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Commencement versus Graduation

There are important differences between commencement and graduation with which you should be familiar.

Commencement refers to the ceremony, officiated by the President of the University, where you share the excitement and importance of your academic accomplishments with peers, family, and friends. It is also a time for the University, Board of Trustees, National University System Chancellor, senior administrators, and faculty to pay special tribute to you for the outstanding efforts you have shown in earning your degree. 

Graduation, on the other hand, is a three-step process consisting of submitting an Application for Graduation form, completing all academic requirements for your degree, and settling all financial obligations. The administrative process of degree conferral will indicate your official date of graduation. 

If you have not filled out the Application for Graduation in the Student Portal, please do so immediately or contact your student advisor with any questions. 

There are six official conferral (degree posting) dates per year in 2016 the conferral dates are January 17, March 20, May 15, July 17, September 18, and November 20.

Commencement involves two separate ceremonies. The full university ceremony features remarks from the President and a keynote address. The school ceremonies feature remarks from the dean and the calling of your name, upon which you will proceed across the stage and receive your certificate of participation. 

Your actual diploma will be mailed to you four to six weeks after your specified conferral date. Your degree becomes official when it is posted to your transcript and not by your participation in commencement exercises.