Page Last Modified Apr 30, 2013
Updated April 2013
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 and Lisa Jackson. The 2013 keynote speaker will be His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Q: Are tickets required for the Unified Commencement Ceremony?
A: Tickets are required for all guests. Graduates are allotted 16 tickets each, one of which the graduate will need to use to enter the Superdome. Faculty who robe and process as part of the ceremony are allotted one ticket. Graduates can access tickets on this website. Graduates will need their Tulane user IDs and passwords to access tickets.
Q: When do graduates receive their diplomas?
A: Diploma ceremonies follow the Unified Commencement Ceremony on May 18.* Undergraduates from the Newcomb-Tulane College will receive their diplomas at the Newcomb-Tulane College Diploma Ceremony in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Graduate and professional students plus undergraduates from the School of Continuing Studies will attend separate diploma ceremonies. It is at the diploma ceremonies that a graduate's name will be called and he or she will walk across the stage.
*Master and PhD Candidates in SCS, SLA, SSE and Biomedical Sciences attend the Graduate Hooding and Recognition Ceremony on May 17. Diplomas may be picked up at the Superdome after the Unified Ceremony on Saturday, May 18, or in the Registrar's Office (100 Gibson Hall) beginning on Monday, May 20.
Please visit the "2013 Schedule" page and click on each ceremony's calendar entry for more information. Tickets are not required for the diploma ceremonies.
Q: Why are tickets required for Unified Commencement?
With a high profile, internationally renowned speaker such as the Dalai Lama, we anticipate a sharp increase in the number of people interested in attending Tulane’s Unified Commencement Ceremony. This includes many members of the general public who are not connected to the Tulane community. We have spoken to other universities that have hosted His Holiness and they confirm the extraordinary interest by the general public in attending any event that features the Dalai Lama.
Therefore, in order to ensure a private, festive, appropriate and comfortable experience for all Tulane University graduates and their guests, the event will be closed to the public and tickets will be required for entry into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Additionally, there will be increased security measures in place for Commencement 2013 that will be handled by non-university personnel. A ticketed event adds a measure of orderliness and control to the process.
Tickets will only be distributed to graduating students from the university’s ten schools and colleges (one ticket for the graduate plus 15 guests) and faculty who robe and process as part of the ceremony (one ticket each). Graduating students can access tickets on this website. Graduates will need their Tulane user IDs and passwords to access tickets.
Please note that tickets will only be required for the Unified Ceremony. Tickets are not required for any of the diploma ceremonies, where a graduate's name will be called and he or she will walk across the stage.
Q. How many tickets are allowed each graduate?
A. Each graduate is allowed 16 tickets (one for the graduate plus 15 guests).
Q: How did you determine the number of tickets allotted to each graduate?
A: The ticket allotment takes into account the large size of this year’s graduating class and maximizes every seat in the Superdome that has a view of the stage, although some have obstructed or limited sightlines.
Please be advised that tickets are not assigned to particular seats— seating is available on a first come, first served basis once you enter the Superdome. Doors open at 7:30 a.m.
Q: What security measures will be in place at the Superdome?
A: There will be bag checks and metal detectors at all entrances of the Superdome. Guests attending the Unified Commencement Ceremony should allow for additional time to pass through security.
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: Why do graduates and faculty who are participating in the ceremony need tickets?
A: Although graduates and participating faculty will be seated on the floor of the Superdome and not with the audience, tickets are necessary due to the increased interest by the general public in attending the event. Providing tickets to the guests of Tulane students will ensure that they will be able to attend the event and have a seat. No one will be allowed into the Superdome without a ticket.
Q: Are extra tickets available?
A: No. We are distributing all the tickets that are available, which is 16 per graduate.
The best way to get extra tickets is from other graduates not using their full ticket allotment. Please make these arrangements directly with your fellow graduates.
Q: Can I purchase tickets to Unified Commencement?
A: Tulane University does not sell tickets to its commencement ceremonies.
Q: I do not have a ticket. How can I view the ceremony?
A: You can watch the Unified Commencement Ceremony via a live stream that will be hosted on this website. The link will be posted on the commencement website as well as tulane.edu when we are closer to the event.
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 the students need to arrive?
A: Students should arrive no later than 8 a.m. There will be bag checks and metal detectors at all entrances of the Superdome, so please plan your arrival time accordingly. Allow extra time to find a place to park, go through security and get to your robing location. All personal items must be left with your parents or guests. Tulane University will not be responsible for any lost or stolen items. (The Bookstore will have a station in the robing area with extra caps, gowns, etc., in case of any problems.) Visit the Mercedes-Benz Superdome page for more information on parking and entrances.
Q: When do the faculty need to arrive?
A: Faculty robing is at 8:15 a.m. in the East Bunker Lounge. There will be bag checks and metal detectors at all entrances of the Superdome, so please plan your arrival time accordingly. For more information, visit the Faculty page.
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: On what side do students wear the tassel?
A: The graduation cap tassel starts out on the right side (over the right eye) before the ceremony and the tassel is moved to the left side (over the left eye) as soon as the graduate crosses the stage and descends the stairs.
Q: What about parking at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome? Is there a shuttle from the uptown campus?
A: You can park at the Superdome for $10 (cash only). Garage attendants will punch parking tickets upon entry. If you plan to leave the Superdome after the Unified Commencement Ceremony and return for the Newcomb-Tulane College Diploma Ceremony, you must present the punched parking ticket upon reentry.
There will also be free shuttle service from Tulane's uptown campus.
Q: What is Wave Goodbye?
A: Wave Goodbye is an annual party given by President and Mrs. Cowen 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 17, 6-8 p.m.
The event will feature music by local artist Eric Lindell and multiple booths will serve a variety of New Orleans food in small plates, including gumbo, crawfish pie, mini muffalettas and chargrilled oysters as well as snacks and various desserts. Wine and beer will be available for purchase.
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. Graduates can access tickets on this website. Graduates will need their Tulane user IDs and passwords to access tickets.
Faculty members participating in commencement exercises are allotted two tickets each.
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 2013 was March 5 and 6. If you missed it, please visit the GradFest website for more information on what to do.
Q: What about attendees who are physically challenged?
A: Guests with physical challenges should enter the Superdome through gate A (Poydras St.) on the ground level. This entrance is a covered drop-off area for disabled access. Wheelchairs will be available for transportation to and from handicapped seating; however, for those who wish to have a wheelchair with them at all times, it will be necessary to bring one with you. Handicapped-accessible shuttle service will be available.
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