The College Graduation Ceremony

The College Graduation Ceremony celebrates the achievements of the graduating seniors in the College of Arts and Sciences. Each participant's name is read as they cross the stage and receive the congratulations of the dean of the school, the dean of the College, faculty, fellow students, friends and family.

May 16, 2021 6:30 p.m. in Franklin Field.


Call for Student Speaker

Submit your application HERE

timeline for may graduation

Students must register if they wish to participate in the College ceremony. (Note: Registration for the ceremony is separate from the application for graduation.)

Students are eligible to participate in the May College graduation ceremony if they expect to graduate at the end of:
• the fall or spring term before the ceremony.
• the summer following the ceremony.
• the fall term following the ceremony provided they need no more than 4 c.u. to complete their academic program. These students must meet with an advisor in the College Office to confirm their eligibility and register for the ceremony.

All students must wear academic regalia available at the Penn Bookstore if they wish to participate in the College Graduation Ceremony and for the University Commencement. Check the Timeline: May Graduation for dates.

Some seating is available for guests in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. Tickets are required for special seating, and are limited. If a guest requires special seating, send a written request with an explanation of the need (wheelchair, minimal steps, etc.) by April 15 to Ms. Margaret Mary Thomas, The College Office, 120 Cohen Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6304, fax: 215.573.2023 or email:

Special needs seating for the University Commencement on Monday is coordinated through the Office of the University Secretary, 215.898.7369, and can be requested using the online form after March 1.

Questions regarding the Graduation ceremony can be directed to the College Office at 215.898.6341.

Students must wear their cap and gown on Sunday for the College Graduation and on Monday for the University Commencement and should arrive at the ceremonies already robed.

To wear the hood and motarboard properly:

  • Put hood on over head with velvet side up and with small tapered end in front.
  • If hood has a cord and button, attach the hood neck cord over shirt button before closing gown, to prevent hood from riding against neck.
  • Obtain assistance to secure cord across the back to keep the back of hood together.
  • The PENN colors are turned outward out to show the red and the blue.
  • The mortarboard should be worn level on your head and not set back. Put the tassel on the right of the mortarboard until University Commencement on Monday.

The following is also recommended:

  • Do not wear high heels.
  • Wear sunglasses. Students will be facing west during sunset.
  • Do not bring personal items that are not intend to be carried during the entire ceremony. After crossing the stage, students may not return to the same seat.
  • If it's very hot, wear light-weight clothes under the academic robe.

Graduating College seniors are asked to:

  • Arrive at the north side of Franklin field near 33rd Street at 5:30 PM.
  • Students should go to the table that corresponds to their last name and receive a color-coded card listing the student's name and major. (This will be the information entered into the online registration form.)
  • On the back of the color-coded card is a map of where each major is to assemble. (Signs and flags will also be in place for each major.)
  • This card cannot be rolled or bent.
  • Students must have this card in hand when crossing the stage or their name will not be read.

The College recommends that ceremony guests:

  • Wear low heels. The stands are very steep.
  • Wear sunglasses. Guests will be facing west during sunset.
  • Guests are not permitted in the student assembly area or the student seating area.
  • The ceremony will be held at Franklin Field rain or shine. The stadium is not covered.
  • Gates open at 5:30 pm. Guests enter at the Southeast corners of Franklin Field.
  • Guests are asked to meet their party away from Franklin Field at approximately 9:30 pm.
  • There will be a live webcast of the ceremony.


In the event of dangerous weather (continuous downpour and lightning), an announcement will be made on KYW 1060, WXPN 88.5 and at 215.898.MELT. In this event, the College graduation ceremony will be moved to the Palestra on the north side of Franklin Field.

Unfortunately, seating in the Palestra is quite limited. Graduating seniors can get two tickets online. No one will be admitted to the Palestra without a ticket. For those who cannot attend, a live stream of the graduation ceremony will be available above.