Saturday, May 16, 2015

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the GSE ceremony

Click here to RSVP for the GSE ceremony by April 30th.

The 2015 GSE Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May, 16 at 10AM in Franklin Field. Doors will open for guest seating at 8:30AM, the processional will begin at 9:45AM, and the ceremony will end at 12Noon.  You may bring an unlimited number of guests to the GSE Commencement Ceremony and tickets are NOT required.

Graduates should arrive at 9AM in the concourse on the North side of Franklin Field to register & line up for the processional. Graduates will register and line up for the processional in the North Concourse of Franklin FieldWe strongly recommend that you allow sufficient time to arrive early: It's also alumni weekend so traffic around campus will be heavily congested.

The ceremony will begin with a welcome from the Dean, followed by the  commencement address. Dr. Sonja Santelises, Vice President for K-12 Policy and Practice at The Education Trust will give the commencement address. After the keynote address & award presentations, each doctoral student will be called onto the stage to be hooded by the advisor/chair and have the degree conferred.

Then each master's student will be called onto the stage and have the degree conferred. After descending the stage, please pause for a photo taken by a professional photographer.  After the degrees have been conferred, graduates and guests are invited to a division or program reception on campus. Reception details for each division will be emailed to graduates and listed on the commencement program.


Doctoral students: Check out this video to see how to get hooded.

Academic regalia is required for degree candidates at Commencement. Grad Fair takes place on March 18, 19, and 20 at the Penn Bookstore. The Grad Fair provides the opportunity for degree candidates to acquire their academic regalia as well as graduation announcements, and diploma frames. All graduates must purchase or rent regalia to participate in the graduation festivities. Doctoral students have the option to either purchase or rent their regalia, while all other students should purchase their regalia.  Be sure to check that you receive the correct hood for your degree when you pick up your regalia. if you arrive for the ceremony with the wrong hood it will be too late to rectify the matter.

The Hood

The hoods are lined in silk with the official color or colors of the institution which granted the highest degree held by the wearer; more than one color is shown by division of the field color in a variety of ways, such as by chevron or chevrons. University of Pennsylvania graduates wear a hood lined in red with a blue chevron. The binding or edging of the hood is in velvet, with widths of two inches, three inches and five inches for the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees respectively; the color of the border indicates the field of study to which the degree pertains.

You must bring/wear your regalia to Franklin Field to participate in the ceremony. We do not have spare caps and gowns. Only students with the correct regalia may participate in the ceremony.

Articles of clothing which will be visible at the neck and below the gown should be in keeping with the conservative style of the academic attire. High heels should not be worn by graduates as they may damage the athletic track and field. The hood should be secured so that it will not slip off the shoulders - you should bring a safety pin for this purpose. The cap, which needs bobbi pins to stay on your head, is worn parallel to the ground; the tassel is worn in front and on the right side until the degree has been conferred.


 Diplomas are mailed by the University via First Class mail and will be sent to the permanent address listed in Penn-in-Touch, unless a different address is specified in the “Temporary Address Field” effective from June 1 – September 30.  International diplomas are sent via registered mail and can take up to eight weeks for delivery.  International students who are planning to stay in the U.S. through September 30 should designate a temporary U.S. address in Penn-in-Touch or contact the Diploma Coordinator to arrange to pick up the diploma from the Office of the University Secretary.  Please click here for more information.


If heavy rains and thundershowers are forecast, the location of the ceremony will be changed to the Palestra, which is directly north of Franklin Field. This decision will be made at 7:00 a.m. on May 16th; updates will be available on this website. Even if the ceremony is moved to the Palestra, you will still register and line up for the processional inthe North Concourse of Franklin Field. Please refer to this diagram of  the Palestra for a visual orientation.

Philly weather is unpredictable! It could be hot, cold, damp, windy, raining... or all of these. Check the forecast and dress accordingly. If the ceremony is moved to the Palestra, graduates will still register and line up in the north concourse of Franklin Field and then process to the Palestra.


We strongly recommend that all attendees arrive early and allow ample time for parking.  Click here for a list of all campus parking lots.

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

Franklin Field is accessible to persons with disabilities. 

If you require special seating due to a wheelchair, limited physical mobility or other medical conditions, you may make arrangements beginning on March 1st by calling 215-898-6456 between 9 and 3:00 p.m.  Due to space constraints, guests with disabilities who are seated on the field may be accompanied by only one escort.

Doors for the accessible seating area will open at 8:15 a.m. We recommend that guests with disabilities arrive at the southwest gate of Franklin Field (corner of Spruce/South Street and 33rd St.), where they will be directed to the accessible seating area. Click here for a map of Franklin Field with the southwest gate marked.

We regret that we are unable to provide wheelchairs for guests, but staff in golf carts will be available to transport guests with disabilities from the Franklin Field southwest entrance to the guest seating area.

*Email and PennCard After Graduation

Please note that your GSE student email address will expire approximately six months after your graduation date. Any other internal GSE IT resources and access, as well as Penn Card access, will expire immediately following your graduation.


Please review our Graduation FAQs. If your question is not answered there, please call 215-898-6456 for questions regarding the Penn GSE ceremony. For questions regarding the Penn ceremony, please contact Kimberly Wing, (215)898-3553 or

Applying to Graduate vs. RSVP


Applying to graduate and RSVP'ing for the ceremony are two separate procedures.

When you apply to graduate, you inform Penn that you expect your diploma to be conferred for a given semester (spring, summer or fall).

When you RSVP, you tell us that you will attend the GSE ceremony and how many guests you expect. Click here to RSVP for the GSE ceremony by April 30th.

University Commencement


The University Commencement Ceremony will be held on Monday, May 18 in Franklin Field at 9:30AM. Click here for the University Commencement Brochure. The procession of degree candidates will start to enter the field at about 8:30 a.m. The ceremony is still scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. and end at approximately noon. Complete information is available here.

All graduates are encouraged to attend both the University and GSE commencement ceremonies. No RSVP's are required for the University ceremony. The gates to Franklin Field will open at 7:00 a.m., and it is recommended that attendees arrive as early as possible.

Guests should enter through the southeast gates (intersection of South St. and Convention Ave.) to Franklin Field and will be seated in the southeast, east, and northeast stands of the stadium. Guests with tickets for disability seating should enter at the southwest gates (on 33rd and South Sts.), and can also enter the stadium at 7:00 a.m. 

Student Procession

 Students will arrive by 7:45 a.m. at Hamilton Village, 39th and Locust Walk, for their procession, which will step off promptly at 8:00 a.m. Students will take the normal procession route through campus down through 33rd Street, at which point they will be directed to security checkpoints at Shoemaker Green. While there will not be a reviewing stand and the academic procession will not line College Green to cheer on the graduates, the procession will still be a fun and festive event. The student procession will be led by the Penn band and several musical groups will be stationed at College Green. We will also contact all University staff and ask that they line the Walk to applaud the graduates. 

More Information

Families and friends of graduates can find more information regarding Commencement and graduation activities here or by calling (215) 573-GRAD (4723).


The University supplies each graduating student with 8 announcements and envelopes for mailing to family and friends. These invitations are available at the 1st floor reception desk GSE, 3700 Walnut Street in early April. Graduates may bring an unlimited number of guests to the University Commencement Ceremony and tickets are not required.


First, please review our Graduation FAQs. If your question is not answered here, please email Cindy Rossley or call 215-898-6456 for questions regarding the Penn GSE ceremony. For questions regarding the Penn ceremony, please contact Kimberly Wing, (215)898-3553 or