Undergraduate Student Ceremony Instructions

The Pitt community will celebrate the attainment of bachelor's degrees on Sunday, April 28, at the University's John M. and Gertrude Petersen Events Center. The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. To learn when and where to arrive, as well as details on seating, parking and more, see the instructions below.

Download the 2019 Undergraduate Student Ceremony Handout (PDF) »

When will doors open?

Doors to the Petersen Events Center will open to the public at 10:30 a.m.

However, as a graduating candidate, please observe the following times:

ALL GRADUATES are to arrive through the Lawn Level Entrance (Figure 2). These doors will open at 10:30 a.m. only for graduating candidates. Candiates must arrive no later than 11:45 a.m.

  • Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences candidates will be directed to go to the Food Court on the Lawn Level.
  • All other schools’ candidates will be directed to the Practice Gym on the Event Level (Figure 3).

It is imperative to follow the above directions to ensure that all candidates are in
procession order by 1 p.m.

Petersen Event Center Floor Plans

What happens once I arrive?

  • Graduates are to arrive with their regalia and academic hood.
  • Check in at the registration desk in your assigned area to receive your name card and lanyard. Place the lanyard around your neck.
  • If you have chosen not to have your name announced, you will still receive a card and lanyard designating your request not to have your name announced.

Where do my family and guests go?

  • All family members and guests enter the Petersen Events Center through either the Lobby Level Entrance (Figure 1) or Concourse A (Figure 4).
    No tickets will be required for entrance. Open seating is available.

What happens during the ceremony?

  • The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. with a procession of graduates, faculty, and the platform party.
  • As each school is announced, you will be led to the stage by a marshal.  
  • Volunteers will collect your card prior to your ascending the stage. Announcers will read your name and you will be congratulated on the stage by your dean.  
  • If you have chosen not to have your name announced, you will be congratulated on the stage by your dean.
  • It is important to move swiftly to ensure that you are on stage when your name is announced. Please do not take time to have a conversation with those on stage and keep moving.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Please refrain from bringing bags, backpacks, or purses with you to the ceremony as you might not return to the same seat after descending from the stage.

Where should I park?

  • University of Pittsburgh parking lots will be open beginning at 8 a.m. and will be free for graduates and their guests. These lots are highlighted in dark blue on the campus map below.
  • Accessible shuttles will be running from the parking lots and guest hotels Hilton Garden Inn (McKee Place), Hampton Inn (Boulevard of the Allies), Quality Inn (Boulevard of the Allies), Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center (Lytton Avenue), and Residence Inn (Forbes Avenue) to the Petersen Events Center. Shuttle service will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will continue running until one hour after the ceremony.

Campus Map

PCNTR: John M. and Gertrude E. Petersen Events Center University parking lots are in dark blue.

A: Wesley W. Posvar Hall (E-4) •
E: Fitzgerald Field House (A-2)
F: Fraternity (B-2)
FRTOW: Forbes Tower (D-4) •
OC: Allequippa Street (A-2) •
OH: O’Hara Garage (C-2) •
PG: Public Health (C-3)
RA: Ruskin Hall (F-1)
SC: Falk School (C-1)
SO: Soldiers & Sailors (E-2) •
TV: Towerview (A-1)
U: Veterans Lot (B-1)

• Shuttles will run to and from these parking lots.

What accommodations have been made for Individuals with disabilities?

  • The Lobby Level and Concourse Level entrances are accessible for individuals with disabilities. The most accessible entrance to the Petersen Events Center for family and guests is the Lobby Level Entrance.
  • The Petersen Events Center offers seating for guests with disabilities behind sections L213, L214, L215, L216, L220, L221, and L222. These seats can be accessed by taking the elevators to the Concourse Level (Figure 4). Additional seating for individuals with disabilities is behind sections 101, 102, 103, 104, 124, 125, and 126. These seats can be accessed by taking the elevators to Club Rear.
  • Section 120 of the Petersen Events Center will be reserved for those family members and guests of graduates who are hearing impaired and will be staffed by a sign language interpreter.
  • If a graduate requires special accommodations due to a disability, he/she should contact the Office of Special Events at 412-624-7100. Arrangements will be handled individually.

Anything else?

  • Choose a meeting location with your guests before they take their seats.
  • Alcoholic beverages and items that can interfere with the ceremony (beach balls, bullhorns, etc.) are not permitted in the Petersen Events Center and will be confiscated.
  • There will be thousands of people entering and walking through the Petersen Events Center. Latecomers will not be permitted to walk with their school or college during the processional, and they will be seated in the general overflow student section.
  • Before you depart, stop at a photo booth located at the main exit doors for a memento photograph with classmates and family.

For more highlights, visit pittwire.pitt.edu.