The GSE Ceremony



The GSE commencement ceremony will be in the Palestra, 3101 Walnut St.,  which is directly north of Franklin Field. Grads will register and line up for the processional in the Rockwell Gym of the Tse Center (Formerly Hutchinson Gym). Please refer to this diagram of  the Palestra for a visual orientation.

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We strongly recommend that you allow sufficient time to arrive early: It's also alumni weekend so traffic around campus will be heavily congested.

Our keynote address will be given by Mr. Robert Moses, an American educator, civil rights activist, founder and president of the Algebra Project. Doors of the Palestra 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 ceremony. Tickets are NOT required for either the GSE ceremony or the reception.

The ceremony will begin with a welcome from the Dean, followed by 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 reception on campus.


   Academic regalia is required for degree candidates at Commencement. Regalia can be ordered from the Penn Bookstore. 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.

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

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 – July 15.   Addresses should be updated in Penn-in-Touch no later than June 1. International diplomas can take up to eight weeks for delivery. To arrange for expedited mailing or to pick up the diploma, contact the Diploma Coordinator by June 1.  Please click here for more information.


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

the reception

The reception for all graduates and guests will be held at Wynn Commons, which is adjacent to Houston Hall, immediately following the ceremony. The reception features a gourmet sandwich and salad menu with light accompaniments.

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

The Palestra is accessible to persons with disabilities.

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.

*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 the Commencement Coordinator at either (215)898-7005 or

Applying to Graduate


When you apply to graduate, you inform Penn that you expect your diploma to be conferred for a given semester (spring, summer or fall). The system is now accepting applications for May 2017 graduation.


University Commencement


The University Commencement Ceremony will be held on Monday, May 15 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 9:30 a.m. The ceremony is 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 8:30 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.)

Student Procession

 Students will arrive by 8:45 a.m. at Hamilton Village, 39th and Locust Walk, for their procession, which will step off promptly at 9:00 a.m.  

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 Imani Harvin or call 215-898-6456 for questions regarding the Penn GSE ceremony. For questions regarding the Penn ceremony, please contact the Commencement Coordinator at either (215)898-7005 or

Download our free Penn GSE app through Guidebook to get all this information and more on your mobile device. Share with friends and family so everyone can be in the loop.