Ceremony Info/FAQ

Commencement Quick Facts

Date: Sunday, May 14

Times: 9 a.m. (graduate), 2 p.m. (undergrad)

Location: XL Center in downtown Hartford

Here are ceremony details and answers to some common questions—spanning multiple topics—to help graduates and guests prepare for Commencement 2023 on Sunday, May 14, at downtown Hartford's XL Center.

How do eligible students apply to graduate?

Before we can celebrate at Commencement, eligible students must complete the steps on the Preparing for Graduation page, including submitting your degree application by Feb. 10. If you have questions about this process, please reach out to the Office of the Registrar at

When and where are the ceremonies?
Ceremony start times will be:

9 a.m. for graduate students and doctoral candidates

2 p.m. for undergraduate students

Both Commencement ceremonies will take place on Sunday, May 14, at the XL Center in downtown Hartford.

How long are the ceremonies expected to last?

The morning graduate and doctoral ceremony is expected to last about two hours. The afternoon undergraduate ceremony is expected to last about three hours.

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 before each ceremony, so students and guests will not be permitted to enter the XL Center earlier than one hour before their ceremony begins.

Graduating students need to bring their complete regalia with them. We recommend pressing or steaming 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 directly to audience seating.

I am graduating with a double major—which school do I walk with?

We have many students graduating with two (or more!) majors. To keep the ceremonies consistent and timely, we ask that you walk with the school or college that is granting your degree at the ceremony. When you arrive at student check-in prior to the ceremony, go to that school’s table to get your name card. You will line up and walk with that school.

I am graduating froma dual-degree program —which ceremony do I attend?

Those earning two undergraduate degrees or two graduate degrees may pick the school they would like to walk with at the ceremony. Those earning both a bachelor's and master’s degree may choose to participate in either ceremony—or opt to attend both since they are at different times.     

Will there be a livestream of the ceremony?
A livestream of each ceremony will be available for viewing on May 14. The livestream links will be on our Commencement page and our main UHart page the morning of Commencement.

Where should I park?
There are many parking garages near the XL Center. Street parking is also available. Street parking in Hartford is free and without time limitations all day every Saturday and Sunday (excluding holidays). You can find additional information about parking here.

Will transportation to the XL Center be provided?
A round-trip shuttle will be available for graduating students and faculty participating in the ceremonies. Shuttle pickup will be on UHart campus in Millard Circle, 90 minutes prior to each ceremony start time. The shuttle will return to campus directly after each Commencement ceremony.

Graduate Degree Ceremony: Shuttle will leave Millard Circle at 7:30 a.m.

Undergraduate Degree Ceremony: Shuttle will leave Millard Circle at 12:30 p.m.

Shuttles are only available for graduating students and participating faculty; guests will need to provide their own transportation. Guests can find additional information about parking here.

Are there hotels nearby?
You can find plenty of information on local hotels, restaurants, and bars at

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.

There will be a sign language interpreter at both Commencement ceremonies. Individuals who need to be seated near a sign language interpreter should email the Commencement Committee for more information.

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.

Find complete details on the XL Center’s security policies, including a list of all prohibited items.

Will food/drink be available for purchase?
Yes. Food and drink will be available for purchase by guests. All concessions will be cashless.

Will flowers be available for purchase?

Yes. Flowers will be available for purchase on site. You may bring your own flowers if you choose. Balloons and signs will not be permitted.

Are graduating students limited in the amount of guests they can invite?
Graduating students may invite as many guests as they would like to attend their Commencement ceremonies.

Do guests need tickets to attend?
Guests will not be required to have tickets to attend either Commencement ceremony.

Will guests be assigned seats?
No; audience seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests may arrive up to one hour prior to the ceremony start time. Guests will not be permitted to hold seats.

Is there any cost for guests to attend Commencement?
No, there is no charge for guests to attend either Commencement ceremony. Guests will not receive tickets and seating location will be first-come, first-served. Printed Commencement programs will be available to guests free of charge.

Will guests need to wear masks?
The wearing of masks is encouraged but not required at our May Commencement ceremonies (subject to change).

Will I need to provide any documentation to attend?
At this time, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will not be required to participate in or attend the ceremony.

Will there be professional photos taken of graduating students?
Graduating students will be photographed by a professional studio, Grad Images®, which offers several ordering options. 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 14, enabling you to take graduation photos at your favorite outdoor campus locations.

How do I order my cap and gown?
Online regalia ordering for May Commencement closed on Friday, March 24. 

