Information for the Day

Today is the day! We are proud of you for getting to this point in your academic career. We want you to enjoy your big day, so we will try to make everything about today as stress-free as possible. Here’s everything you need to know to get you through the day and help you celebrate your achievement.


All Graduates: hang tassel to the right side of the mortarboard or tam. This event is strictly academic attire; please do not add additional adornment. You will be standing in line on concrete floors for a long time. Comfortable shoes are recommended, or at least ones you can slip out of while you wait.

  • Native American graduates are invited to display an eagle feather and/or bead their cap to honor their cultural legacy.
  • Master’s students should wear their hoods during the entire ceremony.
  • Doctoral students should carry their hoods over their right arms, as they will be hooded on stage.
  • Graduates from Legacy Alumni Families: if a member of your immediate family previously graduated from Mary, stop at the Alumni table and request your Legacy cords when you arrive at the student lineup.
  • Graduates with Military Service: you can pick up a red, white, and blue tassel along with your name card when you arrive for lineup. Feel free to replace the standard tassel with this one in honor of your service.
  • Undergraduates with Latin Honors (3.5+ cumulative GPA): you can pick up your gold honor cords and name card when you arrive for lineup.
  • Check to make sure you have all your regalia.
  • Eat before you arrive, as there is no outside food or drink allowed, and the ceremony will take until around 4:30 pm to finish.

Student Lineup

  • Student Lineup takes place in Exhibit Hall C. Graduates should enter through door E42 (send your guests to door A1). Students can begin lining up for the processional at 1 pm.
    • Note: Leave your personal items (bags, coats, anything you can’t fit in your pockets) with your guests. There is no secure storage for personal items during the ceremony.
  • Proceed to the name card tables and pick up your name card. DO NOT lose this—it is your ticket to cross the stage. You will hand it to the person at the top of the stage stairs, so keep it close and do not fold it.
  • If applicable, you can also pick up any military tassels or honor cords you may be eligible for. The staff will tell you what else to grab when you give your name.
  • Once you get your name card, find your place in the line. You will line up alphabetically by degree type. Example: all Bachelor of Science students will line up together, regardless of a specific major. Staff will be on hand to direct you to the correct place.
  • Be certain you are in your precise place and ready to move before 2:10 pm, or you risk being left behind when the line starts to move.

Ceremony Order

  • The student line will move up toward the arena at 2:10 pm. The stage party will lead the processional, followed by the faculty, and finally, the students. Marshals will lead everyone to their correct place, so follow the person in front of you.
  • Remain standing at your seat until after the Invocation. Listen for cues to sit and stand throughout the ceremony.
  • When the time comes, marshals will cue the graduates to begin lining up to cross the stage. Remain seated until your row is cued, and then move up to join the line at the stairs. Bring your name card.
  • At the top of the stairs, hand your name card to the marshal waiting there. Pause, then wait for the nod to cross. Your name will be read by the Master of Ceremony as you walk.
    • Doctoral degree graduates will be hooded on stage. Walk to the dean and your program chair in the middle of the stage. Hand them your hood, turn to face the front of the stage, and they will hood you. Handshakes or hugs with the hooding team, then carry on across the stage.
  • President Monsignor Shea and Prioress Sister Kunze will be waiting to greet you. Stop, shake Monsignor’s hand, and accept your plaque. Smile for the photographer.
  • Resume walking across the stage and down the far stairs. Follow the marshal's directions to get your photo taken with your plaque, after which you will return to your seat for the remainder of the ceremony.
  • Process back out of the arena at the end of the ceremony. Follow the cues given by the marshals, and proceed out and back to Exhibit Hall B. Once all graduates have made it out of the arena, you’re done! Go back and meet up with your guests, and have a great evening of celebration.

Note: if you have any physical disabilities that require modifications to the above, such as avoiding the stairs, visual impairment, hearing loss, etc., contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services at least a month before the Commencement ceremony. They will ensure that everything is set and ready for you on the day of the ceremony.