Student Commencement Day Information

male and female pose outside of arena in cap and gown

What you need to know for graduation day.


Please arrive early. This will allow plenty of time for you to park, walk to the arena, and pass through security.

Lot 20 behind McKenzie Arena is dedicated Handicap Parking on a first-come-first-available basis. Overflow Handicap Parking is available in Lot 32 across the street from the Arena. The handicap lots fill quickly, so arrive early.

Campus Parking Lot Map →

Arena Gates 2 and 3 are available for handicap drop-off needs.

Lots 7 and 35 are reserved for Commencement Officials.

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Gates and Entrance to McKenzie Arena

Our goal is to offer a safe and pleasant experience at commencement.

All graduates and guests will be required to pass through metal detectors for entry into McKenzie Arena. Detectors will be positioned at all public entry gates.

All bags will be checked prior to entry. No backpacks or large bags will be allowed into the arena. Purses and diaper bags are allowed but will be checked prior to entry. You and your guests are encouraged to not bring bags if possible and bring only essential items, if necessary.

A Quick Pass entrance will be available at Gate 1 for guests who do not have bags to be checked.

These security measures can result in lines at peak times prior to commencement. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to pass through security in plenty of time for seating.

Mckenzie Arena and security policies →

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Commencement Day Etiquette

  • Report in a timely manner to your assigned Faculty Marshal.

  • Remain in your assigned area until the processional begins.

  • Follow the Marshal’s directions.

  • Your tassel is on the right until degrees are conferred.

  • Listen for directions to stand or to be seated.

  • Return to seat after walking across stage.

  • Remain for the entire ceremony.

  • Respect your peers and others in attendance.

  • Recess as directed through the rear of the seating area – continue down the hallway or outside – do not stop at rear of seating as others are continuing to recess.

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Arrival Time

Arrive at the McKenzie Arena, 1st floor, 45 minutes prior to start time.

You will line up in the designated area located on the first floor of the Arena. Graduate candidates and undergraduate candidates robe in separate rooms. Please watch for the posted signs to determine the appropriate room for you to use. Faculty marshals will be available with signs to indicate where the line for your college is forming.

Marshals will make a final check of graduation candidates approximately 20 minutes prior to start time. All graduates not in line at that time will be considered in absentia.  Names will be read only for those graduates participating in the ceremony.

Do not bring personal items to be left in the line-up areas, such as purses or bags. These areas are not secured during the graduation ceremony.

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Commencement Ceremony Process

Please hand your pronouncement card to the faculty secretary who will read your name as you ascend the stairs and cross the stage. You will shake hands with the dean of your college as you cross the stage. You will descend down the stairs at the middle of the platform and shake the Chancellor's hand. Afterwards, you will return to your seat on the Arena floor for the remainder of the ceremony.

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Disability (Special Needs) Accommodations

If you are a person with a disability requiring accommodations for this event, please visit the Access for Commencement Ceremonies page through the Disability Resource Center.

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Faculty Marshal Assignment List

Check here to determine the assistant marshal who will assist you in lining up for the processional. 

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Where do I line up on Commencement Day?

Click here to determine where you report to line up. The Faculty Marshal List will indicate which faculty marshal will have your name card and will assist you in lining up for the processional. Please keep your card with you, as you will hand it to the faculty secretary who will read your name once you ascend the stairs to the stage.

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The University has arranged for a professional photographer, through GradImages, to be present at the ceremony and capture the moment for each family. In addition to the picture with the Chancellor during the ceremony, GradImages photographers will also be circulating outside McKenzie Arena to capture additional candid photographs of our graduates with their loved ones after the ceremony. The GradImages staff will be wearing red vests, so they'll be highly visible and easy to locate.

Complimentary proofs will be mailed to your home within one week. Be sure to update your addresses in your MyMocsNet account. Images will also be posted online at the photographer's website and should be available to view within 48 hours. Inexpensive, quality enlargements may be requested online or by mail, phone, or FAX. See contact information below. If you do not receive the proof in the mail within two weeks, you may wish to inquire directly. Graduates are under no obligation to order any enlargements.

Learn more at or call (800) 261-2576.

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Other Questions

For other questions please review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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