University Commencement Ceremony

The University Commencement Ceremony is the university wide celebration of all graduates. Students from all the schools and colleges come together to celebrate as an entire graduating class. There will be a keynote speaker, students will turn their tassels and everyone is invited to a celebratory toast afterwards in the Aitken Arts Plaza.

Keynote Speaker 

Image of Bill Hader, the University Commencement Ceremony keynote speaker

Comedian, actor, writer and director Bill Hader will be the keynote speaker at the University Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 17.  He’s perhaps best known for his eight-year stint as a cast member on the long-running NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live, as well as for HBO’s critically acclaimed series, Barry, which he also co-created. Learn more about Bill Hader. 

Ceremony Details

  • Friday, May 17 at 7 p.m.

Graduate Line-up

  • Graduates should arrive in their caps and gowns no later than 6:30 p.m.
    • Please report to the McCardle Gate at the northwest entrance to Wilson Field. 
      • Follow the graduation cap balloons and they will guide you to the graduate entrance! 

Tickets & Seating

  • Guest tickets are required for the University Commencement Ceremony.
  • Entry gates to Wilson Field open 1 hour prior to the start of the ceremony.
  • Seating is on a first come, first served basis.
  • Standby Line
    • A standby line is available at the Wilson Gate Entrance, beginning at 5:30 p.m. 
    • Guests in the standby line will be admitted, based on venue capacity, after 6:45 p.m.


  • Parking will be free in all designated parking structures and lots. Please allow yourself ample time to park your vehicle and walk to your ceremony site.
    • Additionally, allow yourself plenty of time to navigate out of parking areas following the ceremony when you are considering making dining reservations.
  • Please note that there is no parking located at One University Drive, Orange CA. Please use the flagged parking structures in the interactive campus map linked below.

Getting to Campus

View Interactive Campus Map >>

View Commencement Map >>

For the use of any ride sharing apps, please use the following addresses for drop off locations:

Schmid Gate: 423 North Glassell Street, Orange, CA 92866

McCardle Gate: 300 East Walnut Avenue, Orange, CA 92867

Keck Center Entrance: 400 North Center Street, Orange, CA 92866

Security & Commencement Conduct

To enhance public safety, please observe the following restrictions for all commencement activities on the Chapman University Campus. Patrons will not be allowed to bring the following items inside the event venue. These policies are subject to change without notice.

  • No food or drinks are allowed in the Commencement venues
  • No balloons
  • No large bags, backpacks, or large purses
  • No firearms, knives, explosives or other weapons
  • No coolers or other containers except in cases of medical need, as certified by a physician
  • No artificial noisemakers, air horns or megaphones may be used
  • No large signs, flags, poles, banners, or laser pointers
  • No pets allowed, except trained service animals
  • All Commencement venues have the authority to prohibit any items deemed a security risk.
  • Inspections of small receptacles (bags) might be required as you enter event venues