Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In which ceremony do I participate?

You march in the ceremony for your major. View a list of majors by college. Ceremony schedules will be posted at a later date.

How do I sign up?

2021 graduate and undergraduate students will receive an email to their WIU email account on March 25 or 26 with specific information about their ceremony, including a registration link. 2020 graduates will receive an email to their WIU email account and to the primary personal account on file with WIU with specific information about their ceremony, including a registration link. Registration is required to attend, even if a ceremony preference was indicated on the Graduation Application, and will be used to reserve 4 guest tickets for the student.

2020 graduates who do not receive an email by Tuesday, March 30 regarding commencement registration should email (undergraduates) or (master's/doctoral students).

Are there rehearsals?

No rehearsals are held for any commencement activities. Commencement staff and marshals will direct you on the day of ceremony. 

Where is the ceremony?

Macomb graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies will be held on Hanson Field.

Do I need tickets for the ceremony?

Four (4) guest tickets will be available to each graduate (no exceptions). There is no charge for the guest tickets. Guest tickets are required for entry into the respective ceremony. Additional tickets will not be made available. Graduates are not required to have tickets (the name card provided at ceremony check-in is considered a graduate's ticket). More information about how to claim the four guest tickets will be emailed to graduates and posted at in the coming weeks. The ceremonies will be live streamed on WIU's Facebook page and the WIU YouTube channel.

Will my photo be taken?

Professional photographs will be taken of graduates with their diploma cover. While masks are required throughout the ceremony, students may remove their mask for this photo. Photo order forms and proofs will be mailed to students within two weeks after commencement. For individuals who do not plan to attend in-person commencement, the WIU Visual Production Center has always offered studio portraits to graduating students. Appointments may be made for a studio photo by calling (309) 298-1358. Caps and gowns are optional for the studio portraits.

What if my guests or I need disability seating and/or assistance?

Students may contact the Disability Resource Center at (309) 298-2512.

Staff will be at all commencement ceremonies to provide assistance with disability seating.

Where do I park?

Q-Lot, on the east side of Western Hall, is available for public parking. Handicapped-accessible parking spaces at the Macomb ceremony are available to the east and west of Western Hall.

What COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place?

All ceremonies will follow protocols required by Restore Illinois. Social distancing and face coverings are required for all participants, guests, and staff. Students and guests must also complete the self-check at before arriving on campus.

Students or guests should not attend Commencement if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 (including but not limited to fever, cough, shortness of breath), have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

Graduates who are unable to participate due to illness, exposure, or safety concerns may participate in a future Commencement ceremony. All ceremonies will be livestreamed on WIU's Facebook and YouTube Channel for those who are unable to attend. University photographers will take photographs of each graduate on the stage with their diploma cover. Graduates are permitted to remove masks for the photo.

Will the ceremonies be cancelled if there is bad weather or if the state increases restrictions?

Plans could change for all ceremonies if pandemic restrictions change, and/or in the event of inclement weather. Participants and guests must be aware that significant inclement weather could force a delay and/or cancelation at the last moment. Updates will be emailed to students, as well as posted on the Commencement website. Weather information is below.

Ceremonies will be held in light rain/drizzle and snow. High winds and severe weather warnings could cause delay(s) and/or cancelation(s) for the outdoor ceremonies. Graduates and guests should dress appropriately for the weather. Small umbrellas will be permitted on Hanson Field and in the stands, provided they do not obstruct the view of other guests.

If the weather forces a cancelation, a limited virtual ceremony will be launched at a later date.

Where do I purchase my cap and gown and announcements?

The University Bookstore is the sole source provider of officially licensed Western Illinois University graduation regalia. To ensure you receive the correct Western Illinois University commencement wear, please order your caps and gowns from the University Bookstore only (

The University Union Bookstore and Document and Publication Services (DPS) offer two different styles of graduation announcements. See their respective websites for more information.

How do I ensure my name will be in the commencement program?

Graduation applications must be on file in the Office of the Registrar by March 19, 2021 in order to meet deadlines. Students who have invoked the Privacy Act will not be listed in the program or have their names released to local media unless they sign a release form at the Office of the Registrar.

When will the listing of graduates be in my hometown newspaper?

Once the list has been processed, it is submitted to newspapers by University Relations. You can find the name you are looking for by going to

When will I receive my diploma?

Diplomas are mailed approximately 6 to 8 weeks after commencement.

What if my name or address has changed since submitting my graduation application?

Please contact the Graduation Department in the Office of the Registrar at (309) 298-1891 to make changes.

How do I order photos or a DVD of the ceremony?

Contact the Visual Production Center at (309) 298-1358 or to order photos or DVDs. Yard signs to recognize graduating students are also available for purchase from VPC.


What is the Academic Attire?

Commencement is a ceremony to recognize the academic achievements of our graduates. All degree candidates are required to wear only appropriate and approved academic attire. Failure to comply with the guidelines below may be cause for removal from the ceremony.

  • Only stoles and cords of approved academic honor organizations may be worn on the outside of your gown during the ceremony. 
  • For undergraduates, only medallions recognizing academic achievement may be worn on the outside of the gown

Approved academic organizations are those which have a GPA threshold at or above a 3.000.  In order to request approval for an organization, the advisor must send a request and include the name of the organization, its unit affiliation, and the GPA threshold required to be a member of the organization to

What do I wear to recognize honors?

Students eligible for graduating with honors distinction may pick up their Honors medallions at the Centennial Honors College in the Malpass Library in Macomb on the following dates: March 31 and April 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, and 16 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. You must present your WIU ID in order to pick up your medallion(s). Any QC student wishing to have their medallions sent to the QC campus will need to email by April 30. Students wanting to pick up medallions after April 16 will need to schedule an appointment by emailing Medallions that are not picked up (for both Macomb and QC students) will be mailed the week of May 10 to the address on the graduation application.

Where do I store personal belongings during commencement?

Do not bring extra belongings, as there is not secure storage available during the ceremony. Please leave all belongings with your guests as you may not remain in the same seat throughout the ceremony.Graduating students will not be permitted to bring food or drink to their seat.