Spring Commencement

Spring Commencement will be held at
9 a.m. on May 12, 2019, at Kenan Memorial Stadium.

No tickets are required.

Commencement speaker

In 2003, Jonathan T.M. Reckford had been a successful business executive at some of the nation’s major corporations when he felt a calling to serve others in a deeper way. He left the corporate world behind to become a pastor and now leads the world’s foremost global nonprofit housing organization.

The Habitat for Humanity CEO, Reckford graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1984. He will deliver the Commencement address at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Spring Commencement.

Read more

Honorary degree recipients

  • Rebecca Hatcher Buckley

    Dr. Rebecca Hatcher Buckley graduated with a Doctor of Medicine degree from the UNC School of Medicine in 1958 and received training in pediatrics at Duke. She served as chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology from 1974 to 2003, and has been the James Buren Sidbury Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Immunology at Duke since 1979.

  • Nelson Schwab III

    Nelson Schwab is a founding partner of Carousel Capital, a private investment firm that invests in southeastern U.S.-based companies. Carousel has raised approximately $1.2 billion since it's founding and is currently investing its fifth fund. Over its history, Carousel has invested in over 40 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions.

  • John L. Sanders

    Colleagues have described John Sanders as the measure of “what it means to be a North Carolinian.” William Friday once called him “North Carolina’s unsung hero.” Guided more by mission and principles than by expectations of recognition, Sanders quietly devoted a lifetime of service to our state and UNC-Chapel Hill.

  • T Bone Burnett

    With 50 years of experience in music and entertainment, T Bone Burnett has earned an unparalleled reputation as a first-rate innovative artist, songwriter, producer, performer, film and concert producer, record company owner and artists’ advocate.

Preparing for graduation

For graduates

Apply to Graduate

All students must apply for graduation through their ConnectCarolina account.

Visit the Registrar’s website for a complete list of Important Graduation Dates.

conGRADulations Fair

The conGRADulations Fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 27 in the Great Hall of the Carolina Union. The fair is an opportunity for graduating students to receive details and information about Commencement. Students will be able to purchase their cap and gown and will have the opportunity to have their photo taken. Representatives from different areas across campus will be available to answer questions about Commencement. Career Services will also be available.


Graduate candidates should line up no later than 8:30 a.m. Masters/Ph.D.’s candidates should report to the Charlie Choo Choo Justice Statue in front of the Kenan Football Center. Undergraduates should report to the Loudermilk Lot via the outside of the stadium. The processional will start at 9 a.m. promptly. If the ceremony is postponed because of weather, candidates will line up 30 minutes before the ceremony start time. After the ceremony, all graduates will exit up through the stadium stands. (You will not exit the same way you entered).


All Carolina graduates will receive one free hard-copy of their diploma mailed directly to their home address.  Home addresses can be updated by the student through ConnectCarolina.

  • Professional degree diplomas for spring graduates will no longer be pre-printed and will not be available at the Registrar’s Office following Commencement or afterwards.
  • The Office of the University Registrar will not be open on commencement Sunday.

Certified Electronic Diplomas

  •  For degrees awarded May 2019 and after, students will be able to download (for a fee of $10.95) a certified electronic diploma (Ce-diploma) through the Registrar’s website. Diplomas for spring graduates will be available beginning May 28, 2019.

For more information visit:  http://registrar.unc.edu

Caps, Gowns and Announcements

Online Orders: March 1 to April 28 through store.unc.edu (Grads tile on front page)
In-store sales: March 28 to May 12

  • Undergraduate Regalia: $59.99 (basic) or $89.99 (deluxe)
  • Masters Regalia: $69.99
  • Doctoral Regalia: $79.99

Graduates who are out of town or otherwise unable to come to Student Stores are now able to purchase their regalia online. Caps and gowns for undergraduates, masters and doctoral candidates can be ordered and shipped by going to the Student Stores website and clicking on the Grads tile on the front page. Customized regalia can be ordered in-store or by contacting graduation@store.unc.edu.

If a student needs only part of an outfit, all pieces are available separately.

