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SPRING 2011 Commencement Overview

Monday, May 23, 2011 at 1 p.m.
(Procession begins at 12:30 p.m.)

1st Mariner Arena
201 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

UMBC's 2011 Valedictorian is Alexandria V. Volkening. She is receiving her B.S. in Mathematics. Upon graduation, Alexandria will be pursuing her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at Brown University.

This year's Salutatorian is Phillip J. Fitzgerald. He is receiving his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Phillip will be pursuing his M.D./Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University.

Security Measures at 1st Mariner Arena
The Day of the Ceremony
Frequently Asked Questions
For More Information

Information for Candidates

Information for Faculty, Staff and Administration

Information for Candidates' Families and Other Guests

Please read the Commencement web site in its entirety for detailed information, but here are some key points:

  • Doors to 1st Mariner Arena open at 11:30 a.m.
  • Procession begins at 12:30 p.m.
  • Graduates must have their gold floor pass in order to march in the ceremony.
  • Graduates’ personal belongings must be left with friends or family members as there is no secured location for items to be stored at the Arena.
  • Be prompt! There is a lot of traffic around the Arena and parking can be a challenge.


The 1st Mariner Arena has security procedures that will affect graduates and their guests. Please review the following information:

  • All bags and purses will be searched upon entering 1st Mariner Arena.
  • Large parcels will not be allowed into the Arena. This is defined as anything larger than one cubic foot. Please do not bring wrapped gifts to 1st Mariner Arena. They will be opened and examined.
  • No balloons will be allowed in the Arena.
  • Re-entry to the Arena will not be permitted. (Smoking is not permitted in the Arena.)
  • Food and drinks may not be brought into the Arena.

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Out of courtesy to your fellow graduates, you are expected to arrive on time and stay for the entire program, which lasts approximately two hours. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m., and all graduating students must be assembled in their designated area no later than 12 p.m.

There is no commencement rehearsal. Therefore, the instructions listed below and the directions that will be given to you the day of the ceremony for line-up, marching and the awarding of degrees should be followed carefully. It is recommended that you leave all valuables at home, or with a friend or family member. There will be no secured room for personal belongings and there is a good chance that after crossing the stage, you will sit in a different seat than the one you sat in before.

To enter 1st Mariner Arena, use the main entrance at the corner of Baltimore Street and Hopkins Place or the entrance on Howard Street. You should proceed down the ramp to the assembly area located on the ground floor of the Arena and report to the area posted for your department by 12 p.m. Graduates march in alphabetical order within their departments, beginning with the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, followed by the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, the College of Engineering and Information Technology, the Erickson School and the School of Social Work.

The procession begins promptly at 12:30 p.m., at which time the candidates will lead the faculty and staff and Platform Party processions into the arena. Commencement staff volunteers will direct students to their seats.

When it is time to receive acknowledgement of the degrees, a commencement staff volunteer will escort each row of candidates to the stairs that will be used to walk onto the stage. You must bring your gold floor pass with you to the ceremony and keep it with you at all times. Floor passes will be provided to you when you pick up your regalia. No one will be allowed to participate in Commencement without a floor pass. Please do not bring flags, signs or other visible distractions on the stage as these items will be confiscated. When you reach the top of the stairs, hand your floor pass to the Commencement staff volunteer who will then hand the card to the reader. When your name is called, proceed towards center stage where President Hrabowski and Provost Hirshman will be standing with other guests to congratulate you with a handshake. You will then exit the stage via the center stairs and return to your seat on the arena floor. This seat may or may not be where you sat before; please follow the instructions of the Commencement staff volunteers.

Please Note: Graduates who require special seating arrangements due to wheelchair use or mobility limitations should contact Laura Arnwine at 410-455-5897 or

For guests with special needs, such as hearing or mobility impairments, please see Special Accommodations Seating for Guests.

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How long does the ceremony usually last?
Where do I purchase my cap and gown?
Is there a graduation rehearsal?
Do I need tickets?
Where should my guests park?
Is special seating available for a guest in a wheelchair or with other special needs?
Are there provisions for students with special needs?
When do I receive my diploma?
How do I join the Alumni Association?
Will there be food and beverages at the Arena?


If you have specific questions regarding the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony, please contact Laura Arnwine in the Office of Institutional Advancement at 410-455-5897 or

Office of the Registrar: 410-455-3158 or
Bookstore: 410-455-3807 or

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