Undergraduate Ceremony Information

The details below reflect the 2016 commencement ceremony information.

Accessibility for Students

If you are a student participating in the ceremony and have accessibility needs, please contact Kimberly Schumann in Disability Services at (651) 962-6315 or kjschumann@stthomas.edu. Please submit your request by April 20, 2016 to ensure availability of equipment, if needed.

Accessible Parking

The drop-off location for people with accessibility needs are Lot G, which is located off of Cleveland Avenue between Portland and Ashland avenues, and the Anderson Student Center turnaround off Cretin Avenue, just north of the Summit Avenue intersection.

For safety reasons, droff-off or pick-up on Summit Avenue or Cretin Avenue North will not be permitted.

Guests who have state-issued disability parking permits may park in Lot G. Surface parking lots with red or yellow signs also have state-issued parking permit stalls. Parking at these locations are on a first-come first-served basis.

Click here to view a map of the campus.

Accessible Seating

Designated seating areas for people with mobility devices are available on the field of O'Shaughnessy Stadium. If guests prefer not to sit in the designated areas, they may ask an usher to remove a chair at the end of a row so they can sit with family and friends in other areas of the stadium. The lower level of Fowler Veranda is also designated for guests with mobility devices. Ushers will be available to assist guests with seating needs.

Announcements

The St. Paul campus bookstore will be hosting a Grad Fest on Wednesday, April 20, and Thursday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the bookstore atrium. Each student will receive five free graduation announcements upon picking up his or her cap and gown. Additional announcements can be purchased in the bookstore at that time. Personalized announcements can be ordered online. Please allow 72 hours for shipping.

Balloons

Balloons are prohibited at all ceremonies.

Candidate Attire

In keeping with the solemnity of the occasion, graduates must wear university-issued academic regalia, including cap and gown. Only university-issued honor cords, medallions, and pins are approved for wear during the ceremony. Other oversized personal adornments, such as flower leis, hats, signs, ribbons, or scarves, are not acceptable. Jeans and flip-flops are not acceptable.

The cap should be worn with the mortarboard parallel to the ground, and without any additional modification to the appearance. Candidates receiving their bachelor’s degrees should wear the tassel on the right side. It is moved to the left side at the designated time.

Cap and Gown

The St. Paul campus bookstore in the lower level of Murray-Herrick Campus Center will host a Grad Fest on Wednesday, April 20, and Thursday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the bookstore atrium. Caps, gowns, and tassel(s) will be distributed at that time. If you are unable to attend, you can pick up your cap, gown, and tassel(s) at the St. Paul campus bookstore Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or Friday 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

The week of commencement, the St. Paul campus bookstore will distribute caps and gowns on:

  • May 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • May 14-17, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • May 18, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Caps and gowns are provided by the university at no cost to graduates. They are yours to keep. You will need a picture ID when picking up your cap and gown.

Tassels will be given to students when they pick up their caps and gowns at the bookstore. The tassel color is determined by the student's major(s). The colors are listed below. Tassels are worn on the right side of the mortarboard prior to commencement.

White: arts and letters, humanities, Catholic studies
Scarlet: theology, peace and justice
Dark blue: philosophy
Golden yellow: science
Drab: business
Light blue: education
Salmon pink: public health
Orange: engineering
Crimson: journalism
Citron: social work
Brown: fine arts
Pink: music
Sage green: physical education
Copper: economics

Those Unable to Attend Grad Fest:

The Minneapolis campus bookstore will begin to distribute caps and gowns on Monday, May 2. Store hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The St. Paul campus bookstore in the lower level of Murray-Herrick Campus Center will distribute caps and gowns on the following dates: May 9-12 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; May 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; May 16-19 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and May 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ceremony Schedule

Friday, May 20, 2016: The Commencement Mass

The Commencement Mass, a long-standing tradition at St. Thomas, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 20, at the Cathedral of St. Paul. The cathedral is located at 239 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, MN. Caps and gowns will not be worn during the Mass. Parking is available across from the cathedral on Selby Avenue. All graduates and their families are invited to attend. Please contact the cathedral directly if you have questions or concerns at (651) 228-1766.

