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If you're looking for information about any of the commencement ceremonies that happen on campus, you've come to the right place. Expand the sections below to learn more about specific event details, dates, and guides for student and guest attendees. Be sure to check back for updated information as new event dates are relased and promoted.

  • Ceremonies


    Winter Commencement
    Monday, December 18, 2017
    3 p.m.

    Greenspring Campus, Gymnasium

  • Commencement for Students

    How do I prepare for Commencement?
    To hear helpful tips and crucial information pertinent to your Commencement, check out our video that provides an overview of the entire rehearsal process for traditional students.

    What time do I need to arrive?
    Please report to Knot Hall, Room 101, about 45 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the ceremony.

    When should my guests arrive?
    Doors to the gym will open one hour before the start of the ceremony. Seating areas are not assigned, and are occupied on a first-come, first-served basis. Encourage your guests to arrive early!

    Will they start without me?
    YES, so don’t be late!

    Where do I go upon arrival?
    You should go to Knott Hall room 101. You will pick up your name card, and line up in order according to the number on your card. There will be SU staff and student marshals in Knott Hall to help with line up and arranging hoods etc.

    Why do we have name cards?
    You will give your name card to the dean of your school when you walk across the stage. The name cards also help keep everyone in the correct order for procession. Master’s students will process alphabetically by program. Bachelor’s students will process alphabetically by school. We put numbers on the cards to make it easy. Simply line up in numerical order. The colors of the name cards reflect the different schools.

    What should I bring with me to Knot Hall 101?
    Bring your cap with the tassel and gown with the hood. (Master’s students will receive the hood during the ceremony.) Please leave flowers, purses, coats, extra shoes or anything else that you might have with your guests.

    What do I wear under my gown?

    • Women – Dress (not longer than the gown) or dark pants, dress shoes or sandals (no flip flops). Have fun with the color of the dress shoes! Be careful that you don’t catch your shoes in the hem of your gown going up and down the stairs.
    • Men – Black or very dark dress pants and dress shoes – no tennis shoes or sandals. – A white dress shirt and tie look really nice against the gown.

    Can I wear anything on my graduation gown?
    You may wear only SU approved honor society pins, cords, or sashes. No corsages or other things should be worn. Questions may be directed to the honor society faculty sponsor.

    How do I wear the cap?
    Flat on your head – not perched on the back! Bachelor’s students: tassel is on the right and you will move it to the left after receiving your diploma. Master’s students: tassel is on the left and it stays on the left.

    May the cap be decorated?
    Cap decorations are permitted; however, they should not create a distraction from the ceremony. Keep the following guidelines in mind:

    • All decorations must lay flat on the cap. Nothing may dangle or hang down from the cap other than the tassel and nothing may extend vertically (which would block the view of people seated behind you).
    • Use common sense: offensive language, photos, graphic images etc. will not be permitted.
    • The University may require that you remove any embellishment deemed inappropriate by authorized University officials before you are permitted to participate in the ceremony.

    What about caps and the national anthem?

    • Men: Caps should be removed during the National Anthem and Moment of Reflection.
    • Women: leave caps on.

    What is the most important thing about my gown?
    Take it out of the package and hang it up before commencement day! If necessary, iron it.

    Will someone be around to help me get that hood on correctly?

    How do I order announcements and the cap & gown?
    For questions concerning cap & gown and other purchases, please contact the Campus Store.

    When do we enter the gym?
    Students will enter the gym in the line of procession. The line will be led by marshals. Pay attention to what the marshals are telling you to do. Remain standing until the entire audience is told to be seated.

    Why do we need marshals?
    The marshals are counting the number of people for each row – if they tell you to move down – do so! We have to trust their counting. Pay attention! This ceremony is being broadcast live and recorded - you want to look good.

    What are the marshals doing when it is time for the diplomas to be given?
    The marshals will raise each row. There will be a marshal on the end of each row. They will motion you to stand. Watch them! The entire row will file out and proceed to the stage. After you return to your row, please have a seat.

    Which way do we go?
    Do not leave your name card on your chair! Take it with you to hand to the Dean on stage. If you are sitting on the right side, you will exit your row to the right. If you are sitting on the left side, you will exit your row to the left. The first row on the left side curves around to the right side of the stage. Then each row will follow from the left side. Erica Gryctz will serve as traffic cop to keep the exiting row and returning row from crossing. If you are on the left side, watch her. When you return to your seat, please have a seat. Re-enter your row from the left and move all the way down to the next available seat. On the left side, you will not be returning to the same seat you had before you went on stage.

    When do we move across the stage?
    Give your name card to the dean of your school (or whoever is reading names) and move across the stage AFTER your name is read.

    What about school breaks?
    If a school break occurs in the middle of a row (the color of the cards change), the first person of the new school will pause at the stairs to allow a change of speaker.

    When the ceremony is over, how do we leave?
    The stage party and faculty will leave the gym first. Two marshals will lead you out. Two marshals will follow you out. After the first rows have exited, the next rows will file out on their own to the inside. Do not stop when you leave the gym. Go all the way out the side doors that you came in and continue up the steps. Make arrangements as to where you will meet your family. NOT DOWNSTAIRS!!! Cell phone service in the Greenspring campus is not reliable. Make a plan ahead of time with your guests where you will meet after the ceremony (upstairs, outside, theatre lobby, etc.)

