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Frequently Asked Questions

Commencement Quick Facts

Date: May 15 and 16

Time: Ceremony start times each day will be 8:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.

Location: XL Center in downtown Hartford

RSVP: Complete the May 2021 Commencement response form by April 6.

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 April 6 response deadline?
Students who did not respond by the April 6 deadline and who now wish to participate should send an email request immediately. Requests will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis as space allows.

When are the ceremonies?
Ceremony start times will be 8:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. on both May 15 and May 16. Each ceremony will be approximately 90 minutes in length, and the arena will be thoroughly sanitized and air circulated between ceremonies.You will receive your ceremony date and time the week of April 12. 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? 

Due to social distancing restrictions, UHart will not be able to provide any transportation from campus to the XL Center or back. Students and families will be responsible for their own transportation to the XL Center.

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 every Commencement ceremony. The interpreters will be visible on stage as well as on screen.

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.

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. COVID-19 tests will not be required to participate in or attend the ceremony. All guests over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask and maintain proper social distancing at the Commencement ceremonies.

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?
Order your cap and gown for Commencement 2021 between now and April 6.

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.

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 your regalia up on campus. Pickup times and locations will be announced later this spring.
  • Choose to have your regalia shipped to your home (fee applies as noted below):
    • Undergraduates and master's candidates: $7.95
    • Doctoral candidates (includes return shipping label to return rental): $12.95

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?
Details will be announced the week of April 12.