top floor grand staircase pictured below the glass rotunda

Commencement 2023

New England College of Optometry celebrates its 129th commencement ceremony to honor the Class of 2023 on Sunday, May 21, 2023.

To assist you in planning for this event, any updates to the Commencement schedule, tickets information, accessibility details and accommodation suggestions can be found here.

Commencement Exercises

Sunday, May 21, 2023

10:00 am-12:00 pm (end time approximate)
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
Graduates should plan to arrive by 7:45 am for check-in, photos, and line-up. Breakfast will be provided.

Commencement Day Arrival:  

Please arrive at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, at 7:30 am on the morning of Commencement. Graduates must enter via the entrance on Huntington Avenue (it says “Cohen Wing” on the outside). Please do not enter via the main Massachusetts Ave entrance. Your guests, however, must enter via the main Mass Ave entrance, NOT the Huntington Ave/Cohen Wing entrance. The auditorium will open at approximately 9:00 am for your guests.

  • Upon entrance, grads will turn left to go to the Higginson room, where your class will meet and store any small belongings. We cannot store large suitcases or bags at Symphony Hall, so please plan accordingly. Family and other guests are not allowed in this room. Please carry a minimal amount of personal items to the ceremony. A light breakfast will be available for you, and then you will line up for your class group photos at 8:15 am (photos are at 8:30 am). More details regarding the day will be emailed ahead of time.  
Health and Safety

All Commencement attendees must adhere to Boston Symphony Hall’s health and safety guidelines. For current information about vaccine requirements at this venue, please visit their website. 


Every graduate is allowed to bring up to ten guests. Graduates will be provided with information on registering their guests before the commencement ceremony.   


For guests needing lodging reservations for Commencement weekend, there are several hotels in the area surrounding Symphony Hall. NECO is unable to provide hotel discounts at this time.


Professional photographers will be taking class group photos, along with a photograph of each graduate as they are hooded and presented with the diploma. These photographs will be available online for viewing and ordering. The link can be found further down this web page.


Symphony Hall is wheelchair accessible. If you have any guests using a wheelchair and need seating arranged for their wheelchair inside the hall, please email [email protected] for more information if your guests require wheelchair accessibility.



You may pick up your regalia, tickets (10 per person), yearbooks, gift bags, and other items on the following days and times in the CAPA office (behind the rotunda):

Monday, May 15th – 10:00 am to 6:00 pm 

Tuesday, May 16th – 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Wednesday, May 17th – 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Thursday, May 18th – 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Friday, May 19th – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

You may pick up regalia for another student if needed.

Regalia pickup times coincide with final exams for many students. Please be mindful of noise in the school building so as to not disrupt those taking exams.

Dr. Lyons and Dr. Reilly will have a table next to the CAPA office with snacks and coffee, as well as information about pursuing FAAO membership after graduation.

If you are unable to make one of these dates, you can request to pick up your materials on Saturday, May 20th from NECO security. To pick up your regalia on Saturday, May 20th, please complete THIS FORM by the end of day on Thursday, May 11th.


  • If you’re not able to pick up your regalia by 12:00 pm on Friday, May 19th and you did not schedule a Saturday pick-up, it will be packed up and brought over to Symphony Hall Friday afternoon, where you can receive everything when you check in on Commencement Day. If you are picking up the day of Commencement, please arrive by 7:00 am so you have time to get ready for group photos.
  • If you requested to pick up your regalia on Saturday, May 20th, your items must be picked up by 6:00 pm SHARP. Items not picked up by this time WILL NOT be brought over to Symphony Hall. Those who elect to pick up their regalia on Saturday and do not, will have to use borrowed regalia the day of the ceremony.



NECO is partnering with Lifetouch Photography at this year’s Commencement. Please follow the instructions below to order your ceremony photos.

To pre-order your photos, buy an AdvancePay credit online. You’ll receive a text message when the gallery is published, and the credit will be automatically applied online—just sign in with your phone number at checkout.

Pre-Order Now

Text 127324GY23 to 90738* or visit and enter the access code to get started.

Commencement Questions?

Contact the Center for Academic and Professional Achievement office