Commencement Day Instructions

Instructions for Graduates

Graduates must report to Graduate Registration  (located in the Large Sports Forum of the Student Activity Center) no later than one hour prior to their ceremony time. Graduate arrival and processional start times are listed below for each ceremony. 

​Graduate Arrival Time
​Processional Start Time
​Ceremony Start Time
8:00 a.m.
8:45 a.m.
9:00 a.m.
​12:30 p.m.
​1:15 p.m.
​1:30 p.m.
​5:00 p.m.
​5:45 p.m.
6:00 p.m.

Upon arrival, graduates should immediately 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 readers to announce your name to the audience and by the professional photographer. If needed, write your name phonetically at the top of the card. After receiving your name card, look for your degree sign. You may sit with a graduating friend by lining up in front of or behind your friend (not beside) if you both are receiving the same degree. Graduates must be lined up by the processional start time listed above. Please leave personal belongings with your guests.

Instructions for Guests

McGuirk Arena Seating

Guests with tickets to McGuirk Arena should enter the John G. Kulhavi Events Center main entrance. Doors will open to the arena approximately one hour prior to the ceremony. The graduate processional will begin 15 minutes prior to the ceremony start time. Once the graduate processional begins, guests may not be able to enter the arena until after all graduates are seated. Tickets are for general admission and are required for seating in the arena. Tickets and seating are not guaranteed and are on a first-come first-served basis. All individuals must be in a valid seat; those who block the aisles or stairs will be instructed to move. Following the ceremony, guests must remain in their seats until all graduates have exited the arena. Guests can meet their graduates in the Student Activity Center (SAC) main hallway or outside.

Simulcast Room Seating

Guests viewing the ceremony from the Simulcast Room should enter through the main doors of the Student Activity Center (SAC). The Simulcast Room is located in the Small Sports Forum in the lower level of the SAC. An elevator is located in the SAC's main concourse. Tickets are not required for seating in the Simulcast Room. Following the ceremony, guests can meet their graduates in the SAC main hallway or outside.

Driving Directions

For driving directions to the John G. Kulhavi Events Center, please click here. If using a GPS or online mapping site, enter 360 E. Broomfield Rd., Mount Pleasant, MI 48859.


Graduates and guests may park free of charge in lots 62, 63 and 64. No parking permit is required. Graduates and guests should plan 10-15 minutes to walk from the parking lots to the Events Center. Shuttles will be available to assist guests parked in lots 63 and 64. A map can be viewed by clicking here.

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

Handicapped parking spaces are available in Lot 62W, located east of the Events Center. A handicapped license plate or hangtag is required to use these spaces. Limited seating is available for guests with disabilities, therefore guests who require ADA seating should arrive at least one-hour prior to the ceremony. ADA seating will allow for one companion to sit next to them. Other members in the party will be seated nearby, if possible. Special tickets are not required for ADA seating. American Sign Language interpreters will be present at all ceremonies. For additional information or questions regarding accommodations for persons with disabilities, please contact University Recreation at (989) 774-1097.


Diplomas are not distributed during the commencement ceremonies. Students who are eligible for diplomas receive them by mail. Following the graduation date and upon the successful completion of all remaining degree requirements, diplomas will be mailed to the permanent address on record over a eight to ten week period. If graduates need to change their address, they must complete a change of address request through CentralLink at least two weeks prior to the graduation date. Graduates who have an outstanding debt to the university will receive their diploma, but final transcripts are not released until the obligation is paid.


Commencement programs will be available for graduates as they line up for the processional. Programs are available for guests at the arena entrances. Any student who does not attend the commencement ceremony and wants a program mailed to them must notify the Ceremonies and Events Coordinator at 989-774-7392 or


A professional photographer will take photographs of all graduates. A proof of the photo will be mailed to the address on record with the university. Purchase information is included with the proof. If you choose to take your own photos during the ceremony please be courteous of those around you and do not block other’s view of the ceremony.


Commencement Flowers will have a stand set up outside the ceremony for guests who are interested in purchasing flowers for graduates. Orders can also be placed online prior to the ceremony at Ordering online guarantees your selection of color/size. Online orders are available for pick up on site the day of commencement.       

Ceremonial Behavior and Protocol

Commencement is an exciting and memorable day for all graduates and their guests, but it is also a solemn one. Graduates and guests are expected to remain for the entire ceremony. Leaving before the ceremony has ended is disruptive and disrespectful to others. The last graduate to cross the stage should expect to receive the same honor as the first. Please show consideration for all graduates by remaining seated until the conclusion of the ceremony.

During the ceremony, graduates and guests should refrain from excessive talking, cheering, use of noisemakers, and any other distractions that take away from the dignity of the ceremony. In addition, electronic devices should be set to vibrate, silent or off. Graduates and guests who are disruptive will be escorted from the ceremony.

Graduates may not carry food or beverages into the ceremony. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted and will be confiscated.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, all guests must remain in their seats until the platform party and all graduates have exited the ceremony. Guests can meet their graduates in the SAC main hallway or outside.

Facility Protocol

CMU strives to create a safe and enjoyable environment for the commencement ceremonies, therefore bag checks will be conducted at all facility entrances. The following items are not permitted in the John G. Kulhavi Events Center: noisemaking devices (bells, horns, whistles, etc.), helium balloons, outside food or beverage, tobacco products and e-cigarettes, lighters, alcoholic beverages, pepper spray, illegal substances, and weapons.

Children Attending Commencement

All children over the age of two (2) require a ticket for seating in McGuirk Arena. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times. Central Michigan University will not be held responsible for the safety of children left unattended.

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