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Students, Mentors, and Faculty

Students and faculty, your participation is required for Commencement. If you are unable to attend, contact the BSSD Registrar as soon as possible at bssd-registrar@bethel.edu.

Commencement Rehearsal

Thursday, May 26
9 a.m.
College Avenue Baptist Church
This mandatory rehearsal is about 90 minutes. Please invite your mentor to this rehearsal.


9 a.m. Saturday before the ceremony meet in Seminary chapel for lineup. The processional and recessional include graduating students, mentors, faculty, program personnel, and marshals, all of these participants should arrive for lineup. Bring your regalia. Marshals will lead the processional across the street to the church. You will carry your hood. Marshals will lead the recessional out of the church and back to the seminary.


It is a Bethel Seminary San Diego tradition to ask each graduating student to select a mentor to participate in the commencement ceremony. Your mentor should be your internship supervisor or someone who has given you professional guidance in your ministry. This person should not be a family member and cannot be a full-time faculty member.

The seminary will provide your mentor with specific commencement details, but you should first personally request their presence at the ceremony. It is your responsibility to confirm that your mentor has received commencement details from Bethel. During the ceremony, after you receive your hood and diploma, your mentor will greet you and a photographer will take a picture of you and your mentor.


Your regalia will be ordered for you. Before commencement day, pick up your regalia from Shirley Bunch. If you qualify for honor cords, you will receive them on commencement day. Your regalia and any honor cords are yours to keep.

Recommended clothing to wear under regalia include a dress shirt and tie with dark slacks and dark shoes for men, and dress clothing and dark shoes for women. Your cap is to be worn level, not tilted to the side or to the back, with the tassel on the left. Bethel-approved honor cords are the only ornamentation that may be worn on top of your gown. Corsages, heritage stoles, floral leis, jewelry, or other ornamentation may NOT be worn over your gown during the ceremony; you may wear these at the reception, however.

Diploma Requirements

Your diploma will bear your legal name (your name as it is on the date of commencement). There are no exceptions. If you plan to change your name shortly before commencement, contact the BSSD Office of the Registrar. 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 Office of the Registrar will post your degree to your transcript and mail your diploma to your permanent address. Allow 4 weeks for mailing after your degree is posted.

Obligations include:

  • Final Tuition Payments
  • Graduation Fee: $50 will be charged to your student account in the Spring term when you graduate
  • Library Charges
  • Loan Exit Counseling (if applicable): About 1 month before you graduate, the Office of Financial Aid will send you details about your borrowing history, repayment options, and specific exit instructions. In the meantime, you can visit the National Student Loan Data System, which will provide you with information on your federal student loans.

Senior Reflections

Two or three students will be selected to represent their graduating class by giving a short reflection speech during the ceremony. Selections are made through a ballot process. A ballot listing all graduating students is distributed to the class. The names of students with the most votes are forwarded to the Administrative Graduation Committee, where final determinations are made.

Graduation Announcements

About 4 weeks before commencement, you will receive a set of 10 announcement cards for mailing to family and friends. Additional announcements may be ordered at $1 each, and payment is due when you pick up your announcements. Email Shirley Bunch at s-bunch@bethel.edu to purchase additional announcements.

Ceremony Photos

The seminary will contract with a professional photographer for the ceremony. Shortly after graduation, the photographer will email you proofs and ordering information.


Email Sherry Stockton at s-stockton@bethel.edu.