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Commencement - Penn State College of Arts and Architecture

Students, family and friends gathered inside Eisenhower Auditorium to celebrate graduation commencement.

Congratulations Graduates!

What you need to know

Attending Commencement does not guarantee graduation. The Commencement Ceremony is a symbolic way to celebrate the completion of your academic career at Penn State, however graduation is a separate records process which takes place after the commencement ceremony.

Important Venue Information

In line with best practices at event venues, Eisenhower Auditorium will be utilizing walk-through metal detectors for commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 6, 2023. If you exit the facility at any time during the ceremony or prior to the ceremony, you will need to reenter via the metal detectors.

Please be sure to limit the size of your bag, and we ask that you only bring one bag to the ceremony. An exception will be made for medically necessary items that cannot fit into one bag, after proper inspection. Backpacks are not allowed in the venue.

All media representatives with necessary bags and equipment must enter the front entrance to have each item inspected prior to entering the building.

Arrival and entrance for friends and families

All guests will enter through the front doors of Eisenhower Auditorium. Guests who require assistance or accommodations should seek out a Guest Services Representative or visit the Guest Services Kiosk to the right side of the lobby. You’re encouraged to arrive early.

Diverse group of graduating students wearing regalia.

Before the ceremony

Apply for graduation

The university needs to know you intend to complete your degree/graduate, and attend commencement activities. So students are asked to apply for graduate at the very beginning of their final semester in Lionpath. If you plan to graduate, and have not applied, talk to your academic adviser as soon as possible – they can help check that you’re ready to complete your degree and help you submit your application.

Check your grades

Final grades are due in the Spring semester after Commencement. Be aware of how the grades you will receive will affect your progress towards completing your degree. You cannot graduate with deferred or otherwise incomplete grades, so take the time to talk with your professors about a plan to resolve any issues before commencement.

Watch for commencement related information from both the University and the College

Beginning in mid to late March keep an eye on your PSU email for commencement related correspondence. There will be a few tasks you need to complete to prepare for the ceremony before the end of the semester.

Order your cap and gown or verify the appropriate academic dress for military commissions

Academic dress (cap and gown) or the uniform of one of the U.S. Armed Forces is expected at commencement.

Students may order and purchase their caps and gowns from the Penn State Bookstore the website: Regalia | Penn State Official Bookstore. If you need assistance, please contact the Penn State Bookstore at 814-863-3589 or 863-2512

  • Bachelor’s regalia is approximately $57.00
  • Bachelor’s regalia with announcement is approximately $69.50

Candidates for the baccalaureate degrees should wear the tassel of the cap on the right front edge.

Important notes about appropriate dress:

  • Ornamentation representing honorary societies or nationalities is not approved attire for Penn State academic ceremonies.
  • Gowns should be worn closed.
  • Wearing the Schreyer Honors College medal is welcomed.
  • Due to the formality of this occasion and safety concerns regarding walking on the steps and stage, please wear appropriate footwear; flip flops, clogs or other loose-fitting shoes are not recommended.

Visit the Academic Affairs Office (104 Borland) to complete your Senior Survey

What are your plans after graduation? Will you enter the job market, travel, continue your education…A&A wants to know! During finals week, stop in to 104 Borland and take a short online survey. While here, you can pick-up your name card as well as any academic honor cords for commencement, receive a small gift from the Penn State Alumni Association and enter your name in a drawing for a $50 gift card. Keep an eye on your Penn State email for more specific information about when the surveys will be available.

Red, white, and blue tassels of a military honor cord; Image courtesy of Meaghan Cafferty.

Commencement 2023

Saturday, May 6, 2023

All Arts and Architecture commencement events will be held in-person at the University Park campus.

Pre-Ceremony Reception
10:30–11:30am – Graduates along with their guests are invited to attend this reception hosted by B. Stephen Carpenter II, Michael J. and Aimee Rusinko Kakos Dean in the College of Arts and Architecture. Guests will enjoy light fare, music and fellowship with classmates, faculty, and staff prior to the ceremony.

11:30am – Line Up
11:45am – Step Off – Led by faculty and accompanied by music from an A&A student ensemble, graduates and their families will walk together from the Korner Tower Terrace down Curtin Road to Eisenhower Auditorium.

Commencement Ceremony
11:30am – Doors open; seating begins.
1:00pm – Graduation ceremony begins (approximately 90 minutes in length).
Guests enter the building and are seated in the auditorium. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are not required and there is not a guest limit for the A&A ceremony. Admittance into the Auditorium will be permitted beginning 90 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.

Penn State Commencement Website

Parking for Commencement
The Eisenhower Parking Deck is located directly behind Eisenhower Auditorium. Parking will be free for Commencement Saturday. There are ample ADA spaces and elevator access on each level of the deck. If there are any questions, contact the Transportation Services Office at 814-865-1436 or email at


Do I have to attend Commencement in order to graduate?

  • Commencement and Graduation are not mutually exclusive. Commencement is the symbolic ceremonial conclusion of your academic career as an Undergrad at Penn State. Graduation is an academic records process which takes place after commencement. A student can be graduated (degree conferred, and diploma mailed) without attending commencement, and likewise, someone who attends commencement can potentially not graduate.

How long is the Commencement Ceremony?

  • Ceremony is approximately 90 minutes in duration.

Do I need to purchase tickets for my family to attend the commencement ceremony

  • No tickets are required for guests of Arts & Architecture graduates. Seating is first come first served.
  • Check with Eisenhower auditorium for ADA accessible seating areas

Is there a limit to the number of guests who can join me at commencement?

  • There is no limit to the number of guests a graduate can bring with them to the ceremony.

When will the Senior Survey be available?

  • At this time, the dates for the senior survey have not been confirmed, however is you are engaged in student teaching, study abroad or otherwise unable to stop by in person to fill out your survey and receive your distinction cords and name card, please request yours via email to

I have not heard anything yet from the University of the College about Commencement

  • Students who have applied for graduation should expect to start seeing information from both the University and the College hit their Penn State email in late March / early April
  • If you have not applied to graduate, the College won’t know to contact you. If you intend to graduate in Spring, please reach out to your academic adviser as soon as possible so you can be added to the graduation list.

Will programs be available at commencement for our guests?

  • Penn State has done away with the practice of printing programs for its commencement events. However, there will be programs available online at for each of the colleges after the ceremonies.

Is it possible for me to attend commencement one semester and graduate in another?

  • Students who are within 8 credits of completing their degree can apply for permission by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Outreach to ‘walk’ in a commencement ceremony during a semester that differs from when they’ll complete their remaining credits.
  • If you’d like to walk in a commencement ceremony, reach out to your academic adviser as soon as possible. They can verify your remaining credits and help you apply.