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New Venue, Streamlined Program for Spring Commencement 2017 Ceremony

Published: December 12, 2016
The Spring 2017 commencement ceremony will be held at the Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds on May 6.

As we prepare to celebrate UT graduates at Saturday’s commencement in the Martinez Athletics Center, we are already planning Spring 2017 commencement, scheduled for Saturday, May 6. The ceremony is a time to celebrate the achievements of our graduates as they conclude their time as a student here at UT. It is the goal of the University to provide an outstanding experience for our graduates, families, guests and campus community.

For multiple years, we have hosted commencement at Amalie Arena. This facility has accommodated our expanding graduating classes and allowed an unlimited number of family members and guests attend the ceremony.

However, the availability of the arena has always been dependent upon the Tampa Bay Lightning’s playoff schedule, as well as larger functions, such as concerts. For May 2017, the University was informed that a major artist had been contracted on our commencement date. This was a scheduling conflict beyond our control. In response and with the intention of continuing to provide an exceptional experience for our graduates, the Spring 2017 commencement ceremony has been relocated.

We are pleased to announce that this year’s ceremony will be held at the Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds on May 6. Each year, the Expo Hall at Florida State Fairgrounds is home to numerous commencement ceremonies. The venue’s staff are well-adept at facilitating commencement ceremonies, and the building itself is comfortable and provides many similar amenities as Amalie Arena and Martinez Athletics Center, where our December commencement is held. It was important to keep our commencement ceremony on the same date of May 6 with the understanding that many families and guests have already made non-refundable travel arrangements. Also, a date modification at this time would disrupt the academic schedule by impacting either final exams or the following academic term, which begins the Monday following commencement.

Additionally, on May 6, we will hold two separate ceremonies at the Expo Hall. Offering two ceremonies does not limit the number of guests per student and also provides a more streamlined ceremony for all in attendance. The morning ceremony will host graduates from the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) and the Sykes College of Business (COB) at 9:30 a.m. The afternoon ceremony will host graduates from the College of Natural and Health Sciences (CNHS) and the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education (CSSME) at 2 pm.

While this is a new venue for our graduation, we are fully committed to providing a high quality experience for our graduates, families and guests. While we recognize the new venue will be a different experience, we hope our students and families enjoy a more intimate ceremony and celebration. Additional details regarding the ceremonies will be available on the Spring commencement website in late January.

Please direct questions to Orientation and Family Engagement at or (813) 257-1999.

Note: The December 2016 commencement ceremony will remain at the Martinez Athletics Center on Dec. 17, 2016, at 9:30 a.m.