To Graduating Seniors in the Class of 2018

From the President's Office, ext. 3151, ext. 3780 or e-mail

May 5, 2018

Please see this and additional updated information posted at


We hope you are looking forward to Commencement Day, Sunday, May 6, 2018


This year’s ceremony will be held INDOORS in the Activities Arena at the Shirk Center


This message provides information regarding the line-up for the Processional and a brief outline of the Ceremony itself. After much deliberation, including soliciting forecasts directly from three meteorologists, we have made the difficult decision to hold Commencement indoors at the Shirk Center. Given the possibility for severe weather, the comfort and safety of thousands of participants and spectators must be our paramount consideration. There are no storage spaces, so everything you bring will remain with you during the Ceremony.


PROCESSIONAL – Line up at 12:20 p.m. in the Practice Gym


Like all ceremonies, Commencement should be conducted with dignity and without confusion. We ask that you not bring anything with you on stage. Even if you know there is no safety issue, things hidden under robes can be of concern to those in the audience.


Coordination and instructions on Sunday, May 6 will come from the Senior Faculty Marshals—Professor Rebecca Roesner and Professor Zahia Drici. Other faculty will join them as Marshals for the day.

Student Marshals are Gus Castro ‘19 and Kayleigh Ruffolo ‘19, Junior Class Officers.


Line up for the Processional begins at ***12:20 p.m.*** and you must be dressed in your academic robe and cap. You will assemble in the Practice Gym where President Jensen will briefly greet you.

Following President Jensen’s greeting, Professor Roesner will announce instructions for lining up.


  1. Graduates receiving the following degrees will line up on the west side of the Practice Gym (side closer to the old weight room).



  • B.S.N. for School of Nursing graduates
  • B.F.A. for Art, Theatre Arts and Music Theatre
  • B.M. for Music
  • B.M.E. for Music Education
  • B.A. and B.S. for Liberal Arts with last names beginning A through He , alphabetically


Signs will be posted to indicate where the line-up starts for each DEGREE – B.S.N., B.F.A., B.M., B.M.E., B.A. and B.S. The line will need to “snake” up and down the length of the west side of the gym in an orderly way.


2. B.A. and B.S. Liberal Arts graduates with last names beginning Ho through Z alphabetically, will line up on the east side of the Practice Gym (side closer to the new addition). The line will need to “snake” up and down the length of the west side of the gym in an orderly way.




Commencement programs will be available, and the restrooms in the Shirk Center will be open from noon to 12:40 p.m. All will go well, if you just follow the person listed ahead of you in the program.


At 12:45 p.m., the Processional will begin.

  • Faculty Marshals will lead the graduates from the Practice Gym to the indoor track. Graduates who lined up on the west side of the gym will process around the west side of the track and graduates who lined up on the east side of the gym will process around the east side of the track.
  • The procession will stop when the marshals leading the lines of graduates reach the northeast and northwest corners of the track. Graduates will move to the outside of the track and face the audience. That provides a walkway so that the Mace Bearer (Professor Folse) and Platform Party (led by President Jensen and Provost Brodl) can walk past the graduates to the stage.
  • Graduates stand in place while the Marshals lead the Faculty past you in a procession of honor. Please feel free to share greetings with Faculty as they pass.
  • Marshals then lead the graduates up the center aisle and carefully count the graduates into their seats, 14 students to a row. Please move efficiently from the center aisle all the way down the row to your chair. And, please trust the Marshals’ counting even if the row appears overfull.
  • Remain standing until the Invocation is completed. It is customary that men remove their caps during the Invocation.




The Marshals and President Jensen will guide you through this step. Follow the person listed ahead of you in the program to remain in order.


  • Degrees are awarded in the order listed in the program: B.S.N., B.F.A., B.M., B.M.E., B.A. and B.S., and to each graduate in the alphabetic order you are lined up. For each degree, President Jensen will ask the group of students to rise, will confer the degree, and will then ask the graduates receiving that degree to come forward to receive their diplomas.
  • The Marshals will direct you to the left (west) side of the stage where your photograph will be taken by a professional photographer as you walk toward him. You will walk up the stairs, give your name to the Reader, and walk towards President Jensen at the front of the stage as your name is announced.
  • When you reach the President you shake his right hand and receive your diploma in your left hand. Look at the President as you receive your diploma—your photograph will be taken by the photographer.
  • Follow the graduate in front of you to the right (east) side of the stage and pat the cement pineapple (symbol of luck) before going down the right (east) steps where a third, posed photo will be taken.
  • Alumni will give you a pin and the Marshals will then direct your route back to your chair.
    • If by some chance you receive the wrong diploma tube, you can switch with the correct person or contact Registrar Leslie Betz after the ceremony.




After the ceremony ends, the Mace Bearer leads the Platform Party in the Recessional. The Marshals then direct the Faculty and finally the Graduates to leave the seating area row by row using the center aisle.

Please follow the Marshals all of the way back to the Performance Gym before meeting up with friends and family. This will prevent the aisles from becoming blocked. During the reception, faculty will be gathered to greet you and your family near signs listing the individual Department and School names (see the program for specific locations). Please look for the signs and visit with faculty before you depart.


Before 4pm, return your cap and gown, which the University has rented for you, to the Fort Natatorium Lobby of the Shirk Center by the swimming pool. You may keep your tassel.


A few of you have asked why hoods aren’t being worn this year. We decided to discontinue wearing hoods for two reasons: 1) most undergraduate institutions do not wear hoods for commencement; typically hoods are reserved for master and doctoral graduates, and 2) expense management - eliminating hoods saves the university 50% of our rental fee costs. We appreciate your understanding and are looking forward to a great day tomorrow!