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 in the East Arena (area east of the gym).
  • 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.
  • Do not wear your hood as you will be hooded on stage. Carry it over your arm during the processional and to the stage.
  • 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.
  • You will step forward to the hooding area and hand your hood to the hooding assistant.
  • Proceed across the stage to receive your diploma cover from your department chair/designee.
  • Your photo will be taken by the University photographer while you are receiving your diploma cover. Exit the stage. The marshals will then direct you back to your seat.

Instructional Video

Disability Information

  • Graduating students, family members, and guests who need special assistance should contact Student Development and Success Center at (309) 298-1884.
  • Assistive listening devices are available at the table south of the stage. Sign language interpretation is also provided during the ceremony.


  • A professional photographer from Western's Photography and Design Production will take a photo as graduates receive their diploma covers.
  • Postcards with online ordering instructions 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 Photography and Design Production, email,  or call (309) 298-1358.

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 90 minutes prior to the ceremony.
  • Saving seats is discouraged.
  • Floor seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis to those with mobility difficulties.


  • 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.