    How long is the Commencement ceremony?
    Commencement ceremonies are approximately two hours.

    When is the reception?
    Light refreshments will be served immediately after the ceremony in the Manuszak Center (Student Union; upstairs from the gym).

    What are the options if I want more tickets?
    Participating graduates are being given as many tickets as possible. They are encouraged to ask other graduating friends and classmates for any extra tickets.

    Will there be an online viewing option?
    The ceremony will be broadcast live on the internet! The link will be available on the SU website. Friends and family, far and near, can share your special moment from anywhere they have internet access.

    What about pictures?
    Students should not take selfies on stage!  Guests may take personal photos/video from their seats.  Guests should not crowd the stage for photos. Professional photographers will be available to take individual pictures before the ceremony in the general vicinity of KH 101. Photos will also be taken during the ceremony including an action shot while receiving the diploma on stage and a posed shot after receiving the diploma and exiting the stage. Ordering information is available on their website or by calling 800-261-2576.

    What should I do with flowers that my family will give me, my purse, or my other personal belongings?
    Please leave flowers, purses, coats, and any personal belongings with your family.

    Does walking across the stage mean that I graduated?
    No. Participating in Commencement only means that you walked across the stage. Degrees are awarded only after all required courses are complete with minimum required credits and grades earned for all courses. If we have not received your final grades for all courses including internships and study abroad, or any outstanding transcripts from other colleges, then all requirements have not been met. You will be "graduated" once all final grades have been received and all University and program requirements are complete. Degrees are conferred in May, August, and December.

    How will I know that my degree has been awarded?
    In WebXpress, under “Academic Profile” tab, click on “My Profile” and scroll to the bottom of the page. Your degree information will appear in this section.

    When will I receive my diploma?
    Your diploma will be mailed the month following graduation, once all final grades have been received and all University and program requirements are complete. Diplomas are sent to the address listed on your application for graduation via standard U.S. mail.

    Do all of my guests need a ticket to attend commencement?
    All guests, including children and guests in wheelchairs, must have a ticket.

    Additional Ticket Information

    • Each graduating student participating in the ceremony on May 18, 2017 will receive five guest tickets.
    • All guests (including children and infants of any age) must have a ticket to enter the gym.
    • There are no extra tickets available. We anticipate the gym to be filled to the maximum capacity.
    • Overflow seating will be available in the Inscape Theatre where the ceremony will be broadcast live on the big screen. Overflow seating is available on a first-come first-served basis.
    • The ceremonies will be broadcast live online: Friends and family may watch the ceremony from anywhere they have internet access.

    What accommodations are made for handicapped seating?
    If you have a guest who is using a wheelchair, walker, or has special needs, please email Lisa C. Labrecque at .

  • Commencement for Guests

    For the safety and enjoyment of all graduates and guests, please review the following guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions.

    • Participating graduates will each be given tickets for guests.
    • Participating graduates are being given as many tickets as possible. Encourage additional friends and family to watch via the live broadcast on the SU website.
    • On Commencement day, please follow the directions of SU security and staff.
    • Be prepared to show your tickets to enter the Manuszak Center.
    • ALL guests, including children of any age, will need a ticket to enter.
    • Strollers are not permitted in the gym unless special accommodations have been requested.
    • Doors to the gym will open one hour before the start of the ceremony. Seating areas are not assigned and are occupied on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests are encouraged to arrive early.
    • Guests should be seated in the gym at least fifteen minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.
    • When the procession begins, no one will be allowed to enter the Manuszak Center until the procession is complete; therefore, guests should be seated at least fifteen minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Guests arriving late may enter the gymnasium after the procession is complete.
    • Please move to the center of your row when you are seated to allow room for other guests.
    • Please refrain from placing your feet or personal belongings on other seats.
    • We are rejoicing with you in your graduate’s academic success!  Applause and cheers are encouraged; however, should not interfere with hearing the name of each graduate being announced as they walk across the stage. 
    • Do not approach the stage for photos.  Professional photographers will be taking photos near the stage.  Guests may take personal photos/video while remaining in their seats so that the view of the stage is not obstructed and the aisles remain clear for our graduates.  Information about professional photos is available on their website or by calling 800-261-2576.
    • At the end of the ceremony please remain in the gymnasium until ALL of the graduates have exited. The stage party and faculty will leave the gym first, followed by the graduates. Guests will exit the gym last. 
    • Be aware that cell phone reception on the Greenspring campus is not reliable.  Prior to arriving on campus, make arrangements where you will meet your graduate at the end of the ceremony.  Suggested locations are upstairs either inside or outside.
    • When you exit the Manuszak Center do not stop just outside the gym or building doors.  Keep moving outside and up the stairs to your right. An elevator is available in the Manuszak Center just outside the gym exit if needed.
    • Since balloon bouquets can obstruct the view of the stage and cause distraction, they should remain in a vehicle until the conclusion of the ceremony.
    • Commencement ceremonies are approximately two hours.

    Thank you for your cooperation. It helps make this a special day for our graduates!


Have a question?

Office of the Registrar
1525 Greenspring Valley Road
Stevenson, MD 21153
Phone: 443-334-2206
Fax: 443-334-2623

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