Frequently Asked Questions
Q.   When are the Winter Commencement Ceremonies?
A:   The Winter Commencement Ceremonies will be held on Saturday, April 26 2014 at 10 a.m. and 3 
       p.m. in the Van Andel Arena, downtown Grand Rapids. The time of your ceremony depends on
       your major. 
Q:   How do I get my cap and gown?
A:   Caps, gowns, tickets and other graduation information will be available at GradFest. Please see
       the GradFest page for important information!
Q.   How many tickets will I receive? And where do I get my tickets for guests?
A:   Each Graduate will receive 7 guest tickets.
Q:   How can I be sure my name will be listed in the Commencement program?
A:   You MUST complete a graduation application by March 7, 2014 in order to be listed.
       Fill out an application online at
      Completed applications may be emailed to or they can be returned in person
      to the Student Assistance Center in Allendale (150 STU) or at the Grand Rapids Pew Campus
      (115C DeVos),by fax to (616) 331-2000, or by mail to the Registrar's office, 150 Student Services,
       Allendale, MI, 49401
Q:   How long does each Commencement Ceremony last?
A:   Typically, each Commencement Ceremony will last approximately two and a half hours.
Q: Who are the guest speakers for the Commencement Ceremonies?
A: The speakers for the Winter Commencement Ceremonies are Lawrence J. Korb for the A.M 
     ceremony and Naana Jane Opoku-Agywmang for the P.M ceremony.
Q:   Are tickets required for young children?
A:   Tickets are required for everyone over two years of age. Children under two must sit  
       on someone's lap.
Q:   Where do I get announcements?
A:   Announcements will be available to order from Signature Announcements or Jostens online.
       Additional information for ordering Graduation Announcements is available at the University
Q:   Where can I purchase flowers and t-shirts ahead of time?
A:   Commencement Flowers provides graduates and guests with the opportunity to pre-
       order their flowers online.  The Commencement Flowers website can be linked directly
       to the Commencement page on the school’s website so that customers purchase and
       reserve their flowers ahead of time and have them available for pick-up at our location at
       Commencement. The web address for your school is:
Q:   I studied abroad; how do I order my International Graduation Sash?
A:   E-mail Vicki Wenger in the Padnos International Center at
Q:   What about disability access?
A:   Guests who need mobility assistance should enter the Arena at the southwest corner entrance
       near the Handicap Parking Lot. Arena staff will direct guests upon entering the facility. NOTE: Due
       to the high number of special needs guests attending the commencement ceremony it is not
       always possible to have entire families seated together. Access to most of the arena seating 
       requires climbing or descending steps.
Q:   Where can graduates put their purse and/or other valuables during the ceremonies?
A:    Since there are no lockers available, graduates are discouraged from bringing purses  
        or other valuables with them to the ceremonies. (Another option would be to leave your
        purse or other valuables with your guests.)
Q:   Which side of the student’s cap is the tassel supposed to hang when entering the 
A:   All tassels are to be on the right side of the cap for undergraduate students. During the
       ceremony, undergraduate students will move the tassel to the left  
       when instructed. Graduate students will process into the arena with the tassel on the left where
       it will remain for the duration of the ceremony.
Q:   Where do graduates meet guests after the ceremonies?
A:   Prearrange a meeting spot outside of the Arena with your families and guests after
       the ceremonies. Approximately 9,000 people will exit at the same time and it is difficult to locate
       your family and guests. Consider meeting at a lunch location. Reservations are recommended.
Q:   May family members take photographs?
A:   Photos may be taken from seats. No one from the audience is permitted to be on
       the Commencement floor. During the ceremonies Graduation Foto will take two pictures of each
       graduate as they receive their diploma.


Q:   Why do we call the ceremonies Commencement instead of Graduation?
A:   Students sometimes refer to Commencement as Graduation; however, officially, graduation is
       defined as when a student has completed all the requirements for his or her degree whereas
       Commencement is the name of the actual ceremony.


Q:   When is the College of Education December 2014 Convocation?

A:    The College of Education Winter 2014 Convocation will be held Wednesday, April 23, 2014

        at 7:00 p.m. at DeVos Place (Ballrooms A & B) in downtown Grand Rapids. Students are required

        to wear full regalia (available at GradFest) in order to process/participate. To register for the Winter 2014 Convocation go to: Students interested in being a keynote speaker or the National Anthem soloist for the event may audition immediately

        following the Winter “FIRE UP” Conference on the Allendale campus on Monday, March 3, 2014

        in Mackinac (MAK) Hall (area in front of the registration tables). To audition or for more information on Convocation, contact Forrest Clift at x16230 (


Page last modified April 23, 2014