Severe Weather Plan

Commencement will be held outdoors in O’Shaughnessy Stadium, the university’s open-air stadium  Because May’s weather can be variable it is important to plan ahead for the ever changing weather conditions. To assist you, please check out the National Weather Service website for zip code 55105.  

If it is warm and with no shade in the seating areas, guests are encouraged to wear cool comfortable clothing, and brining sunglasses, sun block, hats, water bottles and other items to stay cool.

If rain is in the forecast, please dress warm and bring rain coats, rain jackets, or rain ponchos. Please do not bring umbrella. They are not allowed in O’Shaughnessy stadium because they block the view of guests. Students and faculty participants will be given ponchos to wear over their regalia in the event that the ceremony is held outside.   

In the case of severe or dangerous weather conditions, the ceremony will be moved indoors to the field house, located adjacent to Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex (ARC).


When will the decision be made to move it inside?
At approximately 6:30 a.m. for the morning commencement and 2:30 p.m. for the evening commencement.

How will we know?
Any weather-related location changes, will be announced via the university’s commencement website, Facebook, and Twitter. Real-time updates from the university's twitter account are embedded on this webpage. If there is no announcement regarding weather, then plan on an outdoor ceremony.

Tickets for Attendees

Do I need tickets?
Tickets are only necessary in the event of an indoor ceremony due to severe or dangerous weather conditions. No tickets will be required if the ceremony is held outside in the stadium. Guests should bring their tickets regardless of the weather when they leave. 

How many tickets are available for guests if the ceremony moves indoors?
If the ceremony is moved indoors due to severe or dangerous weather conditions, the following number of tickets can be requested per student:

  • Undergraduate students will be able to request two (2) tickets
  • Graduate students will be able to request four (4) tickets

Note: These limits are determined by the available indoor seating capacity and size of the graduating class. 

How do I request tickets in the event that the ceremony moves indoors?
All graduating students can request their respective tickets on behalf of their guests by going to Tickets are digital and distributed through University Tickets. No tickets will be required if the ceremony is held outside. Guests should bring their tickets regardless of weather when they leave. 


When do the doors open? The doors to the field house will open at 8:30 a.m. for undergraduate commencement and 4:30 p.m. for graduate commencement.  

When do I need to be seated? All guests must be seated 15 minutes prior to the start of commencement ceremony. Reserving seats for family members in the field house is not permitted. 

What if I am running late? Once the procession begins, guests will be asked to clear the hallways and to remain in the rear of the venue until the graduates are seated. Please arrive when the doors open to avoid having to stand during the procession. Fifteen minutes prior to the start of the procession, ushers may fill in any empty seats with admitted guests who are in need of a seat.

Prohibited Items

  • Umbrellas are not permitted due to visibility and safety concerns. 
  • Strollers  must be left in a designated stroller corral during the ceremony due to limited space in the facilities. Ushers will direct guests to the stroller corral. The corrals will supervised during the ceremony. However, St. Thomas cannot take any responsibility for lost or damaged strollers.
  • Balloons and noisemakers are prohibited at all ceremonies.
  • Alcohol is not to be brought to and/or consumed at the ceremony.
  • St. Thomas is a tobacco-free campus.

Post-Ceremony Reception

The President’s reception will follow commencement in the Anderson Student Center atrium for light snacks and drinks. All are invited. 

Alternative Viewing Area

On-Campus Viewing Areas
Those who prefer to watch indoors as well as family members and guests without tickets will be directed by ushers to video viewing sites on campus. Please plan ahead in knowing where these sites are and go directly where these site are located. 

  • Anderson Student Center - Multiple rooms available.
  • O’Shaughnessy Education (OEC) - 1st Floor Auditorium.
  • John Roach Center (JRC) Auditorium - Room 126. 

Watch Live Stream Off-Campus
The commencement ceremony will be recorded and streamed live from our website. Guests without tickets or those who wish to stay home are encouraged to watch the ceremony streamed live online at the St. Thomas commencement website. Click on the Watch Live tab to watch commencement ceremonies and recordings from remote locations.