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Commencement Policy

Commencement Policy

Academic and Student Affairs
Date enacted or revised: 
October 1, 2012


Unless stipulated otherwise, all time and/or semester references in this Policy refer to the semester during which a candidate participates in commencement exercises.

Eligibility for Participation

A candidate is eligible to participate in commencement exercises (exercises) the semester during which all degree requirements are fulfilled as prescribed in the Catalog and relevant academic policies and after an Application for Degree has been submitted to the appropriate academic department(s). Any candidate completing degree requirements during the summer semester is eligible to participate in fall exercises. Only candidates identified by the Office of the Registrar as completing degree requirements are eligible to participate.  There are no exceptions to these eligibility rules unless approved by the President.

Graduating in Absentia

A candidate may submit a request to graduate in absentia. The form is electronic and available online only at If an absentia request is granted and a candidate does not participate in exercises, his/her diploma may be collected from the Office of the Registrar in-person during regular business hours after the commencement date, or upon request, the diploma may be mailed. Non-refundable shipping and handling fees will be assessed for mailed diplomas and must be paid in advance. The University is not responsible for damage to or loss of the shipment.

Decorum and Behavior

Candidates and guests are expected to be courteous and respectful while participating in or attending all activities (e.g. rehearsal, exercises). The possession, consumption, and/or use of alcohol, tobacco, weapons, or any type of contraband is prohibited strictly during all activities. Any individual violating these expectations will be escorted from the activity by law enforcement officers, and subsequent action may be taken depending upon the infraction.

Multiple Degrees

The name of each candidate earning a degree is announced during exercises, and the name of a candidate earning multiple degrees is announced for each degree. However, a multiple-degree-earning candidate may "walk" during the conferral only once. If a candidate is earning multiple equivalent degrees (e.g. two baccalaureate degrees), he/she selects the degree for which to "walk" and should notify the Commencement Committee at of which degree he/she selects. If a candidate is earning multiple degrees of different levels (e.g. one associate degree and one baccalaureate degree), he/she is expected to "walk" for the conferral of the highest degree.

Rehearsal and Exercises

Rehearsals and exercises are held twice per year-at the conclusion of the spring and fall semesters. Participation by all eligible graduates at rehearsal and in the exercises is required.


Diplomas are distributed immediately after exercises conclude. Only candidates who have settled all obligations to the University (e.g. academic or financial holds) will receive diplomas. Diplomas not claimed within one semester after the exercises are destroyed. A fee will be assessed for reprinting a diploma after that time.


Only official University-approved regalia may be worn during exercises. Candidates are expected to wear regalia provided by the University Bookstore, and University representatives (e.g. faculty, staff, dignitaries, etc.) are expected to wear regalia rented through the University Bookstore or otherwise approved by the Provost or appropriate academic dean.
Honor graduates with cum laude, summa cum laude, and magna cum laude distinctions will be presented with cords appropriate to the distinction and are expected to display these cords on regalia during exercises. Cords, stoles, medallions, pins, etc. representing membership in or recognition by University-recognized academic societies are permitted for display on regalia during exercises. Such items related to non-academic societies or organizations are prohibited.


Announcements may be ordered and purchased at the University Bookstore.

Commencement Committee

The Commencement Committee is the body responsible for organizing and executing all activities related to rehearsal and exercises. The Committee is comprised of:

  • the Senior Standing Dean (Ex Officio),
  • a University Bookstore representative (Ex Officio),
  • the Director of University Events (Ex Officio),
  • one Faculty Senate representative,
  • the Registrar,
  • one Assistant Registrar,
  • the Dean of Student Services,
  • the Dean of Enrollment Management,
  • two representatives from the Student Government Association (SGA), and
  • at least one representative from each academic college and the Frazar Memorial Library.
The SGA representatives are recommended to the Provost by the SGA president. All other "representative" members are recommended to the Provost by the administrative officer of the bodies or units they represent. The Provost appoints all members based upon these recommendations. One member is appointed chairperson by the Provost, and that individual is responsible for coordinating all activities under the Committee's responsibility and assigning duties to Committee members.

Notes: This Policy replaces two existing policies, (1) Commencement Committee and (2) Policy on Commencement Regalia.