Graduate Ceremony Instructions

Date, Time, and Location:

  • Thursday, May 9, 2024, at 7:00 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum
  • Doors will open for guests at 5:30 p.m.
  • It is anticipated that the ceremony will last no longer than two hours.



  • Due to the construction of CyTown, certain parking lots located between Hilton Coliseum and Jack Trice Stadium will be blocked off on the day of commencement. Additional parking has been identified around Jack Trice Stadium, Maple Willow Larch, Lied Recreation Center, and the Memorial Union Parking Ramp
    • Parking at the Memorial Union Parking Ramp: CyRide #1 Red Route should run every 20 minutes between the MU and Hilton, going both ways. Pick-up is directly across the street from each; drop-off is directly in front of each. The cost per bus ride is $1.00 ($.50 for over 65). The cost to park in the MU ramp is $10.00 for 4 hours.
  • We ask students and their guests to arrive early enough to find parking and walk to the check-in location (for graduating students) or guest seating in Hilton Coliseum. We encourage carpooling if possible.
  • Handicap parking is available in lot C2.
  • If you or your guests park in the Maple Willow Larch parking lot or at Lied Recreation Center, please cross at the light and follow all traffic laws.
  • A parking map is available online here: Parking Maps for Hilton Coliseum and Jack Trice Stadium | Graduation & Commencement | Iowa State University


Tickets and Guests:

  • Tickets are not required.
  • Guest seating is unlimited – please invite everyone who wishes to celebrate your significant achievement!



  • You may begin arriving for check-in at 5:30 p.m., but plan to arrive by no later than 6:20 p.m.
  • Your assigned check-in location will be in the Scheman Building (located to the north and west of Hilton)
    • Doctoral students will line up on the 100-level, which is the middle-level of the building.
    • Masters students will line up on the 200-level, which is the top-level of the building.


Doctoral Academic Attire:

  • Doctoral graduates are required to wear the official Iowa State University doctorate regalia (i.e., Doctoral gown, Doctoral hood, and Doctoral tam). The tassel should be worn on the left side.
  • Graduates are not allowed to enter Hilton Coliseum with anything that would obstruct others’ enjoyment of the celebration.
  • Celebratory caps and adornments are welcomed and should be respectful.
  • Hoods:
    • The Office of the Registrar will provide each doctoral candidate with a doctoral hood to use during the ceremony.
      • If you use one of the doctoral hoods provided by the Office of the Registrar during the ceremony, you will need to return the hood to the Office of the Registrar staff on stage immediately after the ceremony. Failure to do so will result in a charge to your U-Bill of $180.00 for the replacement costs of the hood.
      • If you will be bringing your own doctoral hood or would like to borrow your hood after the ceremony, please contact Abbie Suntken in the Office of the Registrar via e-mail at before 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8th, 2024.
  • The deadline to rent doctoral regalia from the Iowa State Bookstore is APRIL 12, 2024. THIS IS A FIRM DEADLINE. NO EXCEPTIONS.


Master's Academic Attire:

  • Graduates are required to wear a master's gown, a master's hood, a black cap, and a black tassel (tassel should be worn on the left side). Attire can be purchased through the Iowa State University Bookstore, located in the Memorial Union, and through their website:
  • Students are encouraged to wear their adornments (cords, medallions, etc.)
  • Graduates who are a member of the United States Armed Forces are welcome to wear uniforms.
  • Graduates who need to wear specific attire for religious or cultural purposes (e.g., hijab, etc.) are welcome to do so.
  • Graduates are not allowed to enter Hilton Coliseum with anything that would obstruct others’ enjoyment of the celebration.
  • Celebratory caps and adornments are welcomed and should be respectful.



  • Graduates needing special assistance (e.g., wheelchair seating, sign language interpreter, captioning services, service animals, etc.) prior to, or during, the ceremony should contact Michelle Becker,, by May 7th.
  • Special accommodation seating will be available on a first come, first served basis.
  • Handicap parking is available in lot C2.
  • Guests needing a handicap accessible entrance and/or elevator should utilize Hilton Coliseum’s west entrance, located under the catwalk between Scheman and Hilton.
  • Guests needing a wheelchair and/or scooter will need to supply their own or work with outside vendors to secure a wheelchair and/or scooter. Hilton Coliseum does not have any to rent or loan.
  • A sign language interpreter will be available.


Ceremony Process:

  • After check-in, graduates will proceed to the line-up area.
  • Please complete the photography portion of the card you were given at check-in prior to the start of the ceremony. 
  • During the ceremony, graduates will be led to the photography area and then led across the stage by a Faculty Marshal. Photographers will use a flash when taking photos
  • After crossing the stage, graduates will be led back to their original seats. 


Diploma Tubes:

  • The President or Provost will hand you a diploma tube on stage during the ceremony.