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Commencement Day Events

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Commencement Ceremony

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. 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.  Alexander 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).  The ceremony also will be simulcast on the large screens on Cannon Green and in Dillon Gym (no tickets are necessary for the simulcast locations).

9:45 a.m. Formation for Commencement procession. The senior class forms on the walk between Nassau Hall and Cannon Green. Candidates for advanced degrees assemble at the head of the procession on the walkway between Cannon Green and West College 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 Policy, Master of Science in Engineering, Master of Engineering and Master in Finance. Marshals will be available to assist.

[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.  If the ceremony moves to Jadwin Gym, seniors are seated as they arrive; there is no student procession.]

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 Eisgruber takes his seat; recipients remove caps when the president removes his.

Conferral of Bachelor Degrees: Dean of the College Jill Dolan introduces candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Arts by departmental groupings. Candidates are invited to rise as respective departments are named. President Eisgruber 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: The Dean of the Graduate School 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.

PHOTOS:  Guests are asked to remain in their seats throughout the ceremony and until the graduates have left front campus.  The processional routes are fenced to leave clear access for the procession.  Professional photographers take photos throughout the procession and ceremony and capture graduates exiting the FitzRandolph gate at the end of the ceremony.  These photos are posted to the Website  and can be downloaded for free, courtesy of the University.

NOTE: Alcohol is not permitted at Commencement and will be confiscated. Drones are not allowed.

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.

June advanced degree candidates receive their diplomas behind Alexander Hall. The Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni hosts a reception for graduate students and their guests following Commencement also behind Alexander Hall.

If Commencement is moved inside to Jadwin Gymnasium because of severe weather, then diplomas will still be given out at residential colleges for seniors and behind Alexander Hall for advanced degree candidates whose degrees are conferred in June.

ROTC Commissioning Ceremony

3–5 p.m. The ceremony will take place in the Faculty Room of Nassau Hall. New officers and their families and guests are invited to a reception at Chancellor Green immediately following the Commissioning Ceremony.