What to Expect at Commencement

Here is a sneak peek of what you can expect during commencement weekend. Whether you’re starting your academic journey, you’re a seasoned student working hard toward the finish line, or if you’re about to take that walk across the stage, the details below will be sure to get you pumped for commencement.

What to Expect as a Graduate

On the day of the ceremony, university volunteers and staff will be positioned throughout the resort to direct you and your guests to the ceremony and check-in locations. Graduates should arrive to their ceremony at least 30 minutes prior to the start time. You will be given a name card that will be used to recognize you during the ceremony. Please verify your name pronunciation, degree, and state before you leave the check-in area.

We encourage graduates to leave personal belongings with family and friends. If you must bring an item with you, please note it will be your responsibility to secure the item(s) during the event. The university is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or forgotten items.
The procession line-up will begin 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony, so it’s important all graduates are in their designated line up areas no later than 30 minutes prior to the ceremony start time. Graduates will line up for the processional and be seated by academic school. Please review your academic school pages and identify your academic school by program. For programs not listed, please contact the University Events Office prior to your arrival by emailing [email protected].
Ceremony marshals and university staff will be present before the ceremony to organize the procession lines. You will be briefed and guided through the procession, ceremony, graduate portraits, and the recession.
University volunteers will advise you and your fellow graduates when to rise and will lead you to the stage to receive your ceremonial diploma. You will not receive your official diploma during the ceremony. Official diplomas are mailed after your official conferral date or after the completion of all degree program requirements, whichever is later. You should not bring your official diploma to the ceremony.
All graduates and guests will stand as the platform party exits the ballroom. University volunteers will lead faculty and graduates out of the ballroom. Guests will be directed out the side doors.

What to Expect as a Guest

The significance of this day and the recognition of academic achievements of our graduates should be observed with utmost respect. Please:

  • Silence cellular phones and other communication devices while inside the ballroom.
  • Refrain from bringing food and beverages into the ceremony. These items, along with smoking, are prohibited inside the ballroom.
  • Remain seated for the entire ceremony and recession until the all graduates have exited the ballroom.
Your guests will be allowed to enter the ballroom one hour prior to the ceremony. Gaylord staff members and university volunteers will be positioned at guest entrances to assist with guest seating. All guests should be seated prior to the procession, as the doors will be closed during this time. Doors will re-open after the National Anthem and invocation. Seating is determined on a first come, first served basis. Large screens will be placed on either side of the stage for additional visual aid.

Seating is first come, first served. Handicap seating and overflow viewing will also be available.

Ushers will be stationed inside the ceremony to provide coloring books and crayons. Strollers should be stored along the outside walls of the ceremony and will not be allowed in the inner aisles.

Guests may take photographs during the ceremony from their seats. Tripod or camera stands are prohibited. Please do not block aisles during the ceremony.

The ceremony will be professionally photographed and recorded and will be available from the commencement website after the ceremony at no cost to you.

Special Accommodations
If you or your guests require special accommodations or assistance, please submit your request on your reservation form or email [email protected] so that the university can make arrangements in advance. Ushers will assist those needing special accommodations to their designated seating area.