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Graduate Commencement FAQs

There will not be a rehearsal for the commencement ceremonies. You will receive instructions at the East end of O'Neill Arena prior to the ceremony.


You can pick up your cap and gown during the Graduation Fair. If you cannot make it during that time, you can always pick them up at the bookstore. 


SVSU official colors are Cardinal Red and Royal Blue. White is used as a highlight color.

  • The traditional university-issued cap and gown is required. Please iron and hang your gown to eliminate wrinkles.

The undergraduate tassel is to be placed on the right side of the mortarboard (cap). The mortarboard is to be parallel with the floor. Graduate level tassels are to be worn on the left side of the mortarboard (cap).

Please wear appropriate clothing under the gown.

Honors Cords can be worn by those who have achieved such honor.

  • The specific honor for each student attaining the honors is printed in the official Commencement program under each student’s name.
  • When the student crosses the stage during the Commencement ceremony, the honor the student received is read after their name.
  • The academic honor received is printed on the student’s diploma.
  • The academic honor received is printed on the student’s transcript of grades.
  • Please note that honors designations are determined at the completion of the semester prior to the semester of graduation and are linked to the cumulative GPA at that time. Many Commencement participants are enrolled in courses during the semester of graduation and will earn grades that might alter the honors designation. The Commencement program must be prepared before the end of that semester, so the honors designations listed in the Program will pertain to the GPA as it appeared at the completion of the previous semester.
  • Please note that honors cords are available only for those completing bachelor’s degrees, corresponding to their Latin honors (summa cum laude, e.g.).  For the purposes of Latin Honors designations and honor cords, grade point averages are not rounded as a matter of policy.  This policy adheres to the GPA categories for Latin honors listed in the university Catalog.  Those completing graduate degrees will wear the appropriate hood for the degree they have earned.

Stoles and other cords may be worn if they represent organizations or recognitions that are affiliated with SVSU. 


Honors designations are determined at the completion of the semester prior to the semester of graduation and are linked to the cumulative GPA at that time.  Many Commencement participants are enrolled in courses during the semester of graduation and will earn grades that might alter the honors designation.  The Commencement program must be prepared before the end of that semester, so the honors designations listed in the Program will pertain to the GPA as it appeared at the completion of the previous semester. The specific honor for each student attaining the honors is printed in the official Commencement program under each student’s name. When the student crosses the stage during the Commencement ceremony, the honor the student received is read after their name. The academic honor received is printed on the student’s diploma. The academic honor received is printed on the student’s transcript of grades.


The Commencement ceremony will last approximately between 1.5 - 2 hours. 


East O’Neill Arena (behind the Commencement stage curtain) is the location for both undergraduate and graduate degree students to gather, approximately 90 minutes before the ceremony. Each college (Arts & Behavioral Sciences, Education, etc.) will have a table with the announcer cards available for pick-up and there will be signage for line-up in the same area by the college.

SVSU ushers will be available for assistance.


Before the Commencement ceremony, you will line up by college in the East O'Neill Arena. An usher will lead your processional line down the hall and into the main O'Neill Arena floor. From there you will be directed to the row you will be seated. Following the Commencement speaker, the Deans of each college will call forward their graduates. An usher will lead your row out to the aisle, you will be directed up the right-side of the stage and will give your announcer card to the Announcer who will read your name over the sound-system. You will proceed to walk across the stage and shake the hand of the Dean and SVSU President. As you exit the stage to the left you will be stopped for a photograph. The photographer will also capture your handshake with the SVSU President. You will return down the aisle to your seat.


Please refer to the Apply to Graduate website (see deadline table). 


A professional photographer will take portraits as each graduate cross the stage.  For more information on ordering prints, go to http://gradimages.com.  You will be under no obligation.

Please advise your guests that pictures may not be taken from any area of the arena's floor during the ceremony.  Ask them not to cross the arena between the seating sections during the processional, the ceremony, or the recessional.  Guests may take pictures only while remaining in their seats.


Graduates will exit the arena during the processional and may return after to find their family and friends.


Yes, you will be required to have tickets for each of your guests. Each graduate is allotted six tickets.


Yes, please refer to the commencement tab and select the college you are graduating from. This will be where you can find all of the details for your specific ceremony. A seating chart is available, as well as a map for parking.



Graduates are discouraged from bringing extra belongings to Commencement. However, if a graduate must bring these valuables, they can be left with their guest until the ceremony is over.


Please visit our NEST Plan. You will find the most up-to-date information here.


CONTACT US.


Office of the Registrar
Wickes Hall 151
registrar@svsu.edu
989-964-4085

Alumni Relations
Wickes Hall 160
alumni@svsu.edu
989-964-4196

SVSU Bookstore
Curtiss Hall
bookstore@svsu.edu
989-964-4277