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Commencement Weekend 2015: What to Do

Celebrate as the Class of 2015 takes its final bow

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This weekend, nearly 20,000 people will be on campus to celebrate Boston University’s 2015 Commencement. The festivities begin on Friday and culminate with the 142nd All-University Commencement Ceremony on Nickerson Field at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 17.

While the riverboat cruises on the Charles River have already sold out, remaining tickets for the Annual Comedy Night, Celebration 2015 Dinner, and BU Night at the Pops may be purchased at the Warren Towers fourth floor lobby, 700 Commonwealth Ave., from Thursday, May 14, at 3 p.m. through Saturday, May 16, at 6 p.m. Tickets for the Senior Champagne Reception may be purchased at the door.

Graduates should pick up their caps and gowns at Barnes & Noble @ BU. Bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates must purchase their caps and gowns, but doctoral candidates have the option of renting or purchasing. All rented doctoral regalia must be returned to the bookstore by Monday, May 25, to avoid late charges. The University will withhold transcripts for any graduate who has not returned rented garb.

Most BU parking lots and garages will be open and available free of charge all weekend; visit Parking & Transportation Services for details on the recommended lots to use for each Commencement Weekend event.

However, the University is urging visitors to use public transportation whenever possible in order to avoid traffic. BU is providing free shuttle service between Kenmore Square and the Track & Tennis Center, 100 Ashford St., from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Visitors can also take an MBTA Green Line B trolley, which travels the length of Commonwealth Avenue. Check here for MBTA maps and schedules.

Parking for those with disabilities will be available throughout the weekend for students and guests attending individual school and college Convocations and other Commencement-related events; handicapped parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis and requires no reservations or passes. On Sunday, the 278 Babcock St. garage will be available only to those who have a special Babcock Street Commencement Day parking pass, which is reserved for guests who require wheelchair access to Nickerson Field and who have filled out the Disability Accommodation Form. Find more information about disability services here. After 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Babcock Street will be closed to general traffic.

Security will be tight at all Commencement venues throughout the weekend. BU Police have issued strict guidelines for both graduates and guests.

2014 Boston University Commencement at Nickerson Field on May 18, 2014

Photo by Mike Spencer

Friday, May 15 

Individual School and College Convocations

Schools and colleges will hold individual Convocations at various times and locations throughout the weekend, starting Friday, May 15.

Senior Champagne Reception 

Raise a glass to the Class of 2015 at this champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception, hosted by the 2015 Senior Week Committee and Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore (SED’87). The celebration, which is open to graduating students, family, friends, faculty, and administrators, runs from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Track & Tennis Center, 100 Ashford St. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at the door.

23rd Annual Comedy Night

Comedian and BU alum Greg Fitzsimmons (CGS’87, CAS’89), who has performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Late Show with David Letterman, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien, headlines this 90-minute laugh-fest, which begins at 8 p.m. at the College of General Studies Auditorium, 871 Commonwealth Ave. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased at Warren Towers, 700 Commonwealth Ave.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

Join BU’s College of Fine Arts and the New Repertory Theatre’s Classic Repertory Company for this special Commencement Weekend staging of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved and magical comedies. The performance is at 8 p.m. at the BU Theatre’s Lane-Comley Studio 210, 264 Huntington Ave. Tickets are available at the door and are free for BU ID holders and $10 for friends and family.

Saturday, May 16

Individual School and College Convocations

Schools and colleges will hold individual Convocations at various times and locations throughout the weekend, starting Friday, May 15.

Celebration 2015 Dinner 

Graduates and their families are invited to this special Class of 2015 dinner, featuring a full buffet of salads, entrées, and desserts. There is a cash bar for beer, wine, and premium beverages. The dinner is from 5 to 7 p.m. at the 808 Events Facility, a distinctive art deco banquet hall at 808 Commonwealth Ave. Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for children 3 to 12, and complimentary for children under 3 (a ticket is still required for admission). Tickets can be purchased at Warren Towers, 700 Commonwealth Ave. Attendees who have also purchased tickets to the BU Night at the Pops will be able to take a free shuttle bus from the venue to Symphony Hall when dinner ends at 7 p.m.

101st BU Night at the Pops

One of BU’s oldest Commencement traditions, BU Night at the Pops has become a must-attend event for students, families, and friends. This year’s concert by the acclaimed Boston Pops features a special performance by America’s Got Talent finalists and BU alums Sons of Serendip. The Pops are celebrating the 20th anniversary of conductor Keith Lockhart (Hon.’04). Tickets are almost sold out, but a limited number of seats are still available for between $25 and $96, depending on location. Tickets can be purchased at Warren Towers, 700 Commonwealth Ave. The concert begins at 8 p.m. at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Join BU’s College of Fine Arts and the New Repertory Theatre’s Classic Repertory Company for this special Commencement Weekend staging of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved and magical comedies. The performance is at 8 p.m. at the BU Theatre’s Lane-Comley Studio 210, 264 Huntington Ave. Tickets are available at the door and are free for BU ID holders and $10 for friends and family. 

2014 Commencement

Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

Sunday, May 17

Individual School and College Convocations 

Schools and colleges will hold individual Convocations at various times and locations throughout the weekend, starting Friday, May 15.

Baccalaureate Service

Cornell William Brooks (STH’87), president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), renowned civil rights attorney, social justice advocate, and ordained minister, will deliver this year’s Baccalaureate Address. Dean of Marsh Chapel Robert Allan Hill will lead the interdenominational service, which is open to all graduates and their families. President Robert A. Brown and Provost Jean Morrison will also participate in the service, which will include music by Marsh Chapel director of music Scott Allen Jarrett (CFA’99,’08), the Marsh Chapel Choir, and the Majestic Brass Quintet, one of Boston’s most acclaimed brass classical ensembles. The Baccalaureate Service, about 50 minutes long, begins at 11 a.m. at Marsh Chapel, 735 Commonwealth Ave. Information about other worship services on campus is available here. The service will also be carried live on WBUR, 90.9 FM, BU’s National Public Radio station.  

All-University Commencement 

The 142nd All-University Commencement ceremony begins at 1 p.m. on Nickerson Field, rain or shine. Multiple Emmy Award–winning broadcast journalist and talk show host Meredith Vieira will deliver the Commencement address. Tickets are not required for admission and there is no limit to the number of guests. Seats are unreserved and available on a first-come, first-served basis, with the exception of designated areas for guests with disabilities. The Nickerson Field stands fill quickly, so guests should arrive at the field by noon. Guests and bags will be screened. The ceremony will last approximately two hours.

Commencement Webcast

Those unable to attend the All-University Commencement may watch a live webcast of the entire ceremony starting at 1 p.m. It will also be broadcast live on WBUR, 90.9 FM.

Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients

Journalist and TV personality Meredith Vieira will deliver the University’s 142nd Commencement Address.

Cornell William Brooks (STH’87), president and CEO of the NAACP, will deliver the Baccalaureate Address.

Honorary degrees will be presented at the All-University Commencement to Vieira, Brooks, jazz producer George Wein (CFA’50), who founded the Newport Jazz Festival, and philanthropists and University benefactors Allen Questrom (Questrom’64) and Kelli Questrom.

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

Samantha Pickette can be reached at pickette@bu.edu.

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