Instructions for Class of 2020 Graduates

April 30, 2021

To Class of 2020 Graduates,

I know you have been anxiously awaiting information about Sunday’s Commencement ceremonies. Thank you for your patience!

After much deliberation, given the weather forecast for rain Sunday evening and heavy winds of 25-30 mph throughout the day, we have made the decision to hold all ceremonies inside the Shirk Center in the Activities Arena.  

This message provides information regarding the line-up for the Processional and a brief outline of the Ceremony itself.  

Please arrive at the Performance Gym / Basketball Arena at 5:30 p.m., one (1) hour prior to your ceremony.

Please be dressed in your academic cap and gown. You will assemble in the Performance Gym / Basketball Arena where President Nugent will briefly greet you. Following President Nugent’s greeting, we will announce instructions for lining up.  

Graduates will line up according to the following degrees, and there will be signs posted in the gym to indicate where the line-up starts for each degree:

  • B.S.N. for School of Nursing graduates
  • B.F.A. for Theatre Arts and Music Theatre
  • B.M. for Music
  • B.M.E. for Music Education
  • B.A. and B.S. for Liberal Arts

The line will need to “snake” up and down the length of the gym in an orderly way.  

Commencement programs and bottled water will be available. All will go well, if you just follow the person listed ahead of you in the program. 

At 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony, the Processional will begin.

  • Two (2) Faculty Marshals (David Marvin and Adriana Ponce) will lead the graduates from the Performance Gym / Basketball Arena into the indoor track to your seats, which will be set up around the track.         
  • Graduates will remain standing at their seats and face the center of the track to form a walkway for the Mace Bearer (Professor Rettich) and Platform Party (led by President Nugent and Provost Brodl) to walk past the graduates. 
  • Graduates remain standing while the Marshals lead the Faculty past you in a procession of honor. Please feel free to share greetings with Faculty as they pass.
  • Remain standing until the Invocation is completed. It is customary that men remove their caps during the Invocation.


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

  • Degrees will be recognized 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 Nugent will ask the group of students to rise and come forward to receive their diploma tubes. 
  • 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 them. You will walk up the stairs, give your name to the Reader (Provost Brodl or Associate Provost Roesner), and walk towards President Nugent at the front of the stage as your name is announced. 
  • Due to COVID safety precautions, there will be no shaking of hands. President Nugent will hand you your diploma tube. 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 friendship and hospitality to let you know you are always welcome back to your IWU home) before going down the right (east) steps where a third, posed photo will be taken. Your mask may be removed for this third photo, then please place it back on before returning to your seat.
  • Just a reminder since I know how excited you all will be to graduate--like all ceremonies, Commencement should be conducted with dignity and respect.  We ask that you not bring anything with you on stage.  While it may seem fun and even if you know there is no safety issue, things hidden under robes can be of concern to those in the audience.  


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 the same way you entered to go back to the Performance Gym. Please follow the Marshals all of the way back to the Performance Gym before meeting up with friends and family. This will prevent the Activities Arena from becoming blocked.  

If you have any questions, please contact me at or (309) 556-3780.  That phone transfers to my cell phone, so I may be reached at any time.

You may also find this information and all previous updates posted on our website at

We look forward to a great day on Sunday!