Welcome Families, Graduates, and Guests!

Greetings JMU family and friends, 

All of us in the JMU community are looking forward to the excitement of this special event and celebrating your accomplishments.  Since we have two ceremonies for graduates again this year, we want to provide additional details about the events.

On Friday, May 5 at 3:00 p.m., we will hold the University Ceremony in Bridgeforth Stadium; tickets are not required and seating is available first come first serve. This ceremony will include a commencement speaker, a student speaker, a faculty speaker, and involvement with the Alumni Association. This is the last time the JMU class of 2017 will be together in one place and they will be able to sit with their friends while wearing caps and gowns. Graduate names will not be called and they will not walk across the stage (that occurss at the individual college ceremonies.) The JMU faculty and platform party will be wearing full regalia and will process. Special music will be performed by the JMU Wind Symphony. Following the ceremony, there will be a reception on Godwin field (just outside the stadium) where the graduates, their families, friends can meet and have some refreshments, take photos, etc. We expect the ceremony to last approximately one hour and fifteen minutes, with the event afterwards lasting 45 minutes.

Parking lots and gates to Bridgeforth Stadium will open at 1:30 p.m. If the ceremony is cancelled due to inclement weather, we will announce a decision by 12:30 p.m. on the Commencement home page, via social media (FB-James Madison University and Twitter @JMUcommencement) or on radio station 1610 AM. Parking information will be detailed on our website in April 2017, as well as what items you may bring into the ceremonies. If you choose to take one of the many shuttles that we provide from local hotels, student apartment complexes and other locations, go to the Commencement parking information page. Please note that parking will be different for each college ceremonies. Handicapped parking is available for this ceremony, please see our campus map for specific locations. A valid handicapped hang tag or license plate from your state is required for access.

The College of Business ceremony will be held on Friday, May 5 at 6:00 p.m. in Bridgeforth Stadium All remaining ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 6 at 9:00 a.m. (unless otherwise noted in the schedule) at various campus locations.

Additional Information

The students will be individually recognized as they cross the stage during these ceremonies. Diplomas will be mailed to the student's home address on file, but the student will receive a scroll while on stage. GradImages will be at each of the college ceremonies to photograph each graduate receiving his or or her degree. The photographer will contact you following graduation about purchasing options. If you would like to purchase a video of the university and college ceremonies, please check the commencement photography/videography page for instructions. These ceremonies last from one to two hours depending on the size of the college. If the inclement weather plan is required, the announcement will be made by 6:00 a.m. Updated parking information will be posted by April with detailed shuttle/parking information for each college ceremony. Tickets are NOT required for any commencement ceremony. If you or a guest requires a sign language interpreter, please contact University Events (540-568-7787) by Friday, April 21. While we will make every effort to consider accommodation requests are this date, please understand that we may not be able to guarantee late requests. If you have a mobility issue, please park in a designated handicapped parking lot for your college ceremony and ask the nearest usher for the best seating area. The University does not provide wheelchairs. For additional questions, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page. We look forward to sharing this special occasion with you! 



Guest Speaker

Arthur Moats

Special Events

For May, Some colleges/departments also have events planned for graduates and their families and information will be provided soon. 

Accessible Parking/Seating

We are pleased to offer accessible seating and parking for guests, including those with limited mobility. Please ask an Usher to direct you to the appropriate handicapped seating when you arrive. In addition, due to limited availability for handicapped seating we ask that the individual needing accessible seating and only one (1) guest sit in the area provided.


Restrooms will be available in various locations on campus. Please look for the restroom signs to direct you. Here is also a list of buildings that will have restrooms available:

  • Burruss
  • Duke
  • Forbes Performing Art Center
  • Harrison
  • Keezell
  • Maury
  • Miller
  • Moody
  • Music
  • Roop
  • Student Success Center
  • Wilson

Helpful Tips

Please review these useful websites for details about how to get herewhere to stay, where to eat.

Here are a few tips to make your weekend more enjoyable:

  • Be prepared for weather (jackets, hats, umbrella, etc.).
  • Dress per your comfort level (business-casual is common) or for the event you plan to attend following Commencement.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes! (Bring bandaids for blisters.)
  • Consider carrying extra camera batteries.
  • Bring activities for young children do quietly in their seats.
  • Please consider bringing a wheelchair or transport chair for the comfort and safety of elderly guests.  
  • No alcohol, glass bottles, or pets at the Convocation Center, Bridgeforth Stadium, or any college ceremony.
  • Make sure ALL family/guests know the graduate's college AND department.
  • Diplomas are mailed to graduates per the Registrar's Office guidelines.

Planning Your Weekend

To help plan your travel schedule and weekend itinerary, we will post weekend events (as we are informed of them). Because colleges, departments and student groups plan their own events for Commencement Weekend, there is no helpful one-size-fits-all weekend itinerary that we can post for students/families. Additional details will be forthcoming. Enjoy the festive weekend!

Commencement Home Page

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