BEFORE COMMENCEMENT DAY
Who can participate?
Commencement Ceremony Participation
Students who complete all requirements in the Summer 2014, Fall 2014 or Spring 2015 semester are invited to participate in the commencement ceremony. The only exception to this is a student who still needs to complete a maximum of two courses totaling no more than 12 semester hours. All other graduation requirements must be met. These students must notify the Registrar’s Office of their desire to participate no later than April 3 with a graduation application. Any student who does not inform the Registrar’s Office of his or her intent to participate by April 3 will not be included in the printed commencement program.
Clearance to Graduate
Degree candidates must finish "Incomplete" grades, forward any necessary transcripts, and clear all financial aid, business office, and library obligations in order to graduate. A $125 degree completion fee will be billed by the Business Office. You must pay this fee by April 30 in order to receive your diploma and any transcripts.
Each student who has applied for graduation, either as a bachelor's or master's candidate, will receive an email with a link to a survey requesting information on such things as your plans for next year and your permanent contact information. This survey will be administered for 4 weeks ONLY beginning in early April and is also required in order to receive your diploma and any transcripts. The information helps us understand your plans after graduation and allows us to share our alumni career and graduate school placement success with future students.
If you have any doubt that all holds have been cleared from your record please visit the Registrar's Office immediately.
Look for the name pronunciation form distributed at the graduation rehearsal and turn it in before leaving that evening. This form will be used by the Provost to ensure that your name is pronounced correctly when your diploma is awarded.
RSVP for Commencement Events
Be sure to RSVP for the commencement events, including the Carillon Ceremony and President's Reception. You can also RSVP for your guests and request disability accomodations on the RSVP form (coming soon).
Ordering Announcements and Graduation Regalia
> Caps & Gowns
If you missed the graduation fair, you can order your cap and gown online until March 30. The OU Bookstore will also have extra caps and gowns available for purchase.
A graduation packet with a cap, gown, hood and tassel for undergraduates is $50.70 plus tax; for graduate MAT candidates it is $56.46 plus tax. The bookstore will begin distribution of the regalia during the week of May 4.
If you are unable to meet the March 30 deadline please contact Herff Jones customer service at 1-800-837-4235 for additional details regarding ordering & delivery. Please note late ordering will incur a late fee. When ordering, be prepared to tell them your degree type to ensure they send the proper hood color (e.g. BA, BS, BBA or BALS).
Please try your gown on several days before graduation so any problems with size and necessary exchanges are not a last-minute emergency.
> Graduation Announcements
Invitations are not necessary for admittance to the commencement ceremony, but printed announcements are available through the bookstore. Online ordering is also available at http://www.herffjones.com/college/oglethorpe. Candidates can also purchase diploma frames and other commencement memorabilia. Visit the bookstore with any questions.
> Honorary Regalia
Honorary and Greek organization regalia, such as a sash, a cord, a stole or medallion, is permissible if the organization is sanctioned by the university. Please inquire in the Campus Life Office if you are unsure about the legitimacy of your organization or about the appropriateness of the insignia you wish to wear. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain such insignia or regalia from the sponsoring organization; this should be done well before commencement day.
Honors Program graduates will be hooded on-stage during the commencement ceremony.
Parking and Transportation
Parking will be ably handled and directed by Campus Safety and DeKalb County police officers; overflow parking is directed to the two churches adjacent to Oglethorpe. Graduates must check in by 8 a.m., and guests should be seated no later than 8:50 a.m.; be sure to allow ample time for parking and walking to the ceremony site. There will be shuttles and golf carts on site to transport elderly guests from distant parking.
For guests using a wheelchair, walker, or any other assistance device, (please note that Oglethorpe does not provide onsite wheelchairs) the closest access to the location of the ceremony is the circular drive at the front of the campus. Campus Safety personnel can assist and direct to this drop-off point and then re-direct to nearby parking. For the ease of parking and seating, it is strongly advised that these guest arrive on campus at least 45 minutes before the ceremony begins. Please register your need for this accommodation no later than May 11 and to receive a dashboard marker. Above all, please be considerate of all of our guests and request this accommodation only as needed. Remember, there will be shuttles and golf carts in service.
What to Wear
The gown and hood add an extra layer of clothing to whatever you are wearing. You will also be sitting in the sun, which will warm you significantly. Unless the weather is exceptionally cool, you should dress according to the general guidelines below. And by the way, don’t even think about going barefoot - the stage gets very hot, and you will burn the bottom of your feet.
Men: It is advisable that you wear a short-sleeved white or light colored shirt with a dark tie. Light-weight, dark colored trousers will be most comfortable and will look best with the gown. Jeans or shorts are unacceptable. Dark shoes are recommended footwear, with no athletic shoes, sandals, or flip-flops.
Women: It is advisable that you wear a light-weight dress or light blouse and pants. Jeans or shorts are unacceptable. Dress sandals are acceptable for footwear, as long as they do not “clop” when you walk. No athletic shoes or flip-flops. Keep in mind also that the ground is uneven, soft and sometimes damp early in the morning, so we discourage mid- and high-heeled shoes to prevent you from falling.
Commencement day is typically very warm, and you are encouraged to drink plenty of water before coming to campus. While bottled water will be available for all participants and guests, you should make a point of stopping off at the restroom before joining the processional assembly. And if at all possible, refrain from drinking anything once you have checked in. After the processional, and when you are seated there will be a bottle of water under each chair.
