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Commencement Ceremony

graduating student in cap and gown smiles at camera

Every commencement is a wonderful event, and we hope you'll be here to make it that much more special. If you have questions that are not answered here, please call us at 800-222-4978.

"Commencement" refers to the actual ceremony that recognizes graduates, those who have earned or will earn degrees during a specific period of time. WSU Pullman has two official commencement ceremonies: fall commencement in December and spring commencement in May. Students may choose which ceremony to attend depending on their official graduation date and are considered candidates for graduation.

"Graduation" refers to earning an academic degree upon completion of a set of requirements (both academic and procedural). Learn more on the Graduation Procedures page.

Quick Links

Who Can Participate in Commencement

All students who have filed a graduation application and are considered a candidate for graduation can attend either of the commencement ceremonies. Students completing degrees in May or August of the current year and December of the previous year may attend the spring (May) ceremony, but only May graduates and candidates for graduation will be listed in the WSU commencement bulletin. Similarly, students completing degrees in August or December of the current year and May of the next year can attend the fall (December) ceremony; both August and December graduates will be listed in the WSU commencement bulletin.

Students may walk (participate) in a commencement ceremony while finishing courses if they expect to complete those courses before their final graduation clearing date for graduation.



Commencement Bulletins

Names of graduates and candidates for graduation included in the commencement graduation bulletins are compiled at a point in time well before the ceremonies, and the final bulletins may not be completely accurate at the time of the ceremonies. Some qualified participants might not be included if their names were not available at the time of printing and names of candidates for graduation who delay graduation might be included.



Ordering a Cap and Gown

Graduation regalia (caps and gowns) is rented by and ordered directly from Jostens. Complete information is available on the WSU Commencement Ceremonies website. Simply select the specific ceremony (fall, spring) from the left menu for the schedule and link to the Jostens website when it is available.

If you choose to have the Bookie hold your order for pick up, consider picking up your cap and gown prior to the ceremony, as your gown may need pressing.

The Bookie usually is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. the day before commencement, and from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. the day of commencement. You must return your cap and gown to the Bookie before 7 p.m. the Monday after the ceremony.



Graduation Ceremony Registration and Logistics

In addition to the information included here, we recommend you review the information and checklist for the specific ceremony (fall, spring) on the WSU Commencement Ceremonies website.

Commencement ceremonies are held at Beasley Coliseum. If you plan to attend a commencement ceremony, you must register for the ceremony during the registration period. See the specific ceremony page (fall, spring) for details.

Fall commencement (December) includes all students from all colleges in one ceremony. Visit the Fall Commencement page and check out the links listed on the left side of the page for information about the ceremony.

Spring commencement (May) is made up of multiple ceremonies for students in different colleges at different times. Visit the Spring Commencement page and check out the links listed on the left side of the page for information about the ceremony.

Graduates participating in commencement should assemble on the paved roads (North Fairway Drive and North Fairway Lane) east of Beasley Coliseum no later than a half-hour before your ceremony's scheduled time. In case of inclement weather, candidates will be directed into the coliseum by the ceremony marshals. Locate Beasley Coliseum on map.wsu.edu.

Most ceremonies last approximately one and a half to two hours. Reservations are not required and there is no admission fee.

Before the ceremony, you will need to pick up a pre-printed reader card that will be used to announce your name during the ceremony. Refer to the specific commencement checklist (fall, spring) on the WSU Commencement Ceremonies website for dates and times to pick up your reader card. Your name will be read aloud from this card as you receive your diploma cover. Actual diplomas for candidates will be mailed to students who have completed all of their degree requirements approximately two months after the graduation date.

At the ceremony, an official photographer will photograph you as you receive your diploma cover (remember, it’s not the actual diploma). These pictures will be available for order by mail. Only official photographers are allowed on the floor with the graduates. Personal pictures of graduates in caps and gown may be taken before and after the ceremonies.



Special Accommodations During the Ceremony

University commencement guests who have a disability or have difficulty walking will find easier access if they enter the Beasley Coliseum through the North entrance off Orchard Drive where there is some handicap parking and a drop off area. This will place the guest on the concourse level at sections 30-31-32.

Handicap parking is available all around the coliseum. Limited seating is set aside in the first three rows of seating from the concourse level. We ask those who utilize this area to limit the number of family and friends that sit with them to 3 individuals. This will provide adequate seating for all who attend. The coliseum does have wheelchair access seating available but will not have wheelchairs available. Wheelchairs, walkers and other aids that will not be in use during the ceremony, should be labeled with personal identification and will be placed in a storage area near your seats. This is required by law for emergency purposes. Ask a commencement usher for assistance.

All ceremonies will use real time captioning on two large screens behind the stage and on all four sides of the center jumbotran scoreboard.

Information about temporary disability parking permits is available on the Transportation Services Disability Parking page.

Students who need special accommodation should contact the Commencement Coordinator (see current contact information on the Disability Seating and Parking web page).



Bringing Guests

Graduates may invite as many friends and relatives as they wish to the graduation ceremony; admission tickets are NOT required. Guests are allowed to sit in any of the areas allotted for guest seating and may come and go at their leisure; there are no reserved seats.

Only graduates are allowed to sit in the graduates' seating area.



Announcements & Class Rings

You can place orders for official WSU announcements, class rings, jewelry, and diploma frames through the Jostens website.



Transportation to Pullman Graduation Ceremonies

If you are planning to attend the commencement ceremony, you can view a printable campus map at map.wsu.edu or feel free to contact us at 800-222-4978 to request a campus map.

If you are flying into Spokane, Wheatland Airport Express) provides relatively inexpensive shuttle service from the airport to the campus.

If you will be driving, please note that on-campus parking areas are filled on a first come-first serve basis and parking regulations are enforced at all times especially in handicapped or service areas. Go to the WSU Transportation Services Visitor Parking for information.



Graduation Events for Global Campus Graduates

WSU Global Campus and ASWSU Global (your student government) traditionally honor graduates at a reception before each Spring commencement ceremony. Visit the ASWSU Global Events page for information. Graduates are encouraged to attend the no-charge reception with their guests.



Lodging

Lodging options in the Pullman area are listed on the Pullman Chamber of Commerce website.



Graduation Clearing

Graduation clearing takes place within four to six weeks after each graduation date (May, August, December). Degrees are posted to transcripts weekly during the graduation clearing period until the finally clearing date. Students do NOT receive their diplomas at commencement ceremonies; they receive only a diploma cover during the ceremony. Diplomas are mailed to students' permanent addresses within two months after their graduation (not commencement) date. Be sure your contact information is current.

Your degree becomes official when it is posted to your transcript, NOT by your participation in a commencement ceremony.



The Global Campus, PO Box 645220, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5220, 800-222-4978, 509-335-3557, Contact Us
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