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For Graduate School and School of Professional Studies Candidates

Professors with caps and gowns


You will soon receive your degree from Clark University. Commencement 2019 will be held Sunday, May 19, on the Jefferson Academic Center Green and Kneller Athletic Center (see Program below).

Please read the information below carefully and note important dates, times, locations, procedures and attire requirements for Commencement 2019.

Students who have completed all work and whose grades (no incompletes) have been received at the Registrar’s Office are automatically included in the Commencement program and invited to participate in the graduation ceremony.

Please review your student account to see if you have any holds and/or a balance due. All holds and balances must be eliminated before you can be cleared for graduation. Please contact your student account counselor if you have any questions.

All students who received federally funded or Clark institutional loans to finance their education must complete an online exit interview. These are mandatory, and diplomas of students who do not complete online exit interviews may be withheld. You will be notified in March about the exit interview process.

Due to limited capacity seating in the Kneller Athletic Center, wristbands will be required for all guests. We guarantee two wristbands per student and will do our best to accommodate additional guests. Detailed information will be available on the Commencement Attendance Form. Students will be notified about their requests for additional wristbands by April 19, along with dates, times, and locations for pick up.

All other guests of graduate students may watch the graduate diploma-awarding ceremony via live broadcast in the comfort of Johnson Auditorium in the Sackler Sciences Center.

Announcements to send to family and friends are available through the Graduate School office. Please note these announcements are not tickets, but are formal written announcements of your impending graduation that you can share with family and friends. Announcements are available on a first-come, first-served basis, through the Graduate School Office and may be picked up, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Supplies are limited.

Ordering Caps and Gowns

Graduate students must order their own Commencement regalia through University Cap and Gown. Students who have submitted the Application for Degree form will receive a link through their Clark email to the Graduate Student Commencement Attendance form which will direct them to University Cap and Gown to order regalia. Attendance form and regalia order must be complete by March 26th.

You may have your regalia shipped to your home address for an additional fee, or you may pick it up on campus in Atwood Hall on either Tuesday, May 14th, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., or Thursday, May 16th, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Please note you must pick up your own regalia; you may not send someone else to pick up your cap and gown!

Master’s students

Master’s degree regalia, which costs $28, is yours to keep. If you choose to recycle your regalia instead of keeping it, you may drop it off with University Cap & Gown in the Kneller Athletic Center on Commencement day until 4 p.m. You may also drop garments off on the second floor of the Alumni and Student Engagement Center, just outside the Dean of the College Office (ASEC 222), until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22nd.

Doctoral students

Doctoral caps and gowns are rentals; they cost $38 and must be returned. If you wish to purchase the regalia there is an option to do so on the University Cap & Gown website. You have several choices for returning rented regalia:

  1. University Cap & Gown will be in the Kneller Athletic Center on Commencement day until 4 p.m.; you may return your garments there.
  2. You may also drop garments off on the second floor of the Alumni and Student Engagement Center, just outside the Dean of the College Office (ASEC 222), until 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 22nd . Please make sure your regalia is bagged and labeled with your name.
  3. After May 22nd, you are responsible for shipping the garments back at your own expense. Ship to: University Cap & Gown, Attn: Returns, 486 Andover Street, Lawrence, MA 01843.

Graduates and their families are invited to attend a brunch on Commencement day from 9 to 11 a.m. in Higgins University Center.

Brunch reservations are available for graduates and their families at $12.75 per adult, $10.75 for senior citizens (65+), $7.25 for graduating students, $6.25 for children 6-12 years-old; children under 5-years-old eat free. Walk-ins are welcome for $13.75 per person; children under 5-years-old eat free. Please remember to include your graduating student in your reservation. Please note brunch is general seating.


Attendance and Assembly

The processional begins at noon (12 p.m.). Graduate students must assemble by 11:15 a.m. sharp in the Kneller Athletic Center wearing (or carrying) their caps and gowns. The Kneller will open to graduates at 11 a.m. If a last-minute emergency on the day of Commencement prevents you from joining the ceremony as planned, please call 508-793-7575.

Commencement is a formal affair. University officials reserve the right to prohibit a student from participating if the formal cap and gown are not worn, or if the student’s identity is concealed in any way. Caps may be tastefully decorated; gowns may not be altered in any way.

Backpacks or large handbags will not be allowed at Commencement. High-heeled shoes are not recommended for the procession or ceremony.

In the Kneller gymnasium, tagged seats are arranged alphabetically for all students. Graduate students will be seated in alphabetical order by degree in the sections closest to the stage. Undergraduate students will be seated in alphabetical order behind the graduate students. Please be seated. Commencement Marshals will be on hand to help. You will receive last-minute instructions at this time.


