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Graduate Commencement Details and InstructionsGraduate Commencement Details and Instructions

Graduate Commencement Details and Instructions

Friday, December 16, 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 graduate commencement ceremony a special occasion for all involved. 


Time of assembly is 5:45 p.m. in the Convocation Center, South Conference Wing area. Please do NOT be late. Students must line up for the procession. Failure to be on time may result in a student being placed in a different seat, causing that person to be out of alphabetical order and/or out of the appropriate degree group. Late students will be placed at the end of the line.

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. You will need to carry your hood on your arm, as you will be handing it to the dean when it is your turn to be hooded during the ceremony. Caps should be worn with the short point in the front, tassel on left front. In addition to the approved regalia, students should wear appropriate business causal to business professional attire.

Honors cords (for students who have earned a 3.75 or higher GPA by the end of last 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, December 15 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, December 16 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 a considerable amount of walking for access to the President’s Dinner (Gallagher Hall) and for the commencement processional 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 (Carter Hall-G35) or by phone, (724) 938-5781.   


Students will form a single line in back of the color guard (flags) and faculty macebearer. Cal U staff members will serve as ushers 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 ushers 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 towards 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 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 (GradImages) 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, December 15, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. Please check your email for the invitation and RSVP instructions.

A rehearsal will be held on Thursday, December 15, 2016 in Steele Hall immediately following the Graduates’ Dinner.

Find answers to frequently asked questions here.