Commencement and recognition ceremonies — what is the difference?

The university commencement ceremony is the campuswide ceremony in which students from all colleges and schools are invited to participate. The chancellor of the Boulder campus officially confers degrees upon graduating students at this ceremony.

Recognition ceremonies are celebrations of individual student achievement. While each ceremony is different in form and structure, these events are typically where graduating students' names are read and diploma covers are presented as they cross the stage. Please contact the unit hosting for more information. See recognition ceremonies for schedules.

Where is the ceremony and what time do I need to be there?

The spring university commencement ceremony is held in Folsom Stadium at 8:30 a.m. Early arrival guarantees the best choice of seating; stadium gates open at 7:00 a.m.   Plan plenty of time to find parking and get seated. See spring ceremony for more information regarding seating, accessibility accommodations, and more.

How long does the commencement ceremony last?

The student procession begins at 8:30 a.m. The University commencement ceremony begins once the students are seated and lasts approximately 90 minutes. Typically, we conclude activities in Folsom Field no later than 11 a.m. 

Do we need tickets for the ceremony?

No tickets are required for the campuswide university commencement ceremony in Folsom Field and there is no limit to the number of guests. Early arrival guarantees the best seating.

Recognition ceremonies may require tickets. Contact the hosting unit for further information.

Is there a charge for parking?

No. Parking the day of commencement is free on campus, including meters. Additional details on parking are available on the Parking & Shuttle Information webpage.

I have a family member in a wheelchair. Where do we park? What is the best entrance to the facility? Where do we sit?

Close-in parking and drop off locations are available for those who have difficulty walking; ADA placards are not required. Specific seating areas are already reserved for those with wheelchairs, the elderly, and guests with physical disabilities. Reservations for these areas are not required.

Please see the following links for additional related information:

Can we sit with our friends and family who are in the wheelchair and ADA seating sections?

Companion seating is available, but as space is limited, we ask that only two guests accompany you in this area.  Ushers will be happy to show you to seating as close as possible to your friends and family these seating areas.

Can I rent a wheelchair for use on campus during commencement?

Wheelchairs are not available to rent on campus.  A number of wheelchairs will be available and staffed to assist guests from close-in parking to the stadium.

Can we bring bags and purses into Folsom Stadium for the Commencement Ceremony?

Folsom Field complies with all TSA and Homeland Security prohibited items lists.  The only bags allowed are bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12” or one-gallon (or smaller) clear plastic Ziploc/freezer bag.  No other bags are permitted at all; includes backpacks, diaper bags and other similar bags.  More details are available on our Folsom Field Information page.

What about inclement weather?

The campuswide university commencement ceremony will take place in Folsom Field regardless of the weather.  Colorado weather in May can be unpredictable. We encourage guests to watch the weather forecast so that they may plan and dress accordingly. In the event of rain or snow, the ceremony will be held in abbreviated form. 

The recognition ceremonies page will be updated with information regarding any inclement weather adjustments.  Please check back regularly for any updates to outdoor ceremonies specifically.

What are the COVID-related guidelines for campus events?

All commencement events will be held in accordance with applicable campus policies and public health guidelines with the goal of providing a safe and meaningful experience for all.  Please visit CU Boulder’s COVID-19 Updates page for the latest on public health measures applicable to university events.

Where can I get local hotel information?

The Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau can provide information about local accommodations.  Information is available online at the Boulder website or via phone by calling 303-442-2911.