Saturday, May 21, 2016: Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

This will be an outdoor ceremony, rain or shine. A severe-weather plan will be implemented in the event of dangerous weather conditions.

Please come prepared for the weather with hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and rain ponchos or rain coats. Umbrellas are not permitted.

12:30 pm

Schoenecker Arena doors open and graduates must check in and be in line by 1:30.

1:00 p.m.

Faculty and staff marshals report to Schoenecker Arena for lineup. Appropriate academic regalia is required.

1:00 p.m.

Gates open to O'Shaughnessy Stadium for guest seating. Early seating will not be available.

1:00 p.m.

Faculty and staff members (non-marshals) are encouraged to attend the ceremony and walk in the procession to show support and encouragement to the graduates. Report to Shoenecker Arena to line up. Appropriate academic regalia is required.

2:00 p.m.

Commencement exercise begins with the academic procession.

4:30 p.m.

President’s reception will be held on Monahan Plaza following the ceremony. All are invited.

Tips for Faculty, Staff Members, and Graduates:

  • Please do NOT leave valuables in the arena during lineup or after the procession.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with low heels. You will be walking a significant distance from the lineup area to your seats during the procession.
  • Come prepared with hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and rain ponchos or rain coats for the outdoor ceremony. Umbrellas are not permitted.
  • Do not bring items into the stadium that might detract from the dignity of the ceremony, or take any action that interferes with the ceremony. Thank you for demonstrating your support and respect for others, and giving the ceremony the dignity and honor that it deserves.

Tickets are not required for the commencement ceremony unless the severe-weather plan is implemented. See “Severe-Weather Plan" information.

Commencement Mass

The Commencement Mass, a long-standing tradition at St. Thomas, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 20, at the Cathedral of St. Paul. The cathedral is located at 239 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, MN. Caps and gowns will not be worn during the Mass. Parking is available across from the cathedral on Selby Avenue. All graduates and their families are invited to attend. Please contact the cathedral directly if you have questions or concerns at (651) 228-1766.

Diploma

Students who participate in the May commencement exercises will hear their names announced and receive their diploma covers when they walk across the stage. Please do not cheer or distract a graduate during the ceremony to ensure that each graduate name is heard.

You will receive your diploma when all of the requirements for your degree are completed and your tuition account is paid in full. If requested, please complete a Perkins Loan exit interview. Your diploma will be mailed to you approximately eight weeks after all requirements are verified as completed.
    
All seniors who place a pre-paid order for a diploma frame during Grad Fest on Wednesday, April 20, or Thursday, April 21, will receive a 10% discount on those orders. Diploma frames will be available for pick-up the week of graduation.

Diplomas of students who do not attend the commencement exercise will be mailed to the graduates' permanent addresses, as recorded in the Registrar’s office, approximately eight weeks after all requirements are verified as completed, and the tuition account is paid in full.

The size of the diplomas is 8.5x11 inches. Information on the diploma includes the name of the university, the University seal, the graduate's name, the degree represented by the diploma, and the date of graduation.

Grad Fest

The St. Paul campus bookstore, located in the lower level of Murray-Herrick Campus Center, will host its annual Grad Fest on Wednesday, April 20, and Thursday, April 21, for all seniors who will participate in the spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 21. Grad Fest will be celebrated from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day in the bookstore atrium.

Seniors will be able to pick up their caps, gowns, and tassels along with five free graduation announcements and severe-weather-plan tickets during this time.  GradImages (the professional photographer that the university has hired for the commencement ceremonies) will be present at Grad Fest, along with other vendors selling graduation memorabilia. Students who are unable to attend Grad Fest can pick up their caps and gowns in the bookstore during regular store hours starting Monday, April 18.

Avoid disappointment:  Make sure that you qualify for the graduation ceremony.

Students should check the commencement website for an up-to-date list of all students who have been approved to graduate. Click on the Undergraduate page, then scroll down to Participation List. The list will be updated every Monday. If your name does not appear on the list, check with the Registrar’s office to determine what information is needed in order to qualify for participation in the ceremony.

