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May Commencement

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The University of Tampa will hold its May Commencement on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at the Florida State Fairgrounds with more than 700 students eligible to participate in each of the two ceremonies. No tickets are needed. In order to be included in the May Commencement program, students must apply to graduate by Saturday, March 24. Students who apply to graduate after March 24 may still participate in the commencement ceremony.

The ceremonies will last approximately two hours, and we want to afford all graduating students and their families the respect and honor that all deserve. Florida State Fairgrounds staff will deny early exit until the graduate recessional has begun.

Please note: Due to limited capacity, students may only walk in the graduation ceremony of their assigned college.

Commencement Schedule

Receptions, hooding and commencement from Thursday, May 4–Saturday, May 6, 2017.

Ceremony Attendance Expectations for Graduates

In choosing to attend commencement you are required to remain in your seat until directed by the marshals to go to the platform and to exit during the recessional. The ceremony is approximately two hours, and we want to afford all graduating students and their families the respect and honor that all deserve. Florida State Fairgrounds staff will deny early exit until the graduate recessional has begun.

Thursday, May 3

M.S. in Nursing Hooding and Pinning Ceremony
6 p.m.

Ceremony begins and is followed by a reception
BY INVITATION ONLY

M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology, Master of Education Hooding Ceremony
6-8:00 p.m.

Martinez Center, Sword & Shield Room

Friday, May 4

Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
10 a.m.

Falk Theatre

Reception with light refreshments will take place immediately following the ceremony in the Grand Salon, Plant Hall.

Contact information will be posted soon.

M.S. in Exercise and Nutrition Science Hooding Ceremony
12:30 p.m.
12-12:30 p.m. – Registration and check-in
12-12:30 p.m. – Reception
12:30 p.m. – Ceremony begins
Interfaith Graduation Celebration
12 p.m.

Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values

The Interfaith Graduation Celebration is a multi-faith service planned by Better Together, The University of Tampa's student interfaith organization. The service consists of music, dance, readings and prayers, as well as an address by an invited speaker. Graduates sit with their families for this service, and no academic regalia is worn by degree candidates. Lunch will be provided immediately following the service.

Please RSVP for the lunch to wellness@ut.edu by Wednesday, May 3.

For additional information please contact the Wellness Center at (813) 257-1877 or wellness@ut.edu.

Graduation Dessert Reception
4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
9th Floor - Vaughn Center

The UT Alumni Association and the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations invite graduates and their families to a dessert reception. Sweet and savory desserts along with beverages will be served.

For additional information please contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations at (813) 253-6209 or alumni@ut.edu.

Legacy Photo
5:30p.m.

9th Floor - Vaughn Center
President's Conference Room

Legacy: Something handed down from an ancestor or predecessor; from the past. Any student who has at least one parent, grandparent and/or sibling who has graduated from UT is considered to be a legacy. The legacy photo will be taken at 5:30 p.m. in the President's Conference Room on the 9th floor of the Vaughn Center.

For additional information please contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations at (813) 253-6209 or alumni@ut.edu.

Sykes College of Business - Graduate Awards and Hooding Ceremony
6 p.m.

Bob Martinez Athletics Center
This event is a celebration of your achievement and is a compliment to the University's graduation ceremony the following day. Please remember to order and bring your graduation regalia to the Awards and Hooding Ceremony. Appetizers will be served prior to the program, which will start promptly at 7 p.m.
Bachelor of Fine Arts Spring Exhibition and Graduate Reception
6–8 p.m.
Scarfone/Hartley Gallery

The University of Tampa’s Scarfone/Hartley Gallery is showcasing the work – and viewpoints – of 12 student artists graduating from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at “The Society Collective — 2017 BFA Spring Exhibition.” There will be a reception to honor the graduates on Friday, May 5, from 6–8 p.m.

For additional information please contact Jocelyn Boigenzahn, gallery director, at (813) 253-6217 or jboigenzahn@ut.edu.

Saturday, May 5

8 a.m.-3 p.m.University Bookstore will be open.

