Commencement Weekend: General Questions

Commencement Weekend: Prior to Commencement

Where and when do we pick up our caps and gowns, tickets, etc.?

The OWU Bookstore will have caps and gowns available for pick up during Countdown to Commencement. Tickets (required only if Commencement is moved indoors) can also be picked-up at the bookstore. Each graduate will receive six rain tickets (there are no exceptions). Instructions for the ceremony will be emailed to graduates prior to the Commencement rehearsal.

Where and when do we pick up our honor cords/stoles?

Each academic department will specify when and where to pick up honor cords/stoles.

What is proper attire for Commencement?

Clothing and shoes are required to be worn under the gown. It is recommended that seniors dress in business casual or more formal attire. Offensive T-shirts and other garments will not be permitted.

What do we need to bring to Commencement?

Graduates need to bring their cap, gown, tassel, and six tickets in case Commencement is moved indoors because of inclement weather. Beyond that, the less brought to the ceremony the better. If possible, have a family member hold purses or other bags. Cell phones and mobile devices will need to be set on “silent”.

What should we NOT bring to Commencement?

Please refrain from bringing pets, signs, umbrellas, and other items that may block the view of family and friends watching the ceremony. The use of bullhorns, air horns, and other disruptive devices is prohibited. However, cheering and clapping for a graduate is encouraged! This is an important day, and we want everyone to have a pleasant experience.

Will we have a rehearsal?

A mandatory commencement rehearsal will be held a few days prior to the ceremony in Branch Rickey Arena.

How can candidates for graduation help to ensure their names are pronounced correctly at Commencement?

  1. Verify or correct your diploma name by April 5 - REQUIRED FOR ALL ANTICIPATED GRADUATES:
    1. Visit
    2. Log in and view your diploma name, and
    3. Use the change process if an adjustment is required. If no change is required, please DO NOT hit the Submit request button; select Cancel instead.
  2. Proper pronunciation of your name is an important part of the ceremony and we need your help to be sure we get it right. To provide us with a pronunciation, students should do the following no later than April 5:
    1. Call 740-368-3205,
    2. State your student ID number and your full name twice (as you would like it to be read at Commencement), and
    3. Leave your phone number in case we require additional information.

If you missed the deadline, please contact the Registrar’s Office at or 740-368-3200 for assistance.

How should guests of graduates get to campus from the airport?

The University is unable to provide airport shuttles. Please visit our Area Transportation page to learn about area transportation options and access links to Columbus airport transportation.

Commencement Weekend: Day of Ceremony

How long is Commencement?

About three hours.

Who is the Commencement speaker?

The Commencement speaker will be announced in early Spring 2020.

What is the notification process if Commencement is moved inside due to poor weather?

A campus-wide communication as well as signs will be used to communicate that the ceremony is being moved to Gordon Field House inside the Branch Rickey Physical Education Center. Do not forget to come prepared with your six tickets for admission just in case.

Instructions for Commencement

How far in advance will we be notified if Commencement is moved inside?

The decision to move Commencement inside will be made by 7:30 a.m. the morning of the ceremony. Communication to the students will be sent after the call has been made. It is recommended that you distribute your six tickets once you have been notified. Family members without a ticket are invited to view the ceremony via a live stream inside the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center Atrium.

What happens if we are late – can we still walk?

Candidates for degrees should be lined up alphabetically by degree between University Hall and Slocum Hall at 12:15 p.m. If you are late, there is no guarantee you will be able to walk in the ceremony.

Where and when do candidates for graduation check in and line up for Commencement?

Candidates for degrees will line up on the walk between University Hall and Slocum Hall promptly at 12:15 p.m. Candidates will be organized in columns of twos in alphabetical order from right to left by degree. B.F.A. will go first, followed by B.M., and then B.A. candidates.  Student marshals and other members of OWU’s faculty and staff will assist you. It is extremely important that candidates stay in alphabetical order to prevent a diploma from going to the wrong person.

Where will people be able to park?

Parking will be free in all OWU parking lots around campus. Golf carts will be available to transport guests who need assistance getting from parking areas to the site.

What is the protocol for wearing the tassel on the mortar board?

The tassel should be worn on the right during the ceremony and moved to the left upon receipt of your diploma. There are different color tassels for each degree. Black and red signify B.A., pink represents B.M., and brown signifies B.F.A. Any B.M. or B.F.A. recipient may purchase a black and red tassel as a keepsake but must wear the appropriate tassel during the ceremony.

Will flowers be available to purchase on the day of the Commencement?

Mortar Board will be selling bouquets of roses (half dozen and dozen) outside Elliott Hall. Please bring cash.

What happens in the event of an emergency? Where can people get first aid?

A first aid station will be located on the first-floor science library of the Schimmel-Conrades Science Center.

Are animals welcome?

Only handicap service dogs are allowed. Pets are important family members but for their safety and the safety and comfort of others, please keep them at home.

Where does everyone go after Commencement?

Once the faculty and students process, graduates are free to join their family and friends. There is no official reception after the ceremony; however, many departments host an event for graduates following the ceremony. Check with your academic department for time and location.

Commencement Weekend: Miscellaneous

Will there be special accommodations for handicap and hearing-disabled individuals?

For wheelchair accommodations with a maximum of four attendants, please complete the Commencement Parking Request Form or call 740-368-2222 with your graduate’s name, number of handicapped parking spaces required, and names of your guests. OWU does not provide wheelchairs but transportation from the handicapped parking lot to the seating area is available. A sign language interpreter will also be present for the hearing impaired.

What events beyond the ceremony itself are going on during Commencement Weekend?

A number of activities are happening to mark this momentous occasion. Please visit our Schedule of Events page for a detailed calendar of the weekend.

Do we get our actual diplomas at Commencement?

If you have fulfilled all academic and financial requirements, you will receive your diploma at Commencement. If not, you will receive a diploma cover with an explanation of your remaining requirements inside.

If I do not plan to walk at graduation, where and when can I pick up my diploma?

If you do not plan to walk, please notify the Registrar’s Office today. You may pick up your diploma starting the Monday after Commencement in the Registrar’s Office (M-F 8:30 a.m. to noon or 1-4:30 p.m.) or send an email request to with your current address to have it mailed.

Will news releases about graduates be forwarded to hometown newspapers?

Yes, unless you have requested previously that the University not share news about you. Contact Cole Hatcher at if you have questions.

How can I donate to the Senior Class Gift?

Visit our Make a Gift page

How can I purchase a yearbook?

To be determined.

Can guests bring video and photo recording devices?


Are there any local worship services available the day of Commencement?

Visit our Chaplain’s Office’s Religious Life page for Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other worship service information.

Will a photographer be taking photos as we receive our diplomas?

A photographer will take pictures of all graduates as they are handed their diplomas. Please visit for more information.

Is smoking allowed during Commencement?

Ceremonies will be held outside, but no smoking is permitted in any seating areas. It is recommended that individuals who would like to smoke go to the perimeter parking lot areas. If the ceremony is held inside due to poor weather conditions, smoking is not permitted inside as designated by Ohio law. Smoking may occur outside of buildings at a distance of 20 feet beyond any entrances/exits.

Will parents and family members be able to take photographs?

Parents and family members are welcome to take photographs from their seats or after the ceremony. A professional photographer will be onsite to take photos as students receive their diploma and after. Guests having trouble viewing the stage are invited to watch the ceremony in the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center Atrium, where it will be streaming live.