From the Kneller, students will walk in a formal procession to the Commencement area. Students must take their seats on the Campus Green, and stay in the same order in which they were seated in the Kneller.


Part I

The program will begin on the Campus Green and will include a welcome, opening remarks, the Commencement address, conferring of honorary degrees and recognition of all graduates. This portion of the ceremony will run approximately one hour.

Part II

At the conclusion of the ceremony above, designated members of the platform party, followed by graduate students, will process behind the piper and drummer to the Kneller Athletic Center for the Graduate School Commencement. Families of graduate students will be directed in an orderly fashion to either the Kneller Athletic Center or Johnson Auditorium / Sackler Science Center. Please note: Guests of graduate students with wristbands will recess to Kneller Athletic Center. Guests of graduate students without wristbands will recess to the Johnson Auditorium in Sackler Science Center to watch the graduate school ceremony via live feed. Commencement is expected to end at approximately 2:30 p.m.


After the ceremony, the formal recession of the platform party begins. You are expected to remain seated until the party has left the platform. Graduates will follow the faculty in a recession down the center aisle and out the back door of the Kneller. Faculty members will have formed a receiving line on the Kneller patio to congratulate you. To allow all attendees to hear and enjoy the Commencement ceremony without disruption, we request that students hold off celebrating until after the final recession. Drinking and raucous behavior during the ceremonies will not be permitted.

Guest Seating for Part I: Outdoors on the Campus Green

We recommend that guests of Graduate School students who choose to watch the first part of commencement (University-wide ceremony) outside on the campus green sit in the sections shaded in green on the commencement campus map. This will enable guests to easily leave at the conclusion of the first ceremony and walk to the Kneller or Sackler for the graduate student ceremony.

Guest Seating for Part II: Kneller Athletic Center and Johnson Auditorium, Sackler Sciences Center

Guest seating for the graduate student portion of Commencement is limited and guests must have a wristband for entrance into the Kneller. Additional/overflow seating for guests of graduate students is in Johnson Auditorium in the Sackler Sciences Center. Both the University-wide ceremony and the Graduate Commencement will be broadcast in Johnson Auditorium as well as the Kneller Athletic Center.

Indoor Seating for the Entirety of Commencement

Guests of graduate students who prefer indoor seating for all of Commencement should proceed as follows:

  • Guests with Kneller wristbands should go directly to the Kneller Athletic Center after the initial procession has ended. The Kneller will open approximately 15 minutes after the last student has processed from the building.
  • Guests of graduate students without wristbands who prefer indoor seating for all of Commencement should proceed to the Johnson Auditorium in the Sackler Sciences Center to view the University-wide and the Graduate Commencement via live feed.

Consideration for Guests with Mobility Issues:

If seating is required for family or friends with mobility issues, please arrange to reserve seating in advance by contacting Facilities Management at 508-793-7566 or

We highly encourage family or friends who have reserved seating for the Graduate School ceremony to come directly to the Kneller Athletic Center lobby. Commencement staff will be waiting with a list of reservations and will check you in when you arrive. You will be escorted to the reserved seating section in the Kneller Athletic Center shortly after the procession to the campus green has left the Kneller (approximately 10-15 minutes after the procession). Guests will be able to watch the opening ceremony and speeches via live feed while waiting in the lobby as well as when they are seated inside. The graduate students will process back to the Kneller Athletic Center between 1:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. and the graduate diploma awarding ceremony will begin.

Any Clark student needing special accommodations should contact Thomas Sawicki, Director of Student Accessibility Services.


Professional photographers will set up near the Commencement platforms to take photographs of graduates as they are handed their diplomas. Details about purchasing this photograph will be sent to students’ homes directly from Commencement Photos, Inc. There is no obligation to buy. Additional information and online ordering is available through the company’s website after graduation day.

Please note that this professional photograph is a candid shot and graduates are asked not to stop and pose as this will hold up the diploma-awarding part of the ceremony; photographers will not take posed photos. To ensure your photograph comes out well, please be sure to look at the provost and smile when you are receiving your diploma.

Family and friends may take their own photographs along the processional route from the Kneller Athletic Center. Please note: there are no photography areas near the stage; we respectfully ask that guests do not approach the platform or stand in the aisles for photographs as this creates unsafe conditions and blocks the views of others.

Livestreaming and Video

Clark will use to broadcast Commencement. You can also watch Commencement on-demand (available shortly after the ceremony finishes), or download the event.

Directions, Map, and Parking

Google Map Directions to Clark


Guests may park in all permit lots, and on the streets surrounding campus.


If, after reviewing the information on these pages, you have any additional questions, please contact: