Seating for Families & Guests

exterior of Ryan Field

Commencement Seating (Ryan Field)

Tickets are required for all seating at Ryan Field. Participating candidates may obtain their allotment of up to 10 tickets at the time of cap and gown distribution. Seating may be accessed only through ground-level west side gates as indicated below. Upper-deck seat­ing and elevator service to seating on the mezzanine level are not available.

Please note: Lower-level seating for guests with ambu­latory limitations is available at both Ryan Field and Welsh-Ryan Arena. this seating is monitored by University staff and requires no advanced reservation.

  • Gate K:  Guests arriving in wheelchairs
  • Gates M–N:  General seating
  • Gate P:  Special Guest ticket required
  • Gates Q–R–S–T:  General seating

Remote Viewing Location for Fair Weather

  • Norris Center (1999 Campus Drive) McCormick Auditorium
    • No ticket required.

Severe Weather Seating (Welsh-Ryan Arena)

In the event of severe weather, the ceremony may be moved indoors to Welsh-Ryan Arena–McGaw Memorial Hall If the location changes, information will be updated on the Commencement App, Northwestern website, and Northwestern’s Twitter account.

Due to the limited capacity at Welsh-Ryan Arena, graduates are limited to a maximum of two tickets each. Tickets are required for all guest seating. Graduates received severe weather tickets with their ticket order for the outdoor ceremony at Ryan Field. For those not able to attend the ceremony in person, the following options are available:

  • Watch the live broadcast of the ceremony from a computer or mobile device.
  • Utilize up to two tickets to watch the live broadcast of the ceremony at an Evanston campus auditorium.
    • Ticket required for entry.

Seating for Guests with Accessibility Needs

By prior arrangement, guests who are mobility-impaired and arrive in their own wheelchairs may be accom­panied by one companion in specially designated seating sections. Rentals for wheelchairs can be made through the Koebers Medical Supplies site.

Reserved hard-of-hearing section seating and wheelchair section seating for guests and their companions must be requested by completing the Accessible Seating Reservation form. Reservations are confirmed after this electronic form has been completed and will include seating and gate entrance information. Severe Weather Plan tickets for guests and their companions who require seating in the wheelchair sections come from each participating graduate’s allotment of two Welsh-Ryan tickets.

Hard-of-hearing and vision-impaired guests no long require accessibility tickets to sit in a reserved section of the stadium (they do not require the Guests with Accessibility Needs form above). We have made accommodations for closed captioning to be available on the online live stream of Commencement that can be viewed on any mobile device. These guest are able to sit in the stands with the rest of their party while being able to see and hear everything happening at the event.