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Ceremony Instructions

CLASS OF 2020:
(August 2019, December 2019, May 2020 graduates)
The campus will open at 7:30 a.m. on May 22, to allow students and families ample opportunity to take personal photos prior to the beginning of the ceremony. Additionally, class of 2020 graduates are invited to ring the Old Main bell starting at 8 a.m. All undergraduate and master’s candidates should check in at the tent near the soccer field by 9:00 a.m.
CLASS OF 2021:
(August 2020, December 2020, May 2021 graduates)
Guests and students are asked to arrive no earlier than 12:30 p.m. to allow for the morning ceremony guest and graduates to clear the facilities and parking lots. All undergraduate and master’s candidates should check in at the tent near the soccer field by 1:00 p.m.


Graduates in cap and gown walking across campus.

In order for your name to be correctly pronounced at the commencement ceremony, it is imperative that every student who is graduating call and record their name on the answering machine.

Graduate Students:

The Graduate Dean will announce your name; please call 410-857-2527 (ext 2527 from campus) no later than May 18th and pronounce your name slowly three times.

Undergraduate Students:

The Provost will announce your name; please call 410-871-3387 (ext 3387 from campus) no later than May 18th and pronounce your name slowly three times.

Robing/Line Up

Report to the tent at the soccer field by 9:00 a.m. for the morning ceremony or by 1:00 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony (rain site: Old Gill Gym) Please be on time. Pick up your name card at a table. Upon arrival at check in you will be provided with your assigned line up placement and will be guided by our Marshals and volunteers to your line up location.

Master's degree candidates should wear their regalia and hood. Your hood should have been sent to you with your robe and cap. Due to COVID-19, we will not be hooding individually on stage this year but will provide a special recognition for the master’s candidates during the ceremony.

Undergraduate student honor medallions and Phi Beta Kappa cords will be distributed at the check in table.

On your line-up card, you will find instructions regarding where to line up. It is very important to be in the proper place so that you will be on stage when your name is read. Please do not move in the lineup. If you have questions, Marshals and volunteers will be present to assist you. Listen to the instructions given by the Marshals; when told to stand and move, follow the person in front of you.

*SPECIAL NOTE: On certain cards, there is the notation, “Start a New Row”. It is important that you start a new row. Do this even if there are empty seats in the preceding row. An asterisk “*” on a card indicates the second person in a row. Please make sure the person in front of you has a card marked “Start a New Row” and that this person remembers to start a new row. Also, the last person in a row has the marking “Last Person in Row." The Marshals will need to know that you are the first person or the last person, so tell them as you enter the row.


You will be led to the stadium by our faculty Marshals. It is important that you check in on time and find your assigned space in the lineup so that all graduates are given instructions on processional. We would like to make sure you are aware that the processional will be longer than usual and because it is outdoors in the grass, you will want to wear flat or wedge heeled shoes for the processional. High heels and stilettos may be dangerous. Stiletto heels are not permitted on the turf and are a safety hazard.

Degree Awarding

At the proper time in the ceremony, The President will indicate that we will now award the degrees approved by the faculty. Candidates will be asked to stand. At this point, follow the instructions from the Marshal who will come down and give row-by-row instructions. As you pass the Marshal when you leave your row of seats, say your name so that it can be checked against the master list.

You are to come to the platform on instruction. Please go to the top step on the right side of the platform and wait until your name is read. When your name is read, proceed to the center of the platform to receive your diploma. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, you will not be handed your diploma but will take the diploma from a box placed in the center of the stage. You will continue off the platform on the left side, continue down the left aisle (as you face front) back to your row as directed by the Marshal, and then move to your seat and sit down.


Reverse order of processional. We will ask you to stay in line until you are led to the grassy area outside of the stadium by the Caboose. You should instruct your families to meet you outside of the stadium at a designated meeting place. Campus will close to morning graduates and guests at 12:00 noon to allow for our facilities and parking areas to be transitioned for our afternoon ceremony.

The recessional will be in reverse order of the processional. After the platform party, trustees, and faculty have left the stage, follow the directions of the Marshals. Graduates will be directed to move to the center aisle, pair up with the person coming from the other side of the row, and then process outside of the stadium to the grassy area near the railroad car. Take direction from the Marshal.

Things to Remember

  • Stay in line and follow the Marshal.
  • Tassel is on the left of the cap, and the cap is parallel to the floor (not on the back of your head).
  • Men should remove caps for the following: National Anthem, Alma Mater.
  • Graduate students should wear their hood to the ceremony.
  • Please wait for your name to be read before crossing the stage.