Those Unable to Attend Grad Fest:

The Minneapolis campus bookstore will begin to distribute caps and gowns on Monday, May 2. Store hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m, Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The St. Paul campus bookstore in the lower level of Murray-Herrick Campus Center will distribute caps and gowns on the following dates: May 11-14 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; May 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; May 18-21 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and May 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Honor Cords, Ribbons and Medallions

Aquinas Scholars cords and certificates will be distributed at the Aquinas Scholars Honors Convocation on Tuesday, May 3. Invitations will be sent by email to eligible students prior to spring break. Please contact Erica Berglund if you have any questions regarding the distribution.

Latin-honors ribbons, medallions, and Delta Epsilon Sigma cords will be distributed the week prior to Commencement in Aquinas Hall, suite 106.

All other honors should be collected from the sponsoring department or student organization. Please contact the department or organization directly for pick-up times.

Hotels

Please click here to see "Accommodations." Follow the directions for each hotel to get the St. Thomas rate.

Live Streaming Video

Live streaming video will be available during the ceremony on the commencement website. Click on Video in the bottom-right corner. In additional to live streaming on the day of commencement, the video will be available online for delayed viewing.

Map

Click here for campus maps.

Miscellaneous

Students and faculty members should not leave valuables during lineup.

Students and faculty should wear comfortable shoes with a low heel. You will be walking a distance during the procession.

We request that you do not bring items into the stadium that might distract from the dignity of the ceremony, or create any action that interferes with the ceremony. Thank you for demonstrating your support and giving the ceremony the dignity and honor that it richly deserves.

Important Note: Possession or consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited during the procession and ceremony.

Newspaper Announcements of Graduates

Newspaper announcements of graduates will be issued for all verified students. Please note that the list of verified students will not be available until approximately one month after the end of the spring semester. In addition, it can take two to four weeks to process and mail the list. Publication is at the discretion of local newspapers. If you have questions regarding the releases, please contact Brittany Stojsavljevic at STOJ0003@stthomas.edu.

Non-attendance

Please notify Barbara Rath at barath@stthomas.edu or (651) 962-6708 if you do not plan to attend the ceremony.

Parking

Free parking will be available in all surface parking lots with red or yellow signs, and in two parking ramps on campus. Click here to view a campus map.

The Anderson Parking Facility’s entrance is located off of Cretin and Grand avenues. There is a 7 foot height restriction for entering this parking ramp.

The Morrison Hall ramp enterance is located off of Selby Avenue and Finn Street at the north end of campus. There is a 6"10' height restriction for entering this ramp.

  • Guests arriving for the Graduate commencement ceremony are encouraged to park in the Anderson Parking Facility.
  • Guests arriving to the Undergraduate commencement ceremony prior to 12:30 p.m. are encouraged to park in the Morrison Hall ramp or in Lots A, B, or C. This will reduce congestion between the Graduate and Undergraduate commencement traffic.
  • Guests arriving for the Opus College of Business commencement ceremony are encouraged to park in the Anderson Parking Facility beginning at 5:15 p.m.

Please see "Accessible Parking" for information on parking with a state-issued handicap permit and for accessible drop-off locations.

Please use on-campus parking and do not park in the surrounding neighborhood. When parking in the surrounding neighborhood, please observe all posted permit required parking areas. The St. Paul Police Department will ticket cars violating parking restrictions.

Photographer

A professional photographer from GradImages has been hired by the university and will take your picture as you receive your diploma. Proofs will be sent to your permanent address and via email three to five days after the ceremony. There is no obligation to purchase. Pictures can be ordered online, by phone or by mail. GradImages can be contacted at (800) 261-2576 or at www.gradimages.com.

Picture-taking by graduates, family members or friends on or near the stage is prohibited.

Picture Taking

Picture-taking on or near the stage is prohibited.

Senior Class Gift

The Senior Class Gift has been a tradition at St. Thomas for more than 30 years!

