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Important Commencement Facts

Norfolk State University

Commencement Ceremony

December 9, 2023

Important Commencement Facts

Ceremony Venue

The 111th Commencement Ceremony will be held in Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall. The doors will open to the general public at 7:00 a.m. All guests ages 2 and older must have a ticket to enter Echols Hall.


Each graduate receives eight (8) tickets for the ceremony. All guests from ages 2 and over must have a ticket to enter Echols Hall. No extra tickets are available. Graduates do not need a ticket for the ceremony.

Guest Seating

Seating is available on a first come, first serve basis. No saving of seats is permitted. All guests will be required to sit in the upper seating area. Floor seating is reserved for graduates and faculty. Limited handicapped seating will be available on a first come, first serve basis on the arena floor.


Face masks are not required for anyone attending the commencement ceremony. However, guests may choose to continue to wear masks at their own discretion. Please respect the masking decisions of all patrons.

Safety and Security

For the safety and security of all participants and attendees, guests will be required to enter through security check points. Guests will be subject to metal detectors and/or wanding upon entry into Echols Hall.

For your safety and smooth entry into the graduation area, it is recommended to use clear see-through bags and small clutch bags that are approximately the size of your hand. No weapons of any kind are permitted on campus. Please do not bring any prohibited items.

Bag Policy

NSU strongly encourages guests not to bring any type of bags. However, guests can bring the following style and size bag, package, or container:

  • Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12.” No buckles, grommets/hardware or decor can conceal any part of the bag. The bag must be all clear.
  • A one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar).
  • Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap, can be taken into the arena with one of the clear plastic bag options.

Please note that all bags are subject to search by NSU Police.


Guests are discouraged from bringing strollers into Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall. If strollers are utilized, they must not block walkways, stairwells, or impede the flow of traffic in any way. Please be advised that Echols Hall is not equipped with an elevator (only a handicapped lift), nor does it have a storage or staging area for strollers. Please plan accordingly.

Alternate Ceremony Viewing Options

  • On-campus viewing option: L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. No tickets are needed for the Wilder Center.
  • Off-campus viewing option: Guests may view the ceremony at

Parking and Shuttle Services

Norfolk State University makes every effort to accommodate guests with mobility challenges. We want our patrons to have a positive, memorable on-campus experience. Parking attendants will be on hand to provide assistance and guidance.

  • All parking lots will be open and available for guests, except for Lot 8 at Echols Hall.
  • Limited handicapped parking will be available to guests on a first come, first serve basis. Parking will not be available at Echols Hall.
  • Lots 9, 11 & 12 have been designated as handicapped lots for the commencement ceremony. Once these lots reach capacity, guests will be directed to other lots for parking. To gain access to the designated handicapped parking lots, enter the NSU Campus via Gate 8 (located off the Ballentine Ave. and/or MiddleTowne Arch). 
  • Shuttle services will be available to transport guests to/from parking lots to Echols Hall. Guests will have to walk to the nearest shuttle stop for pick-up. Shuttle services will begin at 7 a.m.

NOTE: Please be advised that it is a lot of walking; therefore, it is recommended that guests with mobility challenges use walking assistive devices such as wheelchairs, scooters, etc., to and from Echols Hall.