The University of the Arts 2019 Commencement ceremony will be held Thursday, May 16, 2019, at 10 a.m. in the Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St, Philadelphia PA 19102.

2019 Commencement Events include

Portrait Sittings by LifeTouch
April 17 & April 24, 2019 
Gershman Hall, Room 404
Schedule a portrait time: Log on to with the school code 4000, or call 1-800-OUR-YEAR (687-9327).

Ticket & Regalia Distribution Week
Monday - Friday, April 29 - May 3, 2019, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Gershman Hall, 3rd floor
Students may pick up tickets for guests of the 2019 Commencement ceremony in the Academy of Music. 

Commencement Cocktail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 7:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
The Bellevue, 200 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
TICKETS are $25 each and will be available to purchase beginning April 29th, 2019
To purchase with cash visit Campus Life located in Hamilton Hall, Rm 151. To purchase with credit card/check visit Student Financial Services, Hamilton Hall, 2nd floor. For more information, email  

Academic Program Award Ceremonies
Students receiving awards will be notified by their programs the first week of May.

College of Performing Arts
Date/Time/Location To Be Announced
Brind School of Theatre
School of Dance
School of Music

College of Art, Media & Design and
College of Critical & Professional Studies

Date/Time/Location To Be Announced

Master's Degree Hooding Ceremonies
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 
College of Performing Arts: 3 p.m., Caplan Recital Hall, Terra Hall, 17th Floor, 211 S. Broad St., Philadelphia PA 19107
College of Art, Media, & Design/Continuing Studies: 4 p.m., Arts Bank, 601 S. Broad St., Philadelphia PA 19102

Rehearsal for Commencement
Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 9:30 a.m.
Solmssen Court, Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad St., Philadelphia PA 19102

2019 Commencement Ceremony
Thursday, May 16, 2019, 10 a.m.
Doors open at 9 a.m.
The Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., Philadelphia PA 19102

HD livestream viewing on campus (no ticket necessary) in Caplan Recital Hall, Terra Hall, 17th floor, 211 S. Broad St., Philadelphia PA 19107

Instagram @UArtsCommencement


Questions? Please contact us at

We are pleased to announce the 2018 recipients of our Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees, presented at UArts’ 140th Commencement ceremony on May 10, 2018 along with our Commencement speakers. We also honored two of our distinguished alumni during the ceremony.

HDFA recipients and speakers were:

  • Kevin Beggs, chairman of the Lionsgate Television Group, creators of 90 hit shows on more than 40 networks, including AMC’s “Mad Men,” Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” CMT’s “Nashville,” Hulu’s “Casual,” Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and “Weeds,” and more. He is the recipient of Operation Smile’s John Connor Humanitarian Award, The Help Group’s Teddy Bear Humanitarian Award, and the Broadcasting & Cable 2014 Innovation Award. In October 2017 he was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
  • Lorna Simpson, acclaimed visual artist whose signature style is "photo-text,” in which graphic text is inserted into studio-like portraiture to bring new conceptual meaning into the work. In 1990, she became the first African-American woman to exhibit at the Venice Biennale. In the same year, she had one-woman exhibitions at several major museums, including the Denver Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. Her name has become synonymous with photo-text artworks that confront and challenge narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history and memory. She is profiled in this month’s issue of Vogue magazine.

The third distinguished recipient of an honorary doctor of Fine Arts degree was:

  • Al West, chairman and CEO of SEI, the Oaks, Pennsylvania-based financial services company he founded in 1968 and that manages or administers $861 billion in assets, and founder of the West Collection of contemporary art. The collection features 3,100 compelling works by more than 700 leading international artists. At any given time 1,500 works are installed at the SEI Corporate Campus and other works are displayed in rotating exhibitions at the nearby West Collection Warehouse. Works have been loaned for exhibitions to museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Tate Modern.

UArts honored two alumni during the Commencement ceremony, with the Silver Star Alumni Award:

  • Lucas Steele BFA ’01 (Musical Theater), an award-winning musical theater performer who earned a 2017 Tony Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the role of Anatole in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. The Broadway show was a sung-through musical adaptation of a 70-page segment from Leo Tolstoy's 'War and Peace.' Lucas also won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actor in a Musical for playing Anatole in the Off-Broadway version of the musical.
  • Catherine Edelman BFA ’85 (Photography), opened Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago in 1987 as a venue for contemporary fine art photography. Since its founding, it’s become one of the leading galleries in the Midwest devoted to the exhibition of prominent living photographers, alongside new and young talent. Catherine is widely respected as a leader, educator and specialist in the field of contemporary photography.