Customized graduation announcements can be purchased through Herff Jones. Graduates will receive a mailing that contains pricing, packages and instructions for ordering online. Generic announcements in packages of 10 amy be purchased at Student Stores. For questions, you may contact Herff Jones at (919) 544-3332 or 800-837-4235 or via email at graduation@store.unc.edu

Diploma frames may be purchased at Student Stores or online.

International Students

Students and scholars who desire to invite family members to visit the U.S. as tourists may use the information below to assist those family members in applying for a visa.

  1. Visit this document to learn how you can invite family members to the US for your commencement ceremonyhttp://isss.unc.edu/files/2014/02/Inviting-Family-Members-B-2.pdf
  2. Request a graduation  application confirmation letter from the Registrar’s office. Please email registrar@unc.edurequesting for a letter of confirmation for graduation for you family visa’s.

Buy your 2019 Yackety Yack, UNC Yearbook

Want to keep all those wonderful memories from this year? Purchase a copy of this year’s yearbook, Yackety Yack. The yearbook captures big events on campus ranging from multicultural to athletic events to beautiful photos of campus life. Remember your days at Carolina by reserving your copy of the Yackety Yack today.

Order at yack.web.unc.edu/order

Senior Campaign

The Office of University Development and senior class marshals invite seniors to support UNC-Chapel Hill through the Senior Campaign for Carolina. As Carolina students, you have been touched every day by private gifts to Carolina that maintain and enhance the University’s tradition of excellence. You can make a gift to any part of the University that is meaningful to you — your major, a professorship, a student organization, scholarships and student aid, or campus-wide programs. To make an immediate difference where it is needed the most, consider supporting the Chancellor’s Unrestricted Fund. All gifts to Carolina are included as participation in the Senior Campaign. To learn more about how Carolina benefits from private support from alumni and friends, please visit the Annual Giving website.

Make your gift today.

For faculty

This section includes information for faculty who are participating in the University Commencement Ceremony in Kenan Stadium at 9 a.m. on May 12.

Faculty will gather at 8:30 a.m. on the second floor of the Kenan Football Center.

The academic processional led by Faculty Marshal Terry Rhodes will begin promptly at 9 a.m.

Parking will be available for faculty members in the Bell Tower Deck.

Please let the Office of University Events know if you plan to participate by emailing staceywarner@unc.edu or calling 919-962-2821.


If you wish to rent or purchase academic regalia, online orders available March 1 to April 9 through Student Stores at store.unc.edu. Faculty who hold Carolina doctorates may also purchase distinctive Carolina regalia.

For families

Hotel Accommodations

We highly recommend making hotel reservations as early as possible. The Chapel Hill Visitor’s Bureau can help you find the type of accommodation appropriate for your stay.


You may order announcements and other Carolina graduation products through Herff Jones.

Useful Contact Numbers:

Venue and parking

Kenan Stadium Entry Policy

All guests and their belongings are subject to screening by entry personnel. The following items will NOT be permitted in Kenan Stadium:

  • Backpacks, duffel bags or oversized purses or computer cases
  • Alcohol, bottles, cans, food, thermoses, coolers, drugs, chains and fireworks
  • Weapons, noisemakers, laser pointers and other items deemed inappropriate by Kenan Stadium personnel
  • No signs larger than 8.5 inches by 11 inches

Please leave wrapped gifts at home or in your car. Coffee, soft drinks, water and donuts will be available for purchase at the concession stands at Gates 2 and 6. Guests with health-related conditions such as diabetes, the elderly and those with young children will be permitted to bring in limited food and beverage.


Parking Information


Weather information

If severe weather is expected Commencement morning, the University may postpone the ceremony to allow the threat to pass. Check unc.edu, University social media channels and/or local tv and radio stations. If there are weather-related delays, the latest possible start time for Commencement would be 11 a.m.

  • If it rains during Commencement, organizers may shorten the ceremony, but it will not be relocated.
  • If severe weather threatens while the ceremony is in progress and attendees’ safety is at risk, the ceremony will be canceled and guests will be advised to seek shelter. The ceremony will not resume.
  • Umbrellas will be permitted, but guests should use caution when opening them and be mindful of those seated around them.

Accessbility services

General Information

To better accommodate the various needs of our visitors at Commencement, Carolina is providing two options for accessible seating. One of these options requires an online reservation. Reserve an accessible seat online.

Stadium Seating and Parking

Accessible seating for wheelchairs or those who cannot ascend or descend stairs is available in Kenan Stadium with a reservation. Additionally, limited mobility seating is available without a reservation. NOTE: Accessible seating is limited and requests will be processed as they are received.

Concourse Level Wheelchair Seating (reservation required)

The Concourse Level Wheelchair Section is reserved, and each reservation is for one person in a wheelchair plus one companion. Reservations are first-come, first-served. Visitors in need of accessible seating are strongly encouraged to arrive to the stadium no later than an hour before the ceremony begins in order to ensure you are in your seat for the start of the ceremony. Gates will open at 7 a.m. — two hours prior to the start of the ceremony.

This section is located near the Kenan Football Center between Gates 3 and 5. ADA accessible restrooms will be located near the seating, as well as water stations. Feel free to bring a water bottle to fill or to bring your own water.

This section faces the main stage and provides a direct view of the event. However, this seating area will not be covered or enclosed, and guests will be subject to the elements. Please prepare appropriately for direct sun.

NOTE: Once the Concourse Level Wheelchair Section is filled, those requesting wheelchair seating will be assigned to a secondary wheelchair seating area. Guests that do not have a reservation will be accommodated as best as we are able based on availability.

If you are not a wheelchair user, but cannot ascend or descend stairs on the shuttle or in the stadium please contact accessibility@unc.edu.

Reserve an accessible seat online.

Concourse Level Wheelchair Parking (permit required)

Guests who request Concourse Level Wheelchair Seating will park in the Ambulatory Care Lott (ACC) and be shuttled to Gate 3 or Gate 6. A parking permit for the ACC Lot will be emailed to guests who need wheelchair seating closer to the Commencement ceremony.

NOTE: Guests will need to print all seating and parking passes and bring them to the Commencement Ceremony.

Limited Mobility Seating (no reservation required)

Guests who can ascend and descend limited stairs are asked to arrive early and identify a seat near the concourse level that best fits their needs. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Limited Mobility Seating Parking (no permit required)

Guests seeking Limited Mobility Seating are encouraged to park in the general parking areas designated on the map. Carolina Livery Shuttles, which are accessible, will drop off at Gates 2 or 6.

Friday Center lot drops off at Gate 2. All other public parking lots drop off at Gate 6.

Please plan accordingly based on your seating.

There are handicapped-accessible spaces in each of the lots on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests can drop off at the shuttle departure points.

We are not responsible for any wheelchairs, walkers, crutches or other mobility aids left at the stadium. To help ensure your medical device is not taken accidentally, we ask that you please tag or label your items with your name, address and phone number. When the ceremony concludes, we ask for your patience as individuals retrieve their mobility aids and exit this area.

ADA-accessible restrooms are located throughout the stadium.

Departmental/Individual School Ceremonies

Accessibility Resources & Service (ARS) and Equal Opportunity and Compliance (EOC) do not coordinate accessible seating or parking for departmental ceremonies. For information about individual departmental or professional school ceremonies, check the Commencement Information website for information regarding building locations and available parking and building access. Or, please contact the school or department of your graduate.


Neither ARS, EOC nor the University maintains a supply of wheelchairs for commencement ceremonies. Guests with difficulty walking are strongly encouraged to bring their own wheelchair or to rent one. Wheelchairs are generally available for short-term rental from medical supply stores and some pharmacies.


The main ceremony will have open captioning in the Stadium. A live streaming transcription of the audio portion of the ceremony audio will be displayed on the large reader boards for guests with difficulty hearing.

Sign Language Interpreting

A sign language interpreter will be provided. If you or your guest require access, please contact accessibility@unc.edu.

If you have any questions about any other accessibility related issues, please contact:

Accessibility Resource and Services
Student Academic Services Building (North, Suite 2126 CB# 7214
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7214
Phone: 919-962-0754
NC Relay: 711
Office Hours: 8 a.m. — 5 p.m. Monday – Friday
Email: accessibility@unc.edu