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HFA Senior Recognition Ceremony Information for Students



Information and reminders about the HFA Senior Recognition Ceremony will be sent regularly via e-mail to students on the registrar's list of those eligible to participate in graduation/commencement ceremonies. These are likely to begin in March and will continue through the week of graduation. Students should check their UMass e-mail regularly.

If you wish to receive a UMass commemorative medal, but are unable to attend the ceremony at which it would be presented, contact the University Events Office at commencement@umass.edu or by phone at (413) 577-1101 to ask that your medal be sent to you.

HFA Senior Recognition Ceremony

What, where & when

Friday, May 10, 2019 beginning promptly at 1:30 p.m.
Recreation Center upper level courts
161 Commonwealth Avenue, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003

Multiple majors

If you have majors in more than one department, you should choose between or from among them the single department with which you will march at the Senior Recognition Ceremony. We recommend your choice be guided according to the department with which you feel the greatest affinity. Since Senior Recognition Ceremony plans are made based on your primary major as recorded in the Registrar's Office, please be sure to let us know if you decide to participate with a different major.

Graduates may receive one commemorative medal for each degree earned (i.e. dual-degree not double or triple-majors).

What to wear

You will wear your cap and gown during the ceremony. The Recreation Center has air-conditioning, but keep in mind that the room will warm up with the large audience we have and more so if it is unseasonably warm outside or if the sun is shining.

Caps, gowns, and tassels (the cost of which has already been paid by your student fees) may be picked up at the Commencement Fair on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 in the Student Union Ballroom from 12:30-4:30 p.m. and during the week of Commencement in the Campus Center. On Commencement Day, May 12th, caps and gowns may be picked up after 3 p.m. in Lot 11 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

When to arrive

Students and faculty should arrive at the Recreation Center at 12:30 p.m.  Those participating in the Phi Beta Kappa ceremony (10:30 - 12:30 in the Campus Center Auditorium) should do their best to arrive as soon as possible after that ceremony ends.

When you arrive

Graduating students and faculty will assemble in rooms throughout the building by department. Your parents and guests should go directly to the gymnasium. Signs with that information will be posted throughout the building (look for brightly colored sheets of paper on doors/walls/pillars/windows).

In these meeting rooms, students will will pick up a card pre-printed with their name, department, and UMass e-mail. You may see an example of the card. This card serves several purposes:

1) it identifies you for the faculty member from your department who reads the names of each department’s graduates aloud. There is space to provide a phonetic pronunciation of your name to aid the reader if you think that would be helpful. More often than not, names are read by the department or program undergraduate program director.
2) it allows the professional photographers to match their photos of each student with their name. Be sure to fill in the information request on the card's reverse side you which includes an alternate e-mail address.  Remove and keep the lower portion of the card so you have the information you need to contact Ultimate Exposures, Inc. 

At the ceremony

Graduates will be directed to line up in the hallways beginning at 1:00 p.m. for the 1:30 p.m. start of the procession, by department, into the gymnasium where the ceremony will take. You do not need to be in alphabetical or any other particular order.  Once everyone is seated, the dean will speak briefly before commemorative medal distribution begins. (this diagram illustrates the steps outlined below)

  1. Graduates will exit the row in which they are sitting to the right and follow faculty members from their department around the back of the gym to the ramp that accesses the platform where the ceremony takes place. Afro-American Studies majors who walk from the front row of seats directly to the base of the ramp.  THIS WILL BE ORCHESTRATED BY ROWS and not by department or program. 
  2. The first graduate in line from each department/program should wait at the top of the ramp while the head or chair of their department and/or the director of their program speaks.
  3. When the department/program introduction is finished, each student will move along the OUTSIDE EDGE OF THE PLATFORM, place their reader card IN THE LEFT HAND OF the faculty member at the podium.
  4. Continue around the front of the podium as your name is read and across the platform to the table where the medals are being presented.
  5. Take the medal offered in your LEFT HAND and use your RIGHT HAND to shake the hand of the presenter.
  6. Proceed across the stage to shake hands with Dean Hayes and where you will momentarily turn and face the audience to be photographed.
  7. Continue across and leave the platform via another ramp. Continue a few more steps to the area where the photographers have their set to take another photo.
  8. Leave the "set" on the side away from the platform, continue around behind the photographer and back toward the front of the platform. Return to the graduate seating area via the center aisle (departments Afro-Am through English) or via the aisle nearest the cafe (departments History through WGSS). Be aware that you will not return to the seat you left.

If you are unable to attend the HFA Senior Recognition Ceremony

Contact the University Events Office via e-mail or call 413-577-1101 to ask to have your medal be sent to you .


Your diploma, which is officially conferred at Friday evening’s Commencement at McGuirk, will be mailed to you. To ensure its delivery, all graduates should to see if their mailing address is accurately recorded in SPIRE. 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.

Additional Senior Recognition Ceremony questions?

If you have questions, contact Lynne Latham via email or call 413-545-0378.

The Commencement Ceremony at McGuirk

The Class of 2019 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony will be held on Friday, May 10, 2019 beginning at 4:30 p.m., rain or shine, in McGuirk Alumni Stadium on the UMass Amherst campus. Detailed information is available on the UMass Amherst Commencement website.