2023 CNS Senior Celebration
UMass Amherst Commencement Weekend 2023
The university re-envisioned this year's commencement weekend to celebrate the entire class of 2023—both undergraduate and graduate students—at one ceremony! Undergraduates are encouraged to attend both the University Commencement, the official graduation ceremony where degrees are conferred, and the College of Natural Sciences Senior Celebration, a personalized ceremony where each CNS senior is presented with a commemorative medal and crosses a platform as their name is announced and they appear on the jumbo video screens. Tickets are not required for any of the Commencement events. Preliminary details are below; more information will be provided as it becomes available.
Master's Degree Celebration
Friday, May 12, 2023
3:00 – 5:30 p.m. in the Mullins Center
All graduates receiving master's degrees attend
Friday, May 26, 2023
9:00 a.m. in McGuirk Alumni Stadium
All graduates receiving bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees attend
Hooding Ceremony for Doctoral Candidates
Friday, May 26, 2023
Immediately following the 9:00 a.m. Commencement Ceremony in McGuirk Alumni Stadium
All graduates receiving doctoral degrees attend
College of Natural Sciences Senior Celebration
Friday, May 26, 2023
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in McGuirk Alumni Stadium
All CNS graduates receiving bachelor's degrees attend
Stockbridge School of Agriculture Associate Degree Commencement
Saturday, May 27, 2023
11:00 a.m. in Bowker Auditorium
All Stockbridge graduates receiving associate degrees attend
Planning Your Visit
Commencement Weekend On-Campus Dining
At Berkshire Dining Commons, Hampshire Dining Commons, and Worcester Dining Commons, families and guests of graduates who are on a UMass meal plan may join their graduates for complimentary meals. Other students, families, faculty, and staff may dine at the Commons at the rate of $10.50 for breakfast, $14.00 for lunch, and $17.00 for dinner. Meals feature healthy and sustainable global cuisine and showcase local and regional ingredients. On Saturday, the commons will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Hampshire and Worcester DC will serve Sunday breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The Blue Wall Cafe at the Campus Center is open on Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Come see what all the campus buzz is about and enjoy a restaurant-quality meal from one of our many stations. Choose from fresh sushi, made to order salads, house roasted lunch meats, hand tossed fresh pizza, or a grass fed beef burger with local cheddar. Enjoy our gelato bar, delicious house made pastries, and cakes! The People’s Organic Coffee Shop on the concourse and Harvest Fresh Market both open at 8 a.m. and serve coffee, breakfast, and fresh baked organic and all natural treats.
The Commonwealth Restaurant, located on the top floor of the newly constructed Worcester Commons, offers a relaxed atmosphere with beautiful views of campus. The award-winning UMass Dining program offers a special commencement dinner on Thursday and Friday, seating at 7:00 p.m., as well as brunch on Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 p.m. Dinner is a prix-fixe menu and is $50.00 per person. It includes a champagne or non-alcoholic toast. For reservations, please call 413-545-0255.
Stadium Food Court
A food court will be open at the Stadium. Snacks and light meals, including a fresh grill selection, salads, fruit, desserts, and beverages, will be sold at the Stadium Food Court, at the east side of the stadium.
Visit Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce website and the Amherst Business Improvement District website for an eclectic mix of locally owned Bed and Breakfasts, hotels, motels, and a variety of national chains. For more off campus lodging options, please visit:
- UMass Amherst Alumni Association Partner Hotels
- Hotels and motels near Amherst
- Bed and breakfasts near Amherst
- Campgrounds and RV parks near Amherst
- Visit Hampshire County
- Franklin County Chamber of Commerce
Residential Hall Lodging
Staying on campus is the best way to be close to all of the commencement activities. Our campus residence hall accommodations, in single or double occupancy, provide casual comfort at affordable rates. Each floor offers a lounge that encourages interaction with other guests while offering you the option of retreating to your own room to prepare for the next day’s activities. Parking is free and close by, and linens and towels are provided. There are a few rooms available for guests with disabilities, so please be sure to indicate any special accommodation needs when registering. All rooms are located in a low-rise residence hall in the Southwest Residential Area, a convenient location to the various commencement activities held throughout the weekend, and the closest lodging option to the main commencement ceremony held at McGuirk Stadium on Friday.
