Information for Seniors

Preparations for Commencement

There is no pre-Commencement rehearsal for students. When you pick up your cap and gown, you will receive a handout containing important information about the assembly area, gate assignments, seating locations, and related matters.

Commencement Day Instructions

On Commencement Day, Friday, May 11, you must arrive at Yellow Lot #11 (north of the football stadium) no later than 3:00 p.m., with your cap and gown. Once at Yellow Lot #11, graduates should follow the posted signs to the designated area for their school or college. 

Commencement gives us the opportunity to celebrate our graduates and welcome thousands of guests to our campus.  Our security protocols are in place to ensurethe convenience and safety of our visitors and our campus community. Metal detectors will be in place at the entrance to Mullins Center and McGuirkAlumni Stadium. Guests are advised to pack lightly for the day because all items taken into either venue are subject to search—the less you are carrying, the more quickly your party will be able to proceed through security.  It will be helpful to discuss security measures with the members of your party ahead of time so everyone is aware of what to expect. Although you can expect security measures to take a little time at your point of entry, our staff will be there to welcome you!

Backpacks or purses will not be allowed in the stadium and will be subject to search.Small clutches will be permitted with a visual search by security. Commencement marshals will line up students for the processional and escort them onto the field. The ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m. and will end at approximately 6 p.m. Students who have not yet obtained caps and gowns may do so in Yellow Lot #11 after 3 p.m. 

Visit the Senior Recognition Ceremonies page for more details regarding those ceremonies.

Diplomas are not distributed during the Friday & Saturday ceremonies, they will be mailed post-Commencement. To ensure the delivery of diplomas, all graduates should check SPIRE to make certain that their diploma mailing address is accurately recorded. Diplomas are usually mailed by the end of the summer. Questions regarding diplomas should be addressed to: Registrar’s Office, 213 Whitmore Administration Building, 413-545-0555.

Graduation Eligibility
A student’s year of graduation is established by the Registrar’s Office. To be eligible to participate in the May 2018 Commencement ceremony, students must have fulfilled all requirements by the time of the ceremony or be scheduled to do so by September 2018. Students scheduled for February 2019 graduation who wish to attend the May 2018 ceremony must file a “Petition to Participate in an Earlier Commencement” form, available at the Registrar’s Office in 213 Whitmore.

Commonwealth Honors College seniors are urged to meet with a Commonwealth Honors College advisor well before University Commencement, to confirm that they are fulfilling all requirements for graduating from Commonwealth Honors College. At the Commonwealth Honors College Convocation, “Celebration of Excellence,” on Friday, May 11, 2018, at the Mullins Center, the Dean of each college will present each graduating Commonwealth Honors College senior with a gold stole to be worn at the University Commencement later the same day.

Commencement Program Listings
Because of publication deadlines, the names of students added to the graduation list and the names of those who petition to participate in an earlier Commencement received after March 30, 2018, will not appear in the Commencement Program.  A program addendum will be printed after Commencement to include names of 2018 graduates not included in the program that were received after the deadline.  The form to have the addendum mailed post-Commencement is available at the Registrar’s Office, 213 Whitmore. Students who have a full-privacy request on file but wish to have their names printed in the Commencement program must so notify the Dean of Students Office no later than the close of business on March 1, 2018. Those who fail to do so will not be listed.

Visa Letter Request
The Office of External Relations and University Events will provide students seeking letters of invitation for family living abroad to attend Commencement Ceremonies. This letter simply states the name of the graduate, major, commencement dates and relationship to the guest seeking the invitation. It is not an official government document. Complete the Visa Request Form. Our office will complete the letter within one week of receipt and email the graduate when the letter or letters are available for pickup.  Please note, it is the responsibility of the graduate to mail the letters to the appropriate Embassy.