Spring 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 National Anthem and 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 60 minutes before the ceremony begins.
- The Processional begins 30 minutes before the ceremony.
- Refer to the commencement schedule for college ceremony assignment.
Assembly and Processional
- Undergraduate candidates enter the O'Connell Center through the northwest doors at Gates 2 and 3 and will assemble as directed by the marshals on the basketball court or in the dance studio. 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.
- Doctoral degree candidates enter the O'Connell Center through the northwest doors at Gate 3. Immediately upon arrival, candidates must receive a Name Scanning Card from the name scanning card tables. Name Scanning Cards will be distributed to candidates in alpha order, by the candidate's last name. If a Name Scanning Card is not available, candidates will be instructed where to get one. The Name Scanning Card will be needed in order for the candidate's name to be shown on the internal monitors testing the name scanning system as the candidate is hooded. After the candidate has a Name Scanning Card, the candidate will assemble by degree and college. A marshal will be present to help you line up according to the degree you will receive. A second card, the Regalia Order Card, is also needed with the phonetic spelling (to ensure correct pronunciation).
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 presiding official'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 Ph.D. and Ed.D. candidate to the stage and back to his or her seat. You will be asked to
come to the stage to receive your hoods. Give both your Name Scanning Card and Regalia Order Card to the presiding official when you reach the top of the steps, and your name
will be scanned to test the name scanning system and 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 both your Name Scanning Card and Regalia Order Card to the presiding official when you reach the top of the steps, and your name will be scanned to
test the name scanning system and 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 portion of your Regalia Order Card. Your college and degree must be correct. When you pick up your regalia, you will receive a card that you must complete and bring with you to the ceremony. The university is test piloting new name scanning technology this term in the PhD ceremony. To facilitate the testing of this technology, you will also be required to pick up a Name Scanning Card once you arrive at the O'Connell Center (doctoral degree candidates only). This card will be used to test the name scanning technology when your name is called. If this test proves successful, this technology will be used to display graduate's names on the O'Connell Center video screens. We appreciate your assistance with this test.
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 CeremonyThank 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 for the masters/specialist or bachelor ceremonies, so when the alma mater is complete, all graduates can join their guests!
- For the doctoral degree ceremony only, there is a recessional of the platform party.