Graduate Ceremony

Spring ceremony for graduate students

The 2021 IU Bloomington Graduate Commencement ceremony, for all master’s, specialist, graduate diploma, and doctoral candidates, will be held Friday, May 7, at 3 p.m. in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, 1001 E. 17th Street.

The ceremony lasts about two hours. You do not need tickets, and there are no reserved seats. You may invite as many guests as you like.

All candidates for degrees must wear custom IU apparel at Commencement. Students rent their gowns and hoods and return them after the ceremony. Graduates keep their caps and tassels. Rental of May 2021 Commencement apparel will begin in January 2021. It will be shipped to students’ home addresses.

If you are a 2020 graduate who would like to take part in the 2021 Commencement, you are encouraged to do so. Gowns and hoods for 2020 graduates who rented and returned gowns and hoods in 2020 will be available rent-free for May 7.

What time to arrive on May 7 (and where)

  • 1 p.m.: Graduates arrive and are directed by attendants to Wilkinson Hall, 1151 E. 17th Street.
  • 1 p.m.: Guests proceed into Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
  • 1:45 p.m.: Procession of graduates begins.
  • 3 p.m.: Ceremony begins.

Finding your place in the processional

Graduates are directed to their specific school locations (designated by bright red banners, such as “Education” and “Music”) to form the procession, which begins at 1:45 p.m.

Graduates should not bring umbrellas, briefcases, or any other personal items, as they cannot be stored in Wilkinson Hall.


Graduate seating is arranged by school and occupies the floor and some of the stands in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Students do not line up alphabetically, and they process in through multiple doors, which means a grad may wind up anywhere in a school section.

Guest seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and fills Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Indiana University Bloomington is proud of the fact that it does not limit the number of guests a student may invite to Commencement, and we ask for everyone’s help in maintaining this tradition.

Uniformed ushers will be stationed throughout the building to direct all guests to the best possible seats. Given the size of the Commencement audience, parties are not allowed to save seats. Instead, we ask groups to gather outside and then come in together, and ask an usher to help them find seats.

During the ceremony

Commencement is rich in tradition and pageantry. The ceremony includes the procession of the platform party, a Commencement speaker, the hooding of doctoral graduates, and the conferral of degrees. All graduates stand and are recognized together by their school deans, but except for doctoral graduates, their names are not announced individually, as they number in the thousands.

Diploma covers and diplomas

Graduates receive handsome diploma covers during the ceremony. If graduates do not attend the ceremony, they can purchase diploma covers at the IU Bookstore. Whether you attend Commencement or not, your diploma will be mailed to your STUDENT HOME address (as specified in 8 to 12 weeks after your degree completion is verified.

After the ceremony

If possible, family and friends are encouraged to contact their graduates before the procession to designate a meeting place outside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall after the ceremony.

Grads must return apparel no later than Saturday, May 8, by 4 p.m., to the Herff Jones trailer on the grounds of Memorial Stadium. Failure to return apparel may result in a fine.

Questions? We are committed to making Commencement a memorable day for you and your guests.

Contact us directly