Commencement Ceremony Instructions
May 9, 2015
GENERAL INFORMATION FOR UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE
Congratulations on earning your degree. We want your commencement to be a dignified and memorable event that you will remember with pride and joy. To help accomplish this, please familiarize yourself with these instructions as there is no rehearsal.
- Inclement weather and Hotline
Information about commencement will be available on Hotline (717) 477‑1200 beginning May 8, and will be updated as needed. Final information will be available by 7:00 a.m. May 9. Hotline, the university’s website, and the university’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, are the official sources of information about commencement.
In the event of inclement weather, commencement will be held in Heiges Field House in two separate ceremonies based on colleges. Graduates of the John L. Grove College of Business and the College of Education & Human Services will participate at 11:00 a.m. Graduates of the College of Arts & Sciences will participate at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are required for both indoor ceremonies.
In case of inclement weather, the decision to move indoors will be made as soon as possible, even as early as Friday, May 8. Individuals may call Hotline at
(717) 477-1200 about any possible changes due to weather. This information will also be posted on the university’s website and Facebook.
- Family and guest information
Tickets — No tickets are required for guests, and seating is first‑come, first-served basis for outdoors.
If the ceremony is moved indoors due to weather, tickets will be required. Each graduate will receive tickets for their guests and ONLY TICKET HOLDERS WILL BE PERMITTED INTO THE FIELD HOUSE.
The number of tickets each graduate receives will be determined and announced in late April based on the total number of graduates. Tickets will be distributed at the University Bookstore. Identification is required to pick up tickets and graduates must sign that they are in receipt of tickets. NO TICKETS WILL BE MAILED. Tickets do not guarantee a specific seat as seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
A “will-call” arrangement is available for graduates unable to visit the bookstore before May 9. Graduates should email
firstname.lastname@example.org requesting tickets be held in the graduate’s name for pick-up. If the graduate wishes to have a family member pick the tickets up, then that specific family members names must be indicated as well. Identification is needed.
Any graduate who does not need the all the allotted tickets are asked to only take what is needed and leave the extras at the bookstore. Extra tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first served basis to other graduates but will be limited to two.
- Parking —University Police and directional signs will direct your family and guests to parking areas.
- Guest admission — Gates at Seth Grove Stadium will open at 9:00 a.m. for guests. Please ask your guests to arrive and be seated by 10:30 a.m. Light refreshments will be available. The academic procession begins promptly at 11:00 a.m.; the ceremony ends at approximately 1:00 p.m.
- Guests with special needs — You should make arrangements for any of your guests with special needs by contacting Robin Maun by e-mail at
email@example.com by May 1. The note should include the guest’s name and the name of the one person who will sit with him or her. Please indicate if your guest will bring his or her own wheelchair, or uses a walker. An interpreter (signer) will be at the ceremony.
- University store — Store hours May 9 are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Photographs — Family and guests are not allowed to approach the stage to photograph graduates. A roster with your name and address will be sent to Gradimages. Their photographer will photograph you as you receive congratulations from President Harpster.
The firm will contact you regarding your interest in purchasing photos. The firm’s website is
- Cap and gown — Only academic regalia approved by the Commencement Committee may be worn by graduates. Inappropriate decorations on caps and gowns must be removed prior to the ceremony. Members of academic honor societies may wear the appropriate cord or medallion as provided by their society.
- Alcohol — Possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Beverages will be confiscated and violators will be evicted from the facility. GRADUATES WHO APPEAR INTOXICATED WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE.
CHECK-IN, ROBING AND ASSEMBLY
- Special assistance — Graduates who need special assistance to participate in the ceremony are asked to call (717) 477-1202 or send an e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, May 1.
- Check-in — Report to the check‑in desk in the ShipRec before 9:30 a.m. and pick up your name card. This card assigns you to a place in the procession and a seat based on your college. During the ceremony you will hand the card to the announcer, who will read your name.
- Assembly/robing — Please follow the directional signs designated for your specific college.
- Restrooms — Restrooms are located under the grandstand with entrances at either end. You cannot access the restrooms from the middle entrance.
- Valuables — You are responsible for your valuables; leave them at home or with a relative or friend. The university is not responsible for lost, stolen or misplaced items.
- Tassels — Position your tassel on the right side of your mortarboard. You will be instructed to shift it to the left side during the ceremony.
- Line‑up — Follow the instructions of the class marshals, who will assist you in lining up according to the letter “A” or “B” and the number on your name card. Your position is alphabetical by college.
- 10:40 a.m. — Class marshals will lead the two columns out of the ShipRec to the stadium. The columns will move in different directions at varying speeds when you enter the field. Please pay careful attention to your proper position and spacing.
- 11:00 a.m. — The marshal carrying the mace will lead the procession onto the field followed by members of the 50-year class, graduates, faculty, academic and administrative leaders, and the platform party.
- Seating — The class marshals will lead you onto the field and direct you to your seats. Move into your row and fill all seats. Please be seated as soon as you enter the row. Gentlemen, remove your mortarboards during the national anthem, invocation, alma mater, and benediction. Students with white cards will be in Column A and students with blue cards will be in Column B. Column A will be the Grove College of Business and the College of Education and Human Services graduates. Column B will be the College of Arts and Sciences graduates.
CONFERRING OF DEGREES
At a certain point in the ceremony, you will be asked to stand and be presented to President Harpster who will confer your degree. When the president finishes saying “. . .with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities pertaining thereto,” he will instruct you to move your tassel from the right side to the left side of your mortarboard. You then will be asked to sit and await instructions from the class marshals.
Awarding of Degrees — On cue from the class marshal, rise and move into the center aisle. When released by the class marshal, move to the announcer and present your NAME CARD. Next, move to the dean to receive your diploma cover and then to President Harpster, where a handshake is extended and a photograph taken. Return to your seat and sit down immediately. Please follow the directions of the class marshals carefully.
GRADUATES ARE TO REMAIN IN THEIR SEATS FOR THE ENTIRE PROGRAM
Following the benediction, the platform party, dignitaries, and faculty will leave the field in the recessional. After they have cleared the aisle, the class marshals will release you without a recessional. This ends the ceremony.
Should you have any questions concerning participation in the ceremony, please contact Robin Maun, Commencement Committee chair, at (717) 477-1302 or via e-mail at