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  Commencement 2011

General Information 

Ceremonies and Tickets

Two ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7 in Sewall Center Arena: a graduate ceremony (master's and doctoral degree students) on Friday, May 6 at 4:00 p.m. and an undergraduate ceremony (bachelor's degree students) on Saturday, May 7 at 9:30 a.m.

Tickets are not required for guests at the graduate ceremony. All guests - including young children - must have tickets for admission to the undergraduate ceremony. Due to the limited seating capacity of the arena, each undergraduate student will receive four (4) tickets for the ceremony. Tickets will be available for pick-up at Senior Salute on March 28 and 29. If the student does not pick up the tickets, they will be mailed with the cap and gown. Students wishing to request extra tickets will be able to sign up for the online ticket waitlist beginning Friday, April 1. The waitlist will close on Friday, April 15, at midnight. Additional tickets will be distributed to students on the waitlist should any become available.

Guest seating in the arena is on a first-come, first-served basis for both ceremonies. (Please note: strollers are not permitted inside the arena.) For answers to questions about academic issues, contact Academic Services at 412-397-6230.


The bookstore is located on the first floor of Nicholson Center. Hours of operation for commencement week/weekend will be:

  • Mon., May 2 - Thu., May 5 - 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Fri., May 6 - 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Sat., May 7 - 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.


All restrooms in Sewall Center will be open during the ceremony. Restrooms are located in the hallway just outside the arena as well as on the second floor.

Emergencies and First Aid

First aid is available in Sewall Center on the arena level. If you need emergency assistance while on campus, look for a campus phone and dial ext. 2424. Campus police will respond immediately.

Lost and Found

Look for lost items (or turn them in) at the Conference and Facility Services Office on the third floor of Sewall Center or call 412-397-3407.

Alcohol Policy

The University alcohol policy will be in effect on commencement weekend. Please do not bring alcoholic beverages to commencement events.

Parking/Shuttle Service

Please be aware that traffic in Moon Township is unusually heavy on commencement day. To avoid being late, allow an extra hour.

Complimentary parking will be available for guests in designated campus parking areas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Parking this many people in a short time on commencement day is difficult. Passengers may not be dropped off directly in front of Sewall Center on Campus Drive. Parking is not available in Moon Plaza.

The University provides shuttle service from several parking lots on campus to commencement. Shuttle stops are clearly marked and conveniently located near major parking areas. See the Commencement 2011 parking map for parking areas and shuttle stops.

Special Needs Seating and Parking

All general admission seating is located in the bleacher section of Sewall Center Arena. Individuals with special needs and older adults may find this type of seating inaccessible. Those who should request special needs reserved seating passes or parking passes include:

  • Visually impaired
  • Hearing impaired
  • Wheelchair
  • Unable to walk long distances
  • Unable to climb stairs

Those with government-issued handicapped parking placards should still request a special needs parking pass to ensure enough spaces are reserved. Undergraduate ceremony tickets are also required for guests seated in the special needs reserved seating area for the 9:30 a.m. ceremony on Saturday. Due to space limitations, only one family member may accompany a guest sitting in the special needs reserved seating area.

The deadline to apply online is April 26th. After April 26th, Special Needs Seating and parking permits are still available. However, due to a time factor in receiving the tickets, graduates must contact Nancy Thomas in Student Life Office at 412-397-4352 to submit their request and to make arrangements to pick up the tickets before Wednesday, May 4th at 5:00pm.

Children's Play Area

For families with young children who may become restless during the ceremony, a play area for children ages 6 and younger is located in the Pennsylvania Suite on the third floor of Sewall Center. Children in this area must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The ceremony will be broadcast live in this room via closed-circuit TV, and tickets are not required for entry.


Hand-held cameras and video cameras are permitted in the arena; tripods are not permitted. Please be respectful of other guests when taking photographs or video. Guests may not approach the stage to take photos or video while the ceremony is in progress. Commencement photographs will be available for purchase.




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