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Page Last Modified Sep 28, 2015

What is the Unified Commencement Ceremony?
When do graduates receive their diplomas?
Can I reserve seats in the Superdome?
How long will the unified ceremony last?
How early may guests arrive for Commencement?
When do things start?
What is Wave Goodbye?
Are tickets required for Wave Goodbye?
What is GradFest?

Q: What is the Unified Commencement Ceremony?

A: The Unified Commencement Ceremony honors the graduating students from all of the university's schools and colleges. It features the pomp and circumstance expected of a traditional Commencement celebration but with a New Orleans twist. At this ceremony you can expect to see the procession of graduates and faculty, the conferral of degrees and hear live jazz.

Recent keynote speakers include President George H. W. Bush, President William J. Clinton, NBC news anchor Brian Williams, political commentators James Carville and Mary Matalin, Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper, Thomas Friedman, Lisa Jackson, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Wynton Marsalis and Maya Rudolph.

Q: When do students receive their diplomas?

A: Graduates will attend separate diploma ceremonies. It is at these diploma ceremonies that a graduate's name will be called and he or she will walk across the stage. Visit the Schedule page for more details.

Q: Can I reserve seats in the Superdome?

A: No. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis and cannot be reserved.

Q: How long will the unified ceremony last?

A: About 90 minutes.

Q: How early may guests arrive for Commencement?

A: The doors will open at 7:30 a.m.

Q: When do things start?

A: Live music starts at 8:30 a.m. The colorful academic procession starts at 9 a.m. and the stage ceremony at the conclusion of the procession, by about 9:30 a.m.

Q: What is Wave Goodbye?

A: Wave Goodbye is an annual party given by the president that is modeled after New Orleans' many springtime festivals. Graduates from all schools and their guests are invited to mingle on Gibson Quad on the uptown campus on Friday, May 13, 6-8 p.m. The event will feature local food and music.

Q: Are tickets required for Wave Goodbye?

A: Yes, tickets are required. Each graduating student can receive a maximum of seven tickets, one of which the student will need to use to enter the party. Children 10 years and younger will not need tickets. Tickets for graduates will be available through Gibson Online in the weeks before the event.

Faculty members participating in commencement exercises are allotted two tickets each. Participating faculty can request tickets via this website. See the "For Faculty" page of this site for more information. 

Q: What is GradFest?

A: GradFest is held in the spring for students to order their academic regalia, announcements, cap-and-gown pictures, etc. GradFest will be in the Lavin-Bernick Center's Qatar Ballroom on March 8 and 9. Visit the GradFest website for more information.