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Commencement Weekend 2013: What to Do

Everything you need to know

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This weekend, nearly 20,000 people are expected to converge on campus for Boston University’s 140th Commencement ceremonies, topped off by the All-University ceremony at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, at Nickerson Field. There are all kinds of celebratory events—both on and off campus—for graduating students and their families, which we’ve highlighted below.

Although online registration has ended for most of the events, you can purchase tickets by calling Events & Conferences at 617-353-3520.

Before the weekend kicks off, students should pick up their caps and gowns at Barnes & Noble at BU. Bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates must purchase their academic garb, but doctoral candidates have the option of renting. Keep in mind that all rented items must be returned by Thursday, May 23, to avoid late charges. The University will withhold transcripts for any graduate who fails to return rented garb.

Most parking facilities will be open throughout the weekend, but visitors are urged to use the free shuttle bus service running between Kenmore Square and the Track & Tennis Center at 100 Ashford St. to avoid traffic congestion. Visitors can also use the MBTA’s Green Line B trolley to get to the Charles River Campus.

Parking for the disabled will be available throughout the weekend for students and guests attending individual school convocations or other Commencement-related events—no special pass or reservation is required. For Sunday’s All-University Commencement, Lot F at 808 Commonwealth Ave. will be available only to those who have a special Lot F Commencement Day Parking Pass. General Commencement parking will not be allowed in this lot on Sunday. Because of construction, general parking on Babcock Street and adjacent streets will not be permitted throughout the weekend.

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, security will be tightened at all Commencement venues throughout the weekend. BU Police have issued stringent guidelines. Find more information here.

Ready to celebrate? Check out our list of Commencement events and activities below.

Friday, May 17

Individual School and College Convocations

Schools and colleges will hold individual convocations at various times and locations throughout the weekend, beginning Friday, May 17.

Senior Champagne Reception

Family, friends, deans, and administrators are invited to toast the Class of 2013 at this champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception, hosted by President Robert A. Brown, Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore (SED’87), and the 2013 Senior Week Committee. The celebration is from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Track & Tennis Center, 100 Ashford St. Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased here or via the Senior Week website. There is no limit to the number of tickets students can buy.

21st Annual Comedy Night

Enjoy a night of laughs during this 90-minute show featuring some of Boston’s funniest comics. The headliner is Greg Fitzimmons (CGS’87, CAS’89), whose routines have been featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with Dave Letterman, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. The show begins at 8 p.m. in the CGS Auditorium, 871 Commonwealth Ave. Admission is $20.

Boston University BU, commencement weekend, things to do in Boston

Photos by Melody Komyerov

Saturday, May 18

Individual School and College Convocations

Schools and colleges will hold individual convocations at various times and locations throughout the weekend, beginning Friday, May 17.

Riverboat Cruises on the Charles

Enjoy picturesque views of Boston and Cambridge on a 30-minute cruise along the Charles River. Boats will depart from the BU Sailing Pavilion, rain or shine, between 9:30 a.m. and 2:50 p.m. To get to the pavilion, take the Marsh Chapel Footbridge, near the BU Beach, to the Esplanade, turn left and walk toward the BU Bridge. This event is not accessible to the disabled. Admission is $5.

BU Beach Bash

Come by the BU Beach, behind Marsh Chapel, 735 Commonwealth Ave., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for live music, face-painting, giveaways, and concession stand snacks. Admission is free.

Celebration 2013 Dinner

Keep the celebration going with classmates and families at this buffet, featuring a selection of salads, entrées, and deserts. Beer, wine, and soft drinks are included, and premium beverages can be purchased from the cash bar. There will be two seatings: 5 p.m. (ideal for those planning to attend the Boston Pops performance) and 8 p.m. The dinner is at the Fuller Building, 808 Commonwealth Ave. Admission is free for children under 3, $15 for children 3 to 12, and $30 for adults.

99th Annual BU Night at the Pops

Take part in one of Commencement’s most venerated traditions, BU Night at the Pops, featuring the world-famous Boston Pops orchestra. Saturday’s concert includes a tribute to film and Broadway composer Marvin Hamlisch. A limited number of tickets are still available at the Events & Conferences desk in the fourth floor lobby of Warren Towers, 700 Commonwealth Ave. Tickets range from $24 to $92 and can be purchased via cash or credit card. The concert begins at 8 p.m. at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave. Free round-trip transportation between Warren Towers and Symphony Hall will be provided, starting at 7 p.m.

Commencement

Sunday, May 19

Individual School and College Convocations

Schools and colleges will hold individual convocations at various times and locations throughout the weekend, beginning Friday, May 17.

Baccalaureate Service

Bishop Peter Weaver (STH’75), retired resident bishop for the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and a former University trustee, will deliver this year’s Baccalaureate address. The interdenominational service, which is open to all graduates and their families, will be led by the Reverend Dr. Robert Allan Hill, dean of Marsh Chapel. President Robert A. Brown and Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer, will also participate. The service begins at 11 a.m. at Marsh Chapel, 735 Commonwealth Ave. Information about other worship services on campus is available here.

All-University Commencement

The 140th All-University Commencement will begin at 1 p.m. at Nickerson Field. There are no tickets required and no reserved seating, except for disabled guests. Seats are first-come, first-served, and the Nickerson stands fill quickly, so it’s best to arrive no later than noon. All guests and bags will be screened. The ceremony will run approximately two hours and take place rain or shine.

Commencement Webcast

Those unable to attend the All-University Commencement at Nickerson Field can watch the entire ceremony live via webcast beginning at 1 pm. You can also listen to the ceremony live on BU’s National Public Radio station, WBUR 90.9FM.

Speakers

Wendy Kopp, founder and current board chair of Teach for America, will deliver the University’s 140th Commencement Address.

Bishop Peter Weaver (STH’75), retired resident bishop for the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and a former Boston University trustee, will deliver the Baccalaureate address.

Honorary degrees will be presented at the all-University Commencement ceremony to Kopp and Weaver, as well as to Robert Langer, an engineer and inventor and the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, and to the Academy Award–winning actor Morgan Freeman, who has appeared in more than 70 films. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (Hon.’01) will also be honored during the Commencement exercises.

Erin Thibeau can be reached at ethibeau@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @erinthibeau.

More information about Commencement can be found on the Commencement website.

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