BEFORE COMMENCEMENT DAY
Who can participate?
Commencement Ceremony Participation
Students who complete all requirements in the Summer 2012, Fall 2012 or Spring 2013 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 5. Any student who does not inform the Registrar’s Office of his or her intent to participate by April 5 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 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 is essential for our alumni office, for the career services office, and for your permanent record.
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
Ordering Announcements and Graduation Regalia
If you are unable to attend the Oglethorpe Bookstore’s Graduation Fair in the Great Hall on March 8, you may go online at http://www.jostens.com/college until March 23 to order your cap and gown. There is a link from this website that will take you directly to the Oglethorpe page. A graduation packet with a cap, gown, hood and tassel for undergraduates is $50.65 plus tax; for graduate MAT candidates it is $53.55 plus tax.
If these dates have passed, please visit or contact the bookstore immediately (404-364-8361). Bookstore distribution of caps and gowns will begin on the week of May 6. Please try your gown on several days before graduation so any problems with size and necessary exchanges are not a last-minute emergency.
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.jostens.com/college. Candidates can also purchase diploma frames and other commencement memorabilia. Contact the bookstore at 404.364.8361 with any questions.
A question that is commonly raised each year concerns permission to wear insignia or regalia of various student honorary or Greek organizations. These regalia are usually a sash, a cord, a stole or medallion and wearing any of these 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.
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 use the RSVP form to register your need for this accommodation no later than May 13 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 soft and sometimes damp early in the morning, so narrow, spiked heels can sink right into the ground.
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. Similarly, pagers should be turned to silent mode.
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 2013. Three composite class photos will be taken at the rehearsal Thursday evening – one each of traditional undergraduate candidates, evening 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 by One Moment More Photography on their website dedicated to Oglethorpe University. 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.
Following the Ceremony
The ceremony will be over by 11 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 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15 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 19 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 - the alumni.
Unlike most other institutions, the Oglethorpe Alumni Association is not a dues-paying organization. All graduates are considered members and receive the benefits of membership. These benefits will be detailed in a packet you will receive at commencement rehearsal. Among the benefits are continued access to most campus facilities, discounted museum memberships, free tickets to many campus events, and potential membership in professional and social clubs within the association.
You will be encouraged to support the association and the university through participation in the annual fund and other fundraising initiatives. Your support will enable Oglethorpe to continue offering a wide range of services to alumni, and will of course help ensure we can continue to offer the Oglethorpe experience to future generations of students.
You will also be encouraged to remain actively involved with the university and other alumni through alumni events, volunteer opportunities, and communications. The Alumni website is your front line resource for information about your association, and you will also receive periodic mailings from the Alumni Office. Please be sure to submit address updates!