Undergraduate Commencement Details and Instructions

UPDATE: All January, May, and August 2020 graduates are invited to attend our December 2020 Commencement ceremonies.

Saturday, December 12, 2020
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. Tickets are NOT issued/required to attend our commencement ceremonies.


PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. These instructions (for associate and bachelor degree candidates) have been prepared in order to make commencement a special occasion for all involved. 


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 line-up areas for details and instructions (to be finalized in early November). 


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, December 11, 2020 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 12, 2020. The Bookstore shop will be open at both ceremonies at the Convocation Center.


There is a considerable amount of walking for the commencement processional to the Convocation Center. All student access requests for the ceremony 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 by seat number. You should find your place in line and stay there.

You will be given a small card which will contain your seat number and your name as it will be announced in the ceremony. 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 name cards. Based on your place in line alphabetically, you may begin a new curriculum and/or degree program and you will be provided with additional cards that will need to be provided to the herald to announce at the ceremony. PLEASE REMEMBER TO TAKE YOUR CARD(S) TO THE CEREMONY SO THAT YOUR NAME (CURRICULUM AND DEGREE) ARE PROPERLY ANNOUNCED BY THE HERALD.


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 with their cards in hand. Proceed as directed by the ushers to the ramp leading to the platform and wait at the top of the ramp. At the top of the ramp as your approach the podium, please provide the herald, who will announce each graduate, with your name card. Once your name is announced, you may begin to walk across the stage towards President Jones. 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 or Associate  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.


After the platform party has recessed and while the faculty are recessing out, you will follow the ushers' directions to recess out of the seating area and arena.

Find answers to frequently asked questions here.