University of Wisconsin–Madison

Preparing for Commencement

The view from the graduates' perspective of Chancellor Blank on the winter Commencement stage, lined with poinsettias and banners.
(Photo: Hyunsoo Léo Kim/UW–Madison)

As we approach the end of the fall semester, Winter Commencement is two months away. All eligible participants are invited to the ceremony on Sunday, December 19, at 10 a.m. at the Kohl Center, 601 West Dayton Street. Tickets are not required for graduates or guests, and there is no limit on the number of guests a graduate may bring. The ceremony will be conducted according to public health guidelines and the campus event policies in place at the time of the ceremony.

The ceremony lasts approximately two hours. Guest seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Candidates will be seated on the arena floor of the Kohl Center and should be in their seats no later than 9:40 a.m. Those who cannot attend can visit the commencement website shortly before the event begins to view a livestream of the ceremony.

UW–Madison is partnering with Empire Photography, a locally owned business established in 1983 by UW alumni Mark and Maggie Smith. All graduates participating in the Winter Commencement ceremony will be photographed as they receive their diplomas and as they exit the stage. Additionally, family and friend portraits with their graduates will be available inside the Kohl Center at Gates A and B. With no sitting fee and no obligation to order, this is a great opportunity to make a memorable photograph of a once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

Complimentary proofs will be sent via email (customerservice@empirephotos.com) to graduates and families. To preregister (and view your graduate’s proofs within forty-eight hours of the ceremony), visit www.empirephotos.com. If desired, print orders may be placed after viewing your proofs.

For students graduating in May 2022, Spring Commencement for all undergraduates, master’s, and law degree students will take place in Camp Randall Stadium at noon on Saturday, May 14. Doctoral and professional degree candidates will have their ceremony at 5:30. p.m. on Friday, May 13 at the Kohl Center. Details regarding Spring Commencement will be posted to commencement.wisc.edu in January. The Parent and Family Program website will post updates as they become available.

We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of your students!