Soldiers and Sailors Hall

Commencement Information

Commencement Day: Saturday, May 9

Commencement Day will be held on Saturday, May 9 2020 with a Baccalaureate Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Paul Cathedral and Commencement Ceremony at 12:45 p.m. in Soliders and Sailors Memorial Hall. Graduates and their families are encouraged to attend and celebrate.

Important dates

Friday, Feb. 21: Graduation Applications for Spring 2020 due 
Friday, March 20: Graduation Applications for Summer 2020 due 
Monday, March 2, 10 a.m.: Commencement RSVP Form Open 
Wednesday, April 15, 3 p.m.: Commencement RSVP Form Closes
Tuesday, April 21 and Wednesday, April 22: Grad Fair, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. & 4 p.m.-6 p.m., Gailliot Center

Graduate information

  • Apply for graduation using the Application for Graduation and Certificate Completion form. This form needs to be returned to the Student Hub by Feb. 21 (May graduates) or March 20 (August graduates). Once the application is submitted and verified, an email confirmation will be sent to the student. 
  • RSVP – Open March 1 at 10 a.m.: Graduates should fill out this online form to attend commencement and request tickets for guests. All guests (including small children over two) must have a ticket. Deadline to RSVP is Wednesday, April 15 at 3 p.m. Graduates who RSVP after the deadline are guaranteed two tickets for the ceremony. Tickets can be picked up at the Grad Fair or mailed to the address provided.
  • Caps and gowns: Pre-order caps and gowns online between Dec. 1, 2019 – March 15, 2020. In-store purchases begin April 6 during regular bookstore hours. Contact the bookstore for pricing information for bachelors, masters and doctoral gowns as well as individual pricing. The custom doctoral unit requires additional ordering time.
  • Honors Cords: Graduates with Honors will be mailed a letter indicating which honors designation earned. Honors cords can be obtained at the Grad Fair, from the bookstore, or at check-in on the day of Commencement.
  • Veterans’ Stoles: Complimentary veteran's stole are provided to graduating students who are active military, reserve, or who retired or received an honorary discharge from any branch of the United States Armed Forces. The stole may be picked up at the Grad Fair or Commencement.

Commencement Day: Guest information

Baccalaureate Mass

St. Paul Cathedral
Mass: 10 a.m. | Graduate arrival in cap and gown: 9:15 a.m.

The Baccalaureate is a Catholic Mass held at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland. Regardless of religious affiliation, students and guests are invited to participate. It is an opportunity to offer praise and thanks to God for the graduate’s academic achievements and accomplishments. An ASL interpreter will be available during the Mass for those with hearing impairments. Staff can direct guests to handicapped accessible restrooms. No ticket is required; however, graduates indicate attendance on the Commencement RSVP.

Catholic graduates who would like to participate in the Baccalaureate Mass as a Lector, Eucharistic Minister or Gift Bearer should contact Campus Ministry at 412.578.6651.


St. Paul Cathedral is located on Fifth Avenue just west of the Craig Avenue intersection. Metered parking is available on the street. The St. Paul parking lot is not available for our use. Handicapped guests can use the ramped entrance at the side in the parking lot. There is very limited parking in this lot, arrive early.

Commencement Ceremony

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall
Doors open: 11 a.m. | Graduate line-up: 12:15 p.m. | Procession: 12:45 p.m.

Tickets are required to attend the Commencement Ceremony. Graduates are responsible for ordering guest tickets through the Commencement RSVP. The ceremony will last approximately two hours. An ASL interpreter will be available for those with hearing impairments and can be viewed best from the right side of the auditorium. 


Soldiers and Sailors is located on the corner of 5th Avenue and Bigelow Blvd in Oakland. UPMC has generously permitted us the use their staff parking lot on the corner of Bigelow and O'Hara free of charge. Parking is also available for a fee in the underground parking lot below Soldiers & Sailors. Enter through Bigelow Boulevard.

For guests with disabilities

Handicapped Seating Reservation Request

A wheelchair ramp is available on the west side of the building, on University Place for handicapped guests. Guests can be dropped off, but cannot park in this lot. Use the metered handicapped parking spaces on University Place and Bigelow Boulevard. Upon entering, a Commencement volunteer will direct guests. The hallway may be crowded due to the graduate line-up. Wheelchair seating is in the front right and front left of the auditorium. Seats can be requested for guests who have a disability or need assistance due to age, illness, physical limitations, or frailty, and is not limited to those who use wheelchairs. Due to limited seats in the assistance seating section, we may not be able to seat your whole party, but are happy to accommodate the person in need and one guest. Accessible restrooms are on the third floor: the men’s restroom is on the west side of the building, and the ladies’ restroom is on the east side of the building. There is an elevator next to both the east and west staircases in the front lobby.

Additional information
  • The Academic Procession begins at 12:45 p.m. Guests should be seated no later than 12:30 p.m. Once the procession begins, no one will be allowed to enter the auditorium until after the Invocation. Latecomers will be seated at the commencement staff’s discretion.
  • Guests are welcome to take pictures and video; however, the aisles of the auditorium must remain clear throughout the ceremony, especially the processional and recessional. A professional photographer will be present during the ceremony.
  • Open strollers are not permitted.
  • Objects, such as balloons, that block the view of the stage are not permitted. Helium balloons are not allowed inside Soldiers and Sailors. If your guests bring helium balloons, one of our staff will direct them to a location in the lobby to leave the balloons until after the ceremony.
  • Bottles, cups or cans will not be allowed in the processional or into the auditorium.
  • Overnight accommodation options

Traffic Alert

Traffic patterns can be unpredictable, especially in the spring when there are many events and construction projects. In addition to the Carlow Commencement ceremony, there may be events at the Peterson Events Center or the PPG Paints Arena affecting traffic in the area. To make sure you and your guests are not delayed due to heavy traffic, please allow plenty of time for traveling, and refer to these web sites for up-to-date information, or check your local news outlets.