College of Arts & Sciences Student Information
Congratulations to all graduating students! Your commencement is an important capstone to a great deal of academic effort and hard work. It is also an exciting event to celebrate with family, friends, and classmates.
Senior/Parent Commencement Banquet
May 24 | 5:45 p.m
This banquet is optional but highly recommended. Parents should contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Services to order tickets. Student tickets are complimentary. Parent tickets are $24 each.
Information about this event will be sent to parents in late March or they can find more information online.
May 24 | 7:45 p.m.
Benson Great Hall
This special gathering for students and their guests includes worship, communion for graduating students, and parting thoughts. It is optional but highly recommended.
Graduating students will sit together in the center section of the main floor. You do not wear commencement regalia. No tickets are needed.
May 25 | 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m.
Benson Great Hall
There are 3 CAS commencement ceremonies. Your major determines which ceremony you attend. Check the commencement schedule to make sure you know which ceremony is yours. If you have a double major or are graduating with a family member, contact the Registrar’s Office to request a certain ceremony.
All graduating students are expected to attend their commencement ceremony. If you are unable to attend, contact the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible to submit a petition to graduate in absentia.
A graduation packet will arrive in your PO box in March. It contains important information and forms to complete, including a form to request guest tickets and provide pronunciation for your name. Pay attention to the deadlines listed. Final instructions will be emailed in May.
There is no rehearsal. Instead, you will receive important instructions at the graduation lineup. For graduate lineup, arrive at the RC Gym 45 minutes before your ceremony start time. Please be prompt. Wear your gown and cap with tassel (and honor cords if you received them). A valuables check (for purses, etc.) will be available.
At lineup, you will be assigned to a specific spot in a specific row. Shortly before the ceremony start time, marshals will lead the graduating students in 2 lines from the RC Gym to Benson Great Hall. This walk through hallways is a moderate distance and includes 2 flights of stairs. If you think you are unable to walk this route, contact commencement staff to arrange accommodations.
You will be seated with others in your major in the center section on the main floor of Benson Great Hall. The ceremony is about 1 hour. Marshals will recess the graduates from Benson Great Hall after the platform personnel and faculty recess. Guests will be dismissed after the graduates recess.
A reception for you and your guests will take place in Brushaber Commons following the ceremony. Hallway hosts will direct everyone to the reception. Tell your guests ahead of time to meet you at the reception.
Signs identifying academic departments will be posted throughout the reception area as gathering points for grads, guests, and faculty. Some departments will gather in The Underground and some will gather in Monson Dining Center.
Light refreshments will be available at the reception.
Regalia (Commencement Apparel)
Before commencement day, pick up your cap and gown in the Campus Store during regalia pickup hours. You must present your student ID. If you qualify for honor cords, you will receive them when you pick up your regalia. Graduation honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) are based on a student’s cumulative GPA at the end of January. Contact commencement personnel for details.
Your regalia will be ordered for you. It is yours to keep. If you have questions about your regalia, contact Brenda Edinger in the Campus Store. Press your gown with a cool iron before commencement. Your cap is to be worn level, not tilted to the side or to the back, with the tassel on the right side. Recommended clothing to wear under regalia include a dress shirt and tie with dark slacks and dark shoes for men, and dark dress clothing and dark shoes for women.
Bethel-approved honor cords, medallions, and nursing pins are the only ornamentation to be worn on top of your gown. Corsages, heritage stoles, jewelry, or other ornamentation may NOT be worn over your gown during the ceremony; you may wear these at the reception, however.
Tickets are required for your guests to attend the ceremony in Benson Great Hall; this includes children who will take up a seat. (You do not need a ticket.) Tickets are free. Because of the seating capacity of Benson Great Hall, you are guaranteed 6 guest tickets and may request additional tickets. To request guest tickets, submit the Personal Preference Card in your graduation packet. If you want more than 6 tickets, indicate this on the card. Your guests cannot request tickets directly; they need to get tickets through you.
Pick up your guest tickets at the Bethel Box Office during commencement ticket pickup hours. Tickets will not be mailed to you or your guests. Six tickets will be set aside for each graduating student until noon on the Friday before commencement. After this, tickets that have not been picked up will be released to students who have requested additional tickets.
Lost tickets cannot be replaced. Please return unused tickets to the Bethel Box Office before or on commencement day. Unused tickets will be available at the Bethel Box Office 1 hour before the ceremony on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests or graduating students may inquire about these. No tickets are needed for overflow seating or for the reception.
Ceremony Seating and Seating Needs
If you or a guest needs a sign language interpreter, contact commencement staff as soon as possible. All facilities and parking on campus are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Direct your guests to guest information for parking, seating, and other guest details. Benson Great Hall doors open 1 hour before the ceremony start time. Guests who need accessible seating should arrive when doors open.
Seating in Benson Great Hall is by general admission. Tickets will be collected at the doors. Ushers can assist with special seating or hearing needs. If you have questions about accessible seating or other needs, contact the Benson Great Hall house manager, Tanya Pinkerman. Overflow seating with closed-circuit viewing of the ceremony is available in the AC Lounge and in Eastlund Room. No tickets are needed.
Childcare is not provided. Because the ceremony is formal and the acoustics are lively, encourage your guests to make other arrangements for babies and young children. Children must be supervised at all times.
Academic Requirements and Diplomas
You will receive a diploma cover at commencement. You will NOT receive your actual diploma. When you have met all academic requirements and other obligations to the university, the Registrar’s Office will post your degree to your transcript and mail your diploma to your permanent address.
Obligations include final payments or arrangements for tuition and fees, Campus Store charges, library charges and loans, parking fines, Stafford loan exit requirements, etc. Your diploma will bear your legal name (your name on the date of commencement). There are no exceptions.
If you plan to change your name shortly before commencement, contact the Registrar’s Office. Allow 4 weeks for your diploma to arrive once your degree has been posted.
Announcements and Photos
A news release announcing your graduation will be sent to your hometown newspaper. Your hometown newspaper is identified by the zip code of your permanent address. If you do not want a news release sent, or if you would like a news release sent to a different newspaper, submit a request with the Office of Communications and Marketing.
A certificate for 10 free commencement announcement cards is included in your graduation packet, which you will receive in March. These cards are for mailing to family and friends and may be picked up in the Academic Affairs Office. You may purchase additional cards for a small charge. These announcements are NOT tickets to the commencement ceremony.
A professional photographer will take individual photos of graduates as they receive their diploma cover on stage during the ceremony. To order your photo, see the order form in your graduation packet or visit www.pictureplace.com (event name is "Bethel").