BU Today

Campus Life

Commencement 2009

Where to go, what to see, when to be there


Photo by BU Photography

As friends and family descend on Boston University for Commencement 2009, confusion can sneak onto campus, too. Even Commencement veterans might not be sure of this year’s rundown; activities are spread over three days, with some graduations taking place Friday and Saturday before Sunday’s main event. Know too that the Baccalaureate address and Commencement itself start later than previous years — 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

So first tip: double-check all times and places.

Second tip: read on.

Before the weekend starts, remember to pick up caps and gowns at Barnes and Noble at BU; they’re available right up to Sunday morning. Candidates for bachelor’s or master’s degrees must purchase their gowns, but doctoral candidates may rent theirs.

All students approved to graduate should check on the Student Link to update their diploma information.

Most parking facilities (unless being used as a Commencement site) will be open and free. Guests with disabilities may receive a parking permit that allows convenient parking. BU will provide shuttle buses along Comm Ave throughout the weekend. The shuttles will serve designated stops and will make additional stops upon request. The MBTA is another option.

If you get lost, fret not. Information booths will be placed along Comm Ave, manned by staffers from Campus Information & Visitor Relations, who will give directions and answer questions. A campus map is also handy.

Note that Web registration for the weekend’s events has ended. If you still need to purchase tickets, call All-University Functions at 617-353-2248.

Friday, May 15
Senior Champagne Reception

Join friends, family, deans, and administrators at the annual champagne reception in honor of the Class of 2009. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. on Warren Alpert Mall (a.k.a. BU Beach), overlooking the Charles River, and end at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15.

17th Annual Comedy Night
This 90-minute show headlines alum Greg Fitzsimmons (CGS’87, CAS’89), who has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with Dave Letterman, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. The show starts at 8 p.m. in the CGS Auditorium, 871 Commonwealth Ave. Admission is $20.

Saturday, May 16
Riverboat Cruises on the Charles River

Cruise along the Charles River with your family and friends. Boats leave from the BU Sailing Pavilion every 15 minutes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., rain or shine. To get to the Sailing Pavilion, take the Marsh Chapel Footbridge, located near the BU Beach, to the Esplanade. Turn left and walk toward the BU Bridge. This event is not handicapped-accessible. Admission is $5.

BU Beach Bash
Stop by the BU Beach at noon for live music, face painting, BU giveaways, and more. Food concessions will be available. The event happens rain or shine.

Celebration ’09
Celebrate with classmates and families at a buffet featuring salad, pasta, entrées, and desserts. Beer, wine, and soft drinks included; cash premium bar service available. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. at the 808 Gallery, 808 Comm Ave. Admission is free for children under 3, $12.50 for children 3-12, and $25 for adults.

95th Annual BU Night at the Pops
Commemorate graduation by participating in one of the University’s oldest traditions. Transportation is provided to and from campus starting at 7 p.m. The concert at Boston’s Symphony Hall begins at 8 p.m. Tickets to this event are sold out, but try checking in at Warren Towers during the weekend for cancellations.

Sunday, May 17
Those who can’t be at Nickerson Field can view the entire Commencement ceremony live via webcast or listen to the ceremony on Boston University’s NPR station, WBUR 90.9FM.

The all-faith Baccalaureate Service is at 11 a.m. in Marsh Chapel, 735 Commonwealth Ave. For other worship services, click here.

The all-University Commencement ceremony begins at 1 p.m. at Nickerson Field. There is no reserved seating for guests of the honorees at Nickerson Field, except for disabled guests.

Schools and colleges will have individual convocations at different times and locations during the weekend.

Michael E. Capuano, U.S. Representative from the Massachusetts Eighth Congressional District, will deliver the Commencement address and receive an honorary degree.

Rev. Dr. Gloria E. White-Hammond (CAS’72), pediatrician and co-pastor of Boston’s Bethel AME Church, will speak at the Baccalaureate Service and receive an honorary degree at the all-University Commencement ceremony.

Honorary degrees are being given to filmmaker Steven Spielberg, a principal owner of DreamWorks Studios; Celtics basketball legend Larry J. Bird, current president of basketball operations for the Indiana Pacers; J Allard (CAS’91), senior vice president at Microsoft Corporation; and Alan M. Leventhal, a University trustee and former board chair and chairman and chief executive officer of Beacon Capital Partners.

Follow Commencement coverage.

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

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