Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When are the Commencement Ceremonies?
A: The Commencement Ceremonies will be held on Saturday, April 27 2013 at 10 a.m. and 3
p.m. in the Van Andel Arena, downtown Grand Rapids. The time of your ceremony depends on
Q. How many tickets will I receive?
A: Students participating in the April 27, 2013 Commencement Ceremony will be issued 7 guest
tickets. You will pick these tickets up (along with your cap and gown) at GradFest.
Q: How can I be sure my name will be listed in the Commencement program?
A: You MUST complete an application for diploma (diploma card) and return it to the Registrar's
Office (150 STU) by Friday, March 8, 2013.
Q: How long does each Commencement Ceremony last?
A: Typically, each Commencement Ceremony lasts approximately two and a half hours.
Q: How do I get tickets for my guests?
A: Tickets are distributed at the same time that caps and gowns are purchased at GradFest.
Q: Are tickets required for young children?
A: Tickets are required for everyone over two years of age. Children under two must sit
on someone's lap.
Q: How do I get my cap and gown?
A: Caps, gowns, tickets and other graduation information will be available at GradFest. Please see
the GradFest page for important information!
Additional information for ordering Graduation Announcements is available at the University
Q: Where can I purchase flowers and t-shirts ahead of time?
place your order, they will be ready for pick-up the day of the ceremony.
Q: I studied abroad; how do I order my International Graduation Sash?
Q: What about disability access?
A: Guests who need mobility assistance should enter the Arena at the southwest corner entrance
near the Handicap Parking Lot. Arena staff will direct guests upon entering the facility. NOTE: Due
to the high number of special needs guests attending the commencement ceremony it is not
always possible to have entire families seated together. Access to most of the arena seating
requires climbing or descending steps.
Q: Where can graduates put their purse and/or other valubles during the ceremony?
A: Since there are no lockers available, graduates are discouraged from bringing purses
or other valuables with them to the ceremony. (Another option would be to leave your
purse or other valuables with your guests.)
Q: Which side of the student’s cap is the tassel supposed to hang when entering the
A: All tassels are to be on the right side of the cap for undergraduate students. During the
ceremony, undergraduate students will move the tassel to the left
when instructed. Graduate students will process into the arena with the tassel on the left where it
will remain for the duration of the ceremony.
Q: Where do graduates meet guests after the ceremony?
A: Prearrange a meeting spot outside of the Arena with your families and guests after
the ceremony. Approximately 9,000 people will exit at the same time and it is difficult to locate
your family and guests. Consider meeting at a lunch location. Reservations are recommended.
Q: May family members take photographs?
A: Photos may be taken from seats. No one from the audience is permitted to be on
the Commencement floor. During the ceremony Graduation Foto will take two pictures of each
graduate as they receive their diploma.
Q: Who are the guest speakers for the Commencement Ceremonies?
A: The speakers for this years Winter Commencement ceremonies have yet to be determined.
Q: Why do we call the ceremony Commencement instead of Graduation?
A: Students sometimes refer to Commencement as Graduation; however, officially, graduation is
defined as when a student has completed all the requirements for his or her degree whereas
Commencement is the name of the actual ceremony.
Q: When is the College of Education April 2013 Convocation?
A: The College of Education Winter (April) 2013 Convocation will be held Thursday, April 25, 2013 at
7:00 p.m. at DeVos Performance Hall in downtown Grand Rapids. Students are required to wear
full regalia in order to process/participate. To register for Winter 2013 Convocation go
to: http://april2013convocation.eventbrite.com/ . Students interested in being a Keynote Speaker
or the National Anthem soloist may audition immediately following the Spring "FIRE UP"
Conference on the Allendale Campus on Monday, March 4, 2013. To audition or for more
information on Convocation, contact Forrest Clift at x16230 (email@example.com) or Kate Baran at
Page last modified May 10, 2013