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Frequently Asked Questions – Guests

General Commencement Information

See the Parking and Transit Services website for more information.


  • Review the university’s Clear Bag Policy before leaving your home or hotel.  Thompson-Boling Arena is unable to store or secure prohibited items.
  • Share a vehicle with friends and family whenever possible – spaces are very limited on campus!
  • Avoid Neyland Drive eastbound. Joe Johnson Blvd. to Volunteer Blvd. is typically faster. Follow traffic direction and signage where available.
  • Plan for traffic delays.
  • UBER/LYFT rides may only drop-off and pick-up at Circle Park off of Volunteer Blvd.

Each ceremony lasts roughly two to two and a half hours. Graduates are required to return to their seats after their photos are taken to participate in the Alma Mater and degree conferral at the end of the ceremony. Please do not make any plans until after the ceremony is over. Graduates may not leave the arena floor, except to use the restroom. They will be instructed to leave their cap on their seat before exiting the floor.

Guests may bring in flowers for their graduate, but no wrapped gifts, balloons, or signs are permitted.

UT has partnered with the Commencement Group to offer flower sales on site. Preordering flowers is strongly recommended.

Guests may contact with questions.

NOTE: Commencement staff cannot discuss any FERPA-protected information with anyone but the student. If your student has a question about their eligibility or registration, please have them contact us directly.

Dress Code

  • The dress code for commencement is business casual.


  • Sign language interpreters are present for each ceremony and featured on multiple screens.
  • Accessible parking is available in all campus lots on a first come, first served basis.
  • We recommend parking on the surface-level G5 in the C6 section lot so your guests can all enter the concourse level together and not be separated.
  • Closed captioning is provided for the webcast.
  • A limited number of large print commencement programs are available at each ceremony. Please ask an usher.
  • The university/arena does not provide wheelchairs. Please make other arrangements.

  • All seating in the arena is first-come, first served. Guests are asked to leave the last few rows of each section open for those with limited mobility.
  • All wheelchair bays are first-come, first served. Seating should be limited to one wheelchair and one companion to leave room for other guests.
  • The university/arena does not provide wheelchairs. Please make other arrangements.

Health and Safety


No. Each participating graduate may bring guests. There are currently no plans to require guest tickets or limit the number of guests per graduate for the ceremonies.

Thompson-Boling Arena Information

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