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Information for Candidates' Families and Other Guests

Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 10 a.m.
Procession begins promptly at 9:40 a.m.

Retriever Activities Center (RAC)
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250

The front doors of the RAC Arena will open at 9 a.m. All guests entering the Arena must show their general admission tickets. Each graduate will receive FOUR General Admission tickets for unassigned open seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

Guests sitting in the overflow area should go to Lecture Hall III in the Administration Building, where there will be a closed-circuit broadcast of the Commencement ceremony. Tickets are not required for the overflow area.

The Commencement procession begins promptly at 9:40 a.m., at which time the doors to the RAC will temporarily close. In observance of the National Anthem, guests will not be seated while the anthem is performed. When the doors reopen following the singing of the National Anthem, guests will be seated as space permits.

Please allow adequate time to drive to campus, park and walk to the RAC Arena. Remember that rush hour traffic in the Baltimore area may be heavy, as the ceremony is being held on a weekday morning.

For information on hotels near campus, click the link below:
Hotel Accommodations

Commemorative Video

Revisit the memories of UMBC’s 2008 Winter Commencement anytime you’d like — and share the memories with those closest to you. To purchase a VHS or DVD copy of the graduation ceremony, please click here to order online from VPC, Inc. The deadline to order a copy of the ceremony will be January 25, 2009. If you have questions, please contact VPC, Inc. at 410-526-9100 x307. Order forms are available at the Bookstore and will be available at Commencement.

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Please allow time to park and walk to the RAC arena.

Signs will be posted on campus to assist you in locating appropriate parking lots.

General parking for graduates and their guests will be available along Hilltop Circle and in any non-gated parking lots including The Commons Garage. You will not need to pay any metered parking on campus if you elect to park at a metered parking space on Commencement day.

The top deck of the Administration Drive Garage will be reserved for handicapped parking only. All guests must display either handicapped hang tags or license plates. Permits are required for other handicapped parking spaces on campus as well.

There will be a designated drop-off area in front of the RAC on Administration Drive for those family members and guests who may not be able to walk long distances.

Commencement participants and guests are strongly encouraged to share rides to alleviate parking difficulties. Parking is not permitted at fire hydrants, in fire lanes or along yellow curbs.

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Campus maps are available on the online UMBC Visitor's Guide.

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Your friends and guests are welcome to bring cameras to the ceremony; however, the use of tripods for video and camera equipment is not permitted. A professional photographer from Chappell Studios (1-800-247-3435) will photograph each graduate during the ceremony. You will receive color proofs by mail within approximately two weeks after Commencement. If you wish to purchase prints you may do so, but there is no obligation.

Undergraduates students need to notify the Registrar's Office (410-455-3158) if their address will be different after December 18. Graduate students need to notify the Graduate School if their address will be different. Master's students should contact Linda Thomas at 410-455-2440 or Doctoral students should contact Kathy Miller at 410-455-3269 or

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There is no alternative date for the December 18 ceremony.

For the most reliable information during inclement weather, consult UMBC’s homepage under the “Events” or “What’s New” sections or call the Hotline Telephone Numbers at (410-455/8881/8882/8883/8884/8885).

Although the University distributes closing information to regional news outlets, do not depend on the news media for complete, accurate and up-to-date information.

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When students pick up their Commencement tickets from the Bookstore on December 1 through 3, they will be able to exchange up to two general admissions tickets for special accommodations tickets. (The second ticket will enable one family member or friend to sit with and assist the person requiring special accommodations.) Special accommodations seating includes reserved seating for people with mobility or hearing impairments.

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Guests are required to present general admission tickets for admittance into the RAC. When graduates pick up their regalia from the Bookstore, they will receive FOUR tickets admitting their guests to the Commencement ceremony.

If the graduate has guests with special needs, such as hearing or mobility impairments, the graduate will need to exchange general admission tickets for special accommodations seating tickets at this time. (See "Special Accommodations" above.) Up to two general admission tickets may be exchanged.

Students should pick up their regalia and tickets from the Bookstore Graduation Center on December 1 through 3 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Bookstore Graduation Center will not be responsible for regalia and tickets unclaimed by Tuesday, December 9, the last day of classes.

In addition to the ticketed seating in the RAC Arena, overflow seating will be available in Lecture Hall III, located in the Administration Building, with a closed-circuit broadcast of the Commencement ceremony. Tickets will not be required at this location. When graduates pick up their regalia and tickets at the Bookstore Graduation Center, they will also need to indicate the number of additional guests (if any) who may need seating in this area. We will use this information to plan for seating.

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For more information, contact Laura Arnwine in the Office of Institutional Advancement at 410-455-5897 or at

Provost's Office: 410-455-2333
Bookstore Graduation Center: 410-455-3807
Registrar's Office: 410-455-3158
Graduate School: 410-455-2440 or 410-455-3269

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