Skip to main content

more options

Welcome Families, Graduates, and Guests!

Planning Your Weekend
Navigating This Website

Students: review student information

Welcome! We are excited to have you visit Ithaca and the beautiful Cornell campus for Cornell University's 2016 Commencement Weekend on May 27, 28, 29.

An invited guest will speak at Senior Convocation on Saturday, the day before graduation. The university president delivers the Commencement address on Sunday morning at the University Commencement Ceremony. Colleges/departments also have events planned for graduates and their families.

You do not need tickets to attend the University Commencement Ceremony or Senior Convocation, and there is no limit to the number of guests who may attend. However, these arrangement may change if weather becomes severe the morning of either of these two main events.

We are pleased to offer accessible seating and parking for guests, including those with limited mobility.

Please explore the links to the left for details about how to get here, where to stay, where to eat, where to park, college/department ceremonies & receptions, and events happening throughout the weekend.

To help you plan your weekend, we have prepared a student & family CHECKLIST. The document contains links to help you navigate through the Commencement website as well.

Here are a few tips to make your weekend more enjoyable:

  • Be prepared for weather (sunblock, umbrella, etc.). The ceremony will remain outdoors even in normal rain, and the stadium is not covered.
  • We're planning to hold the main ceremony outdoors at Schoellkopf Stadium, where there are no admission tickets and no guest limit.
  • Bring your Severe Weather Plan (SWP) tickets to Ithaca, in case weather turns severe on Sunday morning. We remembered to mail them to you, now it's up to you to remember to pack them. Your student has worked hard for this, so please don't let him or her down by leaving your tickets at home. SWP tickets are not replaceable or reprinted, so treat them like airline tickets or concert tickets by remembering to bring them if you want to see the show. If you forget your SWP tickets, you can always watch the ceremony online and away from severe weather, but your graduate is counting on you to pack something as important to you as tickets to his/her live ceremony, even if the odds of needing them are very slim.
  • Family & friends not traveling to Ithaca may join the celebration via webcast, rain or shine!
  • Dress per your comfort level (business-casual is common) or for the event you plan to attend following Commencement.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes! (Bring bandaids for blisters.)
  • Consider carrying extra camera batteries.
  • Bring activities for young children do quietly in their seats.
  • In addition to University Commencement, you and your graduate will also attend a college or department event. Many colleges and departments have events planned for Sunday afternoon, immediately following University Commencement. However, some hold their events on Saturday rather than Sunday. If the student's college/department does not have an event planned for Sunday afternoon, your only event to attend on Sunday may be University Commencement, which will end at noon. If so, you may want to remain seated for another 20 minutes while others are exiting to get their next event. Relax, let the place clear out, visit with family, take pictures, and then enjoy a more leisurely exit once crowds have left.
  • Make arrangements for mobility-impaired family members, as vehicles do not unload passengers at the stadium.
  • Please consider bringing a wheelchair or transport chair for the comfort and safety of elderly guests. If they don't usually use a wheelchair, they likely won't need to use one at the stadium. However, proud grandparents will also want to attend the graduate's college/department event, so it's important to consider how they will get to those events as well. Walking a full block from the stadium or closest bus stop to the department event may be too strenuous for some. In that case, consider our yellow accessibility plan and getting a wheelchair or transport chair out of your vehicle when needed to shuttle around campus. If you're bringing a mobility device, you'll need to request our Option 1 Yellow Plan for appropriate seating & parking access. Even elderly guests may find our Yellow Plan more comfortable anyway (drop-off/park at the stadium, no buses, no stairs, no bleachers). They don't need to be in a wheelchair in order to request special arrangements.
  • Visit our maps page for seating diagrams, Sunday bus routes, and more.
  • No alcohol, glass bottles, or pets at Schoellkopf Stadium.
  • Make sure ALL family/guests know the graduate's college AND department.
  • Weekend events are usually finished by 3:30pm Sunday, and campus roads re-open at 4:00pm.
  • Graduates must return cap & gown on campus by 5:00pm Sunday.
  • Diplomas are mailed to graduates in June.

For any questions, please visit A-Z Site Index, FAQ, and Contact List. After visiting these pages, if you are unable to find an answer to your question, please contact us.

Enjoy the festive weekend!

Planning Your Weekend

To help plan your travel schedule and weekend itinerary, we have posted weekend events (as we are informed of them). Because colleges, departments and student groups plan their own events for Commencement Weekend, there is no helpful one-size-fits-all weekend itinerary that we can post for students/families. Please visit our Weekend Schedule page for help with planning your weekend.

Students before Commencement

Navigating This Website

Information Pages:


Contact Information

Commencement Office
B13 Day Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-9541
Contact Us