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Commencement - Students

The Fall 2014 Commencement (graduation) will be held on Saturday, December 13, 2014.  Ceremonies are tentatively scheduled for 10 am and 2 pm in the Gymnasium on the Southern Polytechnic State University campus (Location S2 on the Campus Map).  The following is intended mainly for candidates for graduation, their families, and friends.

Candidates for graduation should arrive  no later than one hour before their ceremony for check in on the main level of the Architecture Building.  Once you have checked in, you will report to your assigned assembly area.  All candidates must check in at Architecture before going to the assembly areas. 

Family and Friends

There is no limit on the number of family and friends you may invite to the commencement ceremony.  They will not need tickets.  Please have them go directly to the Gymnasium to find seats as the seats will fill up quickly.  We suggest that family and guests plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early to allow time to park, walk to the gym, and find a seat prior to  the start of the ceremony.  Family and other guests will not be admitted to the assembly and check-in areas.
 
Parking for Handicapped Guests

If your guest has a handicap license plate or window placard on their car, they may park in the Gymnasium parking lot.  There will be a police officer stationed at the entrance to the parking lot.  Your guest will need to stop and let the officer know that they need to park there.
 
There is a floor level entrance door at the back of the Gymnasium.  Your guest may enter there.  
 
There are no elevators in the Gymnasium—only stairs.  Seating will be mainly in the bleachers. Please notify Brenda Farrell at 678-915-7295 if you have a guest who will need special seating.
 
Please inform your family and friends that the gym has two levels with no elevator.  The small parking area on the left side of the gym will be available for unloading physically challenged guests.  The lower bleachers will be reserved for physically challenged guests.  Please have them arrive early so that they can be seated before other guests fill up those spaces.  Campus Safety and Registrar's Office personnel will be nearby to assist your guests.

If you or one of your guests needs assistance because of a physical limitation, please contact Brenda Farrell at (678) 915-7295 well in advance of the ceremony.  She will be able to give you additional information regarding parking and seating.
 
Pictures
 
Professional photographers from will take formal pictures of each graduate as he or she receives their diploma and also as each graduate leaves the stage.  They will contact you a few weeks after the ceremony with proofs and offer you the opportunity to purchase your pictures.  If you are not contacted during the following month, please contact the Registrar’s Office.
 
If your family or friends want to take their own pictures, the President, and the Commencement speaker will be available in the gym with the University Mace after the ceremony.  There will also be ample opportunity to take pictures of graduates with family, friends, and some faculty members after the ceremony.
 
Dress
 
Caps, gowns, rings, and invitations are available in the bookstore on campus and online at www.herffjones.com/college/spsu.  You will be notified by SPSU email to order your cap and gown approximately two months before graduation. You must have a cap and gown to participate in the ceremony.  Check that you have a cap, gown, and tassel as soon as you have picked up your regalia.
 
Candidates for master's degrees should order a hood and be sure it is in your package when you pick up your regalia.  All master's hoods are black with green and white satin lining.  The color of the velvet band indicates your field of study.  Bookstore representatives will help you order the correct hood for your major.
 
When you put on your cap and gown, please also remember to turn off your cell phone and anything else that might make noise.
 
Gentlemen should wear dark dress pants, a light-colored dress shirt, tie, and dark shoes and socks.  
 
Ladies should wear a dress or skirt shorter than their gown (with pockets for car keys) and dark shoes.  You may also wear dark dress pants and a light colored blouse if you wish.  You will be walking up and down stairs and ramps and should choose your shoes accordingly; heels over one inch are a hazard for tripping.  Ladies may want to secure their caps with hair pins.  However, keep in mind that you will have to remove your cap before going on stage so that your medallion can be placed around your neck.  Please leave your purse in a safe place before coming to the check-in area.
 
This is a formal ceremony.  No jeans or athletic shoes please.  
 
If you qualify for honors status, you will be given a gold tassel when you check in for the graduation ceremony.  Masters students do not earn honors.
 
Master's degree candidates should not put your hoods on.  You will receive instructions on the hooding ceremony at check-in.  
 
Check-In Instructions

All candidates for graduation will check in on the main level of the Architecture Building.  When you have checked in, you will be directed to your assembly area. Please put your cap and gown on before you arrive.  Also, please do not bring any personal belongings (such as cameras, jackets, purses, etc.) with you.  There is no storage available and you will not be returning to the check-in and assembly area.
 
Please be at the check-in area one hour prior to the start of your ceremony.  Ceremonies will begin on time.  Anyone arriving after the check-in desk closes will be unable to participate in the ceremony.  When you check in, you will be given a walk card with your name, major, and marching order number on it.  You will be briefed about what to do during the ceremony. You will line up in numerical order and be given final marching instructions.
 
Family members and friends should go to the gym for seating.  They will not be admitted to the check-in and assembly areas.
 
Restrooms are located on the same floor as check-in.  Please use these facilities prior to the line check.  It is very important that you do not leave the line once you are in place.  Masters candidates will be given hooding instructions during briefing.
 
The Student Marshal will lead the candidates for graduation down to the lower level of the gym 10 minutes prior to the ceremony.  Please double-check to make sure that you have your walk card and are in proper numerical order.  The processionals will begin promptly.
 
Make sure to take your walk card to the platform with you.  When it is time to receive your diploma, your dean will read your name aloud from the card.
 
Length of Ceremony

The commencement ceremony usually lasts between an hour to an hour and a half.
 
Commencement Marshals
 
A number of faculty members have volunteered to serve as Commencement Marshals.  In this case, marshal does not represent law enforcement; it means to place in order, as in "marshal the troops."  It is the job of the marshals to make your commencement ceremony flow as smoothly as possible.  There will be a marshal in your assembly area to explain your role during the ceremony.
 
You can identify the marshals by their green academic stoles with the University Seal on the right side.  If you are asked to do something by a marshal, please do it.  Most importantly, do not argue with the marshals.  They know what is supposed to happen because they have been working for months to be sure your graduation day goes off without a hitch.  Please help them make that happen.
 
Diplomas and Grades
 
Final grades are due to the Registrar's Office the Monday following the commencement ceremony.  Honors at the ceremony will be based on your previous semester's GPA.  Your actual GPA will be calculated once all final grades have been submitted to the Registrar.

You will receive an empty diploma cover when you walk across the stage at commencement.  Diplomas will be mailed approximately 4-5 days after the ceremony to the address you provided.  Please keep your diploma cover for use when you receive your diploma.

External Links

American Council on Education Academic Costume Code and Academic Ceremony Guide

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
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