Commencement Ceremonies

Graduating Student Ceremony Instructions

The following instructions are for both graduate and undergraduate students.

Before you arrive on campus:

  • Give your guests their tickets
  • Leave all personal belongings with family/friends
  • Make sure you have your cap, gown, tassel and
    • Stole of gratitude (white sash) - undergraduates only
    • Hood - Master's students only - doctoral hoods will be presented at the hooding ceremony

Arrive on campus:

  • Report to the student check-in area behind the stage in the Events Center one hour prior to your ceremony start time. Enter in front of Events Center.
  • Check in with staff and receive your name card.
  • You must remain in the staging area after you have signed in.
  • Line up behind your school flag.
  • Do not leave personal items behind; the space will not be secured during the ceremony.

Processional (entering ceremony):

  • Approximately 30 minutes prior to the ceremony start time, you will begin to line up in two columns.
    • If there is a friend you wish to sit with, make sure he/she is directly behind or in front of you in line (not across from you).
    • Doctoral students should stand in line behind their faculty advisor.
  • Move to your seat, but do not sit until directed to do so by the grand marshal.


  • By school, students will be directed to approach the stage.
  • Hand your name card to the commencement reader.
  • All students walk across the stage, shake hands and get photographed with the dean and the president.
    • You will receive a diploma cover at Commencement, and diplomas will be mailed 6-8 weeks following Commencement.
  • After exiting the stage, you will have a professional photograph taken which will be available for you to purchase (commencement photos).
  • Return to your seat, but remain standing until you are instructed to be seated by your school's dean.

Recessional (leaving ceremony):

  • When it is time to leave the Events Center, everyone on stage will leave first.
  • Marshals will leave next.
  • Students will be excused from each row, front to back.
  • You will be led out the same way you entered, through the tunnel at the rear of the Events Center.
  • Plan to meet your guests outside after the completion of the recessional; do not break the line and head into the audience.

Last Updated: 12/18/15