Before all of the pomp and circumstance, the caps and gowns, and the cheering family and friends, you'll need to know your way around graduation day at Johns Hopkins University. Whether you're a graduating senior or a frazzled family member, this handy guide will help you know what to expect for the 2018 commencement ceremony.
When and where
The universitywide commencement ceremony takes place Thursday, 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).
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 to consider taking alternative transportation to the arena, such as one of the shuttles provided by JHU, public transportation, or a ride-sharing service. More info:
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.
Parking is limited near the arena, and attendees are encouraged to take other forms of transportation. The university has set up special commencement pages for grads and their guests to use the parking reservation services ParkWhiz and Spot Hero, 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. A handicapped drop-off area is available on Baltimore Street near the Royal Farms Arena, Hopkins Place entrance.
Public transportation, ride-sharing, 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
- 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
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.
Follow all things commencement on Twitter @jhucommencement or follow the hashtag #jhu2018 on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.
JHU apparel and branded gear (including 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., including on graduation day. Delivery options include free, in-store pick up.
In addition to the universitywide ceremony on May 24, Johns Hopkins divisions also have the following graduation ceremonies planned:
Tuesday, May 22
10 a.m.—The Whiting School of Engineering master's degree ceremony will take place at the Royal Farms Arena. The speaker will be Ralph D. Semmel, director of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. No tickets required.
11 a.m.—The School of Nursing graduation ceremony will take place at the Hippodrome Theatre, located at 12 N. Eutaw St., Baltimore, MD 21201. The speaker will be Mark Ganz, president and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions. Tickets required.
3 p.m.—The Bloomberg School of Public Health graduation ceremony will take place at Royal Farms Arena. The speaker will be Leana Wen, commissioner of health for the City of Baltimore. No tickets required.
3 p.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 Kenneth W. Freeman, dean in management at the Boston University Questrom School of Business. Tickets required.
Wednesday, May 23
9 a.m.—The School of Education graduation ceremony will take place at Royal Farms Arena. The speaker will be William E. "Brit" Kirwan, chancellor emeritus of the University System of Maryland. No 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 Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center. Tickets required.
11 a.m.—The School of Advanced International Studies graduation ceremony will take place at the Constitution Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution, located at 1776 D St. NW, Washington, D.C. The speaker will be Michéle Flournoy, co-founder and managing director of WestExec Advisors. Tickets required.
2:30 p.m.—The School of Medicine graduation ceremony will take place at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, located at 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201. The speaker will be Betsy Nabel, president of Brigham Health. No tickets required.
3 p.m.—The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences master's degree ceremony will take place at Royal Farms Arena. The speaker will be author and columnist Jeffrey Selingo. No tickets required.
For more information about graduation at Johns Hopkins University, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the JHU commencement website.