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Frequently Asked Questions

Commencement Quick Facts

Date: May 15 and 16

Times: See ceremony breakdown

Location: XL Center in downtown Hartford

Livestream: Watch it live!

We are excited to celebrate the Classes of 2020 and 2021 at our in-person Commencement ceremonies on May 15 and 16 at the XL Center in downtown Hartford.

Due to health and safety precautions and updates we've had to make, we recognize you may have many questions.

Our FAQ list addresses many commonly asked questions, but if you cannot find the answer you are looking for, you can email the Commencement Committee

How do I attend in person if I missed the regular and late response deadlines?
Due to logistical requirements in setting up our Commencement exercises to comply with current COVID-19 safety guidelines, we are, unfortunately, unable to accept any additional participants after May 7. We invite you to participate virtually as all five ceremonies during Commencement Weekend will be livestreamed. They will also be available for on-demand viewing throughout the summer.

When are the ceremonies?
Ceremony start times will be 8:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. on May 15 and 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on May 16. Each ceremony will be approximately 90 minutes in length, and the arena will be thoroughly sanitized and air circulated between ceremonies. See ceremony breakdown. Due to state-mandated capacity restrictions at the XL Center, special requests for specific ceremony dates and times cannot be accommodated.

What time should I arrive and do I bring anything with me?
Please arrive no more than one hour prior to your ceremony start time. There will be thorough cleanings and air circulation occurring between each ceremony, so students and guests will not be permitted to enter the XL Center earlier than one hour before their ceremony begins.

You need to bring your complete regalia with you. We recommend pressing or steaming your regalia at home; there will not be a place to do so at the XL Center. You may bring a small purse or bag for personal items. There will not be a place to store personal belongings during the ceremony.

Where do I go when I arrive?
There will be plenty of signs and XL Center staff to guide you when you arrive. Students will be brought to a staging area to line up for the ceremony, while guests will be led to their seats.

What if I cannot make it to my assigned date/time? Can I switch to another ceremony?
Commencement ceremonies are assigned so that each follows capacity restrictions as mandated by the state of Connecticut. This prevents any possible overcrowding and allows for adequate social distancing between all guests. For this reason, students will not be permitted to switch to another ceremony date or time.

All Commencement ceremonies will be livestreamed and recorded to allow for later on-demand viewing, and all graduating students will have their names read, whether or not they are there in person.

I am graduating with two majors. Which ceremony do I sign up for?
If you are graduating with a double major, we ask that you only attend one ceremony. If you have questions as to which ceremony that should be, please email 2020hawk@hartford.edu.
 
I am a 2020 undergrad and a 2021 master’s graduate. Can I attend both ceremonies?
You should attend for your master’s, as that is the highest degree.

Where should I park?
There are many parking lots and garages near the XL Center. Street parking is also available, and is free and without time limitations all day Saturday and Sunday. You can find additional information about parking online.

Will there be transportation offered from campus to the XL Center?
The University will provide a shuttle for students who need transportation from campus to the XL Center. If you would like to sign up to take a shuttle from campus to the XL Center for your Commencement ceremony, please email 2020hawk@hartford.edu by Wed., May 12, with your full name and your assigned ceremony date and time. After signing up, you will receive a confirmation email with all the travel details you will need to know. Please note that students must sign up to use the shuttle and will be required to wear masks and socially distance while on the shuttle. The shuttles will leave campus 90 minutes prior to the ceremony start times, and students will be responsible for their own transportation following their Commencement ceremony.

What accessibility accommodations will there be for students and guests?
Individuals needing limited mobility or wheelchair-accessible seating for Commencement should arrive an hour prior to the ceremony start to allow for plenty of time to find parking and seating. Guests requiring mobility assistance should park in the Hartford 21 garage located at 210 Asylum Street in downtown Hartford. After parking, take the elevators up to Level 1 and turn right upon exiting the elevator. Once you walk through the magnetometer, head into the arena and walk to the Guest Services desk to the right of the main entrance behind Section 124. Please let the Guest Services attendant know that you require accessible seating and you will be directed to your seat. If you or your guest requires accessible seating, please email 2020hawk@hartford.edu.

There will be a sign language interpreter at every Commencement ceremony. If you or your guest requires seating near the sign language interpreter, please email 2020hawk@hartford.edu.