Resident hall lodging is available for Friday (5/26) and Saturday (5/27). However, due to the finals exams occurring on Thursday (5/25), undergraduate students are not required to move out of their residence halls until 8:00PM and residence hall lodging is therefore not available that day to off-campus visitors.
Learn more about staying in one of our on-campus residence halls. For questions and/or registration assistance, call 413-577-8102 or email registration [at] umass [dot] edu. Reservations will be accepted until 4 p.m. EST on Friday, April 28, or until space fills.
Hotel UMass at the Campus Center
The Hotel UMass at the Campus Center may have vacancies for commencement weekend, but like other local hotels, it fills up early. To make reservations call 877-822-2110.
At the Stadium, May 26, 2022
Guests with accessible parking plates/placards and drivers escorting guests with limited mobility may complete the Reserved Accessible Parking Form by April 15, 2023 to request parking closest to the stadium (guests will receive an email confirmation of their parking request and a parking pass with information will be mailed to their address). Spaces are limited and preference will be given to those with state issued accessible parking plate or placard who register first.
Guests with limited mobility can also be dropped off at one of the designated bus stops, regularly serviced by shuttle buses. Golf carts will be available near the reserved accessible parking area at McGuirk Stadium before and after the ceremony to assist guests with limited mobility get to and from the stadium and the parking area.
When arriving on campus on May 26, guests with HP plates/placards or reserved parking passes will be directed to a parking lot closest to the venue of their graduate's ceremony. At the conclusion of the each ceremony, guests with limited mobility have the choice to navigate the campus via public transportation, or take their personal vehicles and be directed to accessible parking (designated for HP plates/placards or vehicles with Reserved Parking passes). Due to increased traffic, travel between venues will take extra time.
Reserved wheelchair seating on the field is available. Wheelchairs can be rented from a local medical supply store in your community but are not available at the University. Folding chairs will be available at the rear of the field for ambulatory guests who cannot climb stairs.
Sign Language / Interpreters
If you or any of your guests require the services of a sign language interpreter, please contact Disability Services at jamiep [at] umass [dot] edu with "Commencement Interpreter Request" in the subject line. The deadline for requesting interpreter services is April 15, 2023.
Please be advised that on Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27, there will be heavy traffic. It is highly recommended that all participants walk or use shuttle buses. View a map of the commencement shuttle route through campus.
Security at McGuirk Alumni Stadium
Our security protocols ensure the safety of our visitors and our campus community. Metal detectors will be in place at the entrance to McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Guests are advised to pack lightly for the day as all items taken into either venue are subject to search—the less you are carrying, the more quickly your party will be able to proceed through security. Please discuss security measures with the members of your party ahead of time so everyone is aware of our protocols. Although you can expect security measures to take a little time at your point of entry, our staff will be there to welcome you!
- Stadium gates open at 7:30 a.m. for the first event. All will be asked to exit the stadium at conclusion of the morning events. Stadium gates will reopen at 1:30 p.m. for the CNS Senior Celebration.
- All bags and containers are subject to search.
- On Commencement day, on-campus parking is free, please follow parking directions provided by campus police.
- Tickets are not required and graduates may invite as many guests as they wish. Seating at McGuirk Stadium is on first come, first serve basis.
- Graduates will enter and sit in the stadium with their school or college. The stadium map shows where each school or college will be seated so you can plan your seating in the stands accordingly.
Please be advised that on Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27, there will be heavy traffic.
Parking will be directed by the University of Massachusetts Police Department based nearest available parking lots. Shuttle buses will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. We strongly recommend that you allow at least 45 minutes to park on campus and travel or walk to the stadium.
Several roads will have one-way traffic and the following roads will be closed: 1) University Drive between Amity Street and Massachusetts Avenue; 2) North Pleasant Street between Massachusetts Avenue and Governor’s Drive. It is highly recommended that all participants walk or use shuttle buses, as traffic will be heavy and parking lots will fill early.
If you are arriving on campus to attend a senior recognition ceremony, please park once, enjoy the ceremony, and then take the shuttle or walk to each ceremony you are attending.
