Commencement: FAQ

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When and where is the ceremony?

The commencement ceremony will take place on Monday, May 13, at the Wintrust Arena, located at 200 East Cermak Road in Chicago. The ceremony will begin at 1:00 p.m. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. All students must arrive by 12:15 p.m. to participate in the ceremony. We expect the ceremony will end approximately 3:30 p.m.

Where can I purchase announcements, diploma frames, and cap and gowns?

SAIC is partnering with Herff Jones to provide graduates with an opportunity to purchase graduation announcements, diploma frames, and cap & gown for the ceremony. Visit   

Where should family and friends stay?

We strongly urge anyone requiring hotel accommodations for Commencement weekend to make reservations immediately, as we anticipate that hotels will fill up quickly. A variety of hotels are located in the Chicagoland area. It is generally easiest to find hotels in Chicago through websites like, or

View for more information about where to stay, including hotels with preferred rates for SAIC guests.

Where are diplomas mailed?

Diplomas are mailed to the address you submitted on your Graduation Application. If you wish to pick up your diploma at the Registration and Records office, please notify them: 312.629.6700 or

Will photographs be taken?

SAIC has contracted with Grad Images to take professional photos of graduates as they walk across the stage. A variety of photo packages will be available for purchase, and proofs will be emailed to the student’s SAIC email address within one week of the ceremony.  

To learn more, visit

How many tickets will each student receive?

Graduates will receive six  guest tickets plus their own individual ticket. No one will be allowed to enter the Wintrust Arena without a ticket. At the time graduates pick up their tickets, they may request two additional guest tickets, and these tickets will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Should all of the additional tickets be issued, students will be put on a waitlist and contacted if additional tickets become available.

If graduates would like more than eight tickets total, they will be put on a wait list, and notified on May 10, if additional tickets are available. 

Tickets will be available Tuesday April 9–Wednesday May 8, from 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., and can be picked up at the Campus Life Office, (Sullivan Center, 36 South Wabash Avenue, Suite 1203). An SAIC ID is required to pick up commencement tickets. The Campus Life office will be open until 6:00 p.m. on the following days to accommodate students who cannot pick up tickets from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m: April 17, April 29, May 7.

What should I wear to the ceremony?

SAIC does not require a cap and gown for the ceremony. This is a celebratory event where graduates are invited to dress as they feel appropriate. Should you wish to wear a cap and gown, you may order one by visiting   

What if I have a special accommodation?

Any person with a disability who would like to request an accommodation should contact Campus Life at 312.629.6880 or as soon as possible to allow adequate time to make proper arrangements.

Will there be a simulcast?

We understand that many of your family and friends may not be able to join you for your graduation, but still what to celebrate with you on this special day. SAIC will provide a live-streaming simulcast of the Commencement Ceremony on the afternoon of May 13. Your family and friends may find the simulcast by visiting the Graduation page and clicking on the “Simulcast” icon just prior to 1:00 p.m., C.S.T.

How do I get to Wintrust Arena?

Public Transportation

The CTA Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line Station (Chicago) station is located at Cermak Road and State Street, 2.5 blocks (0.15 mile) west of the Wintrust Arena at Cermak Road and Indiana Avenue. The CTA Cermak-Chinatown Red Line Station (Chicago) is located four blocks west (0.5 mile) of the Wintrust Arean and two blocks west of the Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line Station.

Parking: Wintrust Arena has ample parking for the vennueLot A is the closest to the venue and has access to the pedestrian bridges to the arena. For a GPS location to Lot A, use 2301 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60616. For more parking options, visit the Wintrust Arena Plan Your Visit page.

What can I bring into Wintrust Arena?

Important Restrictions

The arena strongly discourages bags or purses of any kind, except for very specific exceptions.  Please visit the Wintrsut Arena Bag Policy page to review the policy. Any bag brought to the arena will be subject to a search. In addition, all guests and students will go through a metal detector as they enter the building.