At the undergraduate commencement ceremony in May, each graduating class presents a class gift to the university president and the St. Thomas community. The 2015 Senior Class Gift Committee encourages all seniors to support the gift and leave a legacy for future students. In appreciation, every senior who participates will be recognized at commencement and will receive a Senior Class Gift lapel pin to wear on his or her gown at graduation.

Speaker

Accepting Nominations and Applications for Undergraduate Student Commencement Speaker Process

Students, staff and faculty are invited to nominate Students, staff and faculty are invited to nominate a graduating senior for a new undergraduate student commencement speaker process.  Graduating seniors who are eligible are welcomed to self-nominate.  To be eligible, students must be a graduating senior with a 3.0 GPA or above, and be in good standing with the university.  Nominations for this process from students, staff and faculty will be accepted until 4:00 pm on February 17.  Eligible students will be invited to submit materials to the committee, including a topic proposal and outline for the speech.  The committee will review application materials and invite finalists to present a draft of their speech.  Following these presentations, the committee will select one finalist to serve as the speaker for the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 21. 

Past Student Commencement Speaker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZg1wA1M-tM

Timeline

Nominations

Feb. 1 – Feb. 17

Faculty, Staff, and graduating seniors are invited to submit nominations from the list of eligible seniors.

Applications

Feb. 19 – March 9

(Deadline – March 9)

Nominees are invited to apply to be the commencement speaker.

Application Review

March 14-18

Committee reviews applications and completes rubrics. 

Finalist Selection

March 21-25

Committee meets to identify and select finalists.

Finalist Invitation

March 28-31

Finalists are invited to prepare and give a draft commencement speech for the committee.

Finalist Speeches

April 4-13

Finalists will have the opportunity to deliver their draft speech before the committee. The committee will meet to select the commencement speaker.

Practice and Refine

April 13 – May

Speaker works with a faculty member to refine their speech.

Severe-Weather Plan

Commencement will be held outdoors in O’Shaughnessy Stadium, rain or shine. However, in the event of severe or dangerous weather conditions, the ceremony will be moved indoors to the field house, located inside the adjacent Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex.

At approximately 11:00 a.m., St. Thomas leaders will announce any weather-related location changes, via the commencement website, Facebook, Twitter, and text messages from the Commencement Text Alerts (be sure to sign up for text alerts). If there is no announcement, then plan on an outdoor ceremony.

Students will receive two tickets for guest seating tickets for the field house when they pick up their caps and gowns. Infants and toddlers will not require tickets, if they do not occupy seats. We strongly recommend that guests bring their field house tickets in case the weather should change. All guests must have their tickets with them to be admitted to the fieldhouse.

The doors to the field house will open at 1:00 p.m. for guests with tickets. Seating will be available prior to the academic procession. However, once the procession begins, guests will be asked to remain in the rear of the venue until the graduates are seated. Please arrive by 1 p.m. to avoid having to stand during the procession. Fifteen minutes prior to the start of the procession, ushers may fill in empty seats with admitted guests who are in need of a seat.

Family members and guests without tickets will be directed by ushers to video viewing sites on campus.

The ceremony will be streamed live online at the St. Thomas commencement website. Click on Video in the bottom-right corner to be linked to the video. In additional to live streaming on the day of commencement, the video will be available online for delayed viewing.

The President’s reception will follow commencement in the Anderson Student Center atrium. All are invited.

Strollers

If the severe-weather plan is implemented, strollers will not be allowed in the field house because of the large number of guests who attend the ceremony. There will be a stroller corral where guests can leave strollers in the lower quad, south of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. Ushers will direct guests to the stroller corral, and the area will be supervised during the ceremony.

Tassels

Tassels will be handed out when students pick up their caps and gowns from the bookstore. The tassel color is determined by a student’s major(s). The colors are listed below. Tassels are worn on the right side of the mortarboard.

White: arts and letters, humanities, Catholic studies
Scarlet: theology, peace and justice
Dark blue: philosophy
Golden yellow: science
