Complete coverage of Commencement Day at Johns Hopkins University
Students enter during Commencement

Image credit: Will Kirk / Homewood Photography

Your complete guide to graduation at Johns Hopkins University

Guide gives an overview of how to get there, what to bring, and other ceremonies celebrating the Class of 2019

About 1,550 Johns Hopkins University students will claim their degrees at the universitywide Commencement ceremony May 23 at the Royal Farms Arena in downtown Baltimore.

Here's what you need to know before you go:

When and where

The universitywide Commencement ceremony takes place Thursday, May 23, 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. 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. 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.

Students outside the arena
Commencement 2019
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Please allow ample time for your travels to the arena, especially because of the scheduled Orioles game. Guests should anticipate more crowding and longer wait times as ceremony time nears.

All shuttles are accessible. Visit the Parking and Transportation page of the Commencement website for more shuttle details.

Driving

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 Parking and 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
  • Signs, posters, banners, or flags
  • 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. The arena is cold, and Commencement organizers recommend bringing a sweater or blanket. Please be advised that signs, posters, banners, and flags will not be allowed inside the arena for safety and security reasons.

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.

Social Media

Follow all things commencement on Twitter @jhucommencement, or follow the hashtag #jhu2019 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Gifts

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.

Johns Hopkins graduation ceremonies by division

In addition to the universitywide ceremony on May 23, Johns Hopkins divisions also have the following graduation ceremonies planned:

Bloomberg School of Public Health

The Bloomberg School's Commencement will be held Tuesday, May 21, at 3 p.m. in the Royal Farms Arena located at 201 W. Baltimore St. The speaker will be journalist and author Laurie Garrett. No tickets required.

Carey Business School

The Carey Business School Commencement will be held Tuesday, May 21, at 2 p.m. in the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall located at 1212 Cathedral Street. The speaker will be Calvin Butler Jr., chief executive officer of BGE. Tickets required.

Whiting School of Engineering

All graduates are invited to attend the universitywide Commencement ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on May 23 at Royal Farms Arena. Bachelor's degree and doctoral candidates will be called to cross the stage. In addition, the Whiting School will host a Master's Degree Ceremony on Tuesday, May 21, at ​10 a.m. in the Royal Farms Arena with speaker Tyson Tuttle, president and CEO of Silicon Labs (no tickets required).

The Whiting School will also host, along with the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, a Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on Tuesday, May 21, at 3 p.m. in Shriver Hall on the university's Homewood campus. The speaker at the hooding ceremony will be Harold Weaver, the New Horizons project scientist. Tickets required.

Peabody Conservatory

In addition to the universitywide ceremony at Royal Farms Arena, Peabody Commencement will take place Wednesday, May 22, at 10 a.m. in the Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall at the Peabody Institute. The speaker will be singer-songwriter Tori Amos. Tickets required.

School of Advanced International Studies

SAIS Commencement will take place on Wednesday, May 22, at 11 a.m. in Constitution Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution located at 1776 D St., NW, Washington, D.C. The speaker is Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, former United Nations high commissioner for human rights. Tickets required.

School of Education

The School of Education Commencement ceremony will take place Wednesday, May 22, at 9 a.m. in the Royal Farms Arena. No tickets required.

School of Medicine

The School of Medicine Commencement ceremony will take place Wednesday, May 22, at 2:30 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall located at 1212 Cathedral St. The speaker is Rockefeller University Professor Cori Bargmann, who is head of science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior. No tickets required.

School of Nursing

The School of Nursing Commencement ceremony will take place Wednesday, May 22, at 11 a.m. at the Hippodrome Theater located at 12 N. Eutaw St. The speaker will be Ahrin Mishan, executive director of the Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation. Tickets required.

Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Bachelor's degree and doctoral candidates will be called to cross the stage at the universitywide Commencement ceremony on May 23 at Royal Farms Arena. In addition, the Krieger School will host a Master's Degree Ceremony on Wednesday, May 22, at ​3 p.m. in the Royal Farms Arena (no tickets required). The speaker will be Rosalie Silberman Abella, the longest-serving judge on Canada's Supreme Court.

The Krieger School will also host, along with the Whiting School of Engineering, a Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on Tuesday, May 21, at 3 p.m. in Shriver Hall on the university's Homewood campus. The speaker at the hooding ceremony will be Harold Weaver, the New Horizons project scientist. Tickets required.