Major Events - 2009

Students and their families and guests are invited to attend the Major Events of Commencement Weekend.  Details are provided below. We hope you will also read about the various Special Ceremonies and Events , hosted by departments and affinity groups.  You will also find a listing of  Diploma Ceremonies for schools and departments that follow Commencement.


Friday, May 8, 2009

5:00 p.m.

  • Baccalaureate Service (surname A-G, green tickets required)*                 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

11:30 a.m.

  • Baccalaureate Service (surname H-O, blue tickets required)*

3:00 p.m.

  • Baccalaureate Service (surname P-Z, yellow tickets required)*

One of the highlights of Commencement Weekend is the Baccalaureate Service held in the majestic Duke Chapel. Three separate services held on Friday and Saturday accommodate all degree candidates, each with a sermon by Samuel Wells, Dean of the Chapel, and the President’s Charge by Richard H. Brodhead. Students wear academic apparel (no hoods), and the procession of degree candidates begins 10 minutes before the hour. Attendance for each service is determined by student surname (A-G, H-O, P-Z).  Tickets are required for guest attendance only.  Each degree candidate is entitled to three guest tickets to their respective service, which admits guests for seating in Page Auditorium or in Duke Chapel, if room is available.  Tickets are color-coded for a particular service and if needed, fellow degree candidates may exchange tickets for a specific service.  

4:00-5:30 p.m.

Toast your graduate amid the splendor of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.  President and Mrs. Richard Brodhead invite all graduating students and their families, faculty and administrators to raise a glass to the 2009 graduating class.  Champagne, lemonade and light food will be served in the Gardens at numerous stations located between the Pergola, Terraces and South Lawn.  Background music will be provided by the Duke Wind Symphony.  Tents and food and beverage will be set to encourage a leisurely stroll though the Gardens. The Garden's trolley and special parking will be available for guests with mobility concerns at the main entrance of the Gardens.  ADA buses will be running from Duke Chapel to the Memorial Gate of Duke Gardens on Flowers Drive.  Don't miss this lovely event! 

8:30 p.m.

  •  Demonstration Organ Recital.
     Duke Chapel.  On Saturday, May 9, at 8:30 PM, University Organist Robert Parkins and Associate University Organist David Arcus will present a demonstration recital featuring the three principal organs in Duke Chapel.  The post-Romantic Aeolian (1932), Duke Chapel’s original instrument, is located in the chancel area.  Recently designated the Kathleen Byrns McClendon organ, it was completely restored by Foley-Baker this year.  The Benjamin N. Duke organ, completed by Flentrop (1976) according to 18th-century classical principles, is positioned at the opposite end of the nave.  In the Memorial Chapel is the newest organ, designed to play pre-18th-century music and completed by John Brombaugh in 1997.

9:30 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. 

  • Duke Alumni Association Commencement Celebration

Although you graduate the morning after this party, we are here to remind you that you are Forever Duke! All graduating students and their families are invited to join the Duke Alumni Association for one last party on Commencement eve. The party will be held under a tent located in the Blue Zone IM2 parking lot (first lot on the left as you enter from the student gate). Free beverages and snacks will be served all evening. The Party begins at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and ends at 1:00 a.m. Sunday.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

9:30 a.m.
  • Procession of Candidates

Candidates for degrees in May 2009, as well as graduates who completed degree requirements in September and December of 2008, are encouraged to attend Commencement and to march in the student procession.  Students should arrive at Wallace Wade Stadium by 9:15 a.m.  Academic apparel is required.  Students should wear flat shoes - no heels please.

10:00 a.m.
  • Commencement Exercises

Candidates for degrees, families and guests, faculty and administration are invited to attend Duke University's 157th Commencement Ceremony. President Richard H. Brodhead will preside over the ceremony, which features the conferring of degrees, the awarding of honorary degrees and the Commencement speech by Oprah Winfrey. The ceremony will take place rain or shine in Wallace Wade Stadium. Tickets are not required for admission. The gates to Wallace Wade will open at 8:00 a.m. Traffic will be heavy and guests should allow plenty of time for parking. The procession for the ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the service will conclude by 11:30 a.m.  Distribution of diplomas will take place at individual departmental or school ceremonies following Commencement.

Family members and friends who are unable to attend the Commencement ceremony may view the event live over the internet via Commencement Webcast.