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Frequently Asked Questions - Families & Guests
- What is the difference between graduation and commencement?
- Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements in order to be awarded an academic degree and receive a printed diploma. Commencement is the symbolic ceremony at which the graduation is publicly acknowledged and celebrated. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not equate to graduating.
- How do I know if my student is on the graduation list?
- You will need to ask your student. Federal law prohibits releasing student information to anyone but the student.
- Is there anything I can do to help the graduation process?
- Encourage your student to meet with his/her academic advisor early in the process to ensure that all requirements and deadlines are met.
- When and where is the commencement ceremony?
- The commencement ceremony is always held in the Ted Constant Convocation Center. The date and time of the next ceremony is listed at the top of each page on this site. Other known future dates can be found at Future Commencement Dates.
- Do I need a ticket to attend commencement?
- Yes. Every guest entering the Constant Center must have a ticket.
- How do I get tickets?
- Tickets are only distributed to qualifying graduating students. You must get your guest ticket from your graduating student.
- How many tickets do I get?
- That is at the discretion of your graduating student. Each graduating student who meets the necessary deadlines is allotted a predetermined number of guest tickets. This number will vary from semester to semester.
- Can I pick up my student's tickets?
- Tickets are only distributed to the qualifying graduating student. If the student is unable to pick up his/her tickets during the distribution period, the student may send someone else to pick up the tickets. This person must have a copy of the student's photo ID, a signed note from the student giving that specific person permission to pick up the tickets, and his/her own photo ID. Ticket distribution staff will retain the signed note for records.
- I want to attend the ceremony, but my graduating student does not have enough tickets for me. What can I do?
- Auxilliary viewing is provided for guests without tickets. Auxilliary viewing is located in the multipurpose room of the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Guests should follow the signs to the designated entrance on 43rd Street. Guests in auxilliary viewing will see the processional enter the building (it enters through the multipurpose room) and then view the remainder of the ceremony on screen.
- Is there a reception?
- There is no university-wide reception prior to or following the ceremony. The graduating student's academic college may host a reception. Check the Schedule of Activities for details.
- How long is the ceremony?
- The full ceremony generally lasts approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If you are making plans for after the ceremony, please remember to factor in time to leave the Constant Center and exit the parking garage.
- Will I have an opportunity to take photographs?
- We welcome guests to take photos and/or videotape the ceremony. We ask that you do not disrupt the ceremony by taking photographs at inappropriate times and locations and that you exercise restraint, particularly during the processional.
- What time should I arrive?
- We ask that guests arrive and be seated by 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Constant Center doors will open 60 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. If you are providing transportation for your graduating student, please remember that he/she is required to be at the registration and robing area no later than 75 minutes before the ceremony start time.
- What if I need special accommodations?
- Please refer to Special Needs Accommodations. Please note that the Constant Center cannot provide wheelchairs.
- Will there be an interpreter for the hearing impaired?
- Yes. A sign language interpreter will be located on the stage.
- Can I walk alongside my graduating student?
- No. Only graduating students may walk in the processional and be seated on the arena floor. All guests must be seated in guest seating with a ticket.
- What is appropriate dress for the commencement ceremony?
- Men traditionally wear a collared shirt, khakis or dress slacks, and dress shoes. Women traditionally wear a dress or skirt and blouse and dress shoes. Please remember that seating is arena-style and that you will have to ascend/descend stairs to get to your seat.
- Will my graduating student's name be announced?
- Yes. When your graduating student registered to participate in the ceremony, he/she completed a form that asked for the pronunciation of his/her name. This will be on a pre-printed card that your graduating student will give to the reader just before walking across stage.
- Will my graduating student's name be printed in the commencement program?
- Yes, provided that he/she submitted the Application for Graduation to the Registrar's Office by the prescribed deadline.
- What is the size of the diploma?
- The diploma is displayed horizontally (landscape) at 14" x 11".
- What information will appear on the diploma?
- The student's name (as on file with the Registrar's Office), his/her degree (not the major), graduation date, University Seal, signature of the President and signature of the Rector.
- When will my graduating student get his/her diploma?
- Diplomas are mailed 6 to 8 weeks after graduation to the permanent (home) address on file with the Registrar's Office. May graduates' diplomas should arrive in late June/early July; August graduates' diplomas should arrive mid-October; December graduates' diplomas should arrive mid-February.