Winter 2023 Commencement

Winter 2023 Commencement

Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral Degree Ceremony
Sunday, December 17, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
Kohl Center, 601 W. Dayton Street


  1. Doors open at 8:00 a.m., graduates are asked to be seated by 9:40 a.m. Please note the ceremony typically lasts approximately 2.5 hours. A livestream of the ceremony will be available here on YouTube.
  2. Guests, family members and friends are welcome to attend. There is no ticketing for attendance and seating is general admission, first come, first served. Anyone needing accommodations should meet with Guest Services at Gate A for assistance. If you are a graduate in need of accommodations please email
  3. Graduate names will be read as candidates cross the stage. A name card will be located on your chair when you arrive, and we ask that you print your name phonetically, how you would like it pronounced, so that our name readers are accurate. A graduate seating map will be uploaded at a later date.
  4. Each graduate will receive a diploma folder from their dean as they cross the stage. We request that you please refrain from giving handshakes at this time. Diplomas will be mailed out to graduates 6-8 weeks after grades are entered. Please be sure to update your home address in MyUW for where your diploma will be mailed to.
  5. No guests, including children (with the exception of nursing parents) are permitted in the candidate seating area. No food or beverages of any kind are permitted. Please review the carry-in policy as well as the metal detector procedures to plan accordingly. Flowers are allowed inside the Kohl Center, however glass containers, balloons, backpacks and wrapped gifts are not allowed.

Additional Resources

Coming soon

Commencement is a celebration of the achievements of our graduates, and in this regard the escorts of the candidates are intended to be their major professors who have contributed significantly to their academic growth and success. Degree candidates are responsible for identifying an appropriate professor to serve as a faculty escort, and asking that person to perform the role. Degree candidates will be asked to provide the name of their faculty escort when they complete the “apply to graduate” application. Although the identities of the escorts are not confirmed, we do ask that this practice of major professor escorts be followed whenever possible.

The faculty escort for a doctor of philosophy, doctor of musical arts and master of fine arts candidate sits with the candidate during the ceremony and accompanies the candidate across the platform during the march.

A faculty escort is expected to wear academic attire appropriate to her or his degree.

There are instances when a major professor is not able to escort a candidate, and in those circumstances other degree committee members or other departmental faculty fulfill the escort role. When that is not possible, the marshals at commencement are prepared to serve as the escort.

Faculty members who cannot afford to rent their academic attire, should contact the Commencement office for information on how to participate in the ceremony as a Marshal and have the costs associated with renting a cap and gown covered.


Faculty escorts always should seat themselves and march on the candidate’s right, allowing the candidate to move ahead as the candidate approaches center stage to receive the diploma folder from the dean of the Graduate School. The candidate and escort then return to their seats.

Faculty escorts with more than one candidate should sit with all of the candidates as close as possible to the front of the Ph.D./DMA/MFA section. This “group” of graduates and escort will march together to the platform on-ramp. The escort may accompany all of the candidates as a group across the platform or the escort may accompany one candidate at a time across the platform while the remaining candidates wait by the on-ramp until the escort returns and repeats the routine.

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

  1. 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. The safety of our guests is our highest priority.
    • If a schedule adjustment is required prior to your arrival, information will be shared via email, our website, social media (@UWMadison on Twitter, UWMadison on Facebook) and local news media.
  2. 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.

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.

The best lots with ADA stalls are Lots 48 and 87. These lots will be staffed by Transportation Services. Guests will not need a special permit; just the standard disabled plates or hang-tag. A full list of available accessible parking can be viewed here.

Find more information about accessible accommodations on the Accessibility webpage.

Winter 2023 Law, Master’s, Bachelor’s, PhD, DMA, MFA and Medical Professional Degree Candidates will have their photo taken as they cross the stage to receive their diploma cover, and a solo portrait after they exit the stage. Photo stations at Gates A and B will be available before and after the ceremony for graduate portraits with friends and family.

UW–Madison is proud to continue to work with Empire Photography, a locally owned small business established in 1983 by UW–Madison alumni Mark and Maggie Smith.

Empire Photography has been photographing our commencement ceremonies for many years. Each graduate is photographed as they receive their diploma and a solo portrait is also taken after they exit the stage. Proofs will be sent to graduates and their families within 48 hours of the ceremony. Your commencement is a once-in-a-lifetime moment so don’t miss out! If you have any questions, please email Empire Photography at

Graduates will have the opportunity to get a Portrait Session and a Photo with Abe as we gear up for Winter Commencement.

Portrait Sessions


Photos with Abe