Fall Commencement Instructions
Attendance at commencement is optional. There is no rehearsal, so please refer to this information and share it with your guests.
Please, be on time. Candidates should arrive promptly at the time specified for assembly and be wearing their caps and gowns. Men should wear dark trousers and dark shoes. Women should wear dark clothing and dark shoes. Coats and jackets are not recommended. Please do not carry such items as purses, backpacks or helmets; there is no place to store them. Candidates who arrive late must march at the end of the procession. Once the procession has begun, there is no opportunity to join your group.
Seating: General admission seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. No guests are permitted in the degree candidates' seating area. Commencement protocol does not permit seating of guests during the processional; late arrivals must wait to be seated until the processional ends.
All participants should arrive at the ceremony dressed in their cap and gown. The academic mortarboard must be worn during the processional and when standing; you may remove it while you are seated. Men should remove their caps during the university's alma mater.
Candidates for a baccalaureate degree place the tassel on the right side of the mortarboard until the degree is conferred; tassels are moved to the left side when the degree is conferred.
All other degree candidates place the tassel on the left side of the mortarboard, where it will remain.
- Candidates assemble 90 minutes before the ceremony begins.
- The Processional begins 30 minutes before the ceremony.
- Refer to the commencement schedule for college ceremony assignment. (College of Pharmacy students will receive special instructions for their separate ceremony.)
Assembly and Processional
- Undergraduate candidates enter the O'Connell Center through the northwest doors at Gates 2 and 3 and will assemble by college on the basketball court or in the dance studio. Look for the sign identifying your college and line up according to your degree. The marshal will signal when it is time to move to the seating area. Please have your name card in hand to provide to the marshal who will read your name aloud when you walk across the stage.
- Advanced degree candidates (doctoral, specialist, engineer, master's degrees) also enter through the northwest doors at Gates 2 and 3 and will assemble by degree. A marshal will be present to help you line up according to the degree you will receive.
The processional begins when the marshals lead candidates onto the main floor of the O'Connell Center. Sit down when you get to your seat and remain seated until the marshal asks you to stand, then face the center aisle. Remain standing until the president's party passes your row, then turn and face the stage.
Protocols for Conferring Degrees
Degrees will be conferred in this order, as applicable by college: Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Audiology, Doctor of Plant Medicine, specialist, engineer, master's and bachelor's degrees.
- Doctoral degree candidates with escorts (Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Education and Doctor of Plant Medicine): A faculty escort must accompany each candidate to the stage and back to their seat.
Candidates will be asked to come to the stage to receive their hoods. Give your name card to the presiding official when you reach the top of the steps, and your name will be read aloud.
- Doctoral degree candidates without escorts (Doctor of Audiology): Candidates will be asked to come to the stage to receive their hoods. Give your name card to the presiding official when you reach the top
of the steps, and your name will be read aloud.
- Specialist, engineer and master's degree candidates: The presiding official will recognize these degree candidates as a group. All candidates will be invited to the stage to be recognized individually. Marshals will lead these groups to the stage. At the top of the steps, give your name card to the marshal.
- Bachelor's degree candidates: All candidates for bachelor's degrees will be presented as a group. When instructed, please move your tassel from right to left. Watch for the marshal's signal to indicate when your row is to stand and proceed single file to the stage. Give your name card to the marshal when you reach the top of the steps so you can be recognized individually.
Announcing Each Candidate's Name: All degree candidates are recognized individually. Your name is read aloud as you cross the stage. Please print or type your name with a phonetic spelling (to ensure correct pronunciation) on the lower protion of your regalia order card. Your college and degree must be correct. When you pick up your regalia, you will receive a second card that you must complete and bring with you to the ceremony.
Photographs: All commencement guests should remain in their seats while taking photographs or video. No guests are permitted onto the graduates' seating area. Photographs of the graduates as they cross the stage are available through companies that have contracts with the university. These companies will contact you about purchasing professional photographs. If you desire other pictures taken in your academic regalia, please do so before the ceremony, as regalia must be returned immediately following the ceremony, unless you have purchased the apparel.
Conduct Appropriate to the Ceremony
Thank you for helping us make commencement a memorable event for all involved.
- Please remain seated during the ceremony.
- Cell phones and pagers should be placed on silent mode.
- All graduates and their guests are asked to remain for the entire ceremony as a sign of respect for all university graduates.
- There is no recessional, so when the alma mater is complete, all graduates can join their guests!