Undergraduate Commencement Details and Instructions

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Undergraduate Commencement Details and InstructionsUndergraduate Commencement Details and Instructions

Undergraduate Commencement Details and Instructions

Saturday, May 13, 2017

10 a.m., Convocation Center

Doors will open to guests at 8 a.m. Guests should be seated no later than 9:15 a.m.


PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. These instructions have been prepared in order to make commencement a special occasion for all involved. The following directions relate to the Undergraduate Commencement (bachelor's and associate degrees) ceremony only.


Do not be late! Time of assembly is 8:45 a.m. 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 designated college. Late students will be placed at the end of the line.


Upon arrival, please go to your designated OUTSIDE line-up areas for details and instructions. Please go to the appropriate area represented by colored flags based on your college.

  • College of Education and Human Services - Blue Flags by Dixon Hall and South Hall
  • College of Liberal Arts - Red Flags by Old Main and Vulcan Hall
  • Eberly College of Science and Technology - Green Flags by Frich Hall and Watkins Hall

Please plan to march across campus as part of the processional even if it is slightly raining; please bring an umbrella, just in case. If in doubt of the weather and if the processional will take place across campus, please first go to your assigned outside line-up area for instructions. In the event of a torrential downpour, students will be instructed to report directly to their assigned seat in the Convocation Center. 

You will NOT be returning to the assembly locations so please leave all personal belongings with family members or friends for safekeeping during the ceremony. Cal U is not responsible for 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 right. 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.

Cal U Bookstore will be open in the Natali Student Center on Friday, May 12 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.on Saturday, May 13. The Bookstore shop will be open at both ceremonies at the Convocation Center.


There are a substantial number of steps at the commencement dinner and for the commencement processional. Alternate access arrangements for these events and/or all other access requests should be made to the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) in advance. For more information, consult Commencement Access.


Staff members will direct students to form a single line in back of the color guard (flags). Candidates will be given printed instructions indicating their location in the line of march and their seat numbers. You should  find your place in line and stay there. You will be given a small card to carry in your hand indicating your seat number. Only take your assigned seat, regardless of whether there are empty seats nearby. For people starting new rows, yellow dots will be placed on their number cards.


As you march in the processional to your seat, keep in step, at least three steps behind the person in front of you, and keep 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 degree candidates for a college, all degree candidates should rise together. 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 dean. Don't step onto the stage until your name is called. While waiting, hold your seat number card in your left hand so that the number is plainly visible to the dean. Do NOT give the dean your number card. 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 diplomas and as they exit the stage. Members of the Cal U marketing staff will also be taking photographs for general marketing purposes throughout the ceremony.


After the President has conferred your degree and closed with the words, "I hereby confer the degree of (Bachelor of ____, etc.) with all the rights, honors and privileges which throughout the world pertain to that degree," all graduates in that degree should, in unison, change the position of their tassels from right to left, using their left hands.


You should stand at your assigned seat until the platform party and faculty recess, then follow the ushers' directions for leaving the arena. 

Find answers to frequently asked questions here.

In addition to the Commencement ceremony on Saturday, the President’s Dinner for Graduates will be held in Gallagher Hall on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 6 p.m. Please check your email for the invitation and RSVP instructions.

A rehearsal will be held on Thursday, May 11, 2017 immediately following the Graduates’ Dinner.