Plan shortens undergraduate commencement, allows grads to walk across stage

Patti Jones, a senior office associate in the Registrar office, puts together a diploma that will be handed out during UNL's May 4 commencement exercises in Memorial Stadium.
Patti Jones, a senior office associate in the Registrar office, puts together a diploma that will be handed out during UNL's May 4 commencement exercises in Memorial Stadium.

UNL has finalized plans to distribute degrees during an abbreviated May 4 undergraduate commencement ceremony in Memorial Stadium. The adjustments will allow all participating UNL graduates the opportunity to walk across the stage during the ceremony.

University officials made the decision to shorten the ceremony earlier this week because of unseasonably cold and wet weather forecast for Saturday (May 4).

The ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Memorial Stadium. Students are asked to be at the Hawks Championship Center, in cap and gown, between 8 and 8:30 a.m. to be issued identification cards by commencement staff. They will then enter the stadium for the ceremony – but will not take part in a formal procession.

Graduating students may sit anywhere in the reserved area, which includes sections 3 through 7 in East Stadium.

During the ceremony, deans will be introduced by college and degrees will be conferred to everyone in each college by UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman. Then, university marshals will escort graduates to the stage, where each student will cross the stage and shake hands with university officials as they receive a UNL diploma cover. Each student will be photographed at this time.

“We understand the importance of family and friends seeing their loved ones be recognized on stage for their academic accomplishments," Perlman said. "This arrangement, while maintaining the abbreviated nature of the program, allows these important moments to occur on Saturday."

Former U.S. Sen. and Nebraska Gov. Ben Nelson will deliver the commencement address. A Builders Award will be conferred to Lance Morgan, and recognition of ROTC commissions will take place. The ceremony will be live-streamed at

Guests may enter Memorial Stadium via gates 3 and 11.

Following the ceremony, graduates will be asked to return to the Hawks Center to pick up diplomas. By eliminating the formal processional and distribution of actual diplomas on the stage, diplomas will be protected from the weather. The change should also shorten the ceremony by one hour.

If weather becomes severe and the ceremony must be canceled, graduates and their families will be able to come to the Hawks Center at a staggered designated time by college to receive their degrees. A list of assigned times for each UNL college will be posted at

In such an eventuality, graduating students may wear their gowns. Professional photographers will be present and the diploma will be presented by a representative of the graduate’s college. Parking may be available to the west of the Hawks Center.

Graduating students and attendees are encouraged to wear weather-appropriate dress under gowns. Flat shoes are also recommended to avoid injury in Memorial Stadium. Parking is available in campus parking garages. For details and directions, visit

Graduate commencement exercises today (May 3) were to be in Memorial Stadium, but have been moved indoors.

Doctoral hooding and commencement will be at 4 p.m. in Kimball Recital Hall. A separate master's degree commencement ceremony will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

Both ceremonies will be live-streamed at Each student will be photographed as they receive their degree.

For the doctoral ceremony, students are asked to check in at 3 p.m. in Westbrook Music Building, room 132. The procession, under the direction of university marshals, will begin at 3:50 p.m. for the 4 p.m. doctoral hooding and commencement in Kimball Hall. Because of space limitations, graduates are asked to limit attending guests to no more than five. Doors will open at 3 p.m. for guest seating in the Kimball Hall auditorium. Tickets are not required.

For the 7:30 p.m. master's ceremony, students are asked to check in at 6:30 p.m. in the Johnny Carson Theater on the west side of Lied Center. The doors of the Lied Center auditorium also will open at 6:30 p.m. for guest seating. No tickets will be required.

Parking permits for UNL parking lots, including yellow commencement parking permits, will be valid in any "A" (red) parking lot or garage on the UNL campus beginning at 1 p.m. today for those attending the graduate ceremonies. Shuttle buses will be running from the 17th and R and Stadium Drive parking garages to 12th and R streets for guest drop off and pickup. UNL parking maps are available at

More details at: