Undergraduate Commencement

Important Dates and Times

See the list of topics at the bottom of this page for more information.

Date Event Time/Location
Wednesday, April 22 Graduation Application Due Click here to apply to Graduate
Wednesday, April 22 – Wednesday, April 29 Commencement Ticket Pick Up 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (M-F)
Office of the Registrar
Wednesday, April 29 Rehearsal and Class Photo 4:30 p.m. Rike Center
Wednesday, April 29 Senior Celebration After graduation rehearsal – Campus Center
Sunday, May 3 Baccalaureate Service 9:00 a.m. Cowan Hall
Sunday, May 3 Undergraduate Commencement 12:00 p.m. Rike Center
Sunday, May 3 Party on the Grove 2:00 p.m. Campus Center


Commencement 2019 will be held Sunday, May 3 at 12:00 p.m. EST. This ceremony will be located in the Rike center and streamed live online.

Graduation Day – Sunday, May 3, 2020
9:00-9:45 a.m. Baccalaureate Service – Cowan Hall
10:00 a.m. Commencement Brunch – Campus Center (Order ticket by April 22)
10:30 a.m. Flower sales begin in front of the Rike Center
10:45-11:30 a.m. Departmental Honors Pins – (if applicable – see dept. chair for details)
11:00 a.m. Doors to Rike Center open
11:15 a.m. March line-up begins – Towers Hall front lawn; rain location is Clements
11:30 a.m. Commencement Concert – Otterbein Alumni Band: Rike Center
11:45 a.m. Commencement March across campus begins; rain location is Clements
12:00 p.m. Commencement – Rike Center (concludes approx. 2:00-2:30 p.m.)
2:00 p.m. Party on the Grove – Campus Center

Important Dates & Events

Rehearsal and Class Photo

mandatory rehearsal and class photo will be Wednesday, April 29 at 4:30 p.m. at the Rike Center. Regalia is not required for the rehearsal.

Senior Celebration

Wednesday April 29, immediately following graduation rehearsal, there will be a celebration on the Campus Center patio. Contact the Center for Student Involvement (614-823-3202) for further details.

Noble Transitions

The Office of Social Justice and Activism (OSJA) hosts a multicultural pre-graduation ceremony, Noble Transitions, to celebrate graduating students of color, international, and first-generation students. It is a time to officially celebrate their accomplishments as well as those of their friends and peers who are graduating.

During the ceremony, students will receive a kente stole, share a senior reflection, and thank those who have been influential in their success. Students often invite family, friends, faculty and staff who have been instrumental in their Otterbein journey. All are welcome to attend. This year’s event will be held Friday, May 1, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. in Riley Auditorium. For more information, please contact the OSJA at 614-823-1312.

Lavender Graduation

Sponsored by FreeZone, the Office of Diversity, and Tri Iota, Lavender Graduation affirms the acheivements to the LGBTQIA+ graduates and their allies. Friends and family are welcome. At the celebration, each student receives their cords and has a chance to share something about their Otterbein experience and thank their support circle. This year’s event will be held on Monday, April 27 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Philomaethaean Room (Towers 318). If you are a graduating senior and would like to attend and/or receive a lavender cord, please contact Suzanne Ashworth.

Baccalaureate Service

The Baccalaureate Service of 2019 will be held on Sunday, May 3 at 9:00 a.m. in Cowan Hall. No tickets are required for this event. Academic regalia and a procession are not part of the service. Both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students are invited to attend. Tickets are not required for this event.

Commencement Brunch

Tickets are required for this event. Prices for tickets purchased through April 27 are as follows: $12.50 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, and children 5 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased online starting in February. Tickets will be available at the door for $15 per person.

Party at the Grove!

Graduates and their guests can meet up immediately following the ceremony on Grove Street in front the Campus Center. Bring some cash to enjoy food and tasty treats from local food trucks! Trucks will be on-site from 2:00-4:00 p.m.


Each graduate is eligible to receive 7 tickets for commencement. All tickets are for general seating (bleacher style) in the Rike Center. Please note that tickets are free of charge, and the selling of tickets is considered inappropriate activity and may result in disciplinary action.

Obtaining Tickets
Tickets may be picked up in person in the Registrar’s Office anytime between Wednesday April 22, and Wednesday April 29. Photo ID is required to receive tickets. If you wish to authorize someone to pick up your tickets for you, indicate the name of the person in the questionnaire. We do not mail tickets.

To obtain tickets, the graduate must:

  • Have a completed Graduation Application on file in the Registrar’s Office.
  • Have met or be on schedule to meet all academic degree requirements by the end of Spring Semester 2019.
  • Have no in-progress grade for any course, even if the course is not needed for graduation.
  • If taking or have taken course elsewhere, the Registrar must have received the official transcript from the institution you are attending.

Extra Tickets and Live Streaming
Extra tickets will NOT be available. Please do not call to see if the situation has changed.

An overflow room in the Campus Center will be available for guests unable to get tickets. We will live-stream the ceremony in an air-conditioned open space with ample seating. This is a great opportunity for family members with small children.

Commencement will be streamed live for virtual access to the ceremony as well. If your guests are not able to attend the ceremony in person, it will be streamed live beginning at 12 p.m. EST and conclude around 2:00 p.m.


Doors to the Rike Center will open at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 3. Each guest must present a ticket in order to be admitted to the Rike Center. Due to the nature of the seating in the facility all seating is first-come, first served. Ticket holders must be seated by 11:45 a.m. A map of the Rike Center commencement seating can be found here.

Seating for Young Children
All children over the age of one must have a ticket. Floor seating and large video screens are available in the back of the Rike Center on either side of the portable bleacher. This seating may be preferable for those with young children.

Seating for Special Needs Guests
Special needs guests with wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, walker, hearing impairments, etc. along with one escort will sit in a reserved area. A ticket issued to a special needs guest, (along with one escort, if requested) is considered part of the 7 ticket maximum. Please see map for special needs seating arrangements.

Guest Seating Expectations
Please note the following:

  • Seating is not reserved.
  • Most seating is open bleacher style without back support.
  • The Rike Center is NOT air-conditioned.
  • Placing chairs in any location, standing in any location, sitting in aisles, etc. are fire code violations and will not be permitted.
  • Guests will be seated for approximately 2-3 hours.

General Information for Family & Guests


If you need overnight accommodations for your visit to Otterbein, you’ll find a variety of hotels conveniently located near campus.

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

Aloft Westerville Hotel (1.7 miles)
Ask about Otterbein Parent/Friend Rate
32 Heatherdown Dr
Westerville, OH 43081
614.899.6560 x7114

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

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

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

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


Family and guests may park in any campus lot. See the campus map for parking lot locations.

Special Needs Drop-Off:
Guests who would have difficulty walking from the parking lot to the Rike Center can be dropped off at the west doors of the Rike Center opposite Davis Annex. This entryway is closest to the area where special needs guests will be seated.
Those with special hearing needs can be dropped off at the front of the Rike. This entryway is closest to the area where they will be seated. Click here for a map of the Rike Center special needs seating.

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 in the Rike Center:

  • 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

Graduation Photos

Grad Images will take each graduate’s picture as they shake hands with President Comerford. A proof and order form will be mailed by the latter part of May. By June, the proof, order form, and payment should be received by Grad Images.

All orders received by June 1 will be delivered by July 1. Late orders will be accepted until December 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.