Understand the difference between graduation and commencement.

Graduation is the actual awarding of degrees. Upon certification of satisfactory completion of all degree requirements, the students’ degrees are awarded and added to their official academic records. The date of degree conferral is the official graduation date for that term, and is the date that appears on the students’ diplomas and transcripts. Official diplomas are mailed to students following degree conferral and once all financial obligations to the university have been cleared.

Commencement is a ceremonial exercise. Once students are eligible to graduate in a specific semester they may participate in a commencement ceremony. Commencement gives the students the opportunity to be recognized for their accomplishments by their families, friends and the university community. Participation in commencement, however, does not guarantee a student’s graduation and official diplomas are not awarded at the ceremony.

Remember to apply to graduate.

Visit the Graduation Office for details on how to apply.

Don’t forget your tickets.

Tickets are required for guests to attend the Ph.D. Commencement and Hooding Ceremony in the Rialto Center for the Arts (Date TBD).

Don’t bring food, drink, balloons or noisemakers.

These items are not permitted.

Leave purses, coats and other belongings with your guests or at home.

Students and faculty will not be able to check coats or purses.  You will have to carry anything you bring or leave it unattended.

Remember your camera.

Parents and guests will have the opportunity to photograph and videotape their graduate from their seats.  Professional photographs will be taken of each Ph.D. candidate and a proof of the photograph will be sent to the candidate’s home address as it is listed through the Graduation Office.

Understand commencement etiquette.

While recognizing that commencement is truly a celebration for graduates, it is important for parents, guests and students to acknowledge that it is a formal academic ceremony to be conducted with respect and dignity. Please turn off all cell phones during the ceremony and remain seated for the duration of the ceremony.