Graduate Commencement Ceremony Instructions

Information for Master's Candidates and Their Guests

Date, Time, and Location:

  • Thursday, May 3, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum.
  • It is anticipated that the ceremony will be approximately two hours in length (i.e., 7:00-9:00 p.m.).



  • Tickets are NOT required to attend the Graduate Commencement Ceremony.

Doors Open:

  • The doors to Hilton Coliseum will open two hours in advance of the ceremony at 5:00 p.m.


  • Light concessions (i.e., soda, water, popcorn, hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, and cookie cups) will be available for sale at the southeast corner of Hilton Coliseum.


  • Students/candidates can have an unlimited number of guests attend.
  • Seating for guests is on a first come, first served basis.
  • Guests in need of special accommodation seating (e.g., wheelchair seating, limited step seating, etc.) should locate an usher upon arrival in the seating area.

Special Accommodations/Accessibility:

  • Parking and Drop-Off/Pick-Up:
    • Handicap parking is available in the C-1/C-2 parking lots.
    • Guests can be dropped-off and picked-up at the lower west entrance of Hilton Coliseum (underneath the catwalk between Scheman and Hilton).
  • Guests:
    • Special accommodation seating will be available on a first come, first served basis. Guests in need of special accommodation seating (e.g., wheelchair seating, limited step seating, etc.) should locate an usher upon arrival in the seating area.
    • For convenience, an elevator is located immediately inside the doors of the lower west entrance to Hilton Coliseum.
  • Students/Candidates:
    • Students/candidates needing special assistance (e.g., wheelchair seating, sign language interpreter, captioning services, service animals, etc.) prior to, or during, the ceremony should contact Jennifer Suchan by e-mail at
  • Notes:
    • A sign language interpreter will be located on a platform in front of the stage on the south side.
    • Captioning will be available on the lower portion of the jumbotron.

Academic Attire (i.e., Caps, Tassels, Gowns, and Hoods):

  • Students/candidates are required to wear: A black cap, a master's gown, a master's degree hood, and a black tassel.
  • Academic attire can be purchased from the University Bookstore in the Memorial Union or via their website (
  • Notes:
    • Students who are being commissioned as an officer through the ROTC programs are welcome to wear their uniform.
    • Students who need to wear specific attire for religious or cultural purposes (e.g., hijabs, etc.) are welcome to do so.

Arrival Time and Line-Up Location:

  • Time:
    • Students/candidates should arrive to their line-up area at 6:00 p.m.
  • Line-up Location:
    • Northwest corner of Hilton Coliseum (top-level concourse).
    • Go directly to your line-up area and check in with the volunteer staff, at which time you will receive your Reader Card.
  • Notes:
    • Do not take a Commencement Program; one will be provided for you on your chair.
    • Leave purses, coats, and other valuables with family or friends since there will be no secure place in the line-up area to leave them during the ceremony.


  • Students/candidates will be led by Faculty Marshals from the northwest corner of Hilton Coliseum, down the west stairs, to their seats on the arena floor.
  • Students will process in two lines of pairs, and will enter the arena floor from the West End Tunnel.


  • Students/candidates will have two pictures taken at the ceremony:
    • (1) A staged photo holding a diploma cover before walking across stage; and
    • (2) A candid photo shaking hands with the president or provost while on the stage.
  • All photographs taken at the Graduate Commencement Ceremony will be posted on the Flash Photography website (
  • Students/candidates will receive information via e-mail from Flash Photography as to how they can purchase their photographs.
  • Questions regarding photography should be directed at Flash Photography (


  • Students/candidates are asked to remain standing at the end of the ceremony until the platform party recessional has concluded.
  • There will not be a recessional of the graduates.
  • Family and friends are welcome to come to the arena floor following the recessional to greet their graduate(s) and to take photographs.


  • Diplomas will not be handed out during the ceremony.
  • Diplomas will be mailed to graduates on Friday, May 25.
  • Graduates wishing to pick up their diploma may come to the 200-level of the Enrollment Services Center on Thursday, May 24.
  • Students are able to update their diploma mailing address through AccessPlus (Student tab > Graduation > Diploma/Ceremony) through Tuesday, May 8, 2018. After this deadline, please contact the Graduation Office via e-mail at or via phone at (515) 294-1840.