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Ceremony Details

Ceremony Details

All cell phones must be turned off as soon as you enter the seating area. Please refrain from cell phone use before and during the ceremony.

Any student suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance will be subject to arrest and will not be allowed to participate in the ceremony.

Smoking is strictly prohibited inside the Thompson-Boling Arena.

Arrival Time

Graduates must arrive at the Thompson-Boling Arena and be fully gowned by 1 p.m. Please allow sufficient travel time. The Tickle College of Engineering may not be able to accommodate students arriving after 1 p.m. The ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. and will last approximately ninety minutes.


Enter the Thompson-Boling Arena from the stairs entrance on Philip Fulmer Way. Proceed to the Arena floor. Once inside, send your guests to their seats, then proceed directly to the graduate registration table.

Parking and Security

Graduates and their guests may park free in university student parking areas throughout the campus but should avoid parking in staff parking areas.

The arena’s large-event security protocol will be enforced at both ceremonies. Guests may enter the arena with one clear plastic bag no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches.

The only other items ALLOWED in the arena are:

  • Small clutch purses no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches
  • Mobile phones
  • Binoculars, cameras, and video cameras (without cases)
  • Diapers and non-medically necessary items for babies and young children (must be carried in a clear bag)
  • Medically necessary items that must be carried in a specific bag, sized proportionately to its contents.
  • Umbrella strollers

The following items are PROHIBITED inside the arena:

  • Non-clear bags of any size
  • Diaper bags
  • Backpacks (of any size)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Cans, bottles, coolers
  • Outside food, snacks, beverages
  • Open umbrellas
  • Selfie sticks
  • Unmanned aircraft
  • Large bags or parcels, including backpacks and purses
  • Weapons, including pocket knives
  • Hoverboards
  • Segways
  • Artificial noisemakers
  • Large travel strollers

Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is prohibited inside the arena at all times.

For more information on the security policy, contact the Thompson-Boling Arena management office at 865-974-0953.

Guest Seating

No tickets are required. Unlimited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The facilities will be opened one hour before the ceremony begins.


All graduates must register at the tables near the student seating area on the arena floor. You will receive an index card with your name. You must give the card to the Reader of Names to receive recognition upon crossing the stage.

Graduate Seating

After registering and receiving your name card, proceed to the row of seats designated for your major on the left side of the main aisle. Students must be seated in their assigned seats by 1 p.m. Ushers will then prompt you when to rise and move toward the stage.


As you approach the stage, you must have your name card with you. Adjacent to the stage is the Reader of Names. Please hand your name card to the Reader of Names and proceed on stage to accept congratulations from your department head and dean of the college.


As a courtesy to all in attendance, please have your guests refrain from advancing to the front of the stage to take photos as you are walking across. A professional photographer will be taking photos as you shake hands with the dean on stage. There will be another photographer as you leave the stage that will take your photograph alone. After the ceremony, the dean and department heads will be available in the stage area for additional graduate and guest photo opportunities.

In order to secure your commencement photos, graduates at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, can locate their graduation photos online by visiting Grad Images.

The following two pieces of information are required:

  • Last Name of the Graduate
  • Graduation Year


After you have your photograph taken, return to your designated seating area and remain seated until the conclusion of the ceremony. Do not leave any personal items or valuables unattended at any time during the ceremony. Once the ceremony has been adjourned, you may meet your guests and make your departure from Thompson-Boling Arena.