Are there any security restrictions?
Guests attending XL Center events are advised that large bags, backpacks, luggage, coolers, parcels, briefcases, and like articles will be strictly prohibited from the facility. All guests will be subject to search, at the XL Center's discretion, of their person and/or possessions (including women's handbags of normal size which may be allowed entry after such search). Guests with prohibited articles will be turned away at the entrances to return items to their vehicle or dispose of the items. No storage or "check-in area" will be provided. Enforcement will be without exceptions. 

Graduating students are advised that alcoholic beverages will not be allowed in the staging area. Anyone found to have alcohol on their person will not be allowed to participate in Commencement exercises.

You can find complete details on the XL Center’s security policies, including a list of all prohibited items online.

Will food/drink be available for purchase?
Yes. Food and drink will be available for purchase via cashless payment only. Cash will not be accepted.

Will flowers be available for purchase?
Yes. There will be a vendor on site selling flowers to guests.

Are there various types of hotels or restaurants near the XL Center?
Please see the Travel & Hotels page for listings of both hotel and dining options near the XL Center.

Why can I only bring two guests?
To allow for the proper amount of social distancing for the safety of all attendees, students are limited to two guests each. This will ensure that there are at least six feet of space between all audience groups. These numbers are determined by state of Connecticut event guidelines, which limit large venues like the XL Center to 10 percent of their capacity.

Every ceremony will be livestreamed so that any family or guests who cannot be there in person will still be able to watch live.

How will I receive my tickets?
Students who responded by the April 6 deadline will be allotted up to two tickets each for their guests. The tickets will be emailed to each student directly from the XL Center—and valid for the specified ceremony only. Please be sure to print or save your tickets somewhere they won’t be lost.

My friend isn’t using both his tickets—can I have his extra and bring an additional guest?
Tickets are non-transferable. To be fair to all who are graduating and to comply with state-mandated capacity restrictions, each student will only be permitted to have two guests attend.

Do children need a guest ticket to attend?
All guests—including young children and infants—will require a ticket to attend Commencement. We must follow strict capacity guidelines established by the state of Connecticut, and this requires counting every single attendee.

Children under the age of 2 will not be required to wear a mask. Children must be supervised by an adult at all times.

Will there be extra tickets available on the day of graduation?
There will not be additional tickets available at any time. Each graduating student is limited to two ticketed guests, and guest tickets are non-transferable.

What safety precautions are being taken to protect attendees?
The safety of our students, staff, and families is our greatest priority at this time. We have been working closely with the XL Center staff and the state of Connecticut to ensure that our Commencement ceremonies follow all safety guidelines. Guests will be required to wear masks at all times, attendee groups will be assigned seats that are at least 6 feet apart, and the event spaces will be thoroughly cleaned and air circulated between each ceremony.

Will vaccinated guests need to wear masks?
For the safety of all attendees, everyone over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask while at the XL Center for the Commencement ceremonies. Anyone who does not follow this rule or wears their mask improperly will be asked to leave.
 
Will I need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to attend?
No. You will not need to display a negative COVID-19 test to participate in or attend the ceremony. However, In keeping with state guidelines, anyone, including guests, who displays COVID symptoms, or who has tested positive for COVID-19 within 10 days of Commencement, will not be allowed to attend. If you are in quarantine at the time of Commencement because you are a contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you also will be unable to attend. Please be sure to follow all COVID-19 health guidance in the days leading up to Commencement so you protect yourself and can attend your ceremony.

Where can I watch the livestream?
A livestream of each Commencement ceremony during the weekend will be available for viewing online through links available on the hartford.edu home page and Commencement site.

Which ceremony will feature my name being read?
All graduating students, whether they are celebrating in person or virtually, will have their names read at their Commencement ceremony. To find out which ceremony will feature your name being read, please see our Ceremony Details page.

When will my name be read during the ceremony?
After all graduating students in attendance at the XL Center have walked across the stage, the names of remaining graduates will be read alphabetically.

Will the ceremonies be recorded for future viewing? 
Yes, ceremonies were recorded and are available for viewing on YouTube

Will there be professional photos taken of my graduate?
Graduating students will be photographed by a professional studio, Grad Images®, which offers several ordering options. Your proofs will be available as early as 48 hours after the ceremony. 


