Commencement is our time to honor you and your accomplishments, and your time to celebrate all that you have achieved with your family and friends.

Otterbein Undergraduate and Graduate School Commencement Information

Commencement is the culmination of your Otterbein experience. Whether you’re earning your undergraduate or graduate degree, you are better prepared to take on the world! This is the opportunity to celebrate all you’ve achieved.

Contact Us:

Email if you have any questions about the 2020 and the 2021 Commencement ceremonies.

General Information for Family and Guests

Commencement FAQs

What if it is raining on Commencement Day?
The ceremony will continue rain or shine. However, if there are storms (in particular, lightning), graduates and faculty members only will move indoors for the ceremony as per event guidelines from the Franklin County Health Department. Family members will be able to view the ceremony through a live web stream.

What happens if someone in my family pod loses their tickets or if one of my guests doesn’t have access to my tickets?
Tickets will be emailed to the graduating students. Graduates will need to forward their electronic tickets to their guests. Guests will also be permitted to display the ticket QR code to enter the ceremony.

An event box office at the Memorial Stadium will be open one hour prior to each ceremony to assist guests with lost tickets.

Does my family need to come for me to participate in the ceremony?
We are proud of our graduates and look forward to celebrating this achievement as an Otterbein community. When you confirm your plans to attend as part of the online form, you will also be asked to confirm whether you need guest tickets and how many of your four allotted tickets you want to utilize.

Where can I get my honor cords?
Honor cords are distributed by different departments on campus. Not all departments have honor cords or stoles. If you have questions about where to get a departmental cord, please contact your department administrator. Students eligible for the Five Cardinal Experiences cords can pick up their items at the Grad Fair on Wednesday, April 21; at the Grab and Go social on Friday, April 30; or upon checking in to walk at their ceremony.

What COVID guidelines are in place at Memorial Stadium?
Otterbein University is following all local and state COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Guests attending commencement must stay within their family pod of four, wear their face coverings, remain 6-feet socially distanced from others, and use hand sanitizer when appropriate. Guests who are not feeling well or are showing any COVID-19 symptoms are asked to stay home and enjoy the live web stream of the event. Guests are asked to arrive and depart within one hour of their graduate’s ceremony time to allow all families to safely enjoy their event.

Is Otterbein selling flowers for the event?
Families can pre-order flowers to pick up on their way into the stadium.

What commemorative items are available to celebrate and mark this occasion?
Jostens has a variety of special items to commemorate your college achievements and commencement day memories. To learn more about those items, you can visit their website for details about how to order announcements, rings and more.


We are excited to welcome you to Oterbein’s campus. If you need overnight accommodations for your visit to Otterbein, you’ll find a variety of hotels conveniently located near campus.

Westerville Hotels

Renaissance Westerville Hotel (1.5 miles)
Ask about the Otterbein Parent/Friend Rate
409 Altair Parkway
Westerville, OH 43082

Aloft Westerville Hotel (1.7 miles)
Ask about Otterbein Parent/Friend Rate
32 Heatherdown Dr
Westerville, OH 43081
614-899-6560 x7114

Nearby Hotels

Hampton Inn & Suites Columbus-Polaris (2.6 miles)
Ask about Otterbein Parent/Friend Rate
8411 Pulsar Place
Columbus, OH 43240

Embassy Suites (2.7 miles)
Ask about Otterbein Parent/Friend Rate
2700 Corporate Exchange Drive
Columbus, OH 43231

Holiday Inn Express Columbus-Worthington (5 miles)
Ask about Otterbein Parent/Friend Rate
55 Hutchinson Ave
Columbus, Ohio 43235
614-977-0520 (Hotel Main Number)
614-896-8452 (Direct Line)

Courtyard by Marriott (5.1 miles)
Ask about Otterbein Parent/Friend Rate
7411 Vantage Drive
Columbus, OH 43235

Fairfield Inn & Suites Columbus Polaris (2.4 miles) 
9000 Worthington Road
Westerville, OH 43082

Holiday Inn Express – Polaris (2.7 miles)
8670 Orion Place
Columbus, Ohio 43240

Candlewood Suites Polaris (3.4 miles)
8515 Lyra Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43240

Extended Stay America (3.4 miles)
8555 Lyra Drive
Columbus, OH 43240

Hilton – Columbus / Polaris (3.4 miles)
8700 Lyra Drive
Columbus, OH 43240

Hilton Garden Inn (3.4 miles)
8535 Lyra Drive
Columbus, OH 43240

Comfort Inn North/Polaris (3.6 miles)
8400 Lyra Drive
Columbus, OH, 43240

Note: Otterbein does not in any way endorse these businesses, products, or services. This listing is provided as a resource only.


Part of an enjoyable visit to Otterbein’s campus means ensuring you understand your parking options and that you have the opportunity to plan for your family’s unique circumstances.

To allow all of our guests to have a pleasant arrival and departure, we ask guests to honor the following:

  • If possible, we ask that you consider traveling with your family pod of four guests. Doing so ensures that the majority of guests will be able to park within a short distance of the stadium.
  • As we will be welcoming many guests to campus throughout the weekend, we ask that you please arrive no earlier than one hour of your scheduled ceremony and that you plan to depart no later than one hour of your ceremony’s conclusion.

Special Needs Drop-Off:
Guests who would have difficulty walking from the parking lot to the Memorial Stadium can be dropped off at Gate A. Gate A is located on the north side of the stadium, closer to the Rike Center.

Reserved handicapped parking is available. Guests will only need to show their accessible seating section tickets to be granted access to this reserved parking.

Graduation Photos

Grad Images will take each graduate’s picture as they cross the stage. A proof and order form will be mailed by the latter part of May.

According to Grad Images, all orders received by June 1 will be fulfilled and delivered by July 1. Late orders will be accepted until Dec. 31. You are under no obligation to purchase the pictures or respond to the Grad Images correspondence. Grad Images may be contacted via their website or at 1-800-261-2576.

Security Precautions

Please be aware that guests are subject to visual inspection of person, bags, and clothing capable of concealing prohibited items.

The following items are prohibited:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Coolers
  • Backpacks
  • Large handbags
  • Metal folding seat cushions
  • Seats that clamp to bleachers
  • Noise making devices
  • Mace or similar substances
  • Signs
  • Sticks
  • Poles
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Balloons and other items that would obstruct the sightline of any guests