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Protocol for Participants

Smiling students in line at Commencement


​All participants are expected to adhere to the guidelines outlined here.

The expected graduate must make application to participate in the Commencement ceremony, and the academic department must forward a notice to the Office of the Registrar that the academic requirements have been met.


  • Obtain the official academic attire and wear this at the Commencement ceremony.
  • Ladies - black dress or black skirt with white blouse and black shoes
  • Men - white shirt with dark tie, black pants and black shoes

Special Disability Needs

  • Participants with special disability needs during commencement should contact the Office of Academic Affairs at (256) 372-5275 for assistance.


  • Telephone essential guests early and then follow up with your personal invitations to the event at least two weeks in advance to include information concerning date, time, place, tickets (if required), parking, and accommodations.


  • For Fall 2019 Commencement, each candidate will receive tickets.  Tickets will be issued to graduates that have cleared the Registrar’s Office during Commencement Rehearsal in the Wellness Center at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 5, 2019. Tickets will ensure seating for guests of candidates until 12:45 p.m. There will be no admission during the processional period (approximately 12:50 pm- 1:00 pm). Once the Propst Arena has reached capacity, guests will be directed to an overflow room in the East Hall to view the Commencement Ceremony live on a screen. Once the overflow room has reached capacity NO entrance will be allowed into the Von Braun Center.
  • Children that are not small enough to be seated in an accompanying adult’s lap will need a ticket.

Preparation for the Event

  • Commencement practice is mandatory. Candidates for graduation are required to attend the Commencement practice.
  • Arrive 90 minutes before the ceremony with your cap, gown and/or hood, and leave your bags, cell phones, and outerwear with your guests.  Guests are not permitted in the assembly or robing areas and should go directly to the arena.
  • Graduate and undergraduates will line-up alphabetically by academic colleges at the direction of the Commencement Marshal.
  • Candidates must be in the line-up no later than 45 minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony. There will be no entrance to the line-up after this time.
  • The Commencement Processional and Program will begin promptly 10 minutes before the start of the ceremony.

Behavior at the Event

The university commencement ceremony is a celebration and a reflective and reverent event for all involved.  Please refrain from loud expressions of pleasure for individual graduates. Such expressions detract from the recognition due the next graduate in line.  Photographs may be taken during the ceremony, but photographers are asked to remain in their seats to ensure that aisles and stairways are kept clear.  The audience is requested to stand and remain at their places during both processionals. As a courtesy to those around you and to our graduating students, please turn off all cellular devices during the ceremony. Please inform family and friends that air horns and other noise makers are strictly prohibited from use during the Commencement Program.


  • Graduates should remain in place until the exit processional. Walking is not permitted during the commencement ceremony unless absolutely necessary.
  • Diplomas will be issued immediately after commencement in the VBC Arena Lobby Pre-Function Room.
  • Contact Registrar's Office, 256.372.5254 regarding diploma distribution questions.

The members of the Commencement Planning Committee, on behalf of the members of the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, and staff, congratulate you on having achieved this significant milestone in your life. Please accept our wishes for a wonderful graduation day and every success from that day forward.