COLA Commencement Ceremony 2024


2024 COLA Livestream Recording

From Thursday, May 9, 2024

2024 COLA Commencement Program

Including the schedule of departmental celebrations and programs for all ceremonies. 

COLA Ceremony

Date: Thursday, May 9, 2024 

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Location: Moody Center


This ceremony is only for all COLA undergrads who do not have a departmental ceremony.

Timeline of Evening  

4:30 PM – Graduate check-in begins

5:00 PM – Doors open for guests  

5:30 PM - Last graduate checked in 

6:00 PM – Ceremony begins  

*graduates are expected to stay the entire ceremony*

Graduate Arrival + Check In

Please arrive no later than 5 p.m. Graduates may start lining up at 4:30 p.m. Graduates must be checked-in by 5:30 p.m. Graduates arriving after 5:30 p.m. will not be allowed to participate in the ceremony.

Graduates will check-in in the loading dock of the Moody Center and then head directly to the floor to find their seats. Please refer to this map for directions to the loading dock and details for your arrival. The Loading Dock entrance includes a more than 50-yard declining walkway that will lead graduates to their college and school gathering area. Low-heeled or flat shoes with traction are recommended.

Graduates should be carrying regalia, not wearing, until you are past the security screening in Moody. We will have an area for you to get ready after check-in.

College of Liberal Arts

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need tickets?

    Yes, tickets are required for all guests for this ceremony. Each graduate will be allocated 8 tickets for their guests. Graduates will secure these when they complete the required RSVP form

    All guests over the age of 2 will need a ticket to enter the Moody Center and will have to go through security screening at the entrances. All seats will be first come first served. 

    If you plan to also attend the university-wide ceremony, this event has separate ticketing. Learn more about ticketing for the evening university-wide ceremony on the UT event site.

  • Can I get more tickets?

    If any additional tickets are available, graduates will receive an e-mail on April 15 with further instructions. There is no guarantee there be additional, and they are on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

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  • Will there be a live stream?

    Yes. You can find the live stream here

  • Will there be photos taken?

    The University coordinates professional photos of each graduation candidate as he or she walks across the stage to be congratulated during COLA ceremonies. Graduates and families have the option of purchasing photographs. There is no obligation to do so. Flash Photography provides free color proofs to each graduate. Proofs are mailed to the permanent address within two weeks of graduation. If you do not receive your proof, or if you wish to place your order by phone or email, please contact Flash Photography at 1-800-410-8070 or at

  • What should I bring?

    Graduates should not bring personal items such as purses or coats to the ceremony. There is no secure area in which to leave them. We recommend carrying cell phones and keys on wrist bands or in clothing with pockets.

    Guests, please review the venue policies listed below to see allowed items. 


  • Where do I park?

    Manor Garage is the closest parking garage to the Moody Center. Parking will be first come first served.

  • Where do I park?

    Manor Garage is the closest parking garage to the Moody Center. Parking will be first come first served.

  • How do I request accomodations?

    Graduates will have the opportunity to request accomodations for themselves and/or their guests on the RSVP form. If you have specific questions, please contact

  • What majors are celebrated at this ceremony?

    African and African Diaspora Studies; American Studies; Anthropology; Asian American Studies; Asian Cultures and Languages; Asian Studies; Classical Languages; Classical Studies; Environmental Science (BS); Ethnic Studies; European Studies; French; French Studies; Geographical Sciences (BS); Geography; German; Health and Society; Human Dimensions of Organizations; Humanities; Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures; Italian Studies; Jewish Studies; Latin American Studies; Linguistics; Mexican American and Latina/o Studies; Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures; Middle Eastern Studies; Philosophy; Portuguese; Psychology; Psychology (BS); Race, Indigeneity, and Migration; Religious Studies; Rhetoric and Writing; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; Sociology; Spanish; Sustainability Studies; Urban Studies; Women's and Gender Studies 

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Venue Policies

  • Bags

    For the health and safety of all guests, and to expedite the entry process, Moody Center requests that guests do not bring a bag to the arena. We strongly urge all graduates and guests not to bring bags to any ceremony unless they are absolutely necessary. A Clear Bag Policy is in effect to enhance existing security measures and expedite venue entry at Moody Center.

