Yale is pleased to offer complimentary wheelchairs for Commencement weekend to frail family members and friends. We are able to provide two wheelchairs per family, and urge guests who do not use a wheelchair at home but who may be challenged by the crowds and considerable walking between events to consider using a wheelchair while at Commencement. Information about wheelchair pick up an drop off, handicapped seating at Commencement events, and handicapped parking and shuttles will be sent in early May to families with wheelchair reservations and will be posted to the Commencement website. Our quantity of complimentary chairs is limited, and early reservations are encouraged.
To reserve a wheelchair at Commencement, please fill out this webform.
Wheelchair Pickup and Dropoff
If you have made a reservation, you may pickup your reserved wheelchair(s) in Room 112 of William L. Harkness Hall (WLH), located at 100 Wall Street, at the following times:
- Thursday, May 17 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
- Friday, May 18 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
- Saturday, May 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m
Wheelchairs may be dropped off at the following times:
- Monday, May 21 between 1:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. in WLH 112
- Tuesday, May 22 between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. in WLH 112
Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive Listening Devices are available for guests attending Commencement and Class Day ceremonies on Old Campus and Baccalaureate services in Woolsey Hall.
Handicapped Dropoﬀ Near Old Campus
A designated handicapped drop-off area for Class Day (Sunday, May 20) and Commencement (Monday, May 21) is located at Lot 51, Temple Street. This drop-off site is approximately one block from Old Campus. Staff will provide directions to Old Campus.
On Commencement day (Monday, May 21), drop off for handicapped guests can also be made at Elm and High Streets, the intersection closest to our area of reserved seating for wheelchair users and their families. No special sticker is needed, and we will have ushers available to assist. Drop-off should be no later than 9:40 a.m., since streets surrounding Old Campus will be closed shortly thereafter in preparation for our procession, which begins promptly at 10 a.m. Following drop-off, drivers will be given instructions to Lot 26V at Ingalls Rink. A shuttle van will bring the driver back to Old Campus.
Drivers can also choose to park at Science Park Garage, 276 Winchester Avenue, on Monday only, where a shuttle will run beginning at 8:00 a.m. Return shuttles to the garage will run from Phelps Gate until 5:30 p.m. All shuttle service ends at 6 p.m. Please note that this Science Park shuttle service from/to Old Campus is provided on Monday only.
Please provide ample time for drop off, moving your car, and returning to Old Campus. If you prefer, you can also access paid parking downtown in the York Street or Temple Street public parking garages. On-street parking during Commencement weekend is scarce and usually limited to two hours or less.
Cars with valid handicapped tags or license plates from any state or cars using handicapped drop-off locations will be accommodated in Yale Lot 51, Temple Street from 4:00 p.m. Friday through 12:00 p.m. Tuesday.
Shuttle Service to Old Campus
Wheelchair-accessible vans and other transport vehicles are on-call 24 hours a day on Commencement weekend. To schedule a pick-up, please call 203-432-9255 (or dial 2-WALK from blue campus phones). Please call 30 minutes before desired pick-up. Please let the dispatcher know whether you need an accessible van or if you can be accommodated by a sedan or SUV.
Although shuttles are available to take Commencement guests to some diploma ceremonies, the streets surrounding Old Campus are extremely congested. Guests of colleges and schools at a distance from Old Campus may find it convenient to use a wheelchair for frail family members. If you have not already reserved a wheelchair, please fill out this webform.
Some professional schools reserve buses to take their Commencement guests to diploma ceremonies. These buses will be parked on College Street, facing north. Contact the school’s dean’s office for details.
Seating for Baccalaureate, Woolsey Hall
Guests using wheelchairs should access Woolsey Hall from Hewitt Quadrangle, also known as Beinecke Plaza. There will be signs leading from the plaza to the entrance of Woolsey Hall. These guests may also find it more convenient to sit on the ground floor of Woolsey Hall for the Baccalaureate Ceremony.
Seating for Commencement and Class Day, Old Campus
Old Campus is a relatively flat, grassy rectangle with accessible entrances on College, High, and Chapel Streets. In addition to these accessible public entrances, persons with disabilities or those who are frail along with accompanying family members may enter Old Campus via a specially marked gate on High Street near the Yale Post Office. This entrance leads to an area of reserved seating for persons with disabilities or those who are frail in addition to all accompanying family members. There is a jumbo screen in front of this section that provides a clear picture of the ceremonies and ASL interpretation. Guests can also ask a volunteer in this area for an assistive listening device. There is no restriction on number of accompanying family members, and we are usually able to accommodate all who wish to sit in this area. All of Old Campus is accessible, however, should you prefer to sit elsewhere.
Accessible Restrooms on Old Campus
The Old Campus service map, which can be downloaded here, highlights the locations of all accessible restrooms on Old Campus including the one on High Street opposite the special wheelchair entrance. A similar map will be featured in the Commencement program.
Unless weather conditions are dangerous or severe, Commencement and Class Day will take place outside on Old Campus, although processions and programs may be shortened.
Guests in wheelchairs and all accompanying family members may view simulcasts of Class Day and Commencement in Linsly Chittenden Hall, 63 High Street. Additional simulcast and livestream information can be found below.
Diploma ceremonies in some residential colleges and schools may be moved to alternative locations, which will be posted as they become available.
Simulcast and Livestreams
Class Day and Commencement, in addition to the Graduate School Diploma Ceremony, are available for livestreaming from the Yale YouTube Channel. Livestreams of major ceremonies will also be posted to this site’s homepage on the weekend of Commencement.
Simulcasts of Class Day exercises will be available for viewing at the following locations, all of which are wheelchair accessible:
- Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High Street
- Battell Chapel, 400 College Street
- Levinson Auditorium, Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street
Simulcasts of Monday’s Commencement ceremony will be available for viewing at Linsly-Chittenden Hall and Battell Chapel.
The interactive Yale Campus map includes information about building accessibility. Click on the building you are seeking information on or use the search navigation bar to find a building or area on campus. Once you have selected the building, click on the drop down labeled “Accessibility” to find accessibility details. For other questions about campus accessibility, please contact Anthony Kulikowski (firstname.lastname@example.org), Associate Director of the Resource Office on Disabilities.