Graduate Studies

Commencement Day Details

Graduate Ceremony Procedures

  • Plan to arrive at Western Hall approximately one hour prior to the ceremony.
  • Pick up your name card and program in the East Arena (Q-Lot side of Western Hall).
  • Be in line 30 minutes prior to the ceremony.
  • You will be led by a departmental representative and seated with other graduate degree candidates from your department. Tassel should be on the left side of your cap as you have already earned a bachelor's degree.
  • You will be hooded on stage during the ceremony.
  • When degree candidates are presented for graduation, you will be directed by the marshals to the stage in the order in which you are seated. Proceed onto the stage and hand your name card to the academic reader.
  • As you are hooded, give the hooder a moment to fold the back of the hood properly, then proceed across the stage, shaking hands with the President and receiving your diploma cover from your department chair/designee.
  • Your photo will be taken by the University photographer while you are receiving your diploma cover. The Marshals will then direct you back to your seat.

Graduate Hoods

  • Hooding of graduates is part of the commencement ceremony.
  • After the ceremony, University representatives will be available in the East Arena to receive the hood or payment.
  • The fee for the hood is as follows: $65 - graduate; $75 - doctorate. Only cash or check payments are accepted. Make check payable to Western Illinois University.
  • If you return the hood, you will be given a receipt.
  • If you do not return the hood after the ceremony, a hold will be placed on your academic record the following Monday.  The hold will be removed once the hood has been returned or payment made to the School of Graduate Studies, 116 Sherman Hall, OR to the WIU-Quad Cities campus. Do not drop the hood off at any other location.
  • Diplomas and transcripts are not released to students under financial and/or administrative obligation to Western Illinois University.

Instructional Video

Disability Information

  • Graduate students who need special assistance should contact Disability Resources at (309) 298-1884. Family members or guests who need assistance should also contact that office.
  • Assistive listening devices are available at the student check-in counter in the east arena. Sign language interpretation is also provided.

Photographs and DVDs

  • A professional photographer from Western's Visual Production Center will take a photo as graduates receive their diploma covers.
  • DVDs of the entire ceremony will also be available for purchase.
  • Order forms and proofs will be mailed to the diploma address within two weeks following graduation. We ask that all attendees be considerate of others when taking photographs.
  • For more information on photographs, please visit or call Visual Production Center at (309) 298-1358. Questions regarding commencement DVD's may be directed to University Television at (309) 298-1880.

Personal Belongings

  • Storage will not be available during the ceremony. Please leave excess items at home or with your family or friends for safe keeping.

Guest Seating

  • Guest Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open 1 1/2 hours prior to the ceremony.
  • Saving seats is discouraged.
  • Floor seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis to those with mobility difficulties. Also, wheelchairs are available to assist those in need to their seats.


  • Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis in Q-lot, located directly east of Western Hall.
  • Handicapped-accessible parking is available in both east and west lots of Western Hall

Western Hall


Your diploma and a complimentary transcript will be mailed approximately 6-8 weeks after commencement, providing there are no financial encumbrances and all requirements have been met.

The address on your commencement name card will be used. If the information on your name card is incorrect, please notify a Graduate School representative at the student check-in counter in the East Arena or contact the School of Graduate Studies at (309) 298-1806.

Participation in commencement does not guarantee graduation.