Parents and Families

Students wave at the General Commencement ceremony

Congratulations if your student is graduating this spring! This guide can help make the big day (or days) easier, so you and your student can enjoy this momentous occasion.

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

The big ceremony is officially known as General Commencement. It takes place in MIchigan Stadium. Envision well-known speakers, massive crowds, lots of traffic, and plenty of ceremony. Logistical details are provided on the Spring Commencement website. Be sure to use the Guest Checklist to help you prepare, and carefully review the information about what you can and cannot bring into Michigan Stadium. Spoiler Alert – you'll need to leave your purse at home!

Tip #2:  Small graduation ceremonies and celebrations may mean more to your student than the big one,. Ask your student about any of these special events in advance so you can plan to arrive in town early to attend them. 

Some schools and colleges, such as the College of Engineering or the School of Kinesiology, hold their own ceremonies specifically for those students. In addition, some departments and programs offer ceremonies, receptions, or open houses for students who majored in a particular subject or who participated in a specific program. For example, LSA English majors have their own ceremony, as do physics majors.

In addition, the university offers many ceremonies and events for students and their families with specific identities, such as:

Tip #3: International families must 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." The University of Michigan provides this letter to assist you in getting a visa to attend the ceremonies. Information about how to obtain this letter is posted on the Commencement website.

Tip #4: Plan your meals in advance.

As you would expect, restaurants in Ann Arbor will be packed during graduation weekend. Be sure to make your reservations as soon as possible. An Ann Arbor restaurant guide is available from the Ann Arbor Convention & Visitors Bureau

In addition to restaurants, the university provides several special meals for students and their families. Tickets and reservations are typically sold in advance. The Michigan Union and Pierpont Commons will host Commencement Brunches on Saturday, April 28. Families who have a large number of people attending may be interested in reserving a banquet room at one of the University Unions. With a minimum purchase of ten full-service meals, the room rental is complementary for graduating seniors. Contact Conference & Event Services for more information. 

Again, congratulations on this big moment. Your encouragement and support have helped your student reach this milestone. Enjoy your celebration! 


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