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HFA Senior Recognition Ceremony Information for Students

POSTPONED - updated information will be posted when it becomes available


Information and reminders about the HFA Senior Recognition Ceremony will be sent regularly via e-mail to those who are eligible to participate in graduation/commencement ceremonies according to the registrar . These will 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 or by phone at (413) 577-1101 to arrange to have your medal sent to you.

HFA Senior Recognition Ceremony

Friday, May 8, 2020 beginning promptly at 1:00 p.m.
Recreation Center upper level courts
161 Commonwealth Avenue, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003

Multiple majors

HFA Senior Recognition Ceremony plans are made based on a student's primary major as recorded in the Registrar's OfficeIf you will graduate with more than one major, you need to choose one department with which you will participate in a Senior Recognition Ceremony.  Whether or not your majors are in the same college, you need to pick one.  We recommend your choice be guided according to the department to which you feel the greatest affinity.
Since our plans are made based on your primary major, please be sure to let us know if you decide to participate with a different major.

Multiple degrees

Graduates may receive one commemorative medal for each degree earned (i.e. dual-degree recipients, which is substantively different from those who complete multiple 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 and more so if it is unseasonably warm outside or if the sun is shining.  The building's temperature will be adjusted as needed, but you are best served by planning to add or subtract layers.

Caps, gowns, and tassels (the cost of which has already been paid by your student fees) may be picked up at the Undergraduate Commencement Fair on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium.  Beginning Monday, May 6, 2019 through Thursday, May 9th, they will also be available in the Campus Center, Room 165-69 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  
Caps and gowns may also be picked up after 3 p.m. on Commencement Day (May 10) in Lot 11 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

Tassel colors are based on your primary major. 

White - Humanities & Fine Arts
Brown - Bachelor of Fine Arts
Pink - Bachelor of Music

When to arrive

Students should arrive at the Recreation Center at 12:00 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.  Graduates will begin to line up at 12:20 p.m. and it is important for you to have your completed reader card with you.

When you arrive

Graduating students and faculty will assemble in rooms throughout the building by department.  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. Names are generally read by the undergraduate program director or department chair.
2) it allows the professional photographers to match their photos to your name. Be sure to fill in the information requested on the card's reverse side including 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, by department, in the hallways beginning at 12:20 p.m. for the 1:00 p.m. procession into the gymnasium where the ceremony will take place. Faculty members will lead each department/program to their seats.  Note that graduates are not asked to line up 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.  Afro-American Studies majors will walk from their seats in the first row directly to the base of the ramp. 
    A CEREMONY ASSISTANT WILL INDICATE WHEN EACH ROW OF FACULTY AND GRADUATES WILL JOIN THE LINE FOR MEDAL PRESENTATIONS.  Please note that all of the graduates in a department or program may not leave their seats at the same time. 
  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, and continue to walk toward the table where the medals are being presented.
  4. Take the medal offered in your LEFT HAND and use your RIGHT HAND to shake the hand of the presenter.
  5. Proceed across the stage to shake hands with Dean Hayes, where you will momentarily turn to face the audience and to be photographed.
  6. Continue across and leave the platform via another ramp. Continue a few more steps to the area where the photographers have a "set" to take a more formal photo.
  7. 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 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 request your medal be sent to you.


Your diploma, which is officially conferred at Friday evening’s Commencement held at McGuirk, will be mailed to you at the address you have listed in SPIRE. All graduates should to check to make sure it is accurate. 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 2020 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony will be held on Friday, May 8, 2029 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.