Arrival & Assembly

Please review this information carefully — it is given in place of a practice session. Your cooperation with and understanding of what is expected of you will guarantee a smooth, enjoyable ceremony for you, your family, and guests.

The ceremony lasts about two and one half hours.


Before Arrival

  1. Put on your cap and gown properly.
  2. Leave coats, valuables and other items with parents, friends or guests (you will not be able to store any personal belongings at the venue nor process with it).
  3. Use restroom facilities; you will not be permitted to leave your seats once the ceremony begins.

Upon Arrival to the Venue

  1. Graduates must arrive no later than 8:30 a.m. Guests should plan on arriving by 9:30 a.m.
  2. Follow signs to the graduate assembly area.
  3. Pick up your name card (Used to announce your name as you cross the stage).
  4. Once you have your name card, follow signs to the assembly area for your college.
  5. Line up A – Z according to your last name.
  6. Make sure you have your name card with you before you begin the academic procession with your faculty.

Where Will I Sit? 

Do graduates sit in alphabetical order? 

Graduates are seated alphabetically by college/school. Once seated, you and your guests may communicate via text message with each other to determine your locations — please do this before and not during the ceremony.

A Note on Conduct

The university makes every attempt to plan and conduct a meaningful, dignified ceremony. The significance of this day and the recognition of your academic achievements should be observed with respect.

Disorderly conduct, rowdiness, or the presence of alcohol or drugs will be grounds for immediate ejection, and may result in your diploma being retained by the university. Please refrain from using noise makers.

Graduates are advised to use restroom facilities before the start of the ceremony, as you will not be permitted to leave your seats once the ceremony begins. You are required to remain seated in the convention center throughout the program. Parents, family and friends are encouraged to follow this example, as leaving the ceremony demonstrates extreme disrespect to all in attendance.


Those attending the ceremony should allow for extra time for parking. Parking is available in the parking garage connected to the convention center. Hourly parking rates apply.

Tickets are not required for the Commencement ceremony. Guest seating is open and available on a first come, first served basis.

The doors open at 9 a.m. so guests should plan to be seated by 9:30 a.m. The doors will be shut for the procession beginning at 9:45 a.m. and will not be reopened until approximately 10:30 a.m. (after the invocation).

Every guest who arrives prior to the 9:45 a.m. academic procession will be accommodated. Guests who arrive after 9:45 a.m. will be seated after the invocation (space permitting).

Guest Seating

Wheelchair Seating

The university will reserve a limited number of seats for guests in wheelchairs. Please note that due to space we will have to limit the number of people who accompany wheelchair guests. Note: the university does not provide wheelchairs.

Commencement programs will be placed on each graduate’s seat and are available at the door for guests. The program will list the order of exercises, biography of the honorary degree recipients, and names of all qualifying graduates.

The Program

The Procession

The ceremony begins with the academic procession (Larry Rice EdD, ’90, president followed by college flag bearers and the graduates), followed by the faculty, the platform party, and the international flag procession. Students will be seated alphabetically by college, and their degrees conferred accordingly.

International Flag Procession

International students are invited to carry the flag of their country as part of the procession. Students will be selected on a first come/first served basis and based on flag protocol established by the university.

For details, contact Nicole Graham, 305-892-7554 by April 5.

Protocol Regarding Flags and Flag Bearers

  1. Flags will include those of United Nations member states, U.S. territories, and other countries with which the U.S. has diplomatic relations.  Students wishing to carry flags from countries other than these will be offered the opportunity to carry another flag representing world peace and harmony, such as the flag of the United Nations, of the African Union, and the Arab League.
  2. No flag will be carried unless there is a student from that country in the graduating class.
  3. All flag bearers must be in good standing with the university, as verified by the Office of Student Conduct.
  4. Students will be invited to carry the flag of their country by the International Student Services Office.  Students selected will be based on a first come, first served basis.  Eligible students not selected to carry their home country flag will be offered the opportunity to carry the flag of another country if a student from that country either declines or fails to respond to the invitation to carry the flag by the specified date.
  5. The student must have been born in or be a citizen of the country whose flag s/he is carrying, unless the student has volunteered to carry another country’s flag (see #4 above).
  6. Colleges will be asked to nominate college flag bearers. 
  7. Flag protocol web sites, such as will be used to resolve questions about the proper display of U.S. and other flags.  
  8. The Commencement Committee reserves the right to make final decisions regarding which flags will be carried and by which students.

The Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary degree recipients are recognized during commencement ceremonies for their notable careers and their positive influence on their industries, organizations and communities. Each one has also demonstrated their support to the mission of JWU. As we continue to prepare our students for their chosen careers, these individuals will serve as role models for our graduating students.

Conferring of Degrees

Campus president, Larry Rice EdD, ’90 will ask graduates eligible for bachelor's degrees to stand. He will then present them, on behalf of the faculty, to confer their degree.

Receiving your Diploma

Graduates will be invited to the platform to receive “mock” diplomas. Official diplomas will be mailed approximately eight to 12 weeks after you complete all requirements for your degree. The details printed on your degree will be based on the information we have on file.

Ushers will escort you to the platform in a systematic and orderly fashion. Once you reach the base of the platform, a Grad Images representative will take your picture. A JWU staff member will present you with your “mock” diploma and you will ascend the stairs and present the second copy of your name card to the announcer. As your name is read, you will proceed to center stage to greet the campus president and pose for a photo. After that, proceed across the stage and shake hands with your college chair and promptly return to your seat as directed by the ushers.

We urge all students to check their account status with Student Financial Services prior to Commencement. Failure to satisfy all financial obligations to the university will prevent you from receiving your diploma in a timely manner.

The Recession

The ceremony concludes with the awarding of degrees. Graduates are to stand as the platform party leaves the convention center. You will be directed by the ushers for a swift and orderly exit. Do not leave the convention center until directed to do so by an usher. Guests should plan on meeting graduates outside of the hall.