ABC's of Commencement


All faculty, staff and graduates are required to wear academic regalia (caps & gowns).  Immediately after rehearsal students are to proceed to the George F. Shepard Student Center where they will pick up their regalia.  Students may keep their cap, gown and tassel as a memento of their achievement. If you lose your tassel you will have to pay a $5.00 fee.

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May be picked up on the 2nd floor of the George F. Shepard Student Center at a table across from the Bookstore on the following dates: Tuesday, May 2, Thursday, May 4, Wednesday, May 10 and Friday, May 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ONLY. If you are not available on the dates and times listed, tickets will be distributed at rehearsal. You will need to present a picture ID when picking up your announcements and tickets. If you have taken out student loans you must complete an "Exit Interview" with the Financial Aid Office before you pick up your announcements and tickets. Each graduate is entitled to four announcements and four admission tickets (at no charge). In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Physical Education Building. Due to the limited space in the Physical Education Building there will be NO extra tickets given. The Physical Education Building will be open to everyone with tickets on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Guests without tickets will be directed to one of the following "Alternate Viewing Locations" where the ceremony will be streamed:

  • Orange Hall Theatre (Wheelchair Accessible)
  • Shepard Student Center Cafeteria (Wheelchair Accessible)

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If you plan to play in the band you will not march in the procession.  You will receive instructions from your Director and also at rehearsal.

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You will march. You will receive instructions from your Choir Director, and also at rehearsal.

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Graduation is a dignified, important event.  In order not to disrupt the ceremony, please turn off any cell phones, or other electronic devices you are carrying.

Please wear appropriate dress and shoes with your gown.  Please do not wear harsh perfumes or colognes as they attract bees or wear high heels as the ramp is steep.

Smoking is prohibited.

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Graduates will assemble as instructed at rehearsal, in the Concourse area of Horton Hall at 4:25 p.m. SHARP. A musical selection will assemble the graduates to formation at that time. The last call will be at 4:35. Faculty and Emeriti will assemble on the Orange Hall Walkway. The Platform Party will assemble at Morrison Hall and will be at the end of the procession line.  Formation time for Faculty & Emeriti will be 4:40 p.m.

At precisely 5:00 p.m., the procession will begin.


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Graduates who achieve a final cumulative average of 3.2 or higher are eligible to wear gold honor cords with their gowns at graduation to designate their achievement.  The honor cords will be available following rehearsal, at the same time you pick up your cap and gown.  They can be purchased after rehearsal for $15.00 in the Bookstore.

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Graduates will assemble in the upper corridors.  The head of the line will be in the corridor which is near the snack bar (South field side.)  The line will run through the observation deck of the handball courts and continue down the corridor adjacent to the P.E. offices, ending in the main lobby.  Faculty and Emeriti will assemble in the basement of the P.E. Building. The head of the line will be in the area adjacent to the main men's locker room (South field side), continue down the corridor and through the entrance level to the handball courts.  The line may be long enough to extend beyond the handball court area down the adjacent corridor.  They will march up the stairs to the upper corridor and into the gym. The Platform Party will assemble in the Dance Studio in the Physical Education Building.

Since the building will be crowded, it is important that you pay strict attention to the student and faculty formation leaders.

After lining up, on signal from the Marshal-of-the-Exercise, the formation will proceed to the gymnasium.

Marching Order:

  • (1) Marshal of the Exercise
  • (2) Chairman of Commencement
  • (3) Student Marshal
  • (4) Graduates
  • (5) Professors Emeriti
  • (6) Faculty & Staff
  • (7) Alumni
  • (8) Platform Party

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All student and staff lots will be open to everyone on a "first-come, first-served" basis.  Advise your guests to come early in order to park in campus lots.  Parking is also allowed on city side streets. If you have a family member who has special needs and/or handicapped you can have that person come into the Alumni Green off of South Street where they will be directed by Security to drive around the inner circle to drop off the handicapped person. Security will help them onto the green. The person driving the car will be directed over to the Morrison lot (handicapped spot). Special six passenger golf carts will be available to transport those who have difficulty walking.

In the event of inclement weather and the ceremony is held indoors, handicapped accessible parking will be available to disabled family members/guests with tickets on Tennis Court Drive right behind the Physical Education Building. Disabled family members/guests without tickets can park in Parking lot #6 located behind the George F. Shepard Building where they can watch a live stream of the Commencement Ceremony in the Cafeteria.

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An official photographer (Island Photography) will take a picture of each graduate as he/she receives his/her diploma.  This will assure graduates that photographs of this special event will be available for purchase.  Please tell your family and friends that your picture will be taken.  You will receive two color proofs with no obligation to purchase photos. You must try to place an order within 3 weeks of receiving proofs or there will be a late charge.  Their website is WWW.ISLANDPHOTO.COM

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The procession will begin promptly at 5:00 p.m. and will proceed to the Alumni Green.


Men only will remove their caps for the National Anthem and the Alma Mater.

Graduates will remain seated until it is announced "Will the graduates please rise."

On signal from a staff member, graduates in the front row will face left, walk out of their row and proceed to the platform to receive diplomas.  When the first row begins to move to receive diplomas, the remaining graduates will be seated in order not to obstruct the view of the audience.

When the first row has reached the end of the far left seats (watch the staff member), the graduates of the second row will stand and follow behind the last graduate of the first row…the third row will follow the second…etc., through all the rows.  Graduates will not go forward to receive their diplomas until they hand their name card to the reader (watch Mr. Harpst).  Upon receiving diplomas, graduates will return to their original seats by entering their rows on the same side as when first seated and sit down immediately.

After the last diploma is given, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will instruct all graduates to move their tassels to the left signifying they are now Alumni of the College.

All assembled will then rise for the Alma Mater, remain standing and then will march out in the Recession.

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The aisle for the recession will be the aisle on the graduates' left, as they are seated facing the platform. In the recession, the reverse order of the procession will be used - i.e., Marshal of the Exercise, the Platform Party, Professors Emeriti, Faculty & Staff­, Student Marshal and Graduates. In the recession it is most important that the graduates march out last, after faculty & staff. It is most important that the Student Marshal will lead the graduates along the roadway passing the Library, Morrison Hall, and Orange Hall before they break. This is to assure there will be no crowding at the end of the line.

If the ceremony is held indoors and the weather clears the Student Marshal will lead the graduates across East Conkling Avenue along the roadway passing the Gilman Center towards Morrison Hall. The recession will end at Morrison Hall.  

IF IT IS RAINING, space will not permit the graduates to recess (march out of the gym). Only the platform party and faculty/staff/emeriti will be in the recession.  Graduates will remain at their seats in the Gym.  When the music stops, graduates will then be free to leave, meet parents and friends, etc.  Please advise your guests to leave the Physical Education Building as soon as possible to relieve congestion.  They may leave from all doors marked "EXIT" including those leading directly out from the large gymnasium.

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