More Information

Commencement Day

Duration of Ceremony

  • Great care has been taken to ensure the ceremony is completed as quickly and as smoothly as possible. The ceremony is expected to last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Graduates and guests are asked to please show respect for all of their fellow classmates and remain until the end of the ceremony and the student recession has been completed.

Calling of Names

  • The names of graduates will be called by school/college and degree.  Before graduates enter the stage to greet their deans, they will receive a diploma case.
    • Note: Actual diplomas will be distributed beginning Monday, July 9, by your school/college dean's office.  Be sure to call your dean's office beforehand to confirm your diploma is available.
  • 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 made available for purchase following 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

  • Graduates and guests will receive a Commencement program with a full list of graduate names at the ceremony. 

Graduate Responsibilities on Commencement Day

  • Arrive at your assembly location no later than 8:30 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.

**Graduates must check in with their deans during this time in order to participate in the ceremony.**

Assembly and Line-Up Location for Graduates

  • There is no rehearsal for the Commencement Exercises.
  • Each school/college will line-up in the Campus Center, Upper Level.
  • 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 8:30 a.m.

  • All graduate and undergraduate students check in at your school/college assembly and line-up area.

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

By 8:30 a.m.

  • Check in with your school/college dean in the assembly and line-up area within the Campus Center, Upper Level.

By 8:45 a.m.

  • Check in with the event staff captain in the Campus Center, Upper Level AFTER checking in with your school/college dean.
  • Once briefed, you will be directed to return to your line-up area.

Student and Faculty Procession to the Great Lawn

  • The academic procession will begin at 9:45 a.m. from the Campus Cener, Upper Level.
  • Students will enter the seating area through the center aisle.
  • The ceremony 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:
Right Side Facing the StageLeft Side Facing the Stage
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ~ UndergraduateThe School of Education ~ Graduate, Undergraduate
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business ~ Graduate, UndergraduateCollege of Professional Studies ~ Graduate, Undergraduate

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


Download the seating plan.