Columbia University is committed to making Commencement Week activities accessible to all graduates and guests.
Disability Services coordinates accessibility efforts for Commencement Day, as well as individual school ceremonies and the Baccalaureate Service. Guests do not need to alert the University in advance to reserve seating or make other arrangements, and no special tickets are required to enter designated seating areas.
Throughout the week’s activities, Disability Services staff, Event Hosts, and Public Safety officers will be on hand to assist graduates and guests with disabilities.
Disability Services is a resource for students with disabilities throughout the academic year and ensures that Commencement Week activities are accessible to all graduates and guests.
School Ceremonies & Baccalaureate Service
For more information about accessibility for individual school ceremonies and the Baccalaureate Service, please contact Disability Services by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 212-854-2388 (Voice/TTY).
Guests with disabilities or limited mobility, older individuals needing assistance, or those in need of sign language interpretation should enter campus through one of two designated gates:
- 116th Street at Amsterdam Avenue
- Gate opens at 8:30 a.m.
- 115th Street at Amsterdam Avenue (between Wallach and Hartley Halls)
- Gate opens at 8:30 a.m.
If arriving by car, it is recommended that guests be dropped off at one of these two gates before the driver finds parking, as available spots could be a significant distance from campus.
A wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus will circle the perimeter of campus to pick up guests with disabilities needing assistance and their families. The shuttle bus will transport guests to the designated disability access gates. Event staff will be available at the gates to assist guests to their seats.
Due to the large crowd at Commencement, there can be a long wait for the shuttle. To avoid the wait, it is suggested that guests proceed directly to the designated disability access gates.
There are two seating areas designated for guests with disabilities during Commencement. These are most easily accessed via the designated gates.
- College Walk near Kent Hall at 116th and Amsterdam Avenue (seating, wheelchair accessibility, sign language interpretation)
- Tent adjacent to Hamilton Hall at 116th and Amsterdam Avenue (seating, wheelchair accessibility, sign language interpretation, closed caption video)
Guests can also view the ceremony from Levien Gymnasium—an indoor accessible viewing location for guests.
Guests do not need to alert the University in advance to reserve seating or make other arrangements, and no special tickets are required to enter designated seating areas. General admission tickets should be used to access the designated seating areas.
Services for Guests with Visual Disabilities
Large print programs are available at both designated seating areas. For guests who are deaf or hard of hearing, sign language interpretation is available in both designated seating areas. One of the seating areas, the tent adjacent to Hamilton Hall at 116th and Amsterdam Avenue, will also have closed caption video of the ceremony.
After the Ceremony
Before and during the ceremony, College Walk and the South Lawn (lower campus) are open to guests only. After the ceremony the entire campus will open. Guests with disabilities may use the elevator at the east end of Dodge Hall to access upper campus. Public Safety officers will be available to assist guests.
The campus accessibility map details what parts of campus are wheelchair accessible. Printed copies of the map are available at the Public Safety booths at Broadway and at Amsterdam Avenue or at the Disability Services Office.