large number of people attending may be interested in reserving a banquet room at the Michigan League or Pierpont Commons. With a minimum purchase of ten full-service meals, the room rental is complementary to graduating seniors. Call Conference & Event Services at (734) 764-2000 for information.

We hope you enjoy this joyous occasion! 


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