Families celebrate during Wake Forest Commencement

General Information

  • The Commencement ceremony lasts approximately three and a half hours and is held outdoors on Hearn Plaza. Temperatures in May can vary widely, so check the local weather forecast.
  • Arrive early. Due to security measures, there may be lines to enter Hearn Plaza. Please limit the number of items you bring; a clear bag policy will be in place.
  • Restrooms will be available in Reynolda Hall and Wait Chapel. Executive portable restrooms will also be available. Wheelchair accessible restrooms are available at Zick’s restaurant.
  • During the ceremony, the center aisle and the platform will be closed to all except those in the processional. Please observe the rope barricades.
  • You may wish to bring a bottle of water or other drink with you. There are water bottle refill stations available, so you can replenish if needed.
  • You can purchase drinks on the Quad, but they will be cash sales only (no credit/debit card).
  • Bring some paper towels or a washcloth from home to wipe off your chairs at Commencement. While the staff tries to go through and wipe the dew off the chairs, they are not always able to get to all 13,000 chairs before guests arrive.
  • Purchases available on the Quad: there will be complimentary water, and food and drink for purchase (cash only, it will be things like chips, muffins, half dozen boxes of donuts, energy bars, coffee) as well as small gifts for purchase (card only, it will be things like t-shirts with graduates’ names printed on the back, teddy bears, flower leis and kukui nut leis).

Parking and Arrival Information

We’ve provided parking and arrival information for our guests. This information may change before the event, so please be sure to check back before you arrive on campus to make sure you’re familiar with any policies and guidelines we’ve made updates to.

For those who need accessibility support or accommodations, please review the accessibility information page for details.

To-Do Checklist

Make hotel reservations

Contact information for preferred hotels can be found on the Wake Forest University About site. When you contact a hotel, let the hotel associate know that you will be attending the Wake Forest graduation. Many hotels have set aside a block of rooms for graduation guests.

Ensure your student has reserved their tickets

Discuss Commencement Weekend ticket needs with your graduate and other family members and determine the final number of tickets you will need prior to your graduate registering for tickets.

Online ticket registration will open in early March.

Each graduate will be able to register for their allotment of eight (8) guest tickets. This year students who do not need their full allotment can donate extra tickets, and students who would like additional tickets can request up to ten (10) additional tickets from the pool as they register. Any extra tickets will be allocated 30 days prior to Commencement. All tickets will be available for download on May 1st.

Make sure your graduate completes the Name Pronunciation form

All BA and BS degree recipients who will march in the May graduation exercises are asked to complete a voice recording of their name and fill out the name pronunciation form. This will ensure that your graduate’s name is pronounced correctly during the commencement ceremony.

The form should be submitted by April 15.