2020 Commencement Update: 3/30/2020

To the Class of 2020 and your families, we know you have been looking forward to Commencement. We would like nothing better than to celebrate your achievements with you and your families. To mark Commencement we will hold both a virtual conferring of degrees on May 18 and an in-person ceremony at a later date when it is safe to gather in large numbers.

Read the Full Announcement »


Commencement is an exciting time for our graduates and the University community. Graduates, their families and friends, our faculty, and other community members gather to celebrate the culmination of a considerable academic accomplishment.

At the School of Law, Commencement is comprised of two major events: the law school Hooding Ceremony and the University Graduation Exercises. Graduates and their guests are encouraged to participate in both of these special events.

Tickets, which are complimentary, are required for Graduation Exercises and must be ordered in advance. Out-of-town guests should make travel arrangements and hotel accommodations early. A livestream will be available on the law school website for anyone who is unable to attend.


Order Tickets

Students will receive an email when the ticket order form is available.

Law Grad Day

Regalia should be picked up during Law Grad Day on Friday, May 1, 2020.

Law School Hooding Ceremony

Commencement starts with the law school Hooding Ceremony, a special recognition for graduates receiving law degrees. During the ceremony, each graduate is individually recognized.

The JD doctoral hood that graduates receive signifies his or her success in completing their law degree. For many participants this is the culmination of graduate studies and represents the degree recipient's transition from student to colleague.

We welcome families and guests of graduates. No tickets or parking passes are required for this event.

Graduate Lineup

Graduates should arrive by 1:00 pm at the entrance to Zick's on Hearn Plaza. Students will be asked to line up alphabetically by degree. In the event of inclement weather, graduates will line up on the Wait Chapel breezeways.

Guest Seating

The law school Hooding Ceremony occurs after another event in Wait Chapel. Guests are asked to gather in front of the Campus Bookstore on Hearn Plaza (across from Zick's) and will be welcomed into Wait Chapel approximately 15 minutes after the conclusion of the previous event.

Special Needs

Guests with special needs may be dropped off behind Wait Chapel on Wake Forest Road. Cars transporting special needs guests may park in Parking Lot Q or other nearby spaces. A ramp is available at the right-front entrance of the chapel and there are rows designated for wheelchairs.


During the ceremony, each graduate will cross the stage and receive their hood. A professional photographer will take pictures which will be sent to graduates' Wake Forest email address. Only Wake Forest photographers are allowed at the front of the chapel during the ceremony.

Sunday, May 17

Hooding Ceremony

1:45 pm
Wait Chapel

Hooding Reception

3:30 - 5:30 pm
Worrell Professional Center
Furr Commons Foyer

Graduation Exercises

Commencement culminates with the University Graduation Exercises on Hearn Plaza.

The Graduation Exercises include graduates of all Wake Forest schools. There are remarks from the University President, the keynote speaker address, the awarding of honorary degrees, and the conferring of degrees for all graduate and professional schools. During this ceremony, law students will be recognized in groups based on the degree being awarded.

Please note that the graduate and professional schools only participate in the first half of Graduation Exercises. At approximately 10:30 am, law school graduates will leave Hearn Plaza in a recessional led by faculty marshals.

Graduate Lineup

Graduates should line up by degree no later than 8:15 am in Parking Lot N between Poteat and Kitchin Residence Halls.


Tickets, which are complimentary, are required for this event and must be ordered online before May 1. There is a limit of 8 tickets per graduates and all guests require a ticket including children and toddlers. Graduates do not need a ticket to attend graduation. Additional tickets may be requested online.

Fulfillment of ticket requests is contingent upon:

  • Successful completion of spring semester courses, as determined by the Registrar's Office
  • Return of any items checked out from the Law Library and IT Department Help Desk
  • Fulfillment of all financial obligations (loans, parking tickets, etc.)
  • Submission of the ABA Employment Survey to the Office of Career and Professional Development

Staff and non-graduating students do not need tickets to attend Graduation Exercises, but they must show a valid Wake Forest ID.

Guest Seating

The Graduation Exercises last approximately one and a half hours and are held outdoors on Hearn Plaza. Seating is on a first-come basis, so guests are encouraged to arrive early.

Additional Guest Information »


On-campus parking will be limited and every vehicle must have a Commencement parking pass to enter campus for Graduation Exercises. Two parking passes will be included with each graduate’s ticket order. University Police will direct guests to available parking.

Additional Parking Information »

Inclement Weather

If there is a strong likelihood of inclement weather during Graduation Exercises, Commencement will begin at 9:30 am in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial (LJVM) Coliseum. A decision will be made Sunday evening and will be announced through the Wake Alert system. This includes the law school website, the University website, email, a recorded message at 336.758.7059, social media, and local news media. Parking will be available at the Coliseum.

Inclement Weather Plan »

Special Needs

Graduates may exchange one parking pass for a special needs parking pass at ticket pickup.

Vehicles with a special needs parking pass will be directed to the Special Needs Parking Lot on Long Drive where shuttles will transport guests to Hearn Plaza. There will be a designated special needs seating section near Zick's for guests in wheelchairs and those who have difficulty walking. Only one other guest can sit with special needs guests due to limited seating in this section.

Monday, May 18

Graduation Exercises

9:00 am
Hearn Plaza

Frequently Asked Questions

When is Commencement in future years?
  • May 17 - 18, 2020
  • May 16 - 17, 2021
The law school Hooding Ceremony is on Sunday afternoon and Graduation Exercises are on Monday morning.
Will a webcast be available?
Yes. A webcast will be available for both the Hooding Ceremony and Graduation Exercises.