    Approved Bags include: 

    • Bags that are clear plastic and do not exceed 14" x 14" x 6"
    • One-gallon clear resealable plastic storage bags
    • Non-clear clutch bags or wallets must not exceed 5" x 9" x 1.5"

    Prohibited bags include:

    Any and all bags that do not meet the criteria above including back packs, grocery totes, mesh or straw bags, duffle bags, diaper bags**, camera/binocular cases, and any other bags that arena staff deem to not meet the clear bag policy.

    **Items normally carried in a diaper bag must be placed into a clear plastic bag for entry.

  • Metal Detectors

    Walk-through metal detectors are located at every arena entrance. In order to increase the efficiency of this process, guests should minimize the number of personal items they bring and remove any items that may trigger the alarm before walking through the detectors. If an alarm sounds, the guest will be subject to a secondary screening.

  • Prohibited Items and Activities

    Items include artificial noisemakers, large bags (see clear bag policy above), banners, flags, selfie sticks, umbrellas, cameras with detachable lenses greater than 10", GoPros, video cameras, camera tripods, drones, balloons, flowers in vases (flower bouquets are OK), outside food and beverages, coolers, pets (except service dogs), wagons, explosive and flammable materials, and any and all weapons (see Weapons Policy – SEC-E-513), tobacco products, alcohol, and bottles or cans of any kind, shape, or size, regardless of material and regardless of empty or full. Strollers need to be checked in at the West Gate.

    Suspicious activity, disruptive patrons and guest-related problems should be reported to an usher or police officer immediately. After the event, please email with all event day-related questions or concerns.

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College of Liberal Arts

Joshua Russell

2024 Commencement Student Speaker 

Joshua Russell, a Michigan-born Texan, is a 2024 graduate double majoring in Plan II Honors and Rhetoric and Writing. During his time at UT, he won the President’s Award for Global Learning, co-creating a “Transatlantic Blueprint” to address disparities in Higher Education. He is the co-founder and president of The Next Page, a local organization dedicated to facilitating safe and supportive writing spaces. He hosted UT Austin’s first ever Rooftop Poetry Slam and organized a poetry showcase to raise awareness for the black maternal health crisis in the U.S.. This year, he’s co-hosting the “Free 2 Be Fest”, an expressive arts festival celebrating black history and resilience in Austin, and planning a peer-collaboration intervention for high schools in Central Texas. He’s performed at every Poetry on the Pond since its conception in 2021 and in his final semester received the “All We Can Save” Poetry Award. In his free time, he loves sprint coaching, playing with his puppy, and long walks.

College of Liberal Arts

Pete Geren

2024 Commencement Speaker 

Pete Geren is President and CEO of the Sid Richardson Foundation, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the 20th U.S. Secretary of the Army. A native of Fort Worth, he earned his undergraduate degree in history at UT Austin prior to attending The University of Texas Law School. He briefly practiced law in Fort Worth before turning to politics, where he worked as an aide to Democratic Senator Lloyd Bentsen. He was then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served the citizens of Tarrant and Parker Counties for four consecutive terms. In 2007, Geren was confirmed as 20th Secretary of the United States Army, a post he rose to after joining the Pentagon in September 2001. 
As President and CEO of the Sid Richardson Foundation, Geren now brings his strategic vision for societal improvement to bear in his hometown of Fort Worth, honoring the legacy of the foundation’s namesake through support of educational, health, human service, and cultural programs and projects that serve the people of Texas. He also oversees the Sid Richardson Museum. Geren’s personal philanthropy has established crucial scholarships at The University of Texas at Austin, where he has been recognized as both a Distinguished Alumnus and a Distinguished Alumnus for Community Service at the Law School. In addition, Geren and the Sid Richardson Foundation are loyal supporters of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas in the College of Liberal Arts, promoting the thoughtful study of the great books and the core liberal arts values of critical scholarly and civic engagement. In 2023, Geren received the College of Liberal Arts highest honor, the Pro Bene Meritis award.