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Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I participate in the Commencement (Graduation) Ceremony?
A: Students are required to submit a Graduation Application which can be found at If you have questions about this graduation application, please contact the Counseling and Career Center at 616-234-3900 or the Student Records Office at 616-234-4121.

Q: Is there a deadline to submit my Graduation Application if I want to participate in Commencement?
A: All graduates need to submit their Graduation Application by Friday, April 3rd, 2015, to ensure their name appears in the Commencement Program.

Q: What if I’m not completing my degree or program until the end of Summer 2015?
A: If you are completing your degree or program at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year (summer), you still would participate in the May 1 commencement (graduation) program.

Q: What if I missed Grad Fest, how do I get my cap and gown?
A: You can go to the Bookstore to purchase your cap and gown. Bring your cap, gown, and receipt next door, to Student Life to get your stole and verify your name and degree so we know you plan to participate and can provide you with event information.

Q: What if I already have a cap and gown?
A: You will need to bring the items to Student Life, 1st floor, Student Center, for a color check in order to receive your stole and event information.

Q: What if I return my cap and gown?
A: You will need to return your stole to Bookstore when you return your cap and gown.

Q: What if I change my mind and decide not to walk for Commencement?
A: Please call Student Life at 234-4160 or stop by and notify us of your change.

Q: What is the expected dress code for Commencement?
A:  Dress for Commencement is Business CasualDo not wear too high of a heel. You must walk briskly on several occasions.

Q: Can I decorate my cap?
A: Yes, so long as it is appropriate and not 3-D. Please use discretion.

Q: What if I require special accommodations?
A: Graduates requiring special accommodations during the event should contact Student Life at 234-4160 and ask to speak to Liz or Sara.

Q: Why do we call the ceremonies Commencement instead of Graduation?
A: Technically, graduation is defined as when a student has completed all the requirements for his or her degree.  Commencement is the name of the actual ceremony when we celebrate that accomplishment.

Q: Who will be the guest speaker for Commencement?
A: While we have invited the President of the United States to speak at our ceremony, we have not heard anything to suggest a member of the White House staff will attend the event.  We are also giving President Ford an honorary presidential medallion, which will be accepted by his daughter, Susan Ford Bales. She will speak briefly.

Q: Will I receive my degree or certificate at the ceremony?
A: Diplomas are mailed to your address on file after Student Records verifies your degree or certificate and it has been posted to your transcript.  You will however receive your diploma cover on stage.

Q: How do I get my Honors Cords?
A:  You will get your cords from the Honors Program directly.  If you are attending the Honors Reception on Thursday, April 09, 2015 you will receive them there.  If you cannot attend that event, stop by the Experiential Learning Office (Main, G2, Rm 59.)

Q: What can you tell me about Delta Pi Alpha?
A: If you were selected for Delta Pi Alpha (awarded to the Top 5% of every graduating class), you would have received notification about the award. If you were unable to attend the recognition event, you may pick up your medallion beginning April 17th at the Dean of Student Affairs Office, Main, 1st floor, Rm. 106.)

Questions? Call Student Affairs at (616) 234-3925 or email