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Main Ceremonies

Tickets

Tickets will be emailed to graduates by Wednesday, May 19. They may then forward the tickets to their guests to display on their phone, or they may print out their tickets to be scanned. If using a phone, please have the tickets open and ready for scanning when you reach the entry gate. Each ticket scans only once, so electronic tickets may not be duplicated.

Mask Requirements

In response to updated public health guidance and continuing increases in vaccination in our area and at the university, William & Mary is updating our masking policies as of May 18.

  • Students and guests must wear a face covering while in any shared indoor space, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Outdoor Commencement ceremonies will not require masks, but we will continue to observe the six-foot minimum distancing built into initial plans to protect those not yet vaccinated. Individuals not yet vaccinated are advised to wear masks and observe physical distancing guidelines.
  • W&M is not prohibiting masks nor distancing and will support you if you choose to continue to do so for your own comfort or for the protection of those who are unable to be vaccinated.

Prohibited Items

The prohibited items list is for the enjoyment and safety of Commencement guests. This list is subject to change as conditions warrant. 

  • Backpacks (exceptions: diaper bags, string backpacks)
  • Bags measuring larger than 1’ x 1’ x 1’
  • Outside food & drink (except for factory sealed non-alcoholic beverages, no larger than one liter; juice boxes, factory sealed infant snacks, and baby food). Concessions will not be served, so please time your meals before and after the ceremony accordingly.
  • Camera Tripods / Monopods / Selfie-Sticks
  • Firearms and other weapons
  • Laptop computers
  • Alcohol, use of any tobacco products, or illegal substances
  • E-cigarettes and vapor apparatuses
  • Noisemakers, laser pointers, balls, Frisbees, inflatable objects
  • Coolers, ice chests
  • Pets
  • Strollers (there will be a stroller parking tent near the entrance)
  • Anything deemed unsafe by police or event staff

Recommended Items

Due to the outdoor environment, we encourage guests to bring the following items with them into Zable Stadium.

  • Stadium Seat Backs: A majority of seats in Zable Stadium are bleacher seats, so we encourage guests to bring stadium seats with backs.
  • Water: We STRONGLY recommend guests bring their own factory-sealed water. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all water fountains and community re-fill stations are closed in Zable Stadium. As per state guidelines, we are also not permitted to sell concessions, including water. 
    • You are permitted to bring sealed containers of water or other non-alcoholic beverages (e.g. previously unopened plastic bottles of purified water, soda, gatorade, etc).
    • Each bottle should be 1 liter size or less.
    • For security reasons, guests may NOT bring glass containers or any refillable container or other container that has previously been opened (e.g. Nalgene, thermos, paper or plastic cups, or half-consumed bottles of water).
  • Food for Young Children, Diabetics or Medical Issues: Concessions will not be served, so please time your meals before and after the ceremony accordingly.
  • Sun Protection: Sunscreen, hats & sunglasses. Most guest seats are not shaded.
  • In Case of Rain:
    • Rain coats
    • Umbrellas are permitted, but please be aware of your surroundings and be respectful of other guests around you.
    • Small hand towels to dry your seat.

Weather

  • Heat: Late May in Williamsburg can be very hot and humid. We recommend guests dress comfortably for the weather. Prepare to be in the sun from the time you arrive until the ceremony is finished. Sunscreen, sunglasses and hats are recommended.
  • Rain: We will hold Commencement rain or shine. Guests should dress appropriately. Umbrellas are permitted, but please be aware of your surroundings and be respectful of other guests around you. If it has been wet, we recommend guests bring their own towels to wipe seats down.
  • Thunder/Lightning: We will move graduates to Kaplan Arena only in the event of the threat of thunder/lightning. If this happens, guests will not be permitted inside Kaplan, but they may watch the ceremony via live stream.

Entry

Gates will open one hour before the ceremony start time. In order to avoid too many guests at any one gate, we will direct guests to entry gates based upon the graduate’s last name:

  • A-L to gate 1 (behind Sadler Center)
  • M-Z to gate 3 (near Alumni House)

Seating

Graduates will be seated on Zable Field according to major. The diagrams below show the approximate location for each major. Note the Sadler Center location is toward the bottom of the page.

Ceremony Timeline

The ceremony will last approximately two hours. Graduates will cross the stage by major, though graduates will not necessarily cross alphabetically.

Special coverage that includes the graduates' Walk Across Campus will be available on the livestream and on the stadium screens approximately one hour before the scheduled start time of each ceremony.

Photography

A professional photographer will be on-hand to take pictures of graduating students after they have crossed the stage. Students will receive more information about how to order and purchase their photos.

Accessibility Accommodations

  • View the limited mobility parking, entry and seating diagram for Zable Stadium (pdf).
  • Wheelchair/limited mobility guests will be able to drop-off directly in front of gate 5.
  • Limited mobility seating is on the track, so no stairs are required for limited mobility guests.
  • Guests who can climb some steps will be ushered to lower rows of seating we have reserved and may sit with one companion.
  • Guests who cannot climb stairs will be ushered to the limited mobility seating area on the track and may sit with one companion.
  • Guests in wheelchairs or scooters will be ushered to the limited mobility seating area on the track and may sit with one companion.
  • We will have American Sign Language interpreters at each ceremony. Guests requiring live ASL interpretation should enter at gate 5.
  • Live closed captioning will be available on the ceremony livestreams.

Exiting the Stadium

At the end of the ceremony, students will process out of the stadium. Once students have exited, we ask all guests to pick up any personal belongings, deposit trash and recycling in the appropriate bins, and exit the stadium as efficiently as possible so that we can prepare for the next ceremony. Guests and students should not congregate immediately outside of the stadium.

We also ask guests parked in Zable and Kaplan lots to please move their vehicles shortly after the ceremony ends so that we can prepare parking for the next ceremony.