Student Instructions

What happens on Commencement Day?

Where do I go and when?

  • All graduates are to arrive no later than noon through the Lawn Level Entrance.
  • It is imperative to be lined up for the academic procession prior to the start of the ceremony.


Where do I line up?

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and College of Business Administration will line up in the Food Court, located on the Lawn Level.

All other schools will line up in the Practice Gym, located on the Event Level. 


What happens when I arrive?

  • Graduates are to be dressed in their regalia and academic hood upon arrival.
  • Check in at the registration desk in your assigned area to receive your name card and lanyard. Place the lanyard around your neck.
  • If you have chosen to not have your name announced, you will still receive a card and lanyard designating your request not to have your name announced.


What happens during the Undergraduate Ceremony?

  • The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. with a procession of graduates, faculty, and the platform party.
  • As each school is announced, you will be led to the stage by a marshal.
  • Once you reach the stairs, volunteers will collect your card prior to you ascending the stage. Name announcers will then read your name. You will be congratulated on the stage by your dean, receive a scroll, and descend the stage.
  • If you have chosen to not have your name announced, you will be congratulated on the stage by your dean and descend from the stage.
  • It is important to move swiftly to ensure that you are on stage when your name is announced.

Please do not take time to have a conversation with those on stage and keep moving.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please refrain from bringing bags, backpacks, or purses with you to the ceremony as you might not return to the same seat after descending the stage.


Does everyone wear regalia?

  • This is an academic ceremony and, as such, academic regalia is required to participate in the procession.
  • Only those students in full academic regalia (cap, gown, and hood) will be permitted to process in the ceremony. The only exceptions will be for those graduates in military uniform.


Anything else?

  • Choose a meeting location with your guests before they take their seats.
  • No alcoholic beverages or items that can interfere with the ceremony (beach balls, bullhorns, etc.) will be permitted in the Petersen Events Center and will be confiscated.
  • Arrive no later than noon for the ceremony. There will be thousands of people entering and walking through the Petersen Events Center. Latecomers will not be permitted to walk with their school or college during the processional, and they will be seated in the general overflow student section.
  • There will be a reception for all graduates and their guests immediately following the ceremony on the Plaza and Concourse Level.