Graduation Ceremony FAQ

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How will LPS be communicating with me about graduation activities?

LPS graduate and undergraduate students who graduated in December 2013 or have applied to graduate in spring 2014 or summer 2014 will receive e-mail communication from LPS starting in late February that will include directions for ordering academic regalia and submitting an RSVP for the LPS graduation events. In early April, graduating students will be mailed a graduation packet, which will include the LPS graduation invitation, Penn Commencement announcements and information about the reception.

Students who have not received e-mail communication by March 15 or US mail communication by April 15 should contact LPS at (215) 746-7040.

How do I order academic regalia?

Contact the Penn Bookstore at (215) 898-7595 or attend the Graduation Fair (PDF) at the Penn Bookstore on March 19-21.

Students who are unable to visit the bookstore during the Graduation Fair must contact the Bookstore and place their regalia order by March 21st.

More information: Academic Regalia

What time should I arrive, and where do I go?

It is imperative that graduating students arrive promptly by 3 p.m. at Penn Park, South Green. Bring your academic regalia and weather-appropriate shoes. The robing tent, located on South Green, will be clearly marked. Students should look for signage designating the meeting location for their particular program:

  • BA
  • BFA
  • MLA
  • M.Phil (Liberal Arts)
  • MES
  • MSAG
  • MAPP
  • MMP
  • M.Phil (Dynamics)
  • MSOD

Report to the administrator assigned to your program area to check you in on the clipboard and to determine your place in the processional line. Students will process in proper order from the robing tent into the ceremony tent.

What time does the ceremony start?

The LPS Graduation Ceremony will begin promptly at 4 p.m.; let your guests know they should be seated before that time. Please remember it is necessary for graduating students to arrive no later than 3 p.m.

Where can I park?

The closest parking locations to the Graduation Ceremony at Penn Park, South Green are:

  • Penn Museum: South Street & Convention Avenue
  • Penn Park: 31st & Lower Walnut streets

Additional Penn parking information is available.

How is Penn Park accessed?

Four pedestrian access points link the park to the campus and the city: The Paley Bridge connects the complex to Franklin Field, the Palestra and the Weiss Pavilion area, which in turn creates an easy and pedestrian-friendly connection to 33rd Street. The Walnut Street footbridge dramatically links the intersection of 30th and Walnut into the Park through a sweeping and elegant design. The Weave Bridge connects the Park, over the AMTRAK rail lines, to the athletic fields south of Hollenback Center. The Class of 1976 Entrance Plaza is located at 31st and Lower Walnut streets adjacent to Penn’s Ice Rink at the Class of 1923 Arena. 31st Street is the sole vehicular route to the Park, providing access to the parking lot along Lower Walnut Street.

For reference, a map of Penn Park (PDF) is available.  Accessbility information (PDF) is available.

Where will the graduating students process?

Weather permitting, the graduates will emerge from the robing tent and enter into the rear of the ceremony tent. Inclement weather may require a different route.

What is the difference between the LPS ceremony on May 18th and the University ceremony on May 19th?

The LPS ceremony is your opportunity to walk across the stage and accept your "diploma" (the actual diploma will be mailed to you later in the summer). It is the time in which to celebrate with other students within the College of Liberal and Professional Studies.

The University Commencement is a campus-wide event at which you will celebrate with all members of the University of Pennsylvania Class of 2014. The procession of graduates is followed by speakers, special guests and honorary degree awards.

Regalia is required at both events, and both are held rain or shine.

What is the Baccalaureate?

The Baccalaureate Ceremony is a 50-minute interfaith program that includes music, readings, prayers and a guest speaker. Two consecutive ceremonies will be held in Irvine Auditorium, in order to accommodate all those who wish to attend. Students whose last names begin with A through K are invited to attend the 1:30 p.m. ceremony. Students whose last names begin with L through Z are invited to attend the 3 p.m. ceremony. Tickets and academic regalia are not required. The Baccalaureate speaker will be announced in the spring.

Please note that this event takes place the same day as the LPS ceremony. The latter Baccalaureate will overlap the LPS ceremony, so you will not be able to attend both.

Where can I find more information about the University Commencement and Baccalaureate Ceremony?

Where can I find information about parking and transportation?

Do I have to attend all of the ceremonies?

No. You may choose to attend any, one or none. Attendance is not required.

What if I haven’t ordered my regalia yet?

Contact the Penn Bookstore at (215) 898-7595.

Is there a dress code for what should I wear under my regalia?

Because the ceremonies are held outdoors, rain or shine, we recommend dressing according to the weather. Please keep in mind that the material and color of the regalia can be quite warm, and you’ll be wearing a cap. High heels are strongly discouraged given the variation of surfaces on which you’ll be walking. If there is rain within two days or so of the LPS ceremony, South Green will be quite muddy, so please consider footwear and attire accordingly, and alert your guests of this fact as well.

Is there assigned seating at the LPS ceremony?

No, but we do happily accommodate handicap seating requests. Please arrive early to get the seats you prefer.

How are the graduates seated?

Graduates are seated alphabetically within their degree program. Seating maps with diploma procession paths will be available on May 1st.

Is there someplace to store my belongings while the LPS ceremony is taking place?

No, unfortunately the open air tents and high traffic volume of people in and out of them does not allow for safe storage of your personal belongings. We recommend leaving them with friends and family.

How many guests may I invite to the reception?

There is no limit, but we do need an accurate count for seating and reception catering, so RSVPs are required.

As an international student, how do I request a formal invitation letter for my intended guests?

Students who are in need of a formal invitation letter for Commencement should request the letter through the iPenn system. Once you log in to iPenn, click the "Student Services" menu on the left side of the page and select "Invitation Letter Request"; fill out all of the necessary information on the request form and click "Submit." An International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) representative will e-mail you once the letter has been prepared and is ready for pickup. If you have any questions about this process, please contact the ISSS office.

What if it rains on May 18th?

The LPS Graduation Ceremony will be held rain or shine. Graduating students should still arrive promptly at 3 p.m. to the clearly marked robing tent on Penn Park, South Green with academic regalia and weather-appropriate footwear. Although the ceremony takes place under the protection of a tent, inclement weather may create a muddy terrain on South Green. Graduates, as well as their guests, are encouraged to wear shoes that will allow them to comfortably navigate through the grass in wet weather.

When will I receive my diploma?

The College of Liberal and Professional Studies does not distribute official diplomas at the LPS Graduation Ceremony. For May 2014 graduates, the Office of the University Secretary will begin mailing diplomas in mid-July to the graduate's permanent address as it appears in the Student Record System. It is essential that you confirm the information on record is accurate; please check this information on Penn In Touch.

Students who completed their coursework during the December 2013 semester, or who complete coursework in August 2014, may expect the University Secretary’s Office to mail their diplomas to the permanent address record approximately 10–12 weeks after completion of the degree.  If you need assistance checking or updating your permanent address, please call LPS Student Records Office at (215) 746-7040.

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