Guest Information

Baccalaureate Ceremony and Rotunda Recessional

(Undergraduate students only)

5:00 p.m. Friday, May 12, 2023
McFarlin Auditorium
6485 Boaz Lane
Dallas, TX 75205

The Baccalaureate Service is a non-denominational religious ceremony held the Friday evening before May Commencement in McFarlin Auditorium. This small and intimate service features a special sermon for undergraduate candidates and their guests. The service lasts approximately one hour. Seating in McFarlin Auditorium is limited; therefore, candidates may request two guest tickets. We do not anticipate offering extra tickets for Baccalaureate at this time. If extra tickets become available, they will be distributed on the steps of McFarlin at 4:00 p.m. Please see Request Weekend Tickets for more information. The ceremony is simulcast in the Hughes-Trigg Theater.

One of the University's most symbolic traditions is Rotunda Passage, which includes both a processional and a recessional. The processional occurs the day before students' first day of classes as new students. Students process through the back of Dallas Hall, through the Rotunda and onto the quad as a new member of the SMU student body. This tradition is concluded with the Rotunda Recessional following the Baccalaureate Service during Commencement Weekend. Undergraduate candidates, led by faculty and alumni marshals, march through the front doors of Dallas Hall, through the Rotunda and around to the quad.

Rotunda Recessional is a symbolic departure from campus and serves as a welcome to the newest members of the SMU alumni family.

Alumni who are parents of graduating seniors are welcome to participate as marshals for Baccalaureate. Please contact Astria Smith at

Guests with limited mobility attending the Baccalaureate service on Friday, May 12 may park behind McFarlin Auditorium in the M Lot. A current state-issued disabled parking placard and/or license plate are needed. Otherwise, guests may be dropped off by McFarlin Auditorium on Boaz Lane and drivers may park in any SMU parking garage. 

May Commencement

8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 13, 2023
Moody Coliseum
3009 Binkley Avenue
Dallas, TX 75205

Doors open at 7:30 a.m. The ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. Security screenings are in place. Seating is general admission.

Tickets are required for guests.

Simulcast Location
Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports
6000 Bush Avenue
Dallas, TX 75205

The ceremony is also streamed online at

Degree Recognition Ceremonies

Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13, 2023

Graduates are individually recognized in school or departmental ceremonies. Some ceremonies require tickets. Contact information for the degree recognition ceremonies is listed on the Events Schedule page.

See Full Schedule

Parking and Access

Candidates and guests attending Commencement activities at SMU on Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13, may park in any of the University's parking facilities:

  • Binkley Parking Center- Located at the corner of Binkley Avenue and Ownby Drive

  • Mustang Parking Center- Located off Bush Avenue by the Residential Commons

  • Moody Parking Center- Located at Airline Road and SMU Boulevard

  • Airline Parking Center- Located at Airline Road and Daniel Avenue

  • Meadows Parking Center- Located between Bishop Blvd and Ownby Drive

  • U Lot- Located at Airline Road and University Blvd

  • Hillcrest Parking Center- Located at 5906 Hillcrest Avenue

Maps showing the location of parking lots and campus buildings, and directions to campus are available here:

Parking Map SMU Parking Services

Guests with Impairments

Mobility-impaired seating is limited. Guests seated in the mobility-impaired seating area are allowed one attendant to accompany them. Please contact 214-768-3417 or with questions regarding guests with mobility or sensory impairments.

Guests with limited mobility attending the Baccalaureate service on Friday, May 12 may park behind McFarlin Auditorium in the M Lot. Guests with limited mobility attending the Saturday morning All-University Commencement may park on the first floor of the Binkley Parking Center. To park in these locations, a current state-issued disabled parking placard and/or license plate are needed. Otherwise, guests may be dropped off Friday for Baccalaureate by McFarlin Auditorium on Boaz Lane or on Saturday morning  at Moody Coliseum on Binkley Avenue. Drivers may then park in any SMU parking garage. 

SMU's transportation escort service is available for pick-up and drop-off between the parking garages and the arena. 

Decorum and Attire

SMU's May Commencement is a true milestone in the lives of our candidates, their guests, and the SMU community at large.  Excitement, joy, and enthusiasm are expected and welcomed!

We ask, however, that all graduates and guests respect the importance and dignity of this occasion. Please remain seated throughout the ceremony and do not bring items that might disrupt the ceremony. Cell phones and other electronic devices should be silenced. We ask that you express your excitement in ways that will not prevent others from hearing the speakers and enjoying the ceremony.  

Guests are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing. The temperature may be cool in Moody Coliseum.

Places to Stay

There are many options for a place to stay overnight in the Dallas area. Commencement weekend is a very busy time, so make sure to secure your reservations early! Please visit campus travel for more information.


Personal photographs may be taken before and after the  Commencement ceremony. Guests are not permitted on the floor of the arena. Formal portraits by Flash for all candidates in regalia may be taken the morning of Commencement. If you have questions concerning photographs, please contact Flash Photography at 214-443-9393.

Please check with your candidate's school or department ceremony for its photography policy and for questions regarding photographers at the degree recognition ceremonies.

SMU has a variety of iconic photo opportunities on campus. Be sure to check them out!

Mustang Statue

Dallas Hall

Main Quadrangle Fountain

School Sign