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Commencement 2017

Destination graduation: A guide to Johns Hopkins commencement shuttles, parking, and more

JHU's universitywide ceremony will be held on May 24 at Baltimore's Royal Farms Arena

Inside of Royal Farms Arena before commencement ceremony

Image caption: Johns Hopkins University's commencement ceremony was held at Baltimore's Royal Farms Arena for the first time in 2016. The event returns to the venue this year on May 24.

Image credit: Will Kirk / Homewood Photography

With graduation day at Johns Hopkins University approaching, here's a quick guide on the wheres, the hows, and the what-to-expects for the 2017 commencement ceremony.

When and where

The universitywide commencement ceremony takes place Wednesday, May 24 at 1:30 p.m. at Royal Farms Arena, located at 201 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD, 21201. The ceremony is expected to conclude at approximately 5:30 p.m. (Note: Schools will also hold their own ceremonies; more details below).

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The main entrance to the arena is located at the corner of W. Baltimore Street and Hopkins Place, with another entrance on S. Howard Street across from the Light Rail station. Arena doors open at noon, and students must arrive by 12:30 p.m. to line up in their caps and gowns. Tickets are not required for family and guests of graduates. For those who cannot attend the ceremony but wish to watch it, there will be a live webcast of the event.

How to get there

Parking is limited near the arena, and attendees are encouraged not to drive. There is an Orioles game scheduled for 12:35 p.m. on commencement day, so crowds are expected downtown. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to the arena, and consider taking one of the shuttles provided by JHU, public transportation, or a ride-sharing service. More info:

Shuttle

JHU will provide free parking in the South Garage on the university's Homewood campus on a first come, first served basis, and a free shuttle from Mason Hall (located above the South Garage) will depart every 10 minutes from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. to transport graduates and their guests to the arena. The trip will take approximately 30 minutes, so students should plan to depart on a shuttle from Mason Hall no later than noon. Return service from Royal Farms Arena to Homewood campus begins at 4 p.m. and lasts until one hour after the ceremony ends. All shuttles are accessible. Visit the commencement website for more shuttle details.

Driving

Parking is limited near the arena, and attendees are encouraged not to drive. The university has set up special commencement pages for grads and their guests to use the parking reservation services ParkWhiz and Parking Panda, which allow drivers to reserve and prepay for parking at a specific day and time. Parking will also be available first come, first served in nearby public garages.

Public transit and taxi services

The arena has a drop-off area along the curb on Baltimore Street where car services can drop off passengers. Ride share companies available in Baltimore include Lyft, Uber, and zTrip, as well as a number of local taxi services.

The arena is also accessible via public transportation, including:

  • Baltimore Light Rail (closest stop to the arena is University Center/Baltimore Street, which is on the west side of the arena)
  • Metro Subway (closest stop to the Royal Farms Arena is Charles Center, approximately one block away)

More details on public transit is available on the commencement website's transportation page.

What not to bring

Items that cannot be brought into the arena include:

  • Backpacks, bags, and purses larger than 13 5/8 inches x 15-1/4 inches (diaper bags are allowed)
  • Wrapped gifts
  • Balloons
  • Food or drink

All bags and purses are subject to search upon entering the arena. Re-entry to the arena will not be allowed once you have left the building.

Things to know

  • Accessibility: Wheelchairs are not available at the arena. Seating for individuals with disabilities and up to three companions is available on a first-come, first-served basis on the Level 1 Concourse behind sections 103, 104, 115, and 116. Ushers and commencement volunteers will be on-hand at the arena to assist in locating accessible seating. Assisted listening devices will be available at Royal Farms Arena Guest Services, which is located behind section 227, and a driver's license will need to be left in exchange for the device. The ceremony will be closed captioned on screens located on either side of the stage. Ushers and commencement volunteers will have a limited number of large-print copies of the commencement program.

  • There is an Orioles game scheduled for 12:35 p.m. on commencement day, so crowds are expected downtown. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to the arena, and consider taking one of the shuttles provided by JHU, public transportation, or a ride-sharing service.

  • JHU apparel and branded gear (like keychains, coffee mugs, and window clings) are available at the official JHU Barnes and Noble, located at 3330 St. Paul St. Bookstore hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. this week, including graduation day. Delivery options include free, in-store pick up.

Johns Hopkins graduation ceremonies by division

In addition to the universitywide ceremony on May 24, Johns Hopkins divisions also have the following graduation ceremonies planned:

Monday, May 22

Tuesday, May 23

  • 9 a.m.—The School of Education graduation ceremony will take place at Royal Farms Arena. The speaker will be Mark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network. No tickets required.

  • 9 a.m.—The Carey Business School graduation ceremony will take place at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, located at 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201. The speaker will be John G. Rice, vice chairman of General Electric. Tickets required.

  • 10 a.m.—The Peabody Conservatory graduation ceremony will take place in Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall at the Peabody campus. The speaker will be violinist Hilary Hahn. Tickets required.

  • 3 p.m.—The School of Medicine convocation will take place at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, located at 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201. The speaker will be Ronald R. Peterson, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine. No tickets required.

  • 3 p.m. The Bloomberg School of Public Health graduation ceremony will take place at Royal Farms Arena. The speaker is Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance. No tickets required.

Thursday, May 25

For more information, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the JHU commencement website

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