Commencement begins at 10am in the ACWC.
Welcome to the MAC Commencement page. You will find everything you need to know about Commencement here. Congratulations on your graduation!
More Commencement InformationGraduate Salute Baccalaureate Mass
The commencement ceremony as we know it had its beginnings in the Middle Ages as rites of initiation into the close brotherhood of guild membership. Guilds were groups of artisans, tradesmen, and merchants who banded together to regulate their industry and standardize the training of potential new members. Our modern academic degrees of bachelor, master, and doctor correspond loosely to the titles of apprentice, journeyman, and master that indicated the ancient guildman’s level of knowledge and skill. Like the initiation rituals of the medieval guild, our commencement ceremony symbolizes both a new beginning and acceptance into the ranks of those who have attained an important and substantial body of knowledge.
An important part of the pomp and circumstance of the traditional commencement ceremony, the mace is a symbol of the authority of the university. It evolved from the weapons carried by the elite bodyguards who protected the king and other high officials at important events. It is carried in the processional by the grand marshal, a faculty member chosen for the occasion. In the early centuries of the university system, faculty members who were appointed to be marshals were charged with the task of ensuring that scholars complied with the curfew. Today, the mace has a purely symbolic purpose–to represent the authority of the university as a degree-granting institution.
The origins of academic dress date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, when universities were taking form. The ordinary dress of the scholar, whether student or teacher, was the dress of a cleric. With few exceptions, the medieval scholar had taken at least minor orders, made certain vows, and perhaps been tonsured. Long gowns were worn and may have been necessary for warmth in unheated buildings. Hoods seem to have served to cover the tonsured head until superseded for that purpose by the skull cap.
The assignment of colors to signify certain faculties was to be a much later development, and one which was to be standardized only in the United States in the late 19th century. White taken from the white fur trimming of the Oxford and Cambridge B.A. hoods, was assigned to arts and letters. Red, one of the traditional colors of the church, went to theology. Green, the color of medieval herbs, was adopted for medicine, and olive, because it was so close to green, was given to pharmacy. Golden yellow, standing for the wealth which scientific research has produced, was assigned to the sciences. The Intercollegiate Commission met at Columbia University in 1895 and adopted a code of academic dress, which besides regulating the cut and style and materials of the gowns, prescribed the colors which were to represent the different fields of learning.
Traffic will be restricted to enter College Drive through the main campus vehicle entrance near the Administration Building. The upper entrance near Ihmsen Hall will be closed for the day. Officers will be positioned along College Drive to direct vehicles to open lots. The parking lots will be filled one at a time, beginning with lot 13. The earlier you arrive, the closer to the Athletic Convocation and Wellness Center you will be able to park. Special needs and handicap person drop off will begin near lot 14 along Mountie Way. Please have your state issued handicap placard displayed or license plate and the Officers will direct you to the proper location. After the ceremony, Cresson Volunteer Fire Company Fire Police Officers will control traffic on Admiral Peary Highway to facilitate a safe and orderly exodus.
Please contact the Campus Safety Office at 814-886-6327 if you have parking questions or concerns.
Ticket & Regalia Questions
How many tickets does a student receive for graduation and how is that number determined?
Each student who has indicated on the Application for Graduation that he or she plans to walk can receive up to 6 tickets for the ceremony. The total number of tickets is determined by dividing the number of seats by the number of walking graduates. The number of students who choose to participate in Commencement varies from year to year.
I’m not walking; can I give my tickets to someone else?
Only students who have indicated they plan to participate in the Commencement ceremony will be issued tickets.
Can I get or buy extra tickets?
Students cannot buy extra tickets. Any extra tickets will be distributed via a lottery at the end of the practice during graduation week.
When can I pick up my regalia and tickets?
Students can pick up their regalia (caps and gowns) and tickets starting with Graduate Salute on April 2, 2019. The event runs from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Cosgrave 122. If a student cannot attend Graduate Salute, students are more than welcome to pick up your tickets and regalia in Cosgrave 106 between Graduate Salute and Commencement. Please note any tickets not picked up by the start of Commencement Practice will be included with any extra tickets that are being distributed. Please see the Graduate Salute portion of the Commencement website for more details.
Can someone else pick up my tickets and regalia for me?
We do realize that some students may be off campus for internships and not be able to attend Graduate Salute. If you need someone to pick up your tickets and regalia, please email the Registrar’s Office at email@example.com with the name of the person who will be given permission to pick up your tickets.
What should I wear to the ceremony?
We ask that graduates wear dress shoes, no tennis shoes; dresses, skirts and dress pants for ladies and slacks for men. No jeans please. Your attire should reflect the auspicious nature of the occasion. Please beware that each student will be walking up and down a set of stairs to cross the stage.
How do I wear my hood?
When you remove your hood from the bag, do not attempt to make any adjustments to the hood. The hood should be worn draped around your neck with the largest portion of the hood hanging down your back. The velvet boarder, which indicates your specific field of study, should be showing on the outside. The velvet should fold under on the lower back to allow the colors of the College to show. Staff members of the College will be available the morning of Commencement to help students with their hoods and regalia.
Where should my guest enter the Athletic Wellness and Convocation Center?
Guests should enter the venue through the main doors of the building into the lobby where they will be able to access both bleacher and floor seating. Families with elderly or handicapped members may enter the venue through the first floor entrance of the Wellness Center. There these guests will be able to access the elevator to the second floor or gain access to floor seating at court level. Graduates should report directly to the Auxiliary Gym prior to Commencement.
