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Commencement

Information for Parents and Families

Friends and family stick around to take photos at Ravinia after the ceremony. Bring your camera!Friends and family stick around to take photos at Ravinia after the ceremony. Bring your camera!

We’re excited about celebrating this important milestone with graduates and their guests! The Commencement ceremony is held at Ravinia Festival Park, a covered, open-air facility 11 miles south of campus in Highland Park, Illinois, for students who complete their degrees during that academic year. This year’s ceremony is May 13, 2017. Here’s what you need to know:

Cap and gown pick-up

All graduates receive a black cap and gown (that they get to keep) at Cap and Gown Pick-Up on April 25 from 10:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. in the Pierson Rooms inside the Mohr Student Center. The ensemble includes a traditional tassel that should be worn at Commencement. Special cords, stoles, serapes and pins for College-recognized national academic honor societies or approved fraternity and sorority organizations are permitted to be worn during the Commencement ceremony. These items are not distributed at Cap and Gown Pick-Up. Please contact the organization directly.

The cost of the cap and gown is included in senior dues. If your student is unable to attend Cap and Gown Pick-Up, he/she may pick up the package at the Alumni Office (3rd floor of North Hall) between 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. from Wednesday, April 26 through Wednesday, May 10.

Tickets

Students will receive 7 tickets to the Commencement ceremony in their cap and gown package. The Pavilion at Ravinia Festival Park will accommodate 3,300 participants and their guests. Tickets are mandatory.

Graduates are encouraged to offer tickets they don’t need to fellow grads. Students can check in at Cap and Gown Pick-Up or the Class of 2017 Facebook page to see if extra tickets are available.

Make hotel reservations 

Make sure you have a place to stay! Click here for a list of hotels close to campus (some with special rates for Lake Forest College guests). 

Dress for cold weather

Commencement, which lasts over two hours, is held at scenic Ravinia Festival Park, an outdoor concert facility. No matter what the forecast, it is always cold! The outdoor pavilion at Ravinia has a concrete floor that typically keeps temperatures ten degrees cooler than outside the shelter. Combined with the wind off of Lake Michigan, the result is a very cold environment. Warm clothing and shoes, winter coats, hats, and gloves, and blankets are recommended for guest comfort, especially for children and grandparents. There are no heated, indoor facilities in which to warm up at Ravinia.

Timing

Graduates must report to the graduation checkpoint at the main
gate - with College ID and cap and gown - at 9 a.m. Graduates will not be admitted without a College ID! The ceremony begins at 10:15 a.m. and ends at approximately 12:30 p.m. 

Graduates should leave their personal items with guests.  

Getting to Ravinia

By Car

From Chicago
  • Follow the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) west to the Edens Expressway (I-94) and U.S. Route 41. Exit at Lake Cook Road and travel 1 mile east to Green Bay Road. Make a left on Green Bay Road, and a right into the Ravinia parking lot.
  • Alternate route: Follow the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) west to the Edens Expressway (I-94) and U.S. Route 41. Exit at Clavey Road and travel 1 mile east to Green Bay Road. Make a right on Green Bay Road, and a left into the Ravinia parking lot.
From Lake Forest College and the northern suburbs
  • Head south on U.S. Route 41 or I-94. Exit at Lake Cook Road and travel east to Green Bay Road. Make a left on Green Bay Road, and a right into the Ravinia parking lot.


If using a GPS, please enter 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park, Illinois 60035. Be sure to check local traffic and construction information the morning of Commencement to ensure that you arrive on time. We recommend checking the Illinois Department of Transportation site.

By Train

The Metra Union Pacific North Line with service from Chicago to Kenosha is highly recommended! Get off at the Braeside stop and walk north on St. John’s  Ave. until you reach the park (about 5 minutes). Please visit Metrarail.com for complete schedules and information.

Parking

The main public lot is the West Lot, accessible from Green Bay Road. This lot opens at 8:30 a.m. The pavilion at Ravinia Festival Park is some distance from the parking lot. (Click here for a Park map.) Please allow extra time to walk to the pavilion. Ravinia does not provide wheelchairs. 

If you need handicap accessible parking and seating, please contact Suzanne Nyren at 847-735-6015 or nyren@lakeforest.edu. A valid handicap parking permit or license plate is required for admission to the accessible parking lot adjacent to the Tyler (West) Gate.

Please note: The parking lot closes at 2 p.m. and does not re-open until Monday morning. Please do not leave your car in the lot after the ceremony.

Moving out of residence halls

Graduates will need to be moved out of their residence halls by noon on Sunday, May 14.

Student loan exit counseling

Every graduating student who received federal student loans as part of their financial aid must attend a small group session where they will learn about repayment options. This session is one of the graduation requirements. This means if a student chooses not to attend, he/she will not receive a diploma and official transcript.

In order to complete the exit counseling session students will need their FSA ID (FSAID.ED.GOV), Social Security Number, Driver’s License Number (if they have one), and names, addresses and telephone numbers of three references. The first reference must be a parent; the other two a relative or friend. Additionally, students should bring the name, address, and telephone number of their employer.

Adriana Rodriguez, Assistant Director of Financial Aid will send your graduate an email with scheduling instructions. If he/she has any questions or does not receive an email from her by April 6, please contact her directly by email at rodriguez@lakeforest.edu.