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A student tries on her commencement gown.

President Pollack, Ava DuVernay will highlight Cornell’s 150th Commencement

Students inspect a tassel for their mortarboards.

Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack’s Commencement address and film director Ava DuVernay’s Senior Convocation address will highlight Cornell’s 150th Graduation and Commencement Weekend, May 26-27, when approximately 5,500 students will receive their degrees.

Both events will be held at Schoellkopf Stadium; seating is first-come, first-served.

Senior Convocation is Saturday, May 26, at noon. In addition to DuVernay, Senior Class President S.J. Munsi ’18 and Convocation Chair Elizabeth Gorman ’18 will speak. Gates open at 9 a.m. In the event of severe weather, the event will move into Barton Hall and admission will be by electronic ticket only; under those severe weather conditions, the convocation event will be streamed to Bailey Hall, Klarman Hall auditorium and Call Auditorium.

Commencement is Sunday, May 27, with the procession will enter the stadium at 10 a.m. and the president’s address at 11 a.m. Gates open at Schoellkopf at 8 a.m.

Commencement exercises will be held outdoors. If severe weather occurs, the graduation ceremony will be held for students only in Barton Hall at 10:30 a.m. Families and guests should go to the location of their student’s college afternoon events to watch the livestream of the Barton Hall ceremony. The livestream also will be viewable on personal devices. Check the severe weather plan for details, and check for updates.

Commencement will be broadcast live on and on Ithaca’s Spectrum Cable Channel 16.

Cornell celebrates its 150th Commencement: The first students entered in fall 1868, and the university held its first commencement the following summer. Some of the first students had transferred from other schools, and eight of them were eligible to graduate. The first ceremony was held July 1, 1869, at the downtown Ithaca library that Ezra Cornell built.

Graduation Weekend events include:

Saturday, May 26:

  • Military Commissioning: Statler Auditorium, 8 a.m.
  • Senior Convocation: noon at Schoellkopf Stadium with film director Ava DuVernay.
  • University Reception: An ice cream social for students, their families and guests on the Arts Quad, 2 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Cornell University Wind Ensemble Concert: international and American music, as well as Cornell songs, on the Arts Quad, 3 to 4 p.m.
  • Ph.D. Hooding Ceremony: 5 p.m. in Barton Hall. A reception will follow at 6:15 p.m.
  • Senior Week Concert: The Cornell University Chorus and the Glee Club at 8 p.m. in Bailey Hall. Admission is $15; $5 for students; tickets are available at or at the door.

Sunday, May 27:

  • Schoellkopf Stadium seating starts at 8 a.m.
  • The academic procession assembles on the Arts Quad at 9:15 a.m. and marches into Schoellkopf Stadium beginning at 10 a.m.
  • Commencement Ceremony: President Martha E. Pollack will deliver the Commencement Address at 11 a.m.
  • College and school ceremonies: various locations across campus, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.


Some parking lots and roads will be closed during the weekend.

Safety and Security

The Cornell Police will conduct bag-check security at both Convocation and Commencement.

Cornell visitor text messages

Cornell visitors can sign up temporarily for emergency notifications, such as weather alerts, by texting “CornellVisitor” (without the quotation marks) to 226-787.

Media Contact

John Carberry