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Seating and Related Policies for Family and Guests

Seating Options

Military Commissioning at 9:00 am: 

  • For this small but formal ceremony, family members and guests may sit in any seating section including the section closest to the stage behind the rows reserved for the graduates being commissioned.

Commencement Ceremony at 1:30 pm:

  • Reserved Seating Section Under the Tent: 
    • Seating in the section closest to the stage and graduates requires tickets. A pair of tickets for the reserved section will be distributed to each graduate at Commencement rehearsal on Friday, April 25. Graduates may give those tickets to any family or guests they wish. Please note - Reserved seating must be occupied by ticket holders by 1:00 pm (1/2 hour before the ceremony begins) or the seats can be claimed by those without tickets. Late-comers will be directed to sit in any available non-reserved seats.
       
  • Non-Reserved Seating:
    • Under the Tent - There is seating behind the reserved section and along the perimeter of the tent
    • Areas Surrounding the Tent - Seating is provided in areas surrounding the tent. These areas only provide partial shade depending on the exact location. All sides of the tent are open, so those in these sections can see directly to the stage.
    • Rizza Auditorium with a Live Video and Audio Feed of the Ceremony - This indoor auditorium, near the tent, provides padded seating and easy access to restrooms. It has proven popular with those who want more comfort and need more ability to leave and return to their seats during the ceremony.

Policies on Seat Saving Before the Ceremony and Standing During the Ceremony

Seat Saving Before the Ceremony

The Commencement Committee has determined the following policy to create the fairest seating situation for the families and guests of graduates. Since the closest seating to the stage is reserved for ticket holders (see Reserved Seating above) until 1/2 hour before the ceremony, it is not necessary to arrive hours before Commencement to save close-in seating.

  • Any individual may only save up to two seats - the seat he or she occupies and is sitting in, and the seat directly either to the left or right of them (i.e., if there are 10 in your group, five (5) must be seated at all times and can hold the seat next to them)
  • Seats may not be saved by using signs, blankets, coats, or other personal items
  • Unattended items used to save seats will be removed
  • These policies may be enforced by designated Academy staff and ushers
  • Individuals who (after a warning) refuse to comply with these policies may be barred from Commencement or the campus by campus police

Standing, or Otherwise Blocking Aisles and Exits During the Ceremony.

Your safety in case of emergency mandates adhering to the seating plan approved by our local Fire Marshall.  This plan specifies not only maximum seating, but also minimum aisle and exit dimensions within our total seating perimeter. 

  • All family and guests inside the seating perimeter must be seated in a designated seat during the ceremony
  • The ONLY designated sections for standing during the ceremony are in areas BEHIND the seating perimeter - Note that the edge of the tent is NOT the seating perimeter.
  • Crouching or sitting in an aisle is not allowed during the ceremony since it creates as much of a safety hazard as standing.
  • Those trying to take photographs of graduates must also follow these policies.  Photographs taken during the ceremony should be taken from one's seat or outside the seating perimeter.
  • These policies not only follow safety protocols, they also allow a clear view to the graduation stage by those seated outside the tent.
  • These policies may be enforced by designated Academy staff and ushers
  • Individuals who (after a warning) refuse to comply with these policies may be barred from Commencement or the campus by campus police