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Graduate Commencement Details and InstructionsGraduate Commencement Details and Instructions

Graduate Commencement Details and Instructions

Friday, May 6, 2016

7 p.m., Convocation Center

Doors will open to guests at 5:00 p.m. Guests should be seated no later than 6:30 p.m.



PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. These instructions have been prepared in order to make our commencement a special occasion for all involved. The Marshals will give necessary directions. The Pages are in charge of marching and seating. Follow instructions, please.


5:45 p.m., Convocation Center

Please do NOT be late. We need this time to line-up and organize the procession. Graduate students should come to the assembly table where you will receive your name card and seating assignment.

You will NOT be returning to the graduate assembly area so please be sure to leave all personal belongings with family members or friends for safekeeping during the ceremony. We are not responsible for any lost or stolen property.


All students should arrive dressed in their approved caps and gowns purchased through the University Bookstore or in official military dress uniform. Caps should be worn level and straight and tassels to the left. In addition to the approved cap and gown, women should wear dark shoes with appropriate dress, and men should wear dark slacks, white or light-colored shirts, ties, and dark shoes.

Honors cords (3.75 or higher at the end of this semester) can be obtained at the University Bookstore. Please note Pass/Fail programs DO NOT qualify for cords. 

Cal U Bookstore representatives will be available at the Graduate School rehearsal on Thursday, May 5 from 7:00 pm until the rehearsal's end to distribute honors cords. Additionally, the Cal U Bookstore will be open in the Natali Student Center on Friday, May 6 from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. the Bookstore shop will be open at both ceremonies in the Convocation Center.


There are a substantial number of steps and there is a considerable amount of walking for access to the President’s Dinner (Gallagher Hall) and for commencement at the Convocation Center.  Alternate access arrangements for these events and/or all other student access requests should be made to the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD), as soon as possible. Contact OSD in person (Azorsky Hall – Room 105) or by phone, (724) 938-5781.    


Students will form a single line in back of the Color Guard (Flags). There will be staff members directing the students. Candidates will be given instructions indicating their location in the line of march. Find your place in line and stay there. Once you have taken your place in the line of march, DO NOT CHANGE POSITION. You will be given a small card which will contain your name as it will be announced in the ceremony. PLEASE HOLD ON TO YOUR CARD AND TAKE IT TO THE CEREMONY.


As you march in the processional to your seat, please keep in step, at least three steps behind the person in front of you, and keeps the lines straight.


Remain standing at your seat until after the National Anthem and Invocation. During the National Anthem, Invocation and the Alma Mater, men should remove their mortarboards.


When the Dean presents the degree candidates for a program, all degree candidates should rise. Proceed as directed by the Page to the ramp leading to the platform and wait at the top of the ramp until your name is called by the Herald. You will proceed to the Dean who will vest your academic hood. You should receive your diploma in your left hand leaving your right hand free to shake hands with Interim President Jones. After receiving your diploma, return to your row and remain standing until instructed by the Dean to take your seat.

  • A professional photographer will be taking photos of all graduates after they receive their diplomas and as they exit the stage. Members of the Cal U marketing staff will also be taking photographs throughout the ceremony for general marketing purposes.


After the President has conferred your degree and closed with the words, “I hereby confer the degree of (Master of ____, etc.) with all the rights, honors and privileges which throughout the world pertain to that degree,” the President will then instruct you to be seated.


After the Platform Party has recessed and while the faculty is recessing out, you will follow the ushers’ directions to recess out of the seating area.

In addition to the Commencement ceremony on Friday, the President’s Dinner for Graduates will be held in Gallagher Hall on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. Please check your email for the invitation and RSVP instructions.

A rehearsal will be held on Thursday, May 5, 2016 immediately following the Graduates’ Dinner.

Find answers to frequently asked questions here.