Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between a college, school or department convocation and the university-wide commencement ceremony?

A: Convocations hosted by colleges, schools and departments provide the occasion at which degree candidates are recognized individually. Forms of recognition vary depending upon the college, school or department. For example, at the graduate school convocations, doctor's and master's students are hooded ceremonially. Most convocations include degree candidates' names being read aloud as they cross the stage and shake hands with their dean or department chairperson.

The university-wide commencement ceremony takes place following all of the convocations and is the culmination of Commencement weekend. Degree candidates from every college and school are eligible to participate. At this ceremony, students are recognized with others from their college or school as a group rather than individually. The ceremony takes place in front of the Tower and includes a distinguished speaker, conferring of degrees by the president and the traditional lighting of the Tower in orange to honor graduates. The celebration concludes with a fireworks display.

Q: Are there accommodations for guests with disabilities?

A: Special services are available to accommodate needs of guests with disabilities who will be attending college and school convocations as well as the university-wide commencement ceremony. Consult the Disability Services page of this site for further details.

College & School Convocations

Q: Do I need tickets to attend a convocation ceremony?

A: Tickets are not required for the majority of college, school and departmental convocations; however, some convocations do require tickets due to limited seating. Visit the Tickets page to see if your convocation requires tickets; if so, students will be notified with further instructions on how to acquire them.

Q: Is there a limit on the number of guests a candidate can bring to the convocation?

A: There are no limits on the number of guests a degree candidate may bring to any of the convocations except for those that require tickets for admission. However, seating is not guaranteed and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Q: Will there be a photographer taking pictures of candidates as they walk across the stage? How do I order copies of those photos?

A: The university has an exclusive arrangement with Flash Photography to provide professional photography services for all convocation ceremonies. Flash will have photographers to take photos of all degree candidates as they cross the stage at all convocations. Graduates will receive information from the vendor in each location detailing the process for obtaining photos. Contact your representative for details.

University-wide Ceremony

Q: Do I need tickets for the university-wide commencement ceremony?

A: No. There are no tickets required for guests attending the university-wide commencement ceremony.

Q: Is there a limit on the number of guests per graduate who can attend the university-wide commencement ceremony?

A: Seating for the university-wide commencement ceremony is limited, but there are no restrictions on the number of seats available to each graduate.  At 5 p.m., admission to the Main, South and East Malls will be on a first-come, first-served basis so that everyone planning to attend the ceremony will have an equal opportunity to access availabile seating. For this reason, it is not possible to save seats. Standing in aisles will not be allowed.  Once general outdoor seating becomes full, guests will be directed to available remote viewing locations. 

Q: I want to take a picture of my graduate as he/she processes. Where should I sit?

A: To maintain crowd safety, guests will not be allowed to crowd or block the aisleways at any time during the ceremony, including the procession. Due to the procession route, there is no location accessible to guests that would enable close-up photos of their graduate during the procession.

Graduates and their families are welcome to take photos in one of the scenic locations around the commencement site prior to 7:30 p.m. or following the ceremony. These locations include the steps of Inner Campus Drive, the Littlefield Fountain and the East Mall Fountain.

Limited access to the stage area will be available following the ceremony. Graduates wishing to access the stage to take a photo should gather on the east corner of the stage. To maintain a safe environment for graduates posing on-stage, ushers and university police officers will regulate the flow of graduates onto and off the stage.