More Information

Commencement Day

Duration of Ceremony

  • Great care has been taken to ensure the exercises are completed as quickly and smoothly as possible. The exercises are expected to last approximately 2 hours. Graduates and guests are asked to please show respect for all of their fellow classmates and remain until the end of the exercises and the student recession has been completed.

Calling of Names

  • Graduates' names will be scrolled on the large viewing screens. As the graduate's name is announced, their name will appear on the screen and the graduate will begin to walk across the stage to greet their dean.
  • Graduates are expected to return to their seats for the remainder of the ceremony and to process out together with their fellow classmates. 

Ceremony Photography and Video

  • There will be professional photographers from Grad Images taking photographs of the graduates. Click here for details.
  • The ceremony will be captured on video and a DVD will be made available to graduates after the ceremony. Click here for details.
  • Guests will not be able to approach the stage area or graduate seating area prior to the start of the ceremony or for the duration of the ceremony for any reason, including photography and videotaping.

Inclement Weather Plan

Lost and Found

The Office of Public Safety will collect and hold any items that are lost or found. If you need to report or find a lost item, please see a Public Safety Officer.

Public Safety

  • Please only bring necessary items with you on the day of Commencement. Please review the list below for items that are NOT allowed at the ceremony:
    • Backpacks
    • No handbags or tote bags bigger then 10"x10"x10"
    • Sealed packages of any kind
    • Bottles or cans (glass or metal)
    • Aerosol cans or noisemaking devices
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Animals (unless a service animal)
    • Flags, banners, or signs
    • Any materials constituting unauthorized advertising or promotion
    • Laser pointing devices
    • Drones
    • Personal Folding Chairs
    • Balloons
    • Strollers
    • Weapons
    • Umbrellas

Rules of Conduct

  • The Dean for Student Affairs advises graduates that the University will not hesitate to take serious disciplinary actions against students for alcohol abuse, destruction of property or other violations of University policy during graduation activities or the Commencement Exercises.

Program Books

  • Guests will receive a shortened program book at the Commencement Exercises. 
  • Graduates will receive the Commemorative Commencement program with a full list of graduate names when they pick up their diplomas beginning Monday, July 10, 2017 and for physician assistant graduates beginning Monday, July 31, 2017.

Graduate Responsibilities on Commencement Day

  • Arrive at your assembly location no later than 8 a.m.
  • Wear your academic attire (gown, hood, and cap) to the Commencement Exercises. Your tassel should be on the right side.
  • Wear comfortable footwear and clothing, bring sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • It is strongly recommended not to bring personal belongings.
  • Umbrellas will not be permitted on stage.
  • Graduates will be provided water and, if needed, a rain poncho.
  • Follow the line-up processional and recessional instructions of your academic deans, marshals and event staff.
  • Once directed to your row in the graduate seating area, remain standing until the end of the Invocation.
  • Follow the instructions for the calling of your name as you are asked to walk across the stage.

If you need assistance during Commencement, please locate your dean, event staff or a Public Safety Officer.

Assembly and Line-Up Location for Graduates

  • There is no rehearsal for the Commencement Exercises.
  • Each school/college will line-up in a different location.
  • The academic deans will be in the assembly area to line-up graduates in strict alphabetical order for the calling of names and crossing on stage.

By 8 a.m.

All graduates should assemble as follows: 

St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ~ Marillac Hall, 2nd Floor

The School of Education ~ St. Albert Hall, 1st Floor

The Peter J. Tobin College of Business ~ D'Angelo Center, 2nd Floor

College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences ~ D'Angelo Center, 1st Floor

College of Professional Studies ~ Marillac Hall, 3rd Floor

Student Marshals and Student Medalists (Gold, VMA, OSA) Only

By 8 a.m.

  • Check in with the University Events Captain for briefing in St. John Hall, Room 113.
  • Once briefed, you will be directed to go to your line-up area.

Student and Faculty Procession to the Great Lawn

  • The academic procession will begin on either side of the Great Lawn at 9:15 a.m.
  • Students will enter the seating area through the side aisles of the graduate seating area.
  • The exercises will officially begin as soon as the graduates and faculty have reached their seats and the members of the Platform Party are at their seats.
  • The schools/colleges will process in the following order, followed by the members of the faculty:
West SideEast Side
The Peter J. Tobin College of BusinessCollege of Professional Studies
The School of EducationSt. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 


Download the seating plan.