After the ceremony, campus police will guide you from your parking lot to the designated exit route from campus.
Recreational Vehicle (RV) Parking
Recreational vehicle (RV) parking is available upon request at no charge. However, there are no hookups for electricity, water, or waste disposal. Call the Office of External Relations and University Events at 413-577-1101 or email commencement [at] umass [dot] edu ( )for more information or to make a reservation.
FAQs for Graduates
CNS Celebration Schedule
1:30 p.m. GRADUATES REPORT TO PARKING LOT 11 for Registration & Line-up. Find your department sign, fill out a registration/name card, then line up behind your department sign. Wear your cap & gown!
All guests, students, faculty and staff will be required to walk through metal detectors when entering the venue from all entryways. Allow extra time for this. Guests should plan to arrive on campus by 1:00 p.m. to ensure ample time to reach campus, park, and arrive at the stadium via a shuttle bus or by walking.
2:30 p.m. GRADUATES, led by Faculty Marshals, BEGIN ENTERING STADIUM.
Everyone must pass through security screening on their way into the stadium so the processional line will begin marching promptly at 2:30 p.m.
3:00 p.m. CNS Senior Celebration begins!
Processional marches into the stadium. The program begins with a welcome and congratulations from Deans Nathaniel Whittaker and Elizabeth Connor. A student speaker from each of our 14 departments offers remarks and then introduces their fellow classmates. Each Graduate’s name is read as they walk across the student platform and are seen on the jumbo screens. Graduates receive a commemorative medal, have professional portraits taken and receive a special gift from the college. After crossing the platform, all participants return to their seats via the red carpet and remain seated until the celebratory hat-toss that signals the end of the ceremony.
Processional led by teaching and advising award winners:
Sibongile Mafu, CNS Outstanding Teacher
Brokk Toggerson, CNS Outstanding Teacher
Erik Cheries, CNS Outstanding Advisor
The Commencement Allstars 2023
“Pomp and Circumstance” arrangement by Greg Blair ‘12
Associate Dean Elizabeth Connor
Message from the Dean
Interim Dean Nathaniel Whitaker
Readers of Names
Jill Kaufman Reporter/Producer/Host, New England Public Media
Kari Njiiri Senior News Reporter/Music Host/Producer New England Public Media
Recognition of Graduates, Student Speakers (in order of appearance)
Astronomy: Daniel Krista-Kelsey
Food Science: Amelia Navarre
Earth, Geographic and Climate Sciences: Tessa Giacoppo
Chemistry: Nicholas Dix
Physics: Emily Laus
Microbiology: Tasneem Mohammad
Environmental Science: Cameron Chin
Stockbridge School of Agriculture: Alexeya O'Brien
Veterinary & Animal Sciences: Maeve Smith
Environmental Conservation: Patrick Koenen
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: Okoh Frimpong
Mathematics & Statistics: Zoe Peritz Greenman
Biology: Catherine Leonard
Psychological & Brain Sciences: Shanakay Gillespie
Interim Dean Nathaniel Whitaker
UMass Fight Song
The Commencement Allstars 2023
Faculty and graduates recess informally
Which ceremony do I attend?
We encourage graduates and families to attend both, the University ceremony on Friday May 26th at 9:00 a.m. and the CNS Senior Celebration at 3:00 p.m.
The 9:00 a.m. commencement ceremony at McGuirk Stadium is a fun and celebratory event held outdoors, where degrees are conferred; the Commencement Wind Ensemble plays; and Chancellor, student, and keynote speakers present.
The CNS Senior Celebration is smaller and more intimate where graduates’ names are called and each are recognized individually.
Stockbridge School of Agriculture Commencement - AS Degree - Visit this page for more information.
What is traffic usually like? How will I know where to go?
Plan at least an hour of travel time once you arrive to the Amherst area. Parking starts at lots closest to the ceremony and moves farther as they fill up. UMass Police officers will direct traffic and parking. Park once and take the bus or walk to your destination. Shuttle services will be available to take people from farther lots to the ceremony for the undergraduate ceremony.
CNS graduates should report to Lot 11 for 1:30 p.m. lineup for the Senior Celebration at 3:00 p.m.
