Ten Things to Know Before You Go: Fall 2023 Commencement

Ten Things to Know Before You Go: Fall 2023 Commencement

December 1, 2023

They’ve taken the tests. Written the papers. Built the projects. And now it is time to celebrate an important milestone in each student’s academic journey: commencement. On Saturday, Dec. 16, CU Denver fall 2023 graduates will cross the stage and receive their diplomas. This event is the culmination of their academic achievements and a representation of how CU Denver can make education work for all.  

Here’s what graduates, faculty, and staff need to know before the ceremony begins. For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit ucdenver.edu/commencement.  

1. Cap & Gown Pick-Up 

Students who selected the on-campus pick up option during registration will pick up their rental items at St. Cajetan’s on the Auraria Campus on either Wednesday, Dec. 6 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. or Thursday, Dec. 7 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Early pick up is not available.  

Bring your registration confirmation or photo ID with you when picking up your cap and gown order. If someone else is picking up your order for you, please make sure they bring your confirmation. If you elected to ship your regalia to yourself, you do not need to attend cap and gown pick-up. Please note that all graduates are required to wear Herff Jones custom regalia featuring CU colors. Graduates who arrive without this regalia will be asked to register with Herff Jones that day and will be charged a late fee. 

Bonus: Come decorate your cap and grab some food from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7 at St. Cajetan’s! Craft materials will be provided, and you can learn more about our cap decorating contest. 

2. Guest Seating 

Seating for guests is available on a first-come, first-served basis. We expect approximately 8,000 people to attend the ceremony, so please advise your guests to arrive early to have time to park and find seats. Tickets are not issued for the general seating at the ceremony. If you requested tickets for the disability-related seating section when you registered for the ceremony, you will receive information via email. Additional information about disability-related access can be found on our website.  

3. Ceremony Parking 

Free parking is available in the Maple and Nutmeg lots on the Auraria Campus (it is approximately an 11-minute walk from these lots to the Colorado Convention Center). Click here to view the Auraria Campus Parking Map. Rates for parking around the Colorado Convention Center area can be found on the convention center’s website. Due to an expansion project at the Colorado Convention Center, the parking garage capacity is reduced. You can also find alternative parking in the many lots and garages around the Colorado Convention Center. 

4. Graduate Check-In & Line Up 

Graduates should arrive no later than 7:45 a.m. at Exhibit Hall B in the Colorado Convention Center, which is through Exhibit Hall A (where the ceremony is held). We know this is early, but it takes some time to check in more than 900 graduates! Come dressed in your regalia. Faculty marshals will begin lining up students for the procession at 8:30 a.m. We can’t stress enough how important it is to arrive at 7:45 a.m. The procession will begin promptly at 9 a.m. All PhD, EdD, and PsyD candidates will check in at the doctoral table in Exhibit Hall B to receive reader cards and to be lined up for the processional (look for the doctoral feather flag). 

5. Reader Cards 

Your reader card shows how your name will be announced as you cross the stage. It will be included in your cap and gown package at cap and gown pick up. Please bring your reader card with you to the ceremony to bypass check in and proceed immediately to graduate line-up. If you lose your reader card, extras will be available at your school/college check-in table. Graduates who elected to ship their regalia to themselves will pick up their reader card at their school/college table on the morning of the ceremony.  

One side of the reader card has the name on it that you provided when you registered for the ceremony. You will hand this card to the presenter (name side up) on the stage to announce your name. If your name is difficult to pronounce, consider simplifying the spelling on the card to help the presenter read your name correctly. The other side of the card contains your name, mailing address, and email address. GradImages will use this address to send you proofs of their professional photographs. To receive your proofs faster, please ensure that your email address appears on the card. Note: Updating your address on the reader card does not update your mailing address for your diploma. If you need to update your diploma mailing address, please contact the Office of the Registrar. 

6. The Ceremony 

The ceremony will last approximately two and a half hours. In consideration of the audience and the significance of this event, all guests and graduates must remain seated for the entire ceremony. Please plan to be at the Convention Center until at least noon and make your post-ceremony plans accordingly. 

The Processional: There is no rehearsal for the ceremony. At 8:30 a.m., faculty marshals and staff for each school and college will begin lining you up in columns within each academic unit in the following order: banner carriers, master’s degree candidates, bachelor’s degree candidates. Doctoral graduates will process in first as a group. Graduate names will be announced in the order in which they are seated, not alphabetically. 

The Recessional: At the conclusion of the ceremony, the faculty marshals will direct you to exit your row and recess from the room in the same formation as the processional. Graduates in the back should wait at their seats until the rows in front have been cleared and you are instructed to do so by the faculty marshals. Please be patient to allow everyone to exit in an orderly fashion. 

Real-Time Captioning: All spoken information during the ceremony will be captioned and made available to follow along in real time from a personal mobile device. To access this service and follow along during the ceremony, open the browser on your mobile device and enter the following website: ucdenver.edu/gradcaption. 

Programs: Graduates and guests can view or download the program digitally at ucdenver.edu/commencement/program. The program link will be active in advance of the ceremony. 

7. Commencement Safety 

We fully anticipate a safe and joyous ceremony. To assist with safety throughout commencement, please alert the Denver Police Department of anything suspicious. If you see something, say something.  

Denver Police Department 

  • Emergency: Dial 911 or send a text to 911 
  • Non Emergency: Dial 720-913-2000 
  • Advise an on-site DPD officer 

8. Regalia  

Protocol: Undergraduates wear tassels over the right front of the cap before the degree is conferred. A CU regent will instruct you to move the tassel to the left at the appropriate time. Doctoral candidates do not wear their hoods during the processional. Hoods should be draped over the left arm until officially presented on stage during the ceremony. Graduates should wear the tassel noting their degree type, NOT the black and gold souvenir tassel.  

Regalia Return: Return your rented gown (and hood, if applicable) to Lower Lobby A of the Convention Center immediately following the ceremony. Caps/tams and tassels are yours to keep. If you shipped your regalia to yourself, you can return your regalia after the ceremony at the Convention Center or ship your rented items back using the prepaid shipping label that was included in your package. Cap and gown return will not open until the ceremony has fully concluded. Graduates are expected to remain for the duration of the ceremony. 

9. #CUDenverGrad & Livestream 

Celebrate your accomplishments on social media! Use the hashtag #CUDenverGrad and join the commencement conversation before, during, and after the ceremony. The ceremony will be livestreamed to the commencement website, so your friends and family can celebrate with you from afar. 

10. Faculty 

For more information on where you need to go on the morning of commencement and other FAQs, click here.   

We’re excited to celebrate our graduates and their accomplishments on Dec. 16!