Graduate Studies

Faculty & Staff Instructions

Each participant has a meaningful role in the ceremony. Please read and follow the instructions below. If you have any questions, please contact the Graduate School at (309) /298-1806.

NOTE: Faculty/Staff deadline to order caps and gowns from the bookstore ( is March 25, 2020.  Please be robed and in line in the East Arena 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis in Q-Lot.

College Deans

College Deans march in with the stage party and are seated on the stage. Deans will be introduced during the hooding portion of the master's and specialist part of the graduate ceremony. Please step forward to the hooding area as you are introduced. An assistant will help you place the hood on each graduate.

During the doctoral hooding, the Provost will hood the candidates while assisted by the student's dissertation chairpersons. Please step forward near the center podium to shake hands with doctoral students as they cross the stage.

Department Chairs/Leaders

Master's and Specialist Degrees - Department Chairs/Leaders lead in their students, sit with them, and lead them to the stage. Before the ceremony, you will be given a name card to hand to the reader as you approach the stage. Chairs/Leaders are introduced by the academic reader and proceed to the south end of the stage. Please look for an "X" on the floor for proper placement. Chairs/Leaders will shake hands with each graduate while awarding the diploma cover. A professional photograph will be taken. As you and the graduate pose for the professional photograph, please hold the diploma cover in an upright position with the school seal facing toward the camera.

After the last graduate from your department has been photographed, please return to your seat. It is important, for purposes of producing name cards, to notify the Graduate School if a replacement is designated to walk for a department chair/leader (than previously reported). Please discourage students from leaving before the end of the ceremony.

Doctoral Degrees - Dissertation chairpersons will follow their graduate to the stage as their introduction will be listed on the student card which will be handed to the academic reader at the podium. Please be sure your graduate has a name card before the processional begins! The Provost will hood the candidates while assisted by dissertation chairs. Please be sure to fold the tail of the hood to expose the colorful lining. Once your student(s) is hooded, you will slowly follow them across the stage and to your seat.

Faculty Participants

Faculty not participating as departmental leaders will be led by marshals during the processional and will be seated in rows behind the graduates. Marshals will direct the recessional; please remain seated until directed otherwise.


A selected faculty member will serve as the gonfalonier (banner carrier) for the "Western Illinois University" gonfalon; the Graduate Council chair will serve as carrier of the "Graduate School" gonfalon.  These individuals will lead the processional.

Academic Readers

Dr. Mark Mossman, Associate Provost and Director of the Graduate School, will serve as the academic reader during the doctoral hooding. Dana Sistko, Immigration Specialist, will serve as academic reader during the master's and specialist hooding.

Additional Notes

After the National Anthem is sung, gentlemen are asked to replace their cap and leave it on for the entire ceremony. All graduates, faculty, and department chairs/leaders are expected to remain throughout the ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony, marshals will direct the recessional for the stage party, faculty and graduates.