Will I be able to take a photo of my student walking across the stage?
Guests will need to take any photos from their seats; going closer to the stage or student seating area will not be permitted.

There will be a professional photographer taking photos of all graduating students, and you will have the option to purchase those pictures.

The UHart main campus will be open to graduating students and their guests on May 15 and 16 so that you can take graduation photos at your favorite outdoor campus locations.

How do I order my cap and gown?
The period for cap and gown online ordering for campus pickup and home shipping has ended. If you have not yet placed your cap and gown order, please reach out to 2020hawk@hartford.edu as soon as possible to ensure that you will have regalia for your Commencement ceremony.

What if I ordered my cap and gown in 2020 for last May's postponed ceremony?
You do not need to order again. Please use the regalia you received last year.

What do I get with my cap and gown order?

Undergraduate degree recipients and master's degree recipients will receive custom University of Hartford "keeper" gowns, which do not need to be returned. These gowns with University of Hartford seals embroidered in red are manufactured from recycled plastic bottles. Doctoral candidates will receive custom rental gowns with hood and keeper tam. All graduates will be given a degree-specific color tassel with a University of Hartford "H." Souvenir red-and-white tassels with the 2021 date may be purchased as an option for $8 each. Honor cords may be purchased by eligible undergraduates only (GPA of 3.25 and above) for $10 each.

Where do I pick up my cap and gown?
Students who selected campus pickup when placing their regalia orders should plan to pick up their caps and gowns on the third floor of Gengras Student Union on Monday, May 10, from 2 to 7 p.m. and Tuesday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (GSU 331–339).

Can my friend pick up my regalia at campus pickup for me?
Graduates will only be able to pick up their own cap and gown orders—a friend will not be able to get your order for you. You must show your student ID to pick up your order.

I placed my regalia order for home shipment. When will I receive it?
You can track the status of your regalia order. You will need your order confirmation email with your internet reference number.

Will I receive my diploma at Commencement?
Diploma jackets will be handed out at all Commencement ceremonies. Actual diplomas will be mailed to students’ permanent addresses and can be expected to be received over the summer.

When will I receive my diploma?
Diplomas will be mailed in the weeks following Commencement and should arrive over the summer.

What if I need proof of graduation before I receive my diploma?
If you need to verify completion of your degree for employment, advanced study, or any other reason prior to receiving your unofficial transcript, please email registrar@hartford.edu. If you need to order an official transcript, you may do so online at Requesting a Transcript.

I am an on-campus student. How do I schedule my senior portraits?
Seniors who are on campus can schedule their appointments online at Prestige Portraits by Lifetouch. Use the school password UOH. The only remaining dates for senior portrait sittings are April 13-15 and April 27-29, so please be sure to schedule as soon as possible.

I am a remote student. How do I submit my Yearbook photo?
Seniors who are currently studying remotely should submit their photos using the Senior Portrait Submission Form. Photos must be submitted by June 1.

I am an on-campus student but not able to schedule a senior portrait sitting. Can I submit my own photo to the Yearbook?
Yes. If you are unable to schedule a senior portrait sitting, you may submit your photo using the Senior Portrait Submission Form. Photos must be submitted by June 1.

Do I need to order a Yearbook?
No. All graduating undergrad students will receive a Yearbook, which will be sent to their permanent address in the fall.

I am a doctoral candidate/2020 doctoral graduate. Which ceremony do I attend?
Doctoral students will attend their school or college ceremony on May 15 or 16, the University of Hartford's Commencement Weekend. See ceremony breakdown.

Will there still be a hooding ceremony at the XL Center?
Doctoral candidates will be called up individually in their degree group to have their name read, receive their diploma jacket, and cross the stage. The doctoral candidates will also have their hooding moment. You will be brought up as a group, your names will be called, and your dissertation titles read. If you are comfortable with it (due to COVID concerns), your hood will be placed on you by the appropriate dignitary. All of this would have happened in the same way on campus.

It is of note that we will be following that same order of exercises (from 2019 and years prior) as we plan out the impactful moments for this year’s Commencement. Our goal is to make every graduate feel honored and celebrated.