Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

Graduates in cap and gown at commencement.

Q: How can I participate in the Commencement (Graduation) Ceremony?
A: Students are required to submit a Graduation Application. If you have questions about this graduation application, please contact the Academic Advising and Transfer Center (AATC) 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 Tuesday, July 7, 2020, to ensure their name appears in the Commencement Program.  If you have missed the deadline to have your name printed in the commencement program, you can still participate in commencement.  Students are able to sign up to walk up until July 30, 2020. You will need to first purchase your cap, gown and tassel from the Bookstore and then sign-up in the Student Life Office, Room 02 in the Student Center.

Q: What if I’m not completing my degree or program until the end of Summer 2020?
A: If you are completing your degree or program at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year (including summer 2020), you still would participate in the August 1 commencement (graduation) program.

Q: Are tickets required?
A: Yes, any guest above the age of two will require a ticket.

Q: How do I receive my guest tickets?
A: You will receive your guest ticket(s) with the purchase of your cap and gown at GRADfest.

Q: What if I missed GRADfest, how do I get my cap and gown?
A: You need to go to the Bookstore to purchase your cap and gown first. Bring those items along with your receipt to the Student Life Office to verify your name and degree, confirm your participation and receive your stole and guest tickets.

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

Q: What if I return my cap and gown?
A: You will need to also return your guest tickets to the student Life office before returning your cap and gown in the Bookstore.

Q: What if I change my mind and decide not to walk for Commencement?
A: Please call Student Life at (616) 234-4160 or stop by and notify us of your change. You will also be required to return your guest tickets if you have already received them.

Q: What is the expected dress code for Commencement?
A:  Dress for commencement is business casual. Do not wear too high of a heel. You must stand for an extended period of time and 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 Affairs at (616) 234-4160.

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: 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. Winter 2020 graduates should receive their degrees/certificates mid-summer and those completing requirements at the end of summer session 2020 will receive their degree or certificate late October. 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 you will receive them there.  If you cannot attend that event, stop by the Experiential Learning Office, Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, formerly Main Building, G2, room 59, G2.

Q: What can you tell me about Delta Pi Alpha?
A: If you were selected for Delta Pi Alpha (awarded to the top five percent 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 from the Dean of Student Affairs Office, Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, formerly Main Building, 1st floor, room 106.)

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