Instructions for Class of 2021 Graduates
April 30, 2021
To Graduating Seniors in the Class of 2021,
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 three
ceremonies inside the Shirk Center in the Activities Arena. (If you are not aware,
we are holding a 6:30 p.m. ceremony for the Class of 2020). I know this may not be
what you had hoped, but due to the complexity of the setup, we need to hold all three
ceremonies in the same location.
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 one (1) hour prior to your
- 9:30 a.m. for the 10:30 ceremony
- 2:00 p.m. for the 3:00 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 Art, 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, Adriana Ponce, or Carmela Ferradans) will
lead the graduates from the Performance Gym / Basketball Arena into the indoor track
to your seats, which will be set up in 2 rows around the track.
- Graduates will remain standing at their seats and face each other to form a walkway
for the Mace Bearer (Professor Lutze) 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.
CONFERRING OF DEGREES
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 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 Nugent 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (309) 556-3780. That phone transfers to my cell phone, so I may be reached at
You may also find this information and all previous updates posted on our website
We look forward to a great day on Sunday!