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When and where is the Commencement Ceremony?

April 26, 2020, 2:00pm EDT
Van Andel Arena
130 Fulton Street West
Grand Rapids, MI  49503

Who is eligible to participate in the Commencement Ceremony?

Students who have met ALL of  the following requirements are eligible to participate in the 2020 Commencement Ceremony:

  • Students who are completing their requirements during the Fall 2019, Winter 2020 or Spring/Summer 2020 semester.
  • Students who have submitted their graduation application.
  • Students who have sign-up to participate in the commencement ceremony by April 17, 2020.
  • Students who have purchased their cap and gown package or stole by April 17, 2020.

How long does the ceremony usually last?

Approximately 2 ½ - 3 hours

Do I need tickets?

Tickets are not necessary for you or your guests.

Is the venue handicap accessible?

The Van Andel Arena is a public venue and is completely barrier free.

What time should I arrive at the arena?

You must arrive at the arena 1 hour before the Ceremony begins.

What happens if I show up late for the Commencement Ceremony?

You may not be able to participate in the Commencement Ceremony if you arrive after 1:45 p.m.

Will there be a photographer at the Ceremony to take my picture?

Grad Images will be photographing each candidate three different times during the ceremony.   Candidates will receive a free printed proof and an order form within 5-7 days. 

Additional prints can be ordered online at or call 800-424-3686.

Who will wear gold honor cords with their gowns?

Honor cords are worn by Associate Degree and Bachelor Degree candidates who have earned highest honor as of the end of the last semester/session. 

Will my academic honors be announced during the Commencement Ceremony?

Associate Degree and Bachelor Degree candidates who have earned one of the honors listed below as of the end of the last semester/session will have the honor announced as they walk across the stage.

With Highest Honor 3.90 to 4.0
With High Honor 3.70 to 3.89
With Honor 3.50 to 3.69

Master degree candidates who have earned a 4.0 GPA as of the end of the last completed session/semester will have “With Distinction” announced as they walk across the stage.

How will I be lined up?

Candidates will be walking by college, then by degree – highest degree first. 

The colleges are:

Donald W. Maine College of Business
College of Technology
College of Urban Education
College of Arts and Science
College of Health Professions

How do I know what college my degree is from?

Contact your Advisor for clarification.

What is the proper attire for candidates participating in the Commencement Ceremony?

Business Attire

Please note:  Be aware that students will be standing for a significant amount of time.

Will I receive my diploma at the Commencement Ceremony?

Diplomas are mailed to graduates approximately 6-8 weeks after the end of the semester in which they finish their program.

What is the Commencement Program?

The Commencement Program is produced in April and given out to all graduation candidates, family and friends who attend the Commencement ceremony. It is a historical document for the school year and a keepsake for each graduate. It includes, but is not limited to, the following:

A message from the President
The program for the ceremony
An information page for the Commencement speaker and student speaker
Academic Regalia Information

Please note: The most important information included in the Commencement Program is the listing of all the names, degree and honor* information for each graduate for that particular year.

*The honor designation is based on the GPA as of the last completed semester/session

How can I ensure my name is included in this year’s Commencement Program?

Be sure to submit your graduation application by the due date in early February.
Please note: **Check with your advisor to be sure you are applying for the proper semester and the proper school year.