Severe Weather Plan

Contingency Plans for the Outdoor Ceremony

In the Event the Outdoor Ceremony Cannot be Completed

CU Denver's spring commencement ceremony is a rain or shine event. However, if during the ceremony conditions develop that make it impossible or dangerous to hold the ceremony on the Tivoli Quad, a severe weather plan will be implemented. This section explains how commencement will be carried out in the event of severe weather during the ceremony.

Severe Weather Contingencies

During all CU Denver commencement ceremonies, a Weather Watcher is designated to monitor weather conditions during the event.  This person, in coordination with the Event Authority, decide if and when the ceremony should be ended due to dangerous weather conditions. These weather condition thresholds are outlined in the Auraria Campus Severe Weather Plan and include conditions such as extreme temperature (hot/cold), high wind speeds (microbursts/tornados), and thunderstorms (lightning/hail). For lightning, CU Denver follows NCAA standards, requiring that all outdoor activity immediately stop if lightning is confirmed within an 8-mile radius. Depending on the timing of severe weather during the commencement ceremony, a decision will be made on how to proceed.

Ceremony Hold, Up to One Hour

Depending on the severe weather threat and the timing of the development of these conditions during the ceremony, all ceremony attendees will be directed to shelter locations including the Tivoli, Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center, Student Commons, North Classroom, and the Tivoli Parking Garage.  Graduates who have not yet crossed the stage will be directed to return to Graduate Assembly in the PE Events Center.  Parents, families, and guests should not shelter in the PE Events Center.  Graduates who have crossed the stage can take shelter or can depart with their families and guests if the conditions are safe to do so.

CU Denver will postpone the ceremony for up to 1 hour until it is safe to resume the ceremony.  After one hour, if dangerous conditions persist, the ceremony will be fully cancelled.

If a full cancellation is required after the hold, all graduates are invited to take advantage of the following alternatives:

  • Distribution of diploma covers and photos in the PE Events Center.  Depending on the number of graduates who were remaining to cross the stage, names may or may not be announced in the gym. Parents, families, and guests will not be admitted to the PE Events Center due to fire code restrictions.
  • If you would like your picture taken in a cap and gown, a make-up photo session will be scheduled. Caps and gowns will be provided. 
  • If you did not receive a diploma cover and would prefer to have it mailed to you, you may request that by sending an email to commencement@ucdenver.edu.
  • If you would like to participate in a formal ceremony, you may attend the fall commencement in the Colorado Convention Center. You will not be charged a registration fee, which includes the cost of regalia.  Please use the email presented in the previous step.

Event Relocation

 

If the outdoor ceremony cannot be held, CU Denver will perform three indoor ceremonies in the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center gym.

10 a.m.Schools/Colleges Assigned to be announced
1 p.m.Schools/Colleges Assigned to be announced
4 p.m.Schools/Colleges Assigned to be announced

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center gym has a total capacity of 850 bleacher seats. Graduates will be seated on chairs on the gym floor and guests will be seated in the bleachers and additional seating on the gym floor. With close to 600 graduates estimated to attend each ceremony, each graduate will be permitted a maximum of two guests in the gym. To accommodate other family and friends, the ceremony will be livestreamed in multiple locations throughout campus and will be viewable on personal devices. We understand that this is a very undesirable option for our graduates and a decision to cancel the outdoor ceremony will be made as a last resort. If the decision is made to continue the outdoor ceremony in inclement weather, the ceremony may be shortened and graduates will be issued ponchos.

Graduates

Check in one hour prior to their designated ceremony in the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center Kitchen, where they will receive a reader card and a copy of the commencement program. There is no processional at the indoor ceremony. Graduates will take seats in designated locations in the gym upon arrival.  Each indoor ceremony is estimated to last an hour and a half.

Faculty will attend the ceremony for the school/college with which they are affiliated and should assemble in Student Commons 2500 one hour prior to the ceremony start time. Members of the administration may attend one or all three ceremonies.

Guest Tickets

If the forecast calls for severe weather that may impact the commencement ceremony, graduates will pick up their two guest tickets at the Lynx Center in the Student Commons Building on Friday, May 13 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets will be required for guests to enter the gym.  Please note that tickets do not guarantee seating.  Doors to the gym will open one hour prior to each ceremony.  Guest tickets not picked up on Friday will be available for pick up one hour prior to each ceremony start time at the Wellness Center Outdoor Adventure desk.

Notifications

As stated above, the decision to cancel the outdoor ceremony is not an easy one, nor one that will likely be made far in advance. It is also possible that the beginning of the ceremony could be delayed until 10 a.m. in order to wait for conditions to improve. If the weather forecast indicates that a cancellation or delay is possible, updates will be provided on this site in the days leading up to the ceremony. Any decision to cancel the outdoor ceremony and hold three indoor ceremonies will be communicated via social media and email no later than 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 18th. Information will also be posted on the CU Denver Alerts website.

Additional Information

Photography: Graduates will be photographed in the indoor ceremonies as they would have been in an outdoor ceremony.

Livestream Locations: The indoor ceremonies will be streamed live in the following locations for any guests to attend without tickets:

  • Student Commons: 1600, 2600
  • North Classroom: 1130
  • King Center: Courtyard Theatre, Concert Hall
  • Tivoli Turnhalle

Ceremony Cancellation

Depending on the level of severity of the weather threat (i.e. tornado) and the timing of these conditions during the ceremony, the commencement ceremony could be fully cancelled.

Graduates can elect to participate in any commencement ceremony following the completion of degree requirements and by choosing to participate in the spring ceremony, graduates acknowledge the risk of ceremony cancellation. In the event of cancellation, the following opportunities will be made available to all graduates:

  • If you would like your picture taken in a cap and gown, a makeup photo session will be scheduled. Caps and gowns will be provided. 
  • If you did not receive a diploma cover and would prefer to have it mailed to you, you may request that by sending an email to commencement@ucdenver.edu.
  • If you would like to participate in a formal ceremony, you may attend the fall commencement in the Colorado Convention Center. You will not be charged a registration fee which includes the cost of regalia.  Please use the email from the previous step.

Notifications

Information about where to report will be announced during the ceremony and developments will be posted on University social media and the CU Denver Alerts website.