Winter 2023 Commencement

Degree candidates

The winter ceremony will begin promptly at 10 a.m. and will last approximately two and a half hours.

Doors open at 8 a.m. Graduates are asked to be in their seats no later than 9:40 a.m.


Graduates should enter the arena at Gate A (West Dayton Street entrance). Access to candidate seating is via the grand staircase located outside Section 127.

Degree candidate seating will be in designated areas by school, college, or degree on the floor of the Kohl Center. Seating is not pre-assigned by graduate name and is first-come, first-served. No guests, including children, are permitted in the candidate seating area, except for nursing parents.

Commencement Marshals wearing cardinal red academic attire, as well as ushers and posted signs, will be present to provide seating directions and assistance upon arrival. Degree candidates with faculty escorts (PhD, DMA, MFA) should ask their escort to sit on their right. Please view the graduate seating map for the ceremony here.


For graduates in need of accessibility accommodations, please review our accessibility resources and email to make arrangements.

Reading of graduate names

Each degree candidate will receive a name card upon arrival to the Kohl Center. This card will have each graduate’s information printed out on it, including the phonetic pronunciation of their name as well as a QR code. When graduates approach the stage, they will hand this card to a Marshal, who will scan the QR code to display their name on the screens as well as read their name from the card as the graduate crosses the stage.

Graduate photographs

The professional photographer will send graduates complimentary proofs of their participation in the ceremony. Photographs will be taken as graduates receive their diploma folder and as they leave the stage. Proofs will be emailed out approximately 24 hours after the ceremony. Learn more about graduate photos.


Graduates will receive a red diploma folder at the commencement ceremony. The actual diploma will be mailed six to eight weeks after grades are entered to the permanent home address listed in the MyUW Student Center.


A printed program will be at each degree candidate’s chair and available for guests at the ceremony. All programs are also available and archived as PDFs.



There is no limit to the number of guests that graduates may bring. Additionally, no tickets are required to attend the ceremony. Guest seating is general admission, first-come, first-served.


Anyone needing accommodations should meet with Guest Services at Gate A for assistance. Please visit our Kohl Center accessibility page for more information.


Complimentary parking is available in several campus parking lots on Sunday. A map for complimentary parking will be available at a later date. Accessible parking at the Kohl Center is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that disabled plates and/or hang-tags are required to secure space in lots reserved for accessible commencement parking. Visit our parking page for more information.

Live stream

The commencement ceremony will be streamed live on UW–Madison’s YouTube channel. Shortly after commencement weekend, archived video of the ceremony will be available.

Inclement weather

We are hopeful that Mother Nature will cooperate in the celebration, but because inclement weather is possible, plans are in place to ensure a safe commencement celebration.

The ceremony is scheduled to take place rain or shine. Given the size of the gathering, it’s not feasible to move the ceremony to an alternate date.

  • In the event of severe weather, the ceremony may be delayed, paused, or canceled. Guest safety is the highest priority.
  • If a schedule adjustment is required prior to arrival, information will be shared via email, the commencement website, social media (@UWMadison on X, formerly Twitter, and UWMadison on Facebook), and local news media.

At the venue, instructions will be given via public address announcements and video screen messages. Graduates and guests are asked to listen for announcements and remain seated until instructed otherwise.

Carry-in policy

The carry-in policy applies to both the Kohl Center and Camp Randall Stadium. In order to expedite entry into the Kohl Center and Camp Randall, graduates along with guests are encouraged to limit the number of items they bring. Metal detectors will be in place at the Kohl Center. As guests enter the Kohl Center, they will not need to remove personal items such as cell phones, cameras, keys, wallets, or coins from their pockets before going through the metal detectors. They will not need to remove clothing or accessories such as hats, jewelry, belts, shoes, or jackets. Signage outside the Kohl Center will instruct graduates and guests on the building carry-in policy.

Please note that the clear bag policy does not apply for Camp Randall Stadium and the Kohl Center on the day of commencement.

All items and spectators are subject to search. Storage facilities are not available for checking prohibited items. Items left at gates will be disposed of accordingly.

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Permitted items

The following items are allowed at the venue:

  • Bags no larger than 8.5 by 11 inches
  • Binoculars
  • Cameras
  • Items related to a medical condition
  • Chairbacks (not more than 16” wide)
  • Flowers (with no glass vase)
  • Diaper bags (with child)

Prohibited items

The following items are not allowed at the venue:

  • Bags larger than 8.5 by 11 inches, including backpacks
  • Flags, banners, signs
  • Food, beverages
  • Containers
  • Strollers
  • Baby carrier seats
  • Laser pointers
  • Noisemakers
  • Weapons
  • Selfie sticks
  • Tripods
  • Inflatables
  • Any items deemed dangerous or inappropriate.
  • Umbrellas (prohibited in Camp Randall Stadium ONLYUmbrellas are permitted in the Kohl Center.)

Let's stay connected

Check out the latest email updates from commencement by visiting our communications page.

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