Graduate Commencement

2021 Graduate Degree Candidates: Commencement week is approaching! Please take a few minutes to read all of the essential information below – and Congratulations!

Commencement Schedule

Please note: Students should arrive one hour before each event

  • Tuesday, May 18, 10 a.m. – College of Arts & Sciences (for students in the STEM disciplines, Psychology, General Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies)
  • Tuesday, May 18, 2 p.m. – College of Arts & Sciences (for students in the Liberal Arts)
  • Wednesday, May 19, 9 a.m. – College of Health and Human Services
  • Wednesday, May 19, 12:30 p.m.  – School of Business and the Class of 2020
  • Wednesday, May 19, 4 p.m.  – College of Education

What to do When You Arrive

  • Please park in the Wintergreen Parking Garage (23 Wintergreen Avenue – see parking directions below).
  • You will exit the Wintergreen garage toward Moore Field house and walk down the sidewalk on the garage side of the field house to the student check-in area. (see map).
  • Your reader card will be checked and you will then walk up to Jess Dow Field to find your seat.
  • You will be seated by degree, socially distanced. There will be monitors there to help you, wearing navy blue Southern polo shirts and a red face mask.
  • Once you enter the field you are not allowed to leave until the ceremony is concluded.


  • Each student may have a maximum of two guests at their ceremony.
  • All guests (including babies/children) must have a ticket to enter the site.
  • Due to social distancing requirements, we cannot exceed the two guests per student limit.

Social Distancing

  • All students will be seated six feet apart in designated seating on the field.
  • Guests will be able to sit together in groups of two – separated by six feet from other guests.
  • Masks must be worn at all times by students and guests.

Parking and Arrival

  • Parking is available in the Wintergreen Parking Garage (23 Wintergreen Avenue, see map), which is adjacent to Moore Fieldhouse. With up to 2,000 people expected at each of the ceremonies, all graduating students, together with families and friends, are asked to arrive at the commencement site one hour before the event starts.
  • Expect traffic delays, so plan extra travel time. To alleviate traffic congestion, students and families are encouraged to travel together or car pool.
  • Persons with state-issued handicapped parking permits may park in the handicapped parking areas of the garage or in the parking lot between Moore Fieldhouse and the Wintergreen Building.
  • Audience seating in the arena and the graduate procession assembly area will open one hour before each ceremony.

Download PDF Map

Disability Services

  • Jess Dow Field is wheelchair-accessible and will provide services for guests with disabilities.
  • These services, available on a first-come, first-served basis, include handicapped parking, wheelchair locations with companion seating, sign language interpreting, and programs in large-print and alternative formats.

Presentation of Diplomas

  • Your dean will ask you to stand at the appropriate time in the ceremony. You will then be asked to come forward to receive your diploma jacket on stage. PLEASE NOTE THERE WILL BE NO SHAKING OF HANDS, HUGGING OR ANY FORM OF PHYSICAL CONTACT DURING THE PRESENTATION – THIS IS STRICTLY A NO-CONTACT EVENT.
  • Due to social distancing requirements, there will be no hooding during this ceremony – please have your hood in place before you walk up to the stage to receive your jacket.
  • As per tradition, Doctoral students will have the title of their dissertation read before they receive their diploma jacket.
  • Please do not leave any of your belongings at your chair, as you may not end up in the same seat.
  • The university has arranged for a private professional photographer - GradImages: - to take photographs of you receiving your diploma jacket on stage and again as you step down. The photographer will contact you prior to the ceremony about these photographs.
  • Out of respect for your classmates, you must return to your seat after receiving your diploma jacket and remain there until the president confers your degree at the end of the ceremony.

Commencement Decorum

  • Past classes have established a tradition of dignified behavior befitting an academic event as important as commencement. Please continue this tradition, with the understanding that disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Remember, more than 1,000 relatives of students and friends of Southern will attend each ceremony and let’s ensure that everyone has the chance to celebrate this milestone occasion.
  • Do not bring alcoholic beverages to commencement.
  • For your own safety and the safety of people sitting near you, do not stand on chairs during the ceremony.
  • Please silence your cell phone during the ceremony.
  • Participating students must plan to stay for the entire ceremony.

For Virtual Opt-Ins

The graduates who have opted-in for video commencement will have their photo (if submitted), name, and degree displayed in a video segment following each livestreamed ceremony. Simply watch the end of the YouTube or Facebook livestream specific to your college/school.

In addition, we will publish a YouTube video specifically to show the video commencement graduates, separate from the livestream. You can find this video on Southern’s official YouTube Channel after all of commencement ceremonies are over. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and click the bell icon to get notifications.


Visit our official YouTube channel or Facebook to watch the commencement ceremonies during each commencement dates and times.

YouTube Channel Southern on Facebook