Is Commencement practice mandatory? I can’t come to practice, what should I do?
Commencement practice is not mandatory, but highly recommended to ensure that your special day goes off without any hitches. It allows you to feel comfortable with the ceremony, know where you will be sitting, have your pronunciation of your name verified, and allows for students to hear some informal congratulatory remarks from members of the college community. If you can’t come to practice, we recommend that you arrive to the Auxiliary Gym earlier on Saturday, so that staff members can answer any questions you may have about the ceremony. Students should report to the Auxiliary Gym no later than 9:30 a.m. the morning of Commencement.
What time should I arrive to get good seats?
We recommend that guests plan to arrive on campus no later than 9:15 a.m. to ensure they have time to park their vehicles and arrive at the Athletic Convocation and Wellness Center well before the event begins.
Are there special accommodations and parking for handicapped guests? Can all of my guests sit together?
The Athletic Convocation and Wellness Center has reserved wheel chair capacities on both the upper and lower level of the facility. Wheelchair seating is indicated below:
Lower Level East Bleachers – 4
Lower Level West Bleachers – 4
Upper Level East – 7
Upper Level West – 6
Campus Safety will have designated drop off areas outside the front of the Athletic Convocation and Wellness Center. Please see the Parking Directions in the Commencement website for more detailed information. We recommend that guest needing handicapped seating arrives early as possible to ensure that guests can sit together. The Campus Safety Department requires anyone requesting to use handicapped parking spaces have either a current state issued handicapped plate or placard.
Students who are participating in the ceremony will be emailed a link in April to make requests for special accommodations for seating. Anyone wishing to bring a service animal to the ceremony must provide the service animal’s documentation to the Office of Safety and Security the week prior to the ceremony.
Is the seating reserved?
No, seating is first come, first seated.
I have a small child. Can they sit on a lap?
All children ages 6 and older will be required to have a ticket for the Commencement ceremony.
I have a family member who is deaf and will need interpreting services for the ceremony, who should I contact?
If you have family member who needs interpreting services for Commencement, please contact the Registrar’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I have to attend the Baccalaureate Mass on Friday?
Attending the Baccalaureate Mass is not required, but encouraged of any student who wishes to attend. No tickets are necessary to attend the mass, but we ask that students who plan on attending RSVP with Campus Ministry (campusministry
Diploma and Honors Questions
When will I receive my diploma?
Students will receive their diplomas approximately 4-5 weeks after the Commencement Ceremony. Final graduate audits are completed the two weeks after Commencement to ensure that graduates have met all core, major, and institutional requirements for graduation. A student is responsible for ensuring that all financial obligations are met and all holds removed from his or her record to avoid a delay in receiving a diploma and final transcript. Please be aware that it is ultimately a student’s responsibility to ensure all of his or her degree requirements are completed. Students should consult the College Catalog to review the requirements of their program of study.
How are Latin Honors determined?
The college recognizes three levels of academic honors for undergraduate students. Honor at graduation is conferred on the student who qualifies for the academic distinctions of:
- Minimum Cumulative GPA — 3.50 – 3.69
Magna Cum Laude:
- Minimum Cumulative GPA — 3.70 – 3.89
Summa Cum Laude:
- Minimum Cumulative GPA — 3.90 – 4.0
The honors that are indicated in the program and the students’ name cards are based off the students’ final grade point average at the conclusion of the fall semester. Students’ final academic honors will be noted on the transcript and diploma.
When can I request my final transcript?
Students can request your final transcript online two weeks after the Commencement ceremony. If you need a more immediate verification of your status, students can request a letter from the Registrar’s Office by email the office at email@example.com.
Where do I get my honors cord?
If a student is a member of either the PTK or DES honors society, he or she should have received cords during the induction ceremony. If a student has not received his or her cords, then it is recommended he or she contact Dr. Emily Houseknect and/or Dr. Fran Rohlf, as they serve as the coordinators of these honors societies. A student who is a member of the College’s Honors Program should have received his or her cords during the Honor’s Recognition in April. If a student has not received his or her Honors Program cords, then it is recommended he or she contact Dr. Glenn Neff, as he serves as the coordinator of the College’s Honors program. SALUTE inductees not able to attend the induction ceremony should contact Dr. Matt Arsenault.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
I’m a resident student. Can I stay in the residence halls until graduation?
Yes, contact the Residence Life Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know your intentions and to arrange for room check out.
How do I order announcements?
A representative from Jostens will be available to students at Graduate Salute.
Is there anything else I need to know?
We recommend that students do not bring purses, cell phones, umbrellas, backpacks, and other items with them to Baccalaureate Mass or Commencement. There will not be anywhere to secure or lock up these items during the event.
You can find information regarding Jostens graduation packages by clicking here.
Application for Graduation
Students who have applied for graduation will have a pre-graduation audit conducted. The time line for pre-graduation audits is listed below:
Selected Conferral Period
Graduation Application Deadline
Pre-Graduation Audit Conducted
|May||First week of November||Late October/Early November||First week of December|
|August||First week of April||Late March/Early April||Last week of May|
|December||First week of April||Late March/Early April||Last week of May|
Once completed, students will be mailed a letter indicating the results of the pre-graduation audit. If an audit indicates a student is on track with his or her current schedule, then the student will be enrolled in one of the following courses during his or her final semester: GR101, GR201, or GR301 This code does not appear on a printed schedule or transcript. The only place it is viewable is on MyMAC. The course is a means of tracking your application status and signals the Controller’s Office to apply the graduation fee to a student record.