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Commencement Ceremony FAQs

Congratulations! Commencement is right around the corner. Please review the frequently asked questions below and contact your division's representative if you have any further questions.



Commencement Ceremony FAQ's


What should I wear? Back to Top

All graduates must wear academic regalia, which consists of cap, gown and hood for the Commencement ceremony. 

Business attire is appropriate under the gown.  Dress shoes are required.  Avoid uncomfortable shoes or extreme high-heeled shoes as navigation of stairs and carpeted areas is required. 

Graduates may also wear any university-approved honor society cords, pins and Notre Dame medals.  There are no cords for Latin Honors; however, students with Latin Honors will have them announced as their names are read during the ceremony.

Stoles are not permitted unless the graduating student is a Morrissy Honors student.

For more information about academic regalia, please go to the "Academic Regalia Information" webpage.


What if I forget my cap, gown, tassels or hood? Back to Top

Don't.  However, if you do by chance forget regalia items, a representative of the bookstore will be at the ceremony with replacement regalia for CASH ONLY purchases.


Where do I go and when should I get there? Back to Top

This year's Commencement will be held at the Royal Farms Arena (201 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201) in downtown Baltimore. 

All graduating students will go to the lower level of the Arena the evening of Saturday, May 20th. 

Line-up time begins at 6:30 p.m. All graduates must be in line by 6:50 p.m. at the absolute latest in order to participate in the processional and ceremony. Please provide adequate travel and parking time. The procession will begin promptly at 7 p.m.

If you would like informal photographs, GradImages will be available starting at 6:00 p.m. in the lower lobby of the arena.


Do my guests need tickets to attend the ceremony? Back to Top

The University is not distributing tickets this year; however, we are asking for RSVPs to be submitted so that we can get a head count for the event. You will need to submit an online RSVP stating your intent to attend and how many guests will be attending by May 1st. The online RSVP will be available on January 1st.


What should my family and guests do? Back to Top

The doors to Royal Farms Arena will open at 6:00 p.m. for guests. They will be permitted in the upper levels of the arena ONLY.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. 

If special seating accommodations are required, please contact Laura Mathabel, Director of Disability Support Services, at 410-532-5401 or by email at lmathabel@ndm.edu as soon as possible. More information regarding accommodations is found on the "Disability Accommodations Information" webpage.

No balloons, air horns or other noise makers are permitted inside the facility. For a list of other prohibited items, please see the Royal Farms Arena webpage.

It is suggested that guests be in their seats by 7:00 p.m. when the Processional begins as to not miss graduates entering the arena. 


How do I check-in? Back to Top

There is no formal check-in process.

All graduating students should have received a card at the March Commencement Extravaganza. The card will list your name as it appears on your diploma and Latin Honors (if applicable).  DO NOT LOSE THIS CARD. You will hold onto this card during the processional--and at your seat--and will hand it to the reader before your name is announced.  Please do not add or erase any notations on the card. 

If students did not attend the March Commencement Extravaganza, they will be able to receive a card from a representative from the University's Registrar's Office in the line-up area for graduation students.  However, this will be a busy day and students are STRONGLY encouraged to obtain this card prior to Commencement Day.


How do I line up? Back to Top

Don't forget to bring your name cards with you that you obtained from the Commencement Extravaganza in March!

Once you arrive at the Royal Farms Arena and enter the lower level, please locate your major's department.  There will be signs posted with departmental names.  (Please note:  If you have a role in the ceremony, you will not line up with your department as you will be processing in immediately following the Student Marshal. Further directions will be provided in advance to you if this is the case.)

Women's College and College of Adult Undergraduate Studies graduates will line up together.

Masters Graduates will line up by School.

PhD students will line up separately (noted by PhD sign).

Your department chairs will be there to assist you.  

You should be in place in line by 6:50 p.m.  Please be patient and courteous during this important process.


Can I leave the line-up area? Back to Top

We’d prefer that you didn’t leave the lower level of the Arena.  There are bathrooms inside the line-up area, and there will be bobby pins and safety pins available. The University’s Bookstore will also be in this space should you need any last-minute regalia. No family members or guests are allowed in these areas.


Can I leave my stuff in the line-up area? Back to Top

No. There will not be a secure area where you could leave your belongings. Please do not carry purses or large bags with you as they will be cumbersome and you will not be able to leave them at your seat once you are in the arena for the ceremony. Please give these large items to family members or guests to hold until after the ceremony.


