UH Manoa Spring Commencement changes: New pilot format aims to mitigate safety concerns

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: May 8, 2017

Link to commencement video broll and soundbites: http://bit.ly/2p2PM7w
(more information below)

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s 106th Commencement Exercises will take place at the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday, May 13, 2017. An estimated 2,100 students are expected to participate.

There will be two ceremonies, the first at 9 a.m. and the second at 4 p.m. However, instead of separating the students by undergraduate and advanced degrees as has been done in recent years, the two ceremonies will be split by colleges and schools in a similar fashion to the mid-year commencement exercise held every December.  This change, which is being piloted for the first time this spring, was a response to concerns from the campus community that the spring undergraduate ceremonies had grown far beyond the capacity of the campus creating significant safety concerns for ceremony participants. The pilot is expected to foster a more even distribution of graduates and guests at each ceremony.

“Last spring, we had a record number of graduates participating in the undergraduate morning ceremony,” said Michael Bruno, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs. “With 1,900 students, plus their family and friends, we could not accommodate everyone in the arena. Ensuring everyone’s safety is a priority and we hope this new format will alleviate the overcrowding and will allow for more guests to enter the arena.”

The 9 a.m. ceremony (9 a.m. to noon) will recognize undergraduate and advanced degree candidates from the following colleges and schools:

College of Arts and Humanities

  • Colleges of Languages, Linguistics and Literature
  • College of Natural Sciences
  • College of Social Sciences
  • College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources   
  • Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
  • School of Pacific and Asian Studies

The 4 p.m. ceremony (4 to 7 p.m.) will recognize undegraduate and advanced degree candidates from the following colleges and schools:

  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • John A. Burns School of Medicine
  • Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, including Public Health
  • School of Architecture
  • School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene
  • School of Travel Industry Management
  • Shidler College of Business
  • William S. Richardson School of Law

Commencement speakers:

The keynote speaker for both ceremonies is Dr. Vivek Murthy, the 19th Surgeon General of the United States. The student speaker for the 9 a.m. ceremony is Catherine Gardiner from the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature. Shiraz Dole from the Shidler College of Business will serve as the student speaker for the 4 p.m. ceremony. For bios of the keynote and student speakers, visit http://manoa.hawaii.edu/commencement/.


Doors to the Stan Sheriff Center will open at 7:45 a.m. for the 9 a.m. ceremony and at 2:45 p.m. for the 4 p.m. ceremony. Both events are free and open to the public. No tickets are issued and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Balloons, large signs, and strollers are not allowed inside the arena.

Upon reaching capacity, doors to the Stan Sheriff Center will be closed. Guests of the graduates are encouraged to arrive early to ensure entry and seating into the arena. The Les Murakami Baseball Stadium will serve as an alternate viewing venue for both ceremonies.


On Commencement Day, free parking is available campus-wide. Graduates and guests are encouraged to carpool and arrive early as considerable traffic and pedestrian congestion surrounding the campus is expected. UH Shuttles will be available from various locations throughout the campus. For more information, please visit the Commencement Transportation webpage at http://manoa.hawaii.edu/commencement/transportation.php. The road leading from the Waiʻalae gate entrance to the Stan Sheriff Center will be closed before and during the ceremonies. The parking area near the ROTC buildings is reserved.

Passenger drop-off:

The passenger drop-off area is located on the ground floor between the lower campus parking structure and the Athletic Complex. A secondary drop-off area is the Bachman Hall parking lot, with entrance/exit from University Avenue. 

Greeting the graduates:

After each ceremony, family and friends may greet the graduates as follows:

Last names A-K:         Clarence T.C. Ching Field

Last names L-Z:          Les Murakami Baseball Stadium Field

  • Maps will be available in the commencement program. Guests with special needs should consider meeting graduates at a location closer to the Stan Sheriff Center.
  • Guests will be asked to clear the fields at 1 p.m. after the 9 a.m. ceremony and at 8 p.m. after the 4 p.m. ceremony.
  • Authorized lei vendors will be located on the Clarence T.C. Ching field.

Live webcast and more information:

There will be a live webcast of both ceremonies. To view the live webcasts, and for more information about the Commencement Exercises, visit the Commencement website at http://manoa.hawaii.edu/commencement/


Contact the Commencement Coordinator at graduate@hawaii.edu or by phone at (808) 956-GRAD.

Video News Release informationhttp://bit.ly/2p2PM7w

Video Broll (2 minutes):

  • UH Mānoa commencement ceremony (16 shots)
  • Graduates walking out of Stan Sheriff Center (2 shots)
  • Families greeting graduates (2 shots)

April Goodwin - Academic Affairs, UH Mānoa (10 seconds)
"The morning ceremony will now be the arts and sciences colleges and schools and the afternoon ceremony will now be at 3 pm, it will be at 4 pm. And that will be all of the professional schools and colleges."

Goodwin (10 seconds)
"We kind of looked at the numbers the last ten years and we saw if we switched along our colleges and schools, rather than undergrad and advance degree, we'd get a more even break out for the morning and afternoon ceremonies."


Shawn Nakamoto, (808) 741-2267

UH Communications & Marketing


On-site contacts (day of event - 9 a.m. ceremony):

Diane Chang, (808) 722-3197

UH Communications & Marketing


For more information, visit: http://http://manoa.hawaii.edu/commencement/