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Accessibility Information

The University of Tennessee is committed to providing access to persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. The commencement staff collaborates with campus partners to provide accommodations to guests, faculty, and students with disabilities.


If you are a graduating student with a disability and require accommodation for the commencement ceremony, please make a request on the RSVP form you should receive once you apply to graduate. Graduates who are wheelchair users or have mobility concerns should indicate their needs on the form and be as specific as possible.

All students will be seated in a reserved section on the arena floor and will cross a platform via a ramp to shake hands with or greet the dean; there are no steps to navigate. For further information on how to access the floor, please see the section below regarding elevator access.

Accessible Parking and Elevator Access

Refer to the Parking & Transit website for up-to-date parking information.

Free parking is available to all graduates and their guests in student parking areas marked N (residential students) and C (commuter students). Graduates and guests with disabilities who wish to park near the arena would be best accommodated in the following areas:

Section C6 (Commuter student parking) of the surface level parking lot that is connected via bridge to the arena – You may not park in the Staff parking area, as many ceremonies will take place during regular work hours for staff.

The Neyland Parking Garage (G-10) also has 40 spaces reserved for accessible parking and is adjacent to the arena. Guests requiring the use of a mobility device or those with mobility concerns may best access the arena via a bridge on the top level of the garage, which is accessible via an elevator. Graduates with limited mobility who enter the arena via this bridge should take the elevator by section 110 to access the reserved seating area for graduates on the ground floor.

Entering the arena: Graduates and guests with mobility concerns who enter the arena from Phillip Fulmer Way may use an elevator located inside the double-door entrance of Arena Cafe. Guests should take the elevator up to the third floor to access the concourse-level seating area; graduating students should take the elevator down to the ground floor to access the reserved seating area for graduates.

Shuttle service is not available during commencement. Transportation services, such as UBER/LYFT rides, may only drop-off and pick-up at Circle Park off Volunteer Boulevard.

Accessible Seating for Wheelchair Users

Areas will be designated on the concourse level (third floor) for guests requiring wheelchairs. One companion seat is allotted per guest in these designated areas. Tickets are not required for guests, and seating is first-come, first-served. Please note that guests are not allowed on the arena floor.

It is important to note that the university does not keep wheelchairs on hand; however, mobility devices can be rented from the following establishments:

Lamberts Healthcare

  • Broadway: 865-523-1103
  • Turkey Creek: 865-691-7305

Wheelchair and Scooter Rentals of Tennessee:

  • Tel: 865-280-3390

Mobility Plus Knoxville

  • Tel: 865-217-0854

Persons with Mobility Concerns

Guests will mostly be seated in the lower bowl of the arena. The upper bowl will open as an overflow if needed.

From the concourse level, guests will need to walk down a minimum of one step to enter the seating area. Although tickets are not required for guests, we ask that the top few rows of each section remain free for those with mobility concerns. Please note that guests are not allowed on the arena floor.

Service Animals

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville welcomes guests and their service animals to our campus, including at commencement ceremonies. Service dogs must be trained to perform specific tasks related to a person’s disability and must always remain under control of their handler. Emotional support animals are not permitted in accordance with University policy FI00002.


Family restrooms are available near sections 114 and 127 in Food City Center near the medical stations. There are also lactation areas outside each family restroom. The key for these stations can be obtained from the medical attendants at the adjacent station.

Interpreter Services & Real-Time Captioning

Large screens, which can be viewed from most seats in the arena, will project the commencement ceremony and each graduate as they cross the stage. If you need assistance securing a seat, please see an usher or commencement staff.

A sign language interpreter (using American Sign Language) will be projected onto additional large screens to the far left and right of the stage during commencement.

Real-time captioning will be available on the large screen during each commencement ceremony as well as the webcast.

FM Systems

Assistive listening devices are available upon request from the Arena Management Office. A Photo ID is required for use of the assistive listening device. The ID will be exchanged back for the device upon return. Arena Management can be reached at 865-974-0953, and the devices are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Accessible Formats of Commencement Program

Commencement programs will be available on the concourse level of Food City Center. A limited number of large print programs (font size 18) will be available at each ceremony on a first come, first served basis. Requests for braille copies must be submitted at least two weeks in advance of the ceremony by email to Once complete, they will be available at the ceremony on the concourse level. Please consult with commencement staff.

Medical Bag Check

Medical Bag Check for all events is located at the Gate D entrance on the east end of the building.