Commencement is an open meeting of the Board of Trustees held on the front lawn of Nassau Hall, weather permitting. The program includes brief speeches by the salutatorian, the valedictorian, and the president of the University; the awarding of degrees to undergraduate and graduate students; the conferral of teaching awards to several New Jersey high school teachers and Princeton University faculty; and conferral of honorary degrees. Individual diplomas are distributed following the ceremony.
9 a.m. Guest seating begins on the front lawn of Nassau Hall and guests must be seated by 10:20 a.m. since the academic procession begins at 10:30 a.m. Ticket entrances are located on both the east and west sides of Nassau Hall and at the gates on Nassau Street. (Please note that there are entrances on BOTH sides of Nassau Hall, not just on the west side.) Admission to the seating area is by ticket only. Some standing room, not requiring tickets, is available, once degree candidates are seated, along the edges of the front lawn of Nassau Hall (there is no unticketed standing room for an indoor Commencement in Jadwin Gym).
9:45 a.m. Advanced degree candidates assemble on the walkway by Clio Hall, in between Morrison Hall and Cannon Green, facing Nassau Street. Seniors assemble on the walkway between Nassau Hall and Cannon Green facing Morrison Hall to process to the front lawn of Nassau Hall where the ceremony takes place (Jadwin Gym in case of severe weather).
10:20 a.m. Guests must be seated for Commencement Exercises. Each senior receives 5 guest tickets.
Simulcast locations (no tickets required):
Cannon Green, behind Nassau Hall: the ceremony is broadcast to large LED screens and there is seating on the green.
Dillon Gym: note that the gym is not accessible and is not air conditioned.
Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. This is the best option for guests who do not have tickets and is more comfortable than front campus for guests with disabilities or who may be uncomfortable because of the weather (Alexander Hall is accessible and is air conditioned; it is adjacent to the outdoor site).
10:30 a.m. Procession begins.
11:00 a.m. Commencement ceremony begins. Once at their places, degree recipients remain standing until President Eisgruber takes his seat; recipients remove caps when the president removes his.
Conferral of Bachelor Degrees: Dean of the College Jill Dolan introduces candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Arts by departmental groupings. Candidates are invited to rise as respective departments are named. President Eisgruber confers the degree, using the traditional Latin formula: Auctoritate mihi a curatoribus Vniversitatis Princetoniensis commissa, vos ad gradum primum in Artibus [in Scientiis Ingeniariis] et cum honoribus, ut indicatum est, admitto. “By the authority vested in me by The Trustees of Princeton University, I admit you to the degree of Bachelor of Arts [Bachelor of Science in Engineering], with honors as indicated.” Candidates remain standing until the marshals give the signal to be seated. The same procedure is followed for candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Engineering, with appropriate amendments.
Conferral of Advanced Degrees: The Dean of the Graduate School asks candidates receiving various degrees to rise and remain standing until the president confers the degrees. At the conclusion of the program (at approximately 12:30 p.m.), all stand to sing “Old Nassau.” Guests are asked to remain in their places until the recession has left front campus.
Diploma distribution and receptions in the residential colleges follow the ceremony. June advanced degree candidates receive diplomas behind Alexander Hall.