NEW! Policy Changes for 2024 Commencement


Tickets are now required for all school ceremonies. Schools will communicate and distribute tickets for their individual ceremonies directly to the graduates. Please see Calendar of Events for school schedules and direct links to school Commencement webpages. Links are highlighted in red.

Bag Policy

Graduates may not bring any bags of any type onto Francis Olympic Field, or into the school ceremonies.

Guests are strongly encouraged not to bring bags. Only the following types of bags will be allowed:

  • Clear plastic bags, not to exceed 14”x14”x4”. Clear bags will be available and free of charge in parking locations and at the ceremony entrances, for those who need them.
  • Small clutch-type wallets or purses not to exceed 4”x6”. Diaper bags are allowed for those with small children, but will be inspected.
  • Medically necessary equipment is permitted after inspection.

Prohibited Items

The following items are prohibited in all university and school ceremonies and events, and are subject to confiscation:

  • Air horns and other artificial noisemakers
  • Animals, except assistance animals
  • Banners or signs larger than 2’x3’ (no poles of any kind will be allowed)
  • Food and drink (except water)
  • Firearms and weapons
  • Laser lights
  • Balloons, glitter and confetti
  • Unmanned aircraft/drones
What is the date of Commencement?

The university-wide Commencement ceremony will be held on Monday, May 13, 2024, at 9:00 a.m. (CST).

Where is Commencement held?

The university-wide Commencement ceremony will be held on the historic Francis Olympic Field on the Danforth Campus. Gates to the field will open at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, May 13, 2024. No food or beverage, other than water, will be allowed on Francis Olympic Field.

What time does Commencement start and end?

Commencement will begin promptly with the procession at 9:00 a.m. and will conclude around 11:00 a.m. A university-wide festival will take place immediately following the ceremony and will end at 3:00 p.m.

Will the Commencement ceremony be viewable online?

Yes, the university-wide Commencement ceremony will be livestreamed from our main Commencement website on Monday, May 13 at 9:00 a.m.

Will water be available during Commencement?

Yes, water will be available during Commencement and throughout the festival. We will have water-filling stations throughout campus; please bring your own reusable water bottle. 

What is the Commencement festival?

This is the third year for our fun and exciting university-wide festival. Graduates and their guests will have the opportunity to enjoy local food and beverage, entertainment, music, and photo opportunities across campus. The festival will take place immediately following the university-wide Commencement ceremony from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Will graduates cross the stage?

No, graduates do not cross the stage at the university-wide Commencement ceremony. However, graduates will have the opportunity to have their name called and cross the stage at individual school ceremonies.

Where can I find the schedule of events?

You may find the full Commencement schedule here. Schools plan and manage their own ceremonies. Any additional questions should be directed to the school from which you’re graduating.

What is the suggested guest attire?

St. Louis weather can often fluctuate during the month of May. Recent Commencement weekends have had weather extremes, so flexibility and practicality are good planning principles. Dress for the weather and your comfort. Low heels or flats are appropriate for navigating the turf field and walks across campus.

What happens if it rains?

Commencement is a rain or shine event. In the event of rain, ponchos will be available to all graduates and guests. The Commencement ceremony may be shortened.

Who is the Commencement Speaker?

Jennifer Coolidge, an award-winning actor known for her numerous iconic roles in film and on television, will be the 2024 university-wide Commencement speaker.

Is registration required?

Graduates are required to register themselves for the university-wide Commencement. During the registration, we ask graduates to provide us with an estimated number of guests. Nothing additional is required.

Is regalia required to participate in Commencement events?

Yes, graduation regalia is required to participate in all Commencement events.

Will there be parking available on campus?

Yes, parking will be available in all parking garages located on Danforth Campus. Please review our Visiting Campus in May webpage for more details.

I will be attending Commencement ceremonies and need accessible parking.

There are several options available for accessible parking. An accessible drop off is located in the lot in front of Simon Hall. Accessible parking is available in the Danforth University Center Garage for those displaying a state-issued accessible placard or license plate. Please review our Accessibility page for more details.

Where is the accessible seating section for the university-wide Commencement?

Accessible seating will be available on Francis Olympic Field. When you arrive, there will be accessible seating marked towards the front of the field.

I would like to reserve a wheelchair for the university-wide Commencement.

We have a limited amount of wheelchairs available to reserve for the university-wide Commencement ceremony. Please review our Accessibility page for more details.

Where can I view the most recent communication?

All student communications are posted to our website here.

Are there ways to celebrate my graduate?

Yes, there are a number of ways to honor your graduate’s achievement and celebrate the occasion.

If I have questions regarding my diploma, whom should I contact?

Information about diplomas may be found on the Office of the University Registrar website. Any additional questions or comments should be sent to along with your student ID number.

Where is the lost and found located?

If you lose an item during Commencement weekend, please call the Washington University Police Department at (314) 935-5555.

Whom may I contact for additional Commencement information?

Be sure to check the website frequently for recent communications and updates. If you still cannot find an answer to your question within this FAQ or on the website, please send an email to If you are student, please be sure to include your student ID.

I would like to request a letter of invitation for my family.

Per the Office of International Students and Scholars, invitation letters are no longer required for visa appointments. If you have further questions regarding visa applications for your family, please email, or you may contact your OISS advisor directly at