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Commencement Policy

Commencement Policy

Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management
Date enacted or revised: 
October 1, 2012; Revised February 1, 2016; Revised July 2016; Revised October 2017; February 2018


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

Eligilbility for Participation in the Commencement Ceremony

A candidate is eligible to participate in the commencement ceremony the semester during which all degree requirements and academic policies are fulfilled as prescribed in the Catalog and after an Application for Degree has been submitted to the appropriate academic department(s). Degree completion must be certified by the Registrar’s Office before the candidate is eligible to participate in the commencement ceremony. Candidates who complete degree requirements during the summer semester are eligible to participate in the fall commencement ceremony. During the commencement ceremony, the name of each candidate earning a degree (except those graduating in absentia) is announced, and the candidate receives a diploma cover.

Graduating in Absentia

All degree candidates must be present for commencement exercises unless approval to be absent is given by the University. Any candidate wishing to graduate in absentia must submit notice online at If a candidate graduates in absentia, his/her diploma may be collected from the Office of the Registrar in person during regular business hours after the commencement date. Upon request to the Registrar’s Office 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.

Multiple Degrees

A candidate earning multiple degrees will receive one diploma cover.


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


Official University-approved regalia are worn during the commencement ceremony. Candidates are expected to wear academic regalia provided by the University Bookstore. University representatives (e.g. faculty, staff, dignitaries, etc.) also wear academic regalia. Regalia may be rented through the University Bookstore.

Commencement is a dignified ceremony, and students are encouraged strongly to uphold the dignity of the ceremony by not decorating or altering the appearance of their regalia in any way. Graduates will not be allowed to participate in the commencement ceremony with decorated caps or gowns.

Honor graduates with cum laudesumma cum laude, and magna cum laude distinctions are provided cords appropriate to the distinction to display on regalia during commencement. Cords, medallions, pins, etc. representing membership in or recognition by University-recognized societies which require academic compliance or service in the United States military are permitted for display on regalia during exercises.


This policy is distributed via the Administrative Advisory Council, the Academic Advisory Council, and the University Policy webpage.