College of Business and the College of Arts and Letters

Doors open
8 a.m.
Expo doors open for graduate candidates.
Check-in by
8:45 a.m.
All graduates for the College of Business and the College of Arts and Letters need to be checked in for the ceremony.
COB/CAL Commencement
9:30 a.m.
Commencement will begin. All graduates and guests must be seated by this time.
Conclusion
11:30 a.m.
Estimated conclusion of the ceremony. Graduates are required to remain until the end of the ceremony.

College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education and the College of Natural and Health Sciences

Doors open
12:30 p.m.
Expo doors open for graduate candidates.
Check-in by
1:15 p.m.
All graduates for the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education and the College of Natural and Health Sciences need to be checked in for the ceremony.
CSSME/CNHS Commencement
2 p.m.
Commencement will begin. All graduates and guests must be seated by this time.
Conclusion
4 p.m.
Estimated conclusion of the ceremony. Graduates are required to remain until the end of the ceremony.

Live Stream

View a live webcast of the commencement ceremony.

We are proud to bring you coverage of the May Commencement ceremony. Live coverage of the ceremony allows our students to share this important event with loved ones who normally would not be able to attend.

Directions and Parking

The Florida State Fairgrounds is located on Highway 301 and parking is free.

The Florida State Fairgrounds is located at 4800 U.S. Highway 301 North in Tampa. From the University, travel on I-275 North toward I-4/Orlando and merge onto I-4 East via Exit 45B. Take Exit #7 (U.S. Hwy. 301 South) and stay in the right lane heading south for 1/4 mile. Turn right into the Fairgrounds entrance. Do NOT go past the light at Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

** Please note there is no fee for parking.**
***Please take proper precautions for Tampa traffic.***

Fairgrounds Map

Hotel

Make your reservations by April 3, 2017.
The host hotels for the 2018 May Commencement ceremonies is the Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Downtown Convention Center and the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina. Families and guests are urged to make reservations as soon as possible. Please identify yourself as an attendee of the UT Spring Commencement 2018. Reservation requests received after the cut-off date will be based on availability at the hotel's prevailing rates.

Contact the Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Downtown Convention Center at (813) 769 - 8300 or visit the reservation link by April 3, 2018, or until the group block is sold out, whichever comes first. Contact the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina at (888) 789-3090 or visit the reservation link by April 5, 2018, or until the group block is sold out, whichever is first. PLEASE MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS EARLY.

Guests

A complete guide for visitors attending commencement.
»Download/Print Commencement Guide for Visitors (PDF)

The doors to the Expo Hall will open for seating at 8 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 12:30 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony. Upon entering the Expo Hall, family and friends will receive directions to the seating area. No tickets are required; there is plenty of seating for everyone. There will be concession stands for food and beverages open. All guests should be seated by 9:15 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 1:45 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony to ensure a prompt start of the ceremony.

Guests with Disabilities

Guests in wheelchairs will be directed towards accessible seating upon entrance. Because seating in these areas is limited, only one individual may sit with the guest who has special needs. Your cooperation is required in order to accommodate all of our guests. These seats are not reserved.