Who gets to walk in the University Commencement and the CNS Senior Celebration?
An undergraduate student’s year of graduation is established by the Registrar’s Office. To be eligible to participate in the 2023 commencement ceremony, students must have fulfilled all requirements by the date of the ceremony or be scheduled to do so by September of 2023.
Students who are expected to graduate in winter of 2023 or spring of 2024 but want to walk in May of 2023, need to contact the Registrar's Office, Diploma and Graduation Services at reggrad [at] registrar [dot] umass [dot] edu no later than March 31, 2023.
How many guests am I allowed to bring?
Tickets are not required for any Commencement ceremony or celebration and there is no limit to the number of guests a graduate can invite.
What should I wear to the ceremony?
Students must dress in graduate caps and gowns.
Where can I get my cap and gown?
No pre-order or online ordering is necessary. Caps, gowns, and tassels may be picked up on the days and times listed below.
- At the Commencement Fair: Wednesday, May 17, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Campus Center Auditorium
- The week of Commencement: Monday, May 22 – Thursday, May 25, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Campus Center 165-69
- On Commencement Day: Friday, May 26, Prior to 9:00 a.m. Ceremony, Lot 11 Graduate Assembly Area at McGuirk Alumni Stadium
Undergraduates UWW/Distance Learners and Fall or Winter Grads ONLY
You can request alternative options by emailing <commencement [at] umass [dot] edu .
Masters and Doctoral
Regalia will also be available to order through the UMass Store online and in person during normal hours of operation beginning May 1. There is no charge for caps and gowns, they are covered by student fees. However, custom doctoral hoods must be purchased.
I am a double major or am enrolled in another college and their ceremony is at the same time as the CNS Senior Celebration, what should I do
If a senior is a double major or is enrolled in another college and the ceremonies conflict, the senior must choose which of the two ceremonies to attend. We encourage you to attend the CNS Senior Celebration!
Double majors within CNS should sit with only one of their two majors and go up to the stage only once during the ceremony.
When will I get my diploma?
Diplomas are not distributed during the Friday and Saturday ceremonies. They are mailed post-Commencement to the student's permanent address after the grades have been received, recorded, and processed by the Registrar's Office. To ensure the delivery of diplomas, all graduates should check SPIRE to make certain that their diploma mailing address is accurately recorded. Questions regarding diplomas? Please contact the Registrar’s Office, located at 213 Whitmore Administration Building, by phone at 413-545-0555, or via email at reggrad [at] registrar [dot] umass [dot] edu.
I am unable to attend the ceremony; will I still be able to receive my commemorative medal and CNS gift?
Seniors may arrange to receive a medal and an event program by contacting the University Events Office (commencement [at] admin [dot] umass [dot] edu) or calling (413) 577-1101.
The College gives each graduating senior a small gift at the ceremony. If seniors would like to arrange receiving this, please contact the CNS Advising Center at cnsadvisingcenter [at] umass [dot] edu or call (413) 545-1969. If leaving a message, please leave your name and phone number along with your reason for calling.
Will seniors be allowed to stay in their on-campus housing until Graduation?
Yes, seniors are automatically allowed to remain in their dorm rooms until Sunday, May 28. For more information: https://www.umass.edu/living/permission-stay-late
FAQs for Families
When should I arrive?
Gates open for guests at 1:30 p.m.
How should I plan for the weather?
This event will be held rain or shine, so if there is potentially unpleasant weather, we would encourage wearing a raincoat, bringing an umbrella, and perhaps a towel to sit on.
If sunshine and clear skies are expected, just remember that shade is virtually nonexistent in the stadium so please consider bringing a hat and sunscreen.
What should families and guests wear?
Families and guests should dress comfortably, wearing shoes appropriate for walking.
How do we purchase pictures of our graduate at the CNS Senior Celebration?
Commencement photos of graduates walking across the stage will be taken during Senior Celebration. Proof of these photographs will be emailed within 48 hours of the ceremony to graduates along with order forms and information for those wishing to purchase prints.
If you have further questions regarding the CNS Senior Celebration, please feel free to contact Quinn Van Develde, qvandevelde [at] umass [dot] edu.
More information about all university commencement activities can be found on the university commencement web page.