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Commencement Day Instructions

Please review all information carefully and share with your guests.  

Instructions for graduates 

Prior to arriving at the ceremony

  • All eligible graduates will receive a commencement invitation via email prior to the ceremony.  All graduates planning to attend commencement must complete the RSVP included in the invitation by Monday, April 8, 2024.  
  • Reserve your commencement tickets. See the commencement tickets page for information. 
  • Purchase your cap and gown.  See the cap and gown page for more information
  • Sign up for commencement reminders and updates by texting cmichgrad to 77295 (parking updates, emergency messages, etc.)  Standard text message rates apply.
  • Forward your electronic tickets to your guests or print for your guests to bring with them. Tickets will be released to your account on Monday, April 29, 2024. See the Commencement Tickets page for more information.

Arriving at the ceremony

  • Graduates should arrive to the Large Sports Forum of the Student Activity Center (SAC) one hour prior to their ceremony start time to register and line up for the processional.
  • Graduates should park or be dropped off in lot 62, enter the main entrance of the Student Activity Center (SAC) and report to Graduate Registration, located in the Large Sports Forum in the lower level of the SAC. 
  • The graduate processional will depart the Large Sports Forum approximately 10 minutes prior to the ceremony start time.
  • Leave personal belongings at home or with your guests. There will not be a secure area to store personal items during the ceremony.
  • Go to the appropriate "name card" table and tell the attendant your name. You will receive a partially pre-printed card that is used by the reader to announce your name to the audience and by the professional photographer. If needed, write your name phonetically at the top of the card. 
  • Line up in the designated area. You may sit with a graduating friend by lining up in front of or behind your friend (not beside). 
    • Please note: Doctoral graduates will be lined up based on their degree and hooding faculty member. Marshals will assist in lining doctoral graduates up in the correct order.

Graduate name announcements and stage-crossing protocols  

  • Graduates will cross an ADA-compliant ramp as their name is called.
  • Graduates will pause as they are crossing the stage for a formal photo with the president. 
  • An individual photo will be taken as the graduate exits the ramp before returning to their seat.
  • Graduates will return to their seats after their individual photo is taken.
  • At the completion of the ceremony, graduates will recess out of the arena at the direction of the marshals and return to the Large Sports Forum to meet their families.

Instructions for guests  

Prior to arriving at the ceremony

  • Sign up for commencement reminders and updates by texting cmichgrad to 77295 (parking updates, emergency messages, etc.) Standard text message rates apply.
  • Download tickets from your graduate or print tickets to be scanned as you enter. See the Commencement Tickets page for more information.  

Arriving at the ceremony  

  • Doors will open to McGuirk Arena approximately one hour prior to the ceremony.
  • Parking for guests is available in lots 62 east and 62 west. 
  • Prior to entering, all guests will be required to have their bags checked for prohibited items. Prohibited items include noisemaking devices (bells, horns, whistles, etc.), helium balloons, outside food and beverage, tobacco products and e-cigarettes, lighters, alcoholic beverages, pepper spray, illegal substances, and weapons.

    Driving directions and parking 

    Graduate and guest parking is available in lots 62 east and 62 west. Shuttles will be moving throughout the lots to assist in getting guests to the gates.

    Accommodations for persons with disabilities  

    Guests who require ADA seating should arrive one hour prior to the ceremony. Special tickets are not required for ADA seating. Handicap parking spaces are available in lot 62 west.  A shuttle will move throughout the lot to pick guests up and take them to the main entrance of the arena.  Ushers at the main entrance will assist guests who require ADA accommodations.  Each ADA seat will have one companion seat for a guest. Remaining members of the party will be seated nearby, if possible.  

    Live captioning of the ceremonies can be viewed on your phone or tablet.  

    Live Captioning


    Diplomas are not distributed during the commencement ceremonies.  Diplomas are mailed after your degree has been posted to your transcript. Check the Graduation table in Degree Progress and look for the application status of "Degree Awarded" to know if your degree has been posted to your transcript. Graduates with unpaid financial obligations may have a hold placed on their diploma and transcript until the debt is resolved. Your diploma will list your name as it appears on your application for graduation, degree title, major and applicable honors (undergraduate honors only).  For more information regarding your diploma, please see the Registrar’s Office website


    A professional photographer will take photographs of all graduates.  Proofs of the two photos will be emailed to the address on record with the university. Purchase information will be included with the proof.  

    View photos


    Commencement Flowers will be onsite for guests who are interested in purchasing flowers for their graduates.  Guests are encouraged to take advantage of the online pre-order option. To retrieve your order, guests should stop by the Commencement Flowers booth located inside the Events Center.  

    All information is subject to change. Please check back to this website periodically for the most up-to-date information.