Ceremony Instructions

Fall commencement will take place at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 at JQH Arena. Each ceremony will last approximately 90 minutes. No tickets are required and there is no reserved seating. The event is open to the public.

Arrange a place to meet up with your friends and family outside of JQH Arena after the ceremony.

For parking options, visit the JQH Arena website.

Commencement day instructions

  • The doors to both Hammons Student Center (for graduates) and JQH Arena (for 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 the ceremony.
  • You are expected to have your cap, gown, and tassel. If you do not, the Bookstore will be available at Hammons Student Center and you may purchase your regalia at that time.
  • Your mortarboard (hat) should be flat and parallel to the ground with the pointed side in front. It will stay on at all times during the ceremony, including during the National Anthem.
  • Your tassel goes on the left side and will remain there.
  • Silence your cell phone
  • 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.

Getting prepped at Hammons Student Center

  • You will find separate tables for graduate students and undergraduate students with the first letter of the last name. Here you will pick up your name card. If your name card indicates University Scholastic Honors, you will pick up your cordons at the Honors table. The name card will be used during the ceremony, don't misplace it.
  • After you pick up your name card, you will check in with the Career Center, then proceed to the southwest lobby to have your picture taken. After the photo you will proceed down the stairs to the main floor.
  • Now it’s time to line up with your college. If you want to sit next to someone, they should be in front of or behind you in line because the person beside you will be sitting on the opposite side of the arena.
  • 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).
  • Remember to silence your cell phone.

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 candidates for degrees.
  • You will proceed forward to have your name announced and to receive a diploma cover from one of the Board of Governors. You will not receive a diploma at this time. Diplomas are issued about four weeks later provided all graduation requirements are met and all holds cleared.
  • 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 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.
  • Celebrate


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 Debbie Letterman, Commencement Chair, at 417-836-6206 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 Ms. Letterman 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, sashes 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.

College divisions

  • Undergraduates march with the college of their major. Not sure of your college?
  • Graduate degree candidates all march together in the ceremony.

Scholastic honors

Undergraduates eligible for Scholastic Honors pick up their honors cordon at the south end of Hammons Student Center the day of commencement. Scholastic honors are automatically calculated in advance.

Summa Cum Laude - gold
Magna Cum Laude - silver
Cum Laude - bronze

Veterans recognition

Missouri State University graduation candidates who have served in the military or who are scheduled to receive ROTC commissioning will be recognized with a red, white and blue cordon. Eligible students will receive information from Veteran Student Center.