Restaurants

There are several restaurants within the area of the commencement venue.
  • Mellow Mushroom, Pizza, Sandwiches/Subs, 10959 Causeway Blvd
  • Acropolis Greek Tavern,a Greek, Mediterranean, 6108 Winthrop Town Centre Ave.
  • The Cheesecake Factory, American, Bakery, Dessert, 781 Brandon Town Center Mall
  • Jo-To Japanese Steakhouse, Steakhouse, Japanese, Sushi, 905 S Lithia Pinecrest Rd
  • Stonewood Grill & Tavern, Seafood, Steakhouse, American, 612 E Bloomingdale Ave
  • Ichiban Buffet, Asian, Buffet, Sushi, 1721 W Brandon Blvd
  • Tandoor Indian Cuisine, Indian, Eastern European, Salad, 805 E Brandon Blvd
  • Shrimp Boat Grill, Seafood, American, Steakhouse, 1020 Bloomingdale Ave
  • Sumatra Bistro Café & Bakery, Bakery, Sandwiches/Subs, Organic, 1602 Oakfield
  • Dr Ryuu Japanese Steakhouse, Japanese, Steakhouse, Sushi 773 Brandon Town Center
  • Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, Pizza, Italian, 1912 W. Brandon Blvd
  • Carrabba's Italian Grill, Italian, Seafood, Steakhouse, 801 Providence Rd
  • Romano's Greek & Italian Cuisine, Greek, Italian, Salad, 901 W Brandon Blvd
  • Bonefish Grill, American, 1015 Providence Rd
  • Longhorn Steakhouse, American, Steakhouse, 11102 Causeway Blvd
  • Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Burgers, Hot Dogs/Sausages, Fast Food, 459 Brandon Town Center Mall
  • California Pizza Kitchen, Pizza, Sandwiches/Subs, California, 827 Brandon Town Center
  • Mimi's Cafe, French, International, Breakfast, 804 Providence Rd
  • Lemon Grass, Thai Kitchen Thai, Asian, 11106 Bloomingdale Avenue
  • Einstein Bros. Bagels, Bagels, Coffee, Breakfast, 660 W Brandon Blvd
  • Smokey Bones, Bar & Fire Grill Barbecue, American, Burgers, 136 Brandon Town Center Dr
  • Tres Amigos Cantina, Mexican, American, Vegetarian, 2025 W Brandon Blvd
  • Cracker Barrel, American, Breakfast, 1880 Sr-60 E
  • Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Burgers, Fast Food, Hot Dogs/Sausages, 6022 Winthrop Town Centre Ave
  • Panera Bread, American, Dessert, Bakery, 459 Brandon Town Center
  • Brandon Bagels, Bagels, Breakfast, Kosher, 942 W. Brandon Blvd
  • Moe's Southwest Grill, Tex-Mex, Mexican, 6020 Winthrop Town Center Avenue
  • Beef O'Brady's, Burgers, Pub Food, Sandwiches/Subs, 210 S Kings Ave
  • Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, Japanese, Sushi, Steakhouse, 2210 W Brandon Blvd
  • Zaxby's, American, Fast Food, 2028 Florida 60
  • Marco's Pizza, Pizza, Sandwiches/Subs, 811 E. Brandon Blvd
  • Brass Tap, 775 Brandon Town Center Square 1
  • Burgers & Bar, Burgers, American, Vegetarian, 2042 Badlands Dr
  • Steak 'n Shake, Fast Food, American, Burgers, 10131 Bloomingdale Avenue
  • Outback Steakhouse, Steakhouse, American, Seafood, 2020 W Brandon Blvd
  • Buffalo Wild Wing, American, Burgers, Sandwiches/Subs, 2055 Badlands Dr

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to some common questions about commencement.

Commencement is a special time for our graduates, their families, friends and The University of Tampa community. In order for your commencement day to be perfect, here are the answers to some common questions.

What is the difference between graduation and commencement?

Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements in order to be awarded your degree and receive your printed diploma. Commencement is the symbolic ceremony at which your graduation is publically acknowledged and celebrated. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not equate to graduating.

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Where is commencement?

The May Commencement ceremony will be held in the Expo Hall, Florida State Fairgrounds.

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When is commencement?

The May Commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2018.

The ceremony for students whose majors are in the College of Business and College of Arts and Letters will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m.

The ceremony for students whose majors are in the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education and the College of Natural and Health Sciences will begin promptly at 2 p.m.

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How do I know what college my major falls under?

Here is a list of majors and corresponding colleges: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/c865c62a#/c865c62a/40.

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What if I am graduating with two majors that are not in the same ceremony?

If you are graduating with two majors that are not in the same ceremony, you can elect to attend whichever ceremony best meets your needs.

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I graduate in August 2018. Can I attend this ceremony?

August graduation candidates are eligible to attend the May Commencement ceremony. The names of the August graduates will appear in the May Commencement program.

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What time do I need to arrive to commencement?

College of Business and College of Arts and Letters

Graduates in these colleges should plan to arrive at check-in for the ceremony at 8 a.m. Graduates are required to check-in for the ceremony wearing your cap, gown and hoods no later than 8:45 a.m. for the 9:30 a.m. ceremony on commencement day (please try on your cap and gown as soon as you pick it up to make sure it fits). It will take about 20 minutes to properly pick up your "reader name" card, receive brief instructions and line up for pre-seating. Throughout the check-in process, it is imperative that you follow the instructions of the faculty marshals, staff and UT Diplomats who are organizing the event. Be patient and understanding.

