Commencement Day Events
Tuesday, June 4
Commencement is an open meeting of the Board of Trustees held on the front lawn of Nassau Hall, weather permitting. The program includes brief speeches by the salutatorian, the valedictorian, and the president of the University; the awarding of degrees to undergraduate and graduate students; the conferral of teaching awards to several New Jersey high school teachers and Princeton University faculty; and conferral of honorary degrees. Individual diplomas are distributed following the ceremony.
9 a.m. Guest seating begins on the front lawn of Nassau Hall and guests must be seated by 10:15 a.m. since the academic procession begins at 10:20 a.m. Each senior and advanced degree candidate receives 5 guest tickets. Ticket entrances are located on both the east and west sides of Nassau Hall and at the gates on Nassau Street. (Please note that there are entrances on BOTH sides of Nassau Hall, not just on the west side.) Admission to the seating area is by ticket only. Some standing room, not requiring tickets, is available, once degree candidates are seated, along the edges of the front lawn of Nassau Hall (there is no unticketed standing room for an indoor Commencement in Jadwin Gym).
The ceremony will be simulcast in Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, adjacent to Nassau Hall; no ticket is necessary for entrance to the simulcast site. Alexnader Hall is air conditioned; it is accessible; it is the best option for guests who do not have tickets, and it is the most comfortable option for guests with disabilities or who may be uncomfortable because of the weather (Princeton can be hot and humid in June).
9:45 a.m. Formation for Commencement procession. The class forms on the walk between Nassau Hall and Cannon Green (at the south end of Jadwin Gym if Commencement is indoors). In case of severe weather (for example, high winds or lightning), Commencement will be held in Jadwin Gym; the change in location will be announced by 8 a.m. through e-mail messages to seniors and posted on the University home page.
Candidates for advanced degrees assemble at the head of the procession behind Nassau Hall in the following order: Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Arts in Near Eastern Studies, Master of Science, Master of Architecture, Master in Public Affairs, Master in Public Affairs and Urban and Regional Planning, Master in Public Policy, Master of Science in Engineering, Master of Engineering and Master in Finance. Marshals will be available to assist.
10:20 a.m. Guests must be seated.
10:30 a.m. Academic procession begins.
11 a.m. Commencement ceremony begins. Once at their places, degree recipients remain standing until President Tilghman takes her seat; recipients remove caps when the president removes hers.
Conferral of Bachelor Degrees: Dean of the College Valerie Smith introduces candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Arts by departmental groupings. Candidates are invited to rise as respective departments are named. President Tilghman confers the degree, using the traditional Latin formula: Auctoritate mihi a curatoribus Vniversitatis Princetoniensis commissa, vos ad gradum primum in Artibus [in Scientiis Ingeniariis] et cum honoribus, ut indicatum est, admitto. “By the authority vested in me by The Trustees of Princeton University, I admit you to the degree of Bachelor of Arts [Bachelor of Science in Engineering], with honors as indicated.” Candidates remain standing until the marshals give the signal to be seated. The same procedure is followed for candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Engineering, with appropriate amendments.
Conferral of Advanced Degrees: Dean of the Graduate School William Russel asks candidates receiving various degrees to rise and remain standing until the president confers the degrees. At the conclusion of the program (at approximately 12:30 p.m.), all stand to sing “Old Nassau.” Guests are asked to remain in their places until the recession has left front campus.
NOTE: Alcohol is not permitted at Commencement and will be confiscated.
Diploma Distribution Events
Seniors receive diplomas at receptions hosted by their residential colleges (seniors should go to the college to which they are assigned this year). Diplomas are available at the college receptions immediately after Commencement until 2:30 p.m. Locations are as follows. Shuttle service is available to Butler, Forbes, Whitman and Wilson Colleges and from the colleges to the parking garage. Mathey and Rockefeller Colleges are a short walk from Nassau Hall. An interactive campus map can be found at this link.
Butler College: Butler Courtyard on Elm Drive.
Forbes College: Living room and terrace.
Mathey College: Walkway between Hamilton and Joline Halls; Mathey College dining room and lounge.
Rockefeller College: Holder Cloister and Rockefeller College lounge and dining room.
Whitman College: 1963 courtyard.
Wilson College: Lawn in front of Wilcox Hall (north side).
From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. that afternoon, and from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. for the rest of the week, diplomas are available in the Office of the Registrar in 101 West College.
May advanced degree candidates receive their diplomas on Cannon Green. The Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni hosts a reception for graduate students and their guests following Commencement. More information about the location will be available closer to Commencement.
If Commencement is moved inside to Jadwin Gymnasium because of severe weather, then all diplomas will be given out at Jadwin.
ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
3–5 p.m. Exercises take place in the Faculty Room of Nassau Hall. New ofﬁcers and their families are invited to a reception in the Memorial Room, Nassau Hall, immediately following the Commissioning Ceremony.