What do I do with my name card? Back to Top

Guard your card! You will need it during the ceremony.  Do not add or delete anything on the card.  If you feel there is an error, please check with the Registrar as only they are permitted to make any adjustments.

During the ceremony, the Student Marshal and ushers will direct one row of graduates at a time to approach the stage.  This is when you will present your card to the reader.  After you have handed your card to the reader, immediately proceed to the center of the stage where you will meet the President.  Do not wait for your name to be called as this will slow the line. Rest assured that giving the timing and flow, your name will be called once you reach center stage—so keep walking!


What's the proper way to wear my cap and gown? Back to Top

When you process in, drape your hood over your left arm.  All graduates will be hooded as part of the ceremony.
The point of the cap aligns with your nose.  Tassels are laid to the left of the cap prior to the ceremony. 
Honor society cords and university-approved medals are permitted.
For more information regarding academic regalia, please go to the "Academic Regalia Information" webpage.


When and how are we processing into the arena? Back to Top

At 6:30 p.m., the Student Marshal will lead two lines to the lower lobby of the arena:  one for undergraduates studies and one for graduates studies. 

All graduates will be lined up by department (Art, Biology, Business, Chemistry, etc.) but not necessarily in order by student's last name. 

After the ringing of the bells promptly at 7 p.m., the Student Marshal will lead the procession into the arena.  This part of the ceremony is essentially "follow the leader".  You will sit in the center sections in front of the stage.  Follow the Student Marshal and Commencement staff as they will indicate when to start a new row.  It will be a tight fit!  Squeeze in!  Please follow directions quickly and quietly.


What happens during the ceremony? Back to Top

When you reach your seat, remain standing for the Invocation and America the Beautiful until both are completed.  Your programs will be on your seats.  You will sit for the next part. 

When asked for candidates, for example, of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences to rise, stand up!  A baccalaureate will then go up to the stage to be hooded by the University's President. While the hooding occurs, all undergraduate studies graduates will put on their hoods, too. Please help each other out through this hooding process. 

All masters and doctorate graduates will be hooded by faculty, either prior to walking across stage or on stage.


What's the procedure for going on stage and getting my degree? Back to Top

Undergraduate students will be the first to receive their degrees followed by MA/MS graduates, School of Pharmacy and PhD graduates.  

Graduates will go directly from your seats to the stage.  Just follow your department chair!  The ushers will direct one row of graduates at a time to process around the far right side of the arena and then approach the right side of the stage.  You will be in line behind your department chair. 

You will be directed to go up the stairs and hand your card to the reader, who will be standing next to the podium.  As soon as you hand over your card, immediately begin walking toward the center of the stage to the President.  The reader will hand your card to your department chair, who will read your name and any honors.

Make sure to take the scroll with your left hand and shake the President's hand with your right hand. 

You will then proceed across the stage, down the stairs, and you will be directed back to your seat. 

School of Pharmacy and PhD graduates will be hooded on stage by faculty.


Will my Latin honors be announced? Back to Top

Students with Latin Honors will have them announced as their names are read during the ceremony . The Latin Honor written on your name card is based on the GPA you received as of the end of the Fall 2016 semester.


How can I get pictures? Back to Top

GradImages will take pictures of graduates as they approach the stage, receive their diplomas from the President, and immediately after they leave the stage.

No one will be permitted near the stage to take photos during the ceremony. Guests may take photographs from their seats. There will be two large screens on each side of the stage that will allow guests to capture larger images of you crossing the stage. 

Photo order information was provided at the March Commencement Extravaganza and information is also available on this website.


How do we recess out of the arena? Back to Top

Students will follow the faculty out of the arena.  The Student Marshal will direct you by row to stand, leave your row and leave the arena in a double line.  Undergraduates and graduate students will form two lines and march out side-by-side


How do we get our diplomas? Back to Top

PhD graduates will receive their diplomas on stage during the ceremony. Graduates who have completed all academic requirements and have no outstanding financial University obligations will have diplomas available for pickup during the month of June. If you need to make other arrangements to pick up your diploma or update your contact information, please contact the Registrar’s Office at registrar@ndm.edu or 410-532-5327