College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education and College of Natural and Health Sciences

Graduates in these colleges should plan to arrive at check-in for the ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Graduates are required to check-in for the ceremony wearing your cap, gown and hoods no later than 1:15 p.m. for the 2 p.m. ceremony on commencement day (please try on your cap and gown as soon as you pick it up to make sure it fits). It will take about 20 minutes to properly pick up your "reader name" card, receive brief instructions and line up for pre-seating. Throughout the check-in process, it is imperative that you follow the instructions of the faculty marshals, staff and UT Diplomats who are organizing the event. Be patient and understanding.

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What is pre-seating?

Graduating candidates will be seated prior to the start of the processional. Candidates will be seated by faculty marshals after they have completed the check-in process and have received their reader card. If candidates would like to sit with a particular group of people, all individuals must be present at the same time in order to sit together. Once candidates have been seated, they must remain in their seats for the duration of the ceremony.

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When does pre-seating end?

We will hold the process of seating graduates 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony in order to ensure the processional begins on time. Graduates who arrive after this time will be seated following the singing of the National Anthem.

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How long will the ceremony last?

The ceremony should last about two hours.

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Do my family members and guests need a tickets to attend?

No. However, due to limited seating, it is highly recommended that family members and guests arrive early to the ceremony.

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What time should my family and guests arrive? Is there assigned seating?

It is important that your families and friends be seated PRIOR TO THE PROCESSION. NO ONE CAN BE SEATED DURING THE PROCESSION. Please let your guests know this in advance. Seats cannot be reserved and are available on a first-come basis. Any guests needing accessible seating should arrive as early as possible, by approximately one hour prior to the start time of the commencement. An area has been reserved for guests needing special seating. Special needs seating is limited. Please be aware that to accommodate all individuals needing accessible seating, a maximum of one additional guest will be allowed entrance into the accessible seating area.

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What do I need to wear to commencement?

Graduating candidates are REQUIRED to wear the traditional cap, gown and hood (if applicable). There will be no exceptions. Students can pick up their caps and gowns from the University Bookstore starting Monday, April 23, 2018.

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How will I be recognized?

Graduates will be recognized individually. The students will stand by row and be led up the aisle by the faculty marshals. They will proceed to the left side of the stage (from the audience vantage point) and hand the card they were given to the reader for an announcement. Students will then walk across the stage and receive their diploma cover from University President Ronald Vaughn, as a photographer takes their pictures. Students will then continue off the platform to the right for two more professional photos, and return to their seats.

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How will I know that the ceremony is over?

Once the degrees have been confirmed, the recessional will begin with the President's platform party leaving the stage followed by the faculty. Graduates will stand in place until they receive instructions from their faculty marshals.

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What is the etiquette expected at the ceremony?

All graduating students are required to remain seated throughout the duration of the ceremony. Please tell your family and friends that ALL GUESTS MUST REMAIN IN THEIR SEATS UNTIL THE PLATFORM PARTY, FACULTY AND GRADUATES HAVE LEFT THE AREA. Students and their families/friends should designate a meeting place outside the Expo Hall.

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What are the driving directions to the Expo Hall, Florida State Fairgrounds?

The Florida State Fairgrounds is located at 4800 U.S. Highway 301 North in Tampa. From the University, travel on I-275 North toward 1-4/Orlando and merge onto I-4 East via Exit 45B. Take Exit #7 (U.S. Hwy. 301 South) and stay in the right lane heading south for ¼ mile. Turn right into the Fairgrounds entrance. Do NOT go past the light at Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Do NOT take exit 5 to Florida State Fairgrounds. Proceed to exit 7 for the easiest entrance to the Fairgrounds.

*Please note, there is no fee for parking.
**Please take proper precautions for Tampa traffic.

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Where should my family and guests park?

Parking attendants will guide you and your family members and guests to the appropriate parking lots when you arrive to the Florida State Fairgrounds.

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What if I, or one of my guests, need special accommodations?

Graduates who need special physical accommodations for the ceremony should indicate that when they apply for commencement, or they can email commencement@ut.edu with their needs and contact information so that commencement staff can make the necessary arrangements. The staff asks that you make us aware of these needs as early as possible.

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What if I have additional questions regarding the ceremony?

Please contact Orientation and Family Engagement at commencement@ut.edu or (813) 257-1999. We are happy to help.

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