Commencement Guideline

Members of the Columbia Community:

The Columbia University Commencement of the 255th Academic Year is nearly upon us. This is a tremendously exciting time for our graduates, their families and friends, and the faculty and staff who have watched these students diligently prepare for this moment. On May 20, degrees will be conferred on nearly 12,000 students. We congratulate them on their achievement.  

Because the Morningside campus will be extremely busy on Commencement morning, we are providing information to help you get around next Wednesday. Guests holding general-admission tickets for the University Commencement will line up on Broadway and will enter campus through the John Jay and Carman gates on 114th St. So that the ticket-holders line can move as swiftly as possible, all Broadway gates except for the Earl Hall gate will be closed on Commencement morning. Therefore, members of the University community arriving on campus for work after 7:00 a.m. on May 20 should enter as follows:


For access to upper campus:

  • Earl Hall Gate (Broadway & 117th St.)
  • The Grove (Amsterdam & 119th St.)
  • 120th St. Gate

For access to College Walk:

  • Amsterdam Gate (Amsterdam & 116th St.)

For access to lower campus:

  • Taint Gate (Amsterdam & 115th St. between Hartley and Wallach Halls)

All other campus gates will be closed at 7:00 a.m. on May 20. The entire campus will reopen at approximately 12:30 p.m.

***Please note: You must present your University ID to enter campus at these gates.***


There will be a secured area around the stage in front of Low Library from 7:00 a.m. until after the Commencement ceremony has concluded. This means that all staff entering Low Library - including participants in the academic procession - will need to present a University ID to get into the building. Please enter Low through the northeast or southeast doors. Please note: no deliveries to Low Library will be accepted until after the ceremony concludes. Remember also that moving from upper to lower campus is limited during the ceremony, so staff members who must traverse the campus will need to use Kent Hall for access.


For those planning to drive and park near campus on Commencement Day, please note that certain streets will be closed by the NYPD for both parking and traffic. These street closures will begin late on Tuesday through Wednesday, as follows. Do not park your car overnight on Tuesday.

  • 114th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam, 12:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., May 20
  • 120th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam, 12:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., May 20
  • 116th St. between Amsterdam and Morningside Dr., 12:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., May 20


If you have temporary staff who do not have a University ID and who need access to campus on the morning of May 20, you will need to make accommodations for them. Please prepare a letter on University letterhead stating that the person is reporting for work, specify the campus location, and sign the letter. Please give this letter to your temporary workers before Commencement, and please instruct them to carry a photo ID, such as a driver's license, matching the name in the letter.

Your cooperation during this busy day is greatly appreciated. Please join me in wishing our graduates warm congratulations on their achievement and the best of luck in the future.


Carrie Walker
Executive Director, University Programs and Events