I haven’t ordered my regalia but it is past the online ordering deadline. What do I do?
Online ordering of cap and gown has closed. If you did not place an order during the online ordering period (and have applied to graduate), please email to be placed on the late cap-and-gown list. Please then go to the Campus Store (bookstore) during the pickup dates of May 4 and May 5 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and let the staff know that you did not place an online order and were placed on the late list. The Campus Store will not have regalia in stock prior to May 4. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding your cap and gown, please contact the Campus Store at 860.768.4801 or

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 2023 date may be purchased as an option for $8 each. Eligible students, see information below regarding honors cords.

How do I pick up my cap and gown?
When ordering regalia, graduates will choose one of two ways to receive their cap and gown:

  • Pick up your regalia on campus. Pickup dates will be May 4–5 at the Campus Store (bookstore).
  • Choose to have your regalia shipped to your home (shipping fee will apply as noted below):
    Undergraduates and master's candidates: $13.95
    Doctoral candidates (includes shipping label to return rental): $16.95
    Note: Home-shipped orders will deliver within 30 days.

How do I know if I am eligible for an honor cord?
Bachelor’s degrees are conferred cum laude on students who have completed a minimum of 60 credits in residence and whose cumulative grade point average is 3.25 or above; magna cum laude on those whose average is 3.50 or above; summa cum laude, 3.75 or above.

If you are an undergraduate student graduating with a bachelor's degree and meet the above criteria, you are eligible to purchase a gold honor cord for $10. Now that online cap and gown ordering has ended, eligible students may purchase honor cords at the Campus Store beginning on May 4. There are not different honor cords for different honor levels.

Any questions about eligibility should be directed to your academic advisor.

How can I order a class ring?
Class rings can be ordered on the Herff Jones website.

I placed an order for home shipment—can I track its status?
Yes, enter the order number you received in your confirmation email on the Herff Jones order inquiry page

If you selected campus pickup as your delivery option, go to the Campus Store (bookstore) to pick up your order.

Am I eligible for a first-generation cord?

First-generation cords are available free of charge to graduating students who are the first in their immediate families to graduate from college. A dinner for Class of 2023 first-generation students will be held on Thursday, May 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the 1877 Club on campus (in the Harry Jack Gray Center). Registration for the dinner will be available in the weeks leading up to the event. Questions about first-generation cords and the dinner should be directed to Julissa Pabon.

Legacy medals are available free of charge to graduating students who have family members that also attended and graduated from the University of Hartford. Students who are eligible may pick up their legacy medals from GSU Hawk Lounge on May 2 or 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Questions about legacy medals should be directed to Julissa Pabon.

What is a philanthropy cord?

For gifts of $5 or more, as their way of saying "thanks," the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs would like to give you an exclusive philanthropy cord to wear with your cap and gown. You may pick up your cord at Commencement in the waiting area before you line up. Questions? Email

Will I receive my diploma at Commencement?
Diploma jackets will be handed out at all May Commencement ceremonies. Actual diplomas will be mailed to students’ permanent addresses and should be received by early fall. Students who have bursar obligations or additional academic requirements to complete will not receive their diplomas until such obligations or requirements have been met. Please check the Self-Service Center to confirm that you do not have any "holds."

What if I need proof of graduation before I receive my diploma?
To verify completion of your degree for employment, advanced study, or any other reason prior to receiving your unofficial transcript, email your school or college evaluator (if prior to May 15) or email (after May 15). If you need to order an official transcript, you may do so online at Requesting a Transcript. When ordering a transcript, please make sure you select "Hold for Degree" unless you are certain that the Registrar has officially awarded your degree (it can take up to two weeks to process). To confirm if you have been officially awarded a degree, go online to Self-Service and select "Student Academic Records" and then "Unofficial Transcript." If there is no date next to the degree awarded, you have not yet been officially awarded your degree by the Registrar.

What if I need my diploma sent to a new address?
Diploma address changes need to be emailed to Please do not attempt to make a change in Self-Service affecting diploma delivery.

What if I need to change my diploma name or have other questions regarding my diploma?
For any other questions regarding your diploma, please reach out to the Registrar at




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.

How do I schedule my senior portraits?
Portrait sessions for undergraduate students will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Gengras Student Union Room 151 on the following weeks (Monday–Friday):

Feb. 20–24
Feb. 27–March 3
March 27–31
April 3–7

Students should schedule their appointments online at Use 25 as the school code. Currently, only the first week is available for scheduling. Please continue to check back as the additional dates are added.

Please note: Graduating undergraduate students must schedule a yearbook portrait if they want to be included in the Yearbook. There will not be an option to submit your own photo.

What should I wear for my senior portraits?
Students should wear business attire and will be provided with the proper regalia (cap and gown) for the portraits.

What if I have more Yearbook questions?
If you have additional questions regarding the Yearbook, please reach out to the Yearbook Committee at

Additional Questions

If your question was not answered in our FAQ page, please email for assistance.