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students line up for commencement processional

Undergraduate Ceremony Instructions

Ceremony Information

Graduates and their families and friends are encouraged to leave ample time to arrive at Gill Center. Bachelor’s degree candidates should arrive at Baker Memorial Chapel no later than 1 p.m.

By tradition, the commencement ceremony is a formal, dignified event to honor the academic achievement of you and your classmates. To help preserve the decorum of the event, we kindly request that you exercise etiquette appropriate to the occasion. As a courtesy to your fellow graduates, you are requested to stay until the conclusion of the ceremony.

The platform will be set up to provide excellent viewing from all locations. General admission tickets will be required of all guests attending the undergraduate ceremony. If seating is required for family or friends with special needs due to a disability (e.g., those who are deaf or hard of hearing, or in wheelchairs), please contact Student Accessibility and Support Services as early as possible by email ( or phone (410-857-2504) to make arrangements.

A special reserved section will be made available to guests with disabilities (and one additional guest). These guests will need a special reserved seating ticket along with their general admission tickets. Please note: We are unable to provide childcare for this event.

Ceremony Instructions

The Provost will announce your name; please call 410-871-3387 (ext 3387 from campus) no later than May 10th and pronounce your name slowly three times. 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.

Robing/Line Up
  1. Report to Baker Memorial Chapel by 1 p.m. with your cap, gown, and hood. (rain site: Old Gill Gym). Please be on time.
  2. Pick up your name card at a table outside the Chapel lobby.
    • Undergraduate Latin Honors medallions will be distributed here.
    • If you borrow regalia, be sure to wear your hood for the ceremony.
  3. Find your correct place in line according to your line-up number and be seated in the pews. On your line-up card, you will find instructions regarding where to sit in the pews in Baker Memorial Chapel. 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 try to second guess the line-up; just be where you are assigned and you will be correct.

    • 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.
    • 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.
  4. Listen to the instructions given by the Marshals; when told to stand and move, follow the person in front of you.
Leaves Baker Memorial Chapel at 1:45 p.m., moves through the Central College Plaza (Red Square) and then on to the Gill Center
It is very important that the processional leaves the Chapel at the times noted above. Five minutes prior, a final check will be made, and missing people will be marked absent. At this time, the Marshals will take control of the processional.
  1. Stay in the correct line.
  2. Check the person in front and in back of you to ensure that the three of you are correct.
  3. Remember to “start a new row” if you are the designated person and tell the Marshal.
  4. There is an aisle in the middle of each row – it is important that you cross the center aisle as you walk down your row. Do not stop half way across the row.
web diagram of processional for commencement
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 tube. Take the diploma tube in your left hand so you can shake hands with the President (pause here to allow your photograph to be taken with the president) and Trustee with your right hand. 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.
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 to the rear of Gill through the lobby area. Take direction from the Marshal.
STAY IN LINE AND MOVING UNTIL YOU ARE PAST ALBERT NORMAN WARD HALL. PLEASE DO NOT STOP OR STEP OUT OF LINE TO GREET RELATIVES. You should designate a meeting place near the Hoover Library where you can meet family and friends once you have recessed to Merritt Hall Plaza. You may also wish to ring the Old Main Bell at this time and take pictures.
Things to Remember
  1. Stay in line and follow the Marshal.
  2. Tassel is on the left of the cap, and the cap is parallel to the floor (not on the back of your head).
  3. Those who identify as male should remove caps for the following: National Anthem, Alma Mater.
  4. Graduate students will move to the top step of the platform and wait to be hooded before moving forward to receive your diploma tube.
  5. Please wait for your name to be read before crossing the stage.