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125th Spring Commencement

Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between my college, school or department "convocation" and the university-wide Commencement ceremony?

A: "Convocations" hosted by colleges, schools and departments provide the occasion at which degree candidates are recognized individually. Forms of recognition vary depending upon the college, school or department. For example, in the graduate school convocations, doctor's and master's students are hooded ceremonially. Most convocations include degree candidates' names being read aloud as they cross the stage and shake hands with their dean or department chairperson.

The university-wide Commencement ceremony takes place following all of the convocations and is the culmination of the Commencement weekend. All degree candidates from every college and school are eligible to participate. At this ceremony, students are recognized with others from their college or school as a group rather than individually. The ceremony takes place in front of the Tower and includes a distinguished speaker, conferring of degrees by the president and the traditional lighting of the Tower in orange to honor graduates. The celebration concludes with a fireworks display.

Q: Do I need to wear a cap and gown? If so, where can I buy them?

A: A cap and gown, commonly referred to as "academic regalia," are traditionally worn at all convocations and commencement ceremonies. They may be acquired at the University Co-op.

Q: I’m a graduate student. Should I attend the Graduate School convocation or my college, school or department convocation?

A: Most students receiving a graduate degree attend the Graduate School convocations. Specialized graduate and professional programs such as the Master of Business Administration, the LBJ School and the Law School host individual convocations. However, in most cases, graduate students can attend both the Graduate School convocation and the convocation for their specific college, school or department if they wish to do so. Consult the commencement schedule for details.

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Questions related to the university-wide Commencement ceremony:

Q: Do I need tickets for the university-wide Commencement ceremony?

A: All degree candidates participating in the Grand Procession of Degree Candidates are required to present a procession ticket as they line up for the procession.

Q: Is there a limit on the number of guests I can bring to the university-wide Commencement ceremony?

A: Seating for the university-wide Commencement ceremony is limited but there are no restrictions on the number of seats available to each graduate. The seating area for guests opens at 5 p.m. and is available on a first come, first served basis. Indoor locations are also available for those who wish to view the ceremony in the comfort of an air-conditioned environment.

Q: What time should I plan to arrive at the Littlefield Fountain to line up for the university-wide Commencement ceremony?

A: Degree candidates should arrive at 7:30 p.m. at the Littlefield Fountain for the procession of degree candidates that will begin at 8 p.m. Signage and volunteers will direct degree candidates to the appropriate "marshaling" areas prior to the start of the procession.

Q: My parents want to take a picture of me as I walk in. Where should they sit?

A: For reasons of crowd safety, guests and parents will not be allowed to crowd or block the aisle ways at any time during the ceremony, including the procession. Because all degree candidates will process up the sidewalks of the South Mall toward the Tower in the procession, there is no location accessible for parents and guests to get close-up photos of their graduate in the procession.

Graduates and their families are welcome to take photos in one of the scenic locations around the commencement site prior to 7:30 p.m. or following the ceremony. These locations include the steps of Inner Campus drive, the Littlefield Fountain and the East Mall Fountain. Limited access to the stage area will be available following the ceremony. Graduates wishing to access the stage to take a photo should gather on the east corner of the stage. To maintain a safe environment for graduates posing for photos on the stage, ushers and university police officers will regulate the flow of graduates onto and off of the stage.

Q: Are there accommodations for guests with disabilities at the university-wide Commencement ceremony?

A: Special services are available to accommodate needs of those persons with disabilities who will be attending the university wide Commencement ceremony on the Main Mall. Consult the Disability Services page of this Web site for details regarding those services.

Q: How do I order a DVD of the University-wide Commencement ceremony?

A: DVDs of the university-wide Commencement ceremony, along with other commemorative items, are available for purchase online or by completing the order form that will be enclosed with your diploma.

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Questions related to college, school and departmental convocations:

Q: Do I need tickets for my convocation?

A: For fire-safety reasons due to limited seating, tickets are required for those attending the Plan II Honors program convocation in Hogg Auditorium. Tickets are not required for any other convocation.

Q: Is there a limit on the number of guests a candidate can bring to the convocation?

A: There are no limitations to the number of degree candidate guests for any of the convocations with the exception of those in the Plan II program. However, seating is not guaranteed and is available on a first come, first served basis for all convocations.

Q: Will there be a photographer taking pictures of candidates as they walk across the stage? How do I order copies of those photos?

A: A professional photographer will take photos of degree candidates as they cross the stage at all convocations. Students will receive information from the vendor in each location detailing the process for obtaining photos. Contact your representative for details.

Q: Are there accommodations for guests with disabilities at the convocation?

A: Special services are available to accommodate needs of those persons with disabilities who will be attending convocations on campus. Consult the Disability Services page of this Web site for details regarding those services.

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