Arriving at the Venue

Doors to the venue will open one hour prior to the start of the ceremony. Participants should arrive no later than 15 minutes after the doors open. Times and days of upcoming commencement ceremonies can be found on the Ceremonies and Events page. 

You should arrive for your ceremony with cap and gown in hand.

Personal Items

If you arrive with a coat or purse make arrangements to leave these items with a family member or friend. You should not have anything in your hand other than your photo name card when the processional begins and throughout the ceremony.

Line Up

Join your departmental group to line up where signs indicate. A marshal will be there to direct you. The Processional will begin promptly at the scheduled ceremony start time.


Engineering students are seated by major in alphabetical order. Your marshal will escort your group to a designated seating area. You should remain standing until all graduates have reached their seats.


A welcome address, several brief speeches, charge to the graduates, and conferring of degrees will follow.

Presentation of Graduates

For the Presentation of Graduates, the participants will be invited to come to the stage to be recognized individually. Take your Name Card with you, hand it to the person reading names at the microphone and walk briskly to center stage to shake hands with the Dean and another University representative. You will return to the opposite end of your original row of seats, crossing the row to your original seat.

Following the closing remarks, participants remain standing and immediately begin the Recessional under the marshals’ direction and in an orderly fashion.

Expectations of Graduates

Commencement is the culminating event of University study for students who choose to attend.   An appropriate and dignified academic atmosphere is absolutely expected so that you, your family, and other guests may enjoy this important gathering. 

The following rules of behavior will be enforced at all ceremonies:

  • No alcoholic beverages of any kind
  • Inappropriate dress and costumes worn under gowns will not be allowed
  • Cell phones must be turned off or silenced in the graduate seating area
  • No flowers, purses, gifts, balloons, or bags will be allowed in the student seating area
  • Marshals and security staff will be looking for intoxicated persons.  Inebriated students are not permitted to participate

With everyone’s cooperation, this occasion will become a proud and happy memory of your academic achievement at the University of Iowa.