Winter Commencement

The 2023 Winter Commencement
will be held at
2 p.m. on Dec. 17.

For the University’s main ceremony, graduates and guests do not need a ticket to attend.

A tassel

Preparing for graduation

For graduates

Commencement Ceremony

Graduates participating in the December Commencement Ceremony in the Dean E. Smith Center should arrive no later than 1:30 p.m. Enter through the Gate D doors and take the stairs to court level to the seating area.

The ceremony will begin promptly at 2 p.m.

Parking will be available in the Skipper Bowles Lot.

Apply to Graduate

All students must apply for graduation through their ConnectCarolina account.

Select “Apply for Graduation” from the drop-down box on the Academics tab and follow the directions to confirm all program and personal information. Be sure to confirm the listed home address. If this is not where your diploma should be sent, you can update your home address yourself in your Student Center. Please also confirm the spelling of your name, including capitalization. Email if you have questions about how your name is listed.

December Commencement Program

The December Commencement Program includes the names of all August graduates and all December degree candidates with an active application for graduation at the time of printing. The name listed will be the student’s permanent name as it appears in ConnectCarolina at the posted deadline (go to important graduation dates).

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.

Learn how you can invite family members to the U.S. for your commencement ceremony
• Request a graduation application confirmation letter from the Registrar’s office. Please email requesting for a letter of confirmation for graduation for your family’s visas.


Diplomas for all December degree recipients are ordered after graduation and are mailed by February to each graduate’s home address (as it appears in ConnectCarolina at the posted deadline).

Diploma Frames may be purchased through UNC Student Stores.

Additional information is available on the Registrar’s website.

Caps, Gowns and Announcements

Cap and gown (regalia) will be available for online purchase (shipping only) starting Monday, Oct. 2, through Wednesday, Nov. 15, by clicking HERE. Anyone that would like to purchase in-store will be able to do so starting Monday, Oct. 30, through Commencement weekend.

Individual stoles and tassels will be available for purchase online (by clicking HERE)

Customized graduation announcements can be purchased through

Generic announcements in packages of 10 may be purchased at Student Stores.

For class ring ordering information, visit

Graduates can order a diploma frame by going to Student Stores.

For other questions, please email

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.

For faculty


Faculty rental regalia is currently available for ordering starting Monday, Oct. 2, through Friday, November, 10, by clicking HERE. Regalia will be available for pickup at UNC Student Stores staring the Monday of Commencement week (Dec. 11). Payment is due at time of pickup, and the return deadline to have your items back in-store is Friday, Dec. 22.

Customized, more elaborate doctoral regalia can be ordered by contacting Orders for custom regalia can be placed year-round and take around 10 weeks to ship once ordered. For guaranteed delivery by Winter Commencement, the order deadline is Sunday, Oct. 15. IT IS HIGHLY SUGGESTED TO PLACE THE ORDER BEFORE THE DEADLINE.

Commencement Ceremony 

Faculty planning to participate in the ceremony should contact to register and be sent more information.

Faculty participating in the December Commencement Ceremony in the Dean E. Smith Center will gather at 1:30 p.m. in the press room. Enter through the Gate D doors and take the elevator to court level.

The academic processional will begin promptly at 2 p.m.

Parking will be available.

For parents

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. 


Customized Graduation Announcements can be purchased through Balfour ( Generic announcements in packages of 10 may be purchased at Student Stores. 

Useful Contact Numbers 


Dean E. Smith Center Entry Policy 

All guests and their belongings are subject to screening by entry personnel. The following items will not be permitted in the Smith Center: 

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

Water is permitted as no refreshments will be available at the ceremony.

Visit GoHeels for more information on Smith Center policies. 

Directions to the Dean E. Smith Center 

Address: 300 Skipper Bowles Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 

From Virginia and points north 

Take I-85 South to Durham, NC. Exit left at US 15-501 in Durham and follow 15-501 approximately 9 miles to Chapel Hill. Once in Chapel Hill, maintain US 15-501 Bypass (Fordham Boulevard). At around the 7th stoplight, turn right onto Manning Drive. The Smith Center is a half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive. 

From points west 

Take I-85 North towards Durham. Exit just past Burlington onto NC 54 East (Exit #148, Chapel Hill Exit). Follow NC 54 for approximately 20 miles to Carrboro. Pass Carrboro Plaza on the right and stay on NC 54 for about 4 miles to the next stoplight, Manning Drive. Turn left on Manning Drive. The Smith Center is a half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive. 

From points east 

Take I-40 West toward Chapel Hill. Exit at NC 54 West (Exit #273 A) and follow for approximately four miles. Once in Chapel Hill, continue to follow signs for NC 54 West, which means you will have to exit right under first overpass. At the top of the exit turn right at light. Follow NC 54 West/15-501 South until the second stoplight. Turn right onto Manning Drive. The Smith Center is a half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive. 

From points south 

Take US 15-50 North toward Chapel Hill. Exit right onto US 15-501 Bypass in Chapel Hill. Turn left at first stoplight onto Manning Drive. The Smith Center is a half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive. 

Accessibility Services

Parking for guests with disabilities will be located in the Williamson Lot directly in front of the Dean Smith Center. A state (any state) disabled license plate/placard will admit you to the parking area. If you do not have such a license plate or placard and you will be transporting a guest with a disability, please contact Commencement Accessibility Services at and they will email you a parking permit. 

Golf carts will be available to assist guests who need help moving between the parking lots to the Dean Smith Center entrance marked “A.” Guests with disabilities will be greeted at this entrance by student marshals and assisted to the concourse area or to the elevator if appropriate. Golf carts will also be available at the close of the ceremony to assist guests returning to their vehicles. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as you wait for the carts to ensure the safety of all guests at these busy times. The top two rows of seats closest to the concourse will be reserved for those guests who are unable to climb/descend many steps. 

No seating passes will be necessary; however, we respectfully request that only the guest requiring assistance and one other person sit in these rows. The remainder of the family may sit in the rows directly in front of the reserved seats. This will ensure that families can sit together as far as is possible while still maintaining adequate seating for guests with mobility difficulties. 

ASL interpreting and closed captioning will be available. 

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

Commencement Accessibility

UNC General Alumni Association

There is no better way to keep in touch with Carolina and Tar Heel friends and classmates than through membership in the UNC General Alumni Association. Find out more about how the GAA can enrich and benefit your life, and the special rates offered to Carolina’s newest graduates. 

“The GAA is not merely an organization that brings people together who share a common alma mater, it’s a springboard to a world of opportunity. The GAA is the cornerstone of the powerful Tar Heel alumni community.” 

Dillon Vess ’15