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Commencement Information

This is the official Spring 2018 Commencement Information site with all the information you need about graduation. We are excited to have you join us at one of our Commencement ceremonies and hope you have a wonderful time! Information about how to apply to graduate and about each ceremony is listed below. Please also visit our FAQ for answers to our guests' most common questions about the ceremonies.


Commencement Ceremonies

There are three commencement ceremonies this year, broken up into groups based on a student’s academic school. Beforehand, graduating students must attend a mandatory rehearsal on Wednesday, May 9. Each commencement will last about 2 1/2 hours and will begin at the following times:

4:00 PM, FRIDAY, May 11, 2018 
Graduate School; School of the Arts; School of Education, Health and Human Performance; and School of Professional Studies (Candidates for a B.S. in Public Health will appear in this ceremony.) 
  • 2:30 pm: Gates to Cistern Yard and doors to all satellite viewing areas open to guests. 
  • 2:30 pm: Master's degree candidates should assemble on the third floor of Robert Scott Small, and all Bachelor's degree candidates should assemble in Maybank Hall.
  • 4:00 pm: Ceremony begins. 
10:00 AM, SATURDAY, May 12, 2018
School of Business; School of Sciences and Mathematics 
  • 8:30 am: Gates to Cistern Yard and doors to all satellite viewing areas open. 
  • 9:00 am: Master's degree candidates should assemble on the third floor of Robert Scott Small and all Bachelor's degree candidates should assemble in Maybank Hall.
  • 10:00 am: Ceremony begins. 
4:00 PM, SATURDAY, May 12, 2018
School of Humanities and Social Sciences; School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs (Candidates for a B.A. in Public Health will appear in this ceremony.)
  • 2:30 pm: Gates to Cistern Yard and doors to all satellite viewing areas open. 
  • 3:00 pm: All Bachelor's degree candidates should assemble in Maybank Hall.
  • 4:00 pm: Ceremony begins.

Location

Each commencement ceremony is scheduled to be held in the Cistern Yard, located at 66 George St., but a ticket is required for admittance. One commencement ticket per adult/child/baby is required for entry.

There will also be four satellite viewing locations within a 100 yards of the Cistern, where additional guests can watch the ceremonies live. Tickets are not required for admission to these sites, all of which have air-conditioning and easily accessible restrooms. They are:

  • The Stern Student Center Ballroom on the fourth floor of the Stern Student Center at 71 George St.
  • Child-friendly rooms on the second floor of the Stern Student Center at 71 George St.
  • The Recital Hall of the Simons Center for the Arts at 54 St. Philip St.
  • The Emmett Robinson Theatre at the Simons Center for the Arts at 54 St. Philip St.

For guests who can’t make it to campus, live video from each ceremony will be broadcast on the College’s Facebook page and at cofc.edu.

Admissions

Students receive FOUR tickets for Spring Commencement. Tickets are required for all family and guests viewing the ceremony in the Cistern Yard. One commencement ticket per adult/child/baby is required for entry into the Cistern Yard. Tickets are not required for guest to enter designated satellite viewing locations. Tickets will be distributed electronically to graduation candidates during the Spring 2018 semester.  Please see Ticket Information for distribution details. There is no charge for commencement ceremony tickets.

Security

Bags will be checked by security upon entry to the Cistern Yard. The following items are prohibited in the Cistern Yard: alcohol, smoking, vaping, weapons, and open, outside beverages. Unopened drinks and refreshments purchased at commencement are allowed. Please note that the College of Charleston is a Tobacco-Free campus. 

For graduating students, there will be a bag check conducted by security before the ceremony in the graduate assembly area by Maybank Hall. Secure storage for personal effects will be provided in Maybank Hall, but you are advised to bring as few personal belongings as necessary. No bags will be allowed on stage. No outside food or beverages will be allowed in Maybank Hall. Please do not bring opened outside beverages because water will be provided on stage to graduates. The following items are prohibited in the Cistern Yard: alcohol, smoking, vaping, weapons, and open, outside beverages. Please view the Alcohol Policy. Once admitted to Maybank Hall and the Cistern Yard, graduates will not be permitted to exit this area and return. Staff will monitor entrances and exits with support from Public Safety.

Speakers and Honorary Degrees

For more information, please visit the Commencement Speaker(s) and Honorary Degree Recipients webpage.

Commencement Speakers

Friday, May 11, 2018 (Afternoon Ceremony) - artist Brian Rutenberg '87

Saturday, May 12, 2018 (Morning Ceremony) - federal judge Bruce Howe Hendricks '83

Saturday, May 12, 2018 (Afternoon Ceremony) - actor Matt Czuchry '99

Honorary Degree Recipients

Philanthropists Eugene and Rose Gangarosa

Charleston City Council Member Keith Waring

Businesswoman, community leader and philanthropist Linda Ketner

Awards, Receptions, and Additional Events

Please see Additional Events for a listing of senior class meetings, rehearsals, awards ceremonies, receptions, Baccalaureate, and other Commencement Week events. 

Parking

Parking will be available at the following three CofC garages:

Fees for each garage will be reduced to $5 with a commencement program on May 11 and May 12.

If you’re trying to get around campus during commencement, try to avoid the area around the Cistern Yard. The following streets will be closed before and during the ceremonies:

  • St. Philip Street between Calhoun and George streets.
  • George Street between St. Philip and Coming streets.
  • Glebe Street will be closed to thru traffic between George and Wentworth streets.

Inclement Weather

The College monitors the weather for commencement weekend  around the clock. If it starts raining or there is other inclement weather before the ceremony, we may move one or all of the ceremonies to TD Arena, located at 301 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC. If any ceremonies have to be moved indoors, announcements will be made on cofc.edu, local TV and radio stations and social media. 

If commencement is moved due to inclement weather, only four ticketed guests per student will be admitted to TD Arena. Visit the inclement weather plan webpage for additional information. 

Additional Information

Map

Guests enter the Cistern Yard (66 George Street) through Porter's Lodge. 


Apply to Graduate

graduation application is required before a student is eligible to participate in the ceremony. Failure to complete the application promptly can result in a delay in both degree posting and diploma ordering, and it can also result in the student's name being omitted from the commencement program and ceremony ticket list. (Participation in commencement is assumed and encouraged, however, it is not mandatory.)

  » UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS: Go to the graduation application webpage.  

  » GRADUATE SCHOOL CANDIDATES: Go to the Graduate School graduation application webpage.