Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Commencement ceremony still scheduled for Saturday, August 15?

Yes, SMU is planning to hold Commencement 2020 on August 15 at 8:00 a.m. in Ford Stadium. There will be a Dallas Hall Rotunda Walk following Commencement. If circumstances change, we will update this FAQ response and the August Commencement website.


Will the ceremony be outdoors?

Yes. The ceremony will be held in Ford Stadium. This is an open-air venue. The ceremony will occur rain or shine.


What time will the ceremony begin?

The ceremony begins at 8:00 a.m. Entrances to the stadium will open at 6:30 a.m.


Do graduates need to RSVP for the ceremony?

Yes. All candidates received an announcement for the event along with a link to RSVP. The reservation deadline is Monday, August 3. Doctoral students may only participate if they complete all degree requirements (courses, practicums, dissertation approval, etc.) by August 15.


Will the ceremony be ticketed? If yes, how many tickets will each student receive?

Yes, tickets are required for entry into Ford Stadium. Candidates can reserve up to four guest tickets. Candidates must also reserve an entry ticket. Tickets will list which gate to use upon entry and exit of the venue. Instructions on how to request tickets is forthcoming. Monday, August 3 is the deadline to reserve tickets.


Are extra tickets available?

No. The maximum number of tickets allotted to each graduate is four, the same as with a traditional May Commencement ceremony. The ceremony will be simulcast at McFarlin Auditorium. Seating in McFarlin is limited and is on a first-come basis.


Will the individual school degree recognition ceremonies occur?

No. There will be one All-University ceremony on Saturday morning during which graduates will be individually recognized.


What are the plans for Baccalaureate and Rotunda Recessional?

The Baccalaureate Service ceremony has been canceled.

Graduates will have an opportunity to participate in a Dallas Hall Rotunda Walk following the All-University ceremony in Ford Stadium. Dallas Hall will be open for a self-guided walk through the Rotunda, a graduation tradition symbolizing an undergraduate’s exit from the University.


What are the plans for social distancing?

We ask candidates and guests to keep a minimum of six feet away from others. Candidate chairs will be spaced six feet apart on the field. Family groups should leave six feet between another family on the same row, and leave a row empty between other rows with family groups.


Are face coverings required?

Yes. Candidates and guests must wear face coverings.


What security requirements will be in place?

The same security requirements for SMU athletic events apply to Ford Stadium. Guests and graduates will pass through metal detectors and all bags will be checked. Only clear bags and small purses/wristlets are allowed in Ford Stadium. More information will be sent closer to the ceremony including a list of prohibited items and the security check process.


Will the ceremony be livestreamed?

Yes. The ceremony will be livestreamed at smu.edu/live.


Is the ceremony suitable for all guests?

Given the Texas heat in mid-August and COVID-19, guests should use careful judgement when making plans to attend the ceremony. Although we intend to streamline the ceremony as much as possible, it may be concerning for young children, older adults, and others with health conditions affected by heat and sun to attend. Each guest may bring one, unopened clear bottle of water into the stadium.


What are the current guidelines concerning COVID-19 for Texas?

Please visit the State Health Department for current information.


Are there alternate plans in place if the All-University Ceremony must be adjusted due to new COVID-19 restrictions?

Yes, we are planning an alternate recognition event if circumstances require we adjust the All-University ceremony. If changes occur, we will convey this information through email, these FAQs and the August Commencement website.


Is transportation available from parking lots to Ford Stadium for guests with mobility issues?

Yes. Safety Escort drivers will be available on August 15. In response to COVID-19, golf carts will transport 2 passengers at a time using the rear facing passenger seat. All passengers are required to wear face coverings that cover their mouths and noses. Passengers must handle their own belongings during pick-up and drop-off.


If graduates are unable to attend the ceremony, will their names be announced?

Unfortunately, no. Just like other commencements at SMU, graduates must be in attendance to have their names announced. A program will be printed listing all graduate names and degrees and will be included in the special graduation package for graduates who are not able to attend.


What do I do if I plan to attend the ceremony and have not ordered regalia?

You can still place a regalia order with Herff Jones through Monday, July 13. A limited amount of regalia will be available at the SMU Bookstore for graduates who did not order in advance.


If graduates are unable to attend the ceremony, can they still rent caps and gowns for family photos?

Yes. Regalia rentals for home shipment are available to order through Herff Jones until Monday, July 13. Regalia must be returned to Herff Jones no later than Tuesday, August 18.


Will doctoral and professional graduate students be hooded on stage?

No. Due to social distancing, we are unable to hood doctoral and professional graduates on stage. Graduates should wear their hoods to the ceremony. We will provide information on how to obtain your hoods at a later date. Doctoral students will receive their hood as a gift from the University.