Ceremony Instructions

Commencement day to-do list

  • Check in at Hammons Student Center at least 45 minutes before your ceremony.
  • Pick up your name card and honors cordons at the south end of Hammons Student Center.
  • Line up with other graduates from your college on the main floor of Hammons Student Center. If you are unsure of your college, check the list.
  • Arrange a spot to meet up with your friends and family outside of JQH Arena after the ceremony.
  • Celebrate!

Commencement day instructions

The ceremony will start promptly and will last approximately 90 minutes. No tickets are required and there is no reserved seating. This event is open to the public.

Getting prepped at Hammons Student Center

The doors to both Hammons Student Center (for graduate candidate lineup) and JQH Arena (for commencement guests) will open one hour prior to the beginning of each ceremony.

You are to assemble on the main floor of Hammons Student Center no later than 45 minutes prior to the start of your ceremony.

  • Do not bring umbrellas, cameras, purses or any other items with you to either Hammons Student Center or JQH Arena. You are not permitted to carry them in the procession and there will be no place to secure them.
  • You will be led from the main floor of Hammons Student Center to the main floor of JQH Arena in two lines. The right hand line will be seated on the left side of the arena floor (facing the stage), and the left hand line will be seated on the right side of the arena floor (facing the stage).
  • If you want to sit next to someone, that person must either be in front or behind you, not to the side of you. The chairs on the arena floor are in rows of 13, so there is a 1-in-13 chance that you will not get to sit next to that person.

During the ceremony

  • When all graduates have entered the arena floor, the president of the university will preside over the ceremony. After remarks from the keynote speaker, the president and the provost will introduce the various candidates for degrees.
  • You will proceed forward to have your name announced and to receive a diploma cover by one of the Board of Governors. At this time, your picture will be taken by a professional photographer and you will receive a proof within three weeks plus information on ordering prints.
  • When all graduate names have been announced, the ceremony will end with the singing of the Alma Mater and a recessional of platform party, faculty, and graduates out of the arena.
  • In fair weather, you will be marched out the ramp on the north side of JQH Arena.

Special accommodations

Graduates will be required to march from the main floor of Hammons Student Center to the main floor of JQH Arena. If you need special accommodations of any type, you should notify Andrew Wright, commencement chair and director of admissions, at 417-836-5517 no later than one week prior to the ceremony.

The University must have at least one week notice of any disability accommodation (other than seating) for guests in order to serve the needs identified. There is no need to contact Mr. Wright for seating accommodation of guests.

Special seating

Special (non-reserved) seating areas are available for guests with permanent or temporary disabilities. No stairways are encountered. Guests in wheelchairs as well as those who are unable to climb stairs are permitted in these areas.

Due to space limitations, we ask that only one other family member be seated with the guest in the special areas. There are no reservations taken for these seats. To seek assistance in locating this seating, you may see one of the ushers located at the entrances the day of the ceremony.

Proper dress and decorum

Please make sure that the clothing you wear will appear in good taste when the gown is removed. Tassels are worn on the left side of cap. Caps are worn flat on the head.

Only appropriate academic regalia and regalia provided by academic departments or student organizations, such as pins and cordons, are allowed. No scarves, jewelry, or corsages may be worn on the outside of the gown.

Ceremonial procedure follows closely the code adopted by the American Council on Education. This code calls for all persons, men and women, to wear the cap during all purely academic activities. Neither men nor women will remove caps for the National Anthem.

Special notes about college divisions

  • Master’s and specialists degree candidates will march together with all other graduate degree candidates.
  • Undergraduates will march with their college. If you are unsure of your college, check the list.
  • Education majors will march with the college of their major.
  • The Master of Science in Administrative Studies is a cross-disciplinary program with multiple option areas. Students are encouraged to walk with the college to which their selected option area is assigned.
  • Individualized majors (BA or BS) are interdisciplinary by nature. Students are encouraged to walk with the college to which their primary department and advisor are assigned.