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Commencement information for graduates and guests

Because President Clinton will be speaking at MIT's Commencement exercises on Friday, June 5, security and logistical arrangements will require extra accommodation and planning by students, guests and staff. This special issue of MIT Tech Talk includes information on arrival times, building closings, security guidlines, parking and access for those with disabilities. For updated information, check the 1998 Commencement web site.

The procession of some 2,250 seniors and graduate students will enter Killian Court starting at 10am. Those receiving doctoral degrees will take part in a hooding ceremony on Thursday, June 4 in Rockwell Cage.


Security measures have been implemented for those entering both the Johnson Athletics Center and Killian Court. Candidates should arrive at the Johnson Athletics Center, and will enter through metal detectors which have necessitated the designated arrival times.

Please note that Buildings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, and 13 will be closed on Commencement Day for an extended period of time, and you should plan a path of travel to the Athletics Center accordingly. To ensure that all candidates have an opportunity to enter and assemble for the procession, these times will be strictly monitored. Once you have entered the Johnson Athletics Center, re-entry will not be permitted.

MIT Campus Police will do what is appropriate and within their power to prevent disruption of the Commencement exercises. Because of President Clinton's presence, any disruptive activity in Killian Court will be treated with low tolerance by the Secret Service and the MIT Campus Police.

Arrival Schedule

A continental breakfast will be served in the Johnson Athletics Center, second floor, from 7:00-8:30am.

  • School of Architecture and Planning (all degrees) -- 7:00-7:20am
  • Sloan School of Management (all degrees) -- 7:00-7:20am
  • School of Engineering (bachelor's and simultaneous SB/master's degrees) -- 7:20-7:40am
  • School of Engineering (advanced degrees) -- 7:40-8:00am
  • School of Humanities and Social Science (all degrees) -- 8:00-8:20am
  • School of Science (all degrees) -- 8:00-8:20am
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/MIT -- 8:00-8:20am
  • Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology (including HST) -- 8:00-8:20am

If you are receiving more than one degree, report to the station of the higher degree, except if you are receiving bachelor of science and master's-level degrees simultaneously, report to the station of your primary undergraduate course. If you are receiving more than one SB degree, report to the station for the course in which you are registered for your primary degree. If you are receiving two advanced degrees, report to the station for the course in which you are registered for your primary degree.

Doctoral candidates will be presented with their hoods prior to the academic procession if they do not attend the Hooding Ceremony on Thursday, June 4 at 1pm. Previously announced information on the Hooding Ceremony in Rockwell Cage is accurate.


In conjunction with required security measures, families and guests arriving to Killian Court will enter through metal detectors; access to Killian Court will now begin at 6:30am, to allow adequate time for this screening. A light snack and water stations will be available in the areas to the left and right inside of Killian Court. We ask that guests not leave Killian Court after arrival as re-entry will require additional screening. The buildings surrounding Killian Court will be closed for an extended period on Commencement Day, and we ask that you review the parking information and paths of travel information below to expedite your arrival. Beverage and coffee carts will be located along the route from the parking areas to Killian Court for your added convenience.

IMPORTANT: Killian Court will be closed to guests at approximately 9am at the direction of the US Secret Service. Early arrival is encouraged so that you will not be denied entry to the exercises.

Commencement Ambassadors will be available in Killian Court providing information and assistance throughout the morning and the Exercises.


These security guidelines have been developed by the MIT Campus Police and the Commencement Committee in consultation with the US Secret Service. We ask that you observe the following guidelines:

You are forbidden to carry large or metallic objects, such as wrapped gifts, radios, large key rings, or beverage containers. If you are bringing a camera or videocamera, it is recommended that you do not bring it in a case which would slow the screening process.

Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

The smaller the number of carried objects, the faster the security screening. Even items known to be safe will be scrutinized and will cause delays.

In consideration of those around you, please limit the use of personal communication devices during the exercises.

MIT cannot accept responsibility for storing items that are not permitted through security checkpoints. You would be required to return them to another area and return for additional security screening. Your cooperation is appreciated.


The Commencement exercises will be held in Killian Court regardless of weather. Ambassadors will deploy rain ponchos if needed, and guests may bring their own umbrellas. A variety of locations on campus will be equipped with simulcast coverage of the exercises for guests who decide to leave Killian Court. These locations are:

  • ������������������Kresge Auditorium
  • ������������������Rockwell Cage
  • Sala de Puerto Rico (Stratton Student Center, second floor)
  • ������������������Wong Auditorium (Tang Center, first floor)
  • ������������������Room E25-111
  • ������������������Room 26-100
  • ������������������Room 34-101
  • Room 56-114 and 154
  • Room 16-160
  • Room E51-145 and 149

Parking for the Hooding Ceremony on Thursday, June 4 remains in the West Garage.

Guest parking on Commencement Day (June 5) will now be located in the East Garage (corner of Main Street and Vassar Street), the East Annex (adjacent to East Garage), and the CRA Lot (corner of Ames Street and Broadway). Attendants will be available in these areas to provide directional assistance and/or rerouting if an area becomes full. Street closures will be at the direction of the Secret Service and may impact traveling in and around campus that morning. Cambridge Police will redirect traffic as needed.


Commencement Photos, Inc. will photograph each graduate not only when he or she receives the diploma, but also as he or she exits the ramp holding the diploma. This additional photography option has been included because the previously announced "photo corral" has been eliminated in conjunction with security enforcement and press arrangements. If you need additional order information from Commencement Photos, please contact them directly at (978) 851-5924.


Each graduate is allotted four tickets. Tickets are presented upon presentation of a current MIT ID card or picture identification in the Information Center, Room 7-121 from 26-29 May from 9am-5pm and June 1-4 from 9am-6pm. On Commencement day, family members may pick up tickets with the graduate's MIT ID in the lobby of Walker Memorial (Building 50) beginning at 6am until the closure of Killian Court.


The Commencement Exercises will be broadcast on the MIT cable TV system. There will be screens in the following locations:

  • Kresge Auditorium
  • Rockwell Cage
  • Sala de Puerto Rico (Stratton Student Center, second floor)
  • Wong Auditorium (Tang Center, first floor)
  • Room 26-100
  • Room 34-101
  • Rooms 56-114 and 154
  • Room 16-160
  • Rooms E51-145 and 149

The Welcome Lounge will be open for families and guests and alumni/ae on Thursday, June 4 from 10am-4pm on the first floor of the Stratton Student Center. A list of local restaurants and tourist information will be available as well as any updated logistical details regarding the Commencement exercises. Refreshments will be provided.


We know that traditionally many students finalize details or require services on Commencement Day. We remind students that all of the buildings surrounding Killian Court will be closed for an extended period of time that morning which may impede the availability of staff in some departments. Please consult your department's academic office prior to Commencement to determine their availability for any last-minute needs.


If you have any questions regarding the arrangrements for Commencement, please contact the Commencement Committee Office at (617) 253-0210 or send e-mail to or

Please note that the previously announced details regarding purchase of videotapes, announcements and regalia have not changed.

Current information is available on a web site located at Please seek a Commencement Ambassador in Killian Court on June 5 if you need further assistance.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 27, 1998.

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