Day of the Ceremony

Clear Bag Policy

Memorial Stadium will have a clear bag policy in place for the university-wide Commencement ceremony.

Inclement Weather Plan

The university-wide Commencement ceremony held on Saturday, May 13 will take place rain or shine. However, if the weather is unsafe, the ceremony will be cancelled or shortened depending on the weather forecast. Unsafe weather includes high winds and lightning strikes within eight miles of Memorial Stadium. The Commencement Office works closely with members of the University’s safety team and local meteorologists in making the determination to cancel or shorten Commencement.

Should inclement weather occur, a cancellation notification will be sent out via social media, the University of Illinois website, the University’s text messaging system (Illini-Alert), and to local media. All unit Convocation Ceremonies at the University will still take place at their regularly scheduled times.

Rain Information

Graduates: Graduates will not be allowed to bring umbrellas on the field. Ponchos will be distributed upon entering the stadium. There is no umbrella storage, please leave umbrellas with your guests.

Guests: Guests will be allowed to bring umbrellas into the stadium. Guests should be prepared to wait to enter the stadium as bags are checked. While umbrellas are allowed, rain suits or ponchos are highly recommended instead as umbrellas will impede the view of other guests.

Please remember, Illinois weather in May can change quickly. Please check the weather forecast and dress appropriately so you can celebrate the day comfortably with your graduate.

For updates, follow Commencement on Twitter #ILLINOIS2023

Arrival Time for Candidates – Doors open at 8:00 a.m.

Candidates for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and Advanced Certificates should report to Memorial Stadium no later than 8:45 a.m. Please refer to the section “Seating and Conferring of Degrees” for your appropriate location inside Memorial Stadium.

Doctoral candidates (A.Mus.D., Aud.D., D.V.M., Ed.D., J.D., J.S.D., M.D., and Ph.D.) should report to ARC Gym 4 by 8:30 a.m. for instructions from Graduate College staff regarding the procession into Memorial Stadium. Please do not bring anything with you to ARC or Memorial Stadium. You are not allowed to carry anything in the procession and there’s no secure place to leave it in the staging area.

Candidates receiving University Honors (Bronze Tablet) should arrive at Memorial Stadium by 8:45 a.m. Additional instructions will be emailed to these candidates.

For security purposes, upon arrival, candidates and guests will be asked to demonstrate that they do not possess anything that violates the clear bag policy.

In the event of rain, graduates will be given a complimentary poncho to wear over their academic attire. Umbrellas will not be allowed on the field of Memorial Stadium.

Seating Procedures

Seating and Conferring of Bachelor’s Degrees

Candidates for Bachelor’s degrees assemble in the section of Memorial Stadium on the field designated for their college or school. Candidates should fill in the front rows. Memorial Stadium ushers will provide assistance, if necessary. Candidates from each college rise as a group and are presented by their respective dean to the president.

Band and chorus members and ROTC candidates should stand at the same time that other candidates for undergraduate degrees from their college are presented to the president.

University Honors (Bronze Tablet) recipients Assemble as a group and process onto the field before the doctoral candidates. They sit together and are presented as a group to the president. They should also stand when candidates from their college are presented to the president. Bronze Tablet honorees are distinguished by orange and blue braided cords, which are worn from the left shoulder and are provided courtesy of the Office of the Chancellor.

Seating and Conferring of Master’s Degrees and Advanced Certificates

All Master’s degree and Advanced Certificate candidates sit as a group in their designated area inside the stadium. Master’s degree recipients and candidates should wear their hoods into Memorial Stadium. Candidates rise as a group and are presented by the dean of the Graduate College to the president, who will confer the degrees.

Seating and Conferring of Doctoral Degrees (A.Mus.D, Aud.D., D.V.M., Ed.D., J.D., J.S.D., M.D., and Ph.D.)

All Doctoral degree recipients assemble as a group in ARC Gym 4 and line up as directed by Graduate College staff. Doctoral candidates process into the stadium following the platform party and are seated on the field of Memorial Stadium. The dean of the Graduate College asks the Doctoral candidates to rise and presents the candidates to the president, who confers the degrees.

Candidates should wear their hoods, stoles should not be worn with hoods.


To view the 2023 University-wide Commencement Livestream please visit the 2023 Celebration Webpage.