If you have long hair, consider pulling your hair back or up, but remember you will need to be able to wear your mortar board!
Please leave purses, bags and other items with family members or locked in your car out of sight. You should not have anything in your hands when the ceremony begins, and the only thing in your hands when you exit should be your diploma!
If you must carry your cell phone (and we STRONGLY discourage you from doing so), turn the ringer off and refrain from making or accepting calls from the time we begin the processional to the time the ceremony is concluded. There is no such thing as discreet cell phone usage during Commencement! And yes, this includes texting! Such usage would be a rude distraction for other guests and a detraction from your fellow graduates' special day.
You may wear sunglasses for the processional and at your seat, but please remove them before going to the stage.
Checking In and Lining Up
Arrive absolutely no later than 8 a.m. Allow ample time to find parking, freshen up, and say hello to friends before that time. Please make restroom stops before checking in.
Please report to Lupton Auditorium (or to the Schmidt Center if there is rain) where you will pick up a 3 x 5 card with your name on it. You will notice this has a number on it---and you should find your respective seat, and hence your respective place in line, according to this number. (It's true; we've never treated you like a number before. We hope you will bear with us for this one time - it's simply the best way to make sure you end up processing and sitting in the correct order.)
It will take an hour to line everyone up properly. Wear comfortable shoes and try to be patient.
Please do not leave the assembly area once you have checked in!
A "Help Station" in the auditorium will provide assistance with your cap, hood or gown; with minor first aid and tailoring emergencies; or for sunscreen. Be sure to watch the hooding tutorial video for the proper way to wear your academic hood. There will be a tip for attaching the tassel in the packet you receive at Thursday night's rehearsal.
Other staff volunteers will be on hand to assist the faculty marshals with the processional assembly. Don't be shy about asking for help or introducing yourself!
A nurse will be on hand to assist with any first aid needs. In addition, EMS will be on site throughout the morning.
Oglethorpe will provide commencement photography for the class of 2015. Three composite class photos will be taken at the rehearsal Thursday evening – one each of traditional undergraduate candidates, adult program candidates and graduate program candidates. At commencement each candidate will be photographed receiving his or her diploma and again as each graduate exits the stage. Candid photographs before and after the ceremony will also be taken.
All photos will be posted and available for purchase through the photographer's website shortly after commencement. Please follow ordering instructions located on the website. Printed ordering information for these photos will also be provided in the packets at rehearsal.
To ensure a safe and smoother ceremony, please ask family members to cooperate with the directives from commencement marshals who are assisting graduation candidates throughout the program. Guests should respectfully remain behind roping and stanchions that are set to facilitate the work of the professional photographers and the flow of commencement participants and graduates to and from the stage.
Diplomas will be presented at the commencement ceremony to participants who have met ALL graduation requirements and have cleared ALL obligations to the university, including the $125 degree completion fee billed by the Business Office and the Senior Survey administered in April. Diplomas held for any reason will be available for pick-up in the Registrar's office once pending matters are cleared. .
Following the Ceremony
The ceremony will be over by 11:30 a.m. Faculty, staff and honored guests will form receiving lines to greet our newest alumni and their guests. Spend as much time as you'd like mingling on the quadrangle taking photographs with family and friends. Bottled water will be provided.
The residence halls and Greek Row housing will close for the spring semester for all students at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13 unless you are a graduating senior or have special permission from Residence Life to stay later. All graduating seniors and others wishing permission from remain beyond this date should fill out the Request to Stay Late or Return Early Request Form. Final check out for ALL students after Commencement is Sunday, May 17 by 10 a.m. No students will be allowed to stay later than this date and must receive approval before doing so. All students will need to set up a check out time with their Residence Assistant or House Manager. If you have questions about moving out please contact the Residence Life Office at 404.364.8520.
Congratulations! You are now part of a very special group - the only truly permanent component of the Oglethorpe community – our alumni.
The Alumni Association represents all alumni of the university. The Association seeks to keep you informed about Oglethorpe news and events, stay in touch with friends and help you network with others in your career field. Oglethorpe has almost 10,000 living alumni worldwide who share in the memories and traditions of OU and support the institution through their involvement and financial support.
During commencement rehearsal, you will receive a membership packet with a list of benefits and information on OU’s alumni online community, ePetrel. Among the benefits are continued access to most campus facilities, discounted museum admission, free tickets to many campus events, and membership in professional and social clubs within the association. Within ePetrel you will have access to a alumni online directory, alumni social media connections, a news feed with the latest Oglethorpe information, online registration for events and a secure way to contribute to the annual fund. In addition, please join Oglethorpe University alumni on Facebook and LinkedIn to receive the most up to date information from campus. These tools are the BEST way to keep in touch with Oglethorpe and to network with your fellow alumni. We will notify you of new benefits and other alumni news through our monthly email publication, The Flying Petrel eNews, or in the semi-annual Carillon magazine.
Your presence makes a difference in the future success of Oglethorpe University. You will be encouraged to attend alumni events and participate in volunteer opportunities which will help ensure we can continue to offer the Oglethorpe experience to future generations of students. You will also be encouraged to support the association and the university through participation in the annual fund and other fundraising initiatives. We hope your relationship with Oglethorpe will continue to grow over the years and that you will continue to feel welcome as an important member our community.
As you change your mailing address, email addresses, jobs or have career successes, please be sure to notify us through the Alumni website. We enjoy hearing your good news and sharing it with your classmates and professors!
Congratulations and best wishes for your future success!