General Questions

The ceremony duration depends on the college in which you are participating in.

College of Business, and College of Health and Behavioral Studies, please allow two hours and fifteen minutes.

The Graduate School Ceremony and College of Arts and Letters, please allow two hours.

College of Integrated Science and Engineering and College of Science and Mathematics, please allow seventy-five minutes.

College of Education, University Studies, and Professional and Continuing Education and College of Visual and Performing Arts, please allow one hour.

Please contact with specific questions. 

Guests and graduates will need to pass through metal detection, bag checks, and security measures at the entrances. We suggest removing unnecessary items to speed up the security process. For a list of prohibited items, please visit our website:

Additionally, ticket scanning via mobile devices will occur at the entrances. We suggest arriving at least 45 minutes prior to the ceremony to ensure a smooth entry. Guests will find their seats in the general seating section. Graduates will need to report to the floor to find their seat assignment.

Graduates need to be in their seats at least 20 minutes prior to the ceremony. We suggest that graduates arrive no later than 40 minutes prior to the ceremony to pass through security measures at the entrance and report to the floor to find seating assignment (sent via email the week of commencement).  

Although we do not require clear bags upon entry, we do check bags. All bags will need to be smaller than 12x12x12. Please have small bags and purses open for screening. For full list of allowed and prohibited items, visit

Walk through metal detection will occur at the gates. During metal detection, hold keys and cell phones to your chest. 

Graduates are seated on the floor within alphabetical by college, then alphabetical by departments/majors , then alphabetical by last name. Seat assignments will be sent via email to the graduates the week of commencement.

For guest seating, it is first come, first serve. However, there are some reserved areas in the arena for those with limited mobility. To provide adequate seating for all, we ask that only one person can accompany each guest with limited mobility. 

Parking is available in Ballard Parking Deck, adjacent to the Atlantic Union Bank Center. This parking deck is accessible, as there is elevator service on each floor. If you chose to park in this deck, we ask that you enter using University Blvd (Costco side). There are several surrounding lots that are near the arena. These lots are D3, C12, and R4 and to access these lots, it is best to enter from Carrier Drive.
Graduates will enter the arena using the Plaza Entrance doors, specifically the two doors that are farthest to the right, closest to the Ticketing Office. Guests may enter any of the other doors on the Plaza or Champions side. 


Accessibility Questions
For individuals with official state-issued handicap parking permits, there are reserved spaces in Ballard Parking Deck and all lots surrounding Atlantic Union Bank Center.  Your DMV-issued Handicap Permit must be displayed and visible. Ballard Parking Deck is accessible with elevator service on every level and a short walk through the Plaza to either entrance. There are surrounding lots within a short walking distance: D3 lot, C12 lot, and R4 lot.
The Atlantic Union Bank Center provides accessible seating for those with limited mobility. Seating in the top of sections 102 and 104 will be adequate seating during the ceremony. We ask that only one guest accompany each guest with limited mobility. The rest of your party may sit in the general admission section. You do not need to reserve seats prior the ceremony, as they are first come, first serve.
Wheelchair seating will be available in the lower concourse, above sections 103, 105, 107 and 109. To provide adequate seating during the ceremony, we ask that only one guest accompany each guest with limited mobility. Please note: the university does not provide wheelchairs for guests.
You do not need to submit a request, as we provide American Sign Language interpreters for the commencement exercises held in the Atlantic Union Bank Center. The interpreter will appear on the video board for viewers to follow along. The sign language interpreters will not sign graduate names during the ceremony. Should you require other accommodations, please contact University Events at
Ticketing Questions
Graduates will be allotted a maximum of six (6) tickets to use for their guests. They must be secured by the graduate, as it is tied to their student ticketing account. Graduates will need to secure a graduate ticket for themselves for entry into the arena when they reserve guest tickets. For more information regarding ticketing and the process, visit the commencement website.
At this time, we are unable to award additional tickets for the ceremony. However, if additional tickets become available as we move through the ticketing process, an email will be sent to the graduates informing them that an allotment of tickets have become available. Should you have any questions, please contact
All tickets must be downloaded to a smartphone, as they are e-mobile. We ask that you download all tickets prior to arriving at the arena. Graduates will need to keep their graduate ticket in their Apple or Google wallet but transfer their guest tickets. If your guests are arriving separately, they will need to have their tickets on their device. If your guests are arriving together, it is permitted for one guest to have all tickets on their device.
Graduate Questions
If you are late to applying to graduate, you may still walk and participate in commencement. If you applied after the printed program deadline (April 1st), we cannot guarantee your name will appear in the printed program or videoboard. We will make our best efforts to include all names.
Yes, graduate names will appear on the videoboard as you cross the stage. If you apply late to graduate, University Events will provide instructions to ensure your name will appear on the videoboard. Graduates who do not have a name card will need to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and stop by the name card table outside the entrance to the graduate floor.
When it is nearing your turn to cross the stage, a guide will instruct your entire row to rise and proceed to the side of the stage. At this time, ensure you have your name card easily accessible. A staff member will scan the barcode on your name card, adding your name to the lineup to be shown on the video board. When it is your turn, you will hand your name card to the reader. As you cross the stage, ensure you stop on the labeled footprints and look up. You will appear on the video board for a moment of celebration. Then, you will continue across the stage to be congratulated by the president. Upon exiting the ramp, our photographer will take a photo of you against a backdrop, then you will be instructed to return to your seat until the duration of the ceremony.
Graduates will receive a seating assignment for their commencement ceremony. The order is alphabetical by college, then alphabetical by departments/majors, then alphabetical by last name. The order of the calling of graduate names will be listed in the printed program.
Out of respect for your fellow graduates, we ask that you return to your graduate seats for the duration of the ceremony. Following the ceremony, you may meet your guests outside on the Alumni Plaza.

The first opportunity for graduates to obtain their regalia is at the Commencement Expo, held Tuesday, March 26th and Wednesday, March 27th in the Atlantic Union Bank Center. If you are unable to attend Commencement Expo, you may order online through the JMU Bookstore website or stop in at the Bookstore. You can find the links on our commencement website and instructions will be emailed to graduates following Commencement Expo.  For more information, visit

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