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2020 Commencement Ceremony Information

Congrats Class of 2020!

We celebrate you and your classmates on the UT Commencement page!

Our commencement exercises will take place on Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 12:30pm. This year Thompson Boiling Arena will use metal detectors and will adhere to the no smoking policy on campus.

You must reserve your seat for the graduation ceremony. You may RSVP to reserve your seat by filling out the RSVP form. This is the ONLY way you can reserve your seat.

Graduation Requirements

Students should visit the Graduation Website and One Stop to make sure they have completed all steps to graduation and are aware of all deadlines.


  • Location
    • Commencement is held in Thompson-Boling Arena. Students register and assemble in the Ray Mears Room, which is located on the arena floor level just behind the stage. The closest arena entrances to the Ray Mears Room are located under Pratt Pavilion.
  • Personal items
    • Personal items and valuables should not be brought to or left unattended at the commencement ceremony. All cell phones must be turned off or set to silent mode as soon as you enter the seating area. Please refrain from cell phone use before and during the ceremony.
  • Guest seating
    • Guest seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign language for hearing impaired guests will be available. General wheelchair-accessible seating will be available throughout the arena. Neither the College nor the university can supply wheelchairs to guests. No tickets are required for the ceremony and guests do not need to register
  • Photography
    • As a courtesy to all in attendance, please have your guests refrain from advancing to the front of the stage to take photos as you are walking across. A professional photographer will be taking photos as you shake hands with the dean on stage. There will be another photographer as you leave the stage who will take your photograph alone.
  • Directions and parking
    • Located on the main UT Knoxville campus, Thompson-Boling Arena is easily accessible from any direction. The arena is located at the corner of Philip Fulmer Way and Lake Loudoun Boulevard.Free parking is available at UT’s Neyland Parking Garage G-10, next door to Thompson-Boling Arena.Please note that Thompson-Boling Arena is quite large, and the distances and inclines between parking and the building entrance may be impediments to persons who have difficulty walking. Please plan on additional time to walk these distances.
  • Construction
    • Please avoid Volunteer Boulevard between Peyton Manning Pass and Cumberland Ave as this area will be under construction.  You may use Phillip Fulmer Way, Lake Loudon Blvd and Neyland Drive as alternative options to access parking at Thompson-Boling Arena.
  • Security
    • The arena’s large-event security protocol will be enforced at both ceremonies. Guests may enter the arena with one clear plastic bag no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches.The only other items ALLOWED in the arena are:
      • Small clutch purses no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches
      • Mobile phones
      • Binoculars, cameras, and video cameras (without cases)
      • Diapers and non-medically necessary items for babies and young children (must be carried in a clear bag)
      • Medically necessary items that must be carried in a specific bag, sized proportionately to its contents.
      • Umbrella strollers

      The following items are PROHIBITED inside the arena:

      • Non-clear bags of any size
      • Diaper bags
      • Backpacks (of any size)
      • Alcoholic beverages
      • Cans, bottles, coolers
      • Outside food, snacks, beverages
      • Open umbrellas
      • Selfie sticks
      • Unmanned aircraft
      • Large bags or parcels, including backpacks and purses
      • Weapons, including pocket knives
      • Hoverboards
      • Segways
      • Artificial noisemakers
      • Large travel strollers
      • Posters and signage

      Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is prohibited inside the arena at all times.

      For more information on the security policy, contact the Thompson-Boling Arena management office at 865-974-0953.

  • Disability accommodations
    • The University of Tennessee encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you are a graduating student with a disability, please fill in the appropriate section on the RSVP link when submitting, to make arrangements prior to the ceremony. For more information for graduates and guests, visit the Disability Accommodations webpage through the university registrar.

Graduate Check-In

All graduates must register at the table located just outside of the Ray Mears Room. You will receive an index card with your name. Do not lose this card. You must give the card to the designated reader who will announce your name as you cross the stage.

Graduate Processional

After registering and receiving your index card, you will be directed to be seated on the arena floor. Once inside the Arena, ushers will prompt you when you should rise and move toward the stage.


Once on stage, hand your index card to the reader and proceed to accept congratulations from your department head and dean of the college.


After you have your photograph taken, return to your designated seating area and remain seated until the conclusion of the ceremony. Do not leave any personal items or valuables unattended at any time during the ceremony.

Reception Information

A reception for nursing graduates and their guests will be held following the commencement ceremony.

Please visit the VolShop website for additional information about the purchase of Regalia.



Cap & Gown (All graduates)

Graduates are responsible for purchasing caps and gowns through the VolShop, located in the University Center.

Master and Doctoral Hood (MSN, PhD, DNP)

MSN, PhD, and DNP graduates are responsible for purchasing hoods through the VolShop.

Nursing Pin (BSN)

Nursing pins will be available for purchase through the VolShop. Please note that purchasing a UT nursing pin is optional.

Should you wish to be “pinned” during the commencement ceremony, you will need to have purchased this official nursing pin.

If you do not wish to be “pinned” and do not have the official nursing pin, you will still receive a handshake when crossing the stage from the Dean of the College of Nursing.

Stole & Honor Cord (BSN)

Stoles can be worn by any BSN graduate, regardless of GPA. Students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher are eligible to wear honor cords through the College of Nursing.

Stoles and cords are available to BSN students free of charge.  You will be receiving additional communication from the Student Services Office regarding pick-up of these items.

How can my commencement guest(s) enter Thompson-Boling Arena if they are mobility impaired?
Graduates and guests with disabilities who enter the arena from Phillip Fulmer Way may use an elevator located inside the double-door entrance of the Arena Café. Guests should take the elevator to the third floor to access the concourse level seating area; graduating students should take the elevator to the ground floor to access the reserved seating area for graduates.

Where can my commencement guest(s) park near Thompson-Boling Arena if they are mobility impaired?
Graduates and guests with disabilities who wish to park near the arena would be best accommodated in the following areas: The Neyland Parking Garage (G-10) has 40 spaces reserved for disabled parking and is adjacent to the arena. Persons requiring the use of a wheelchair or those with mobility concerns may best access the arena via a bridge on the top level of the garage (accessible by an elevator to guests parked on other levels). Graduates with a physical disability who access the arena via this bridge should take the elevator by Section 110 to access the reserved seating area for graduates on the ground floor.

I made a mistake on my RSVP form–how can I correct it?
If you made any errors in your RSVP form, you can resubmit it. Please resubmit all information again and contact Student Services ( or 865-974-7606) to let them know.

Additional Information

For more information regarding graduation, commencement, and travel, please visit:

Contact Information

For more information, contact:
Student Services