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Early Participation in Commencement

Participant Policy

Effective with the spring 2020 semester, the previous Participant Policy allowing students to participate in a commencement ceremony prior to their official graduation semester has been temporarily suspended.

For example, for the August 2020 Virtual Commencement, the commencement program and virtual ceremonies marked as “spring graduates” would only include spring 2020 graduates whose degrees were awarded in May.  Those students who have applied for graduation in summer 2020 and are on track to complete all degree requirements in August will appear in the commencement program and virtual ceremonies marked as “summer graduates”. 

The Participant Policy will be reviewed again in the future, when the situation with COVID-19 improves and commencement ceremonies can be held in a more traditional manner.

The university is considering options for spring 2020 and summer 2020 graduates to attend a future commencement celebration. Until a decision is made, graduates will not be assigned to attend a future in-person commencement ceremony.

Difference Between Participating in Commencement and Graduating

GRADUATION: the actual awarding of a student's degree to their transcript upon successful completion of all degree requirements
COMMENCEMENT: the ceremony conducted at the conclusion of each semester in celebration of those students who will be graduating

Participation in a commencement ceremony is not indicative of a student's graduation status.
Posting of final grades occurs after the approval process for commencement participation and therefore does not account for a student's final academic standing.  Candidates will be considered to have graduated after they have officially met all degree requirements and the Dean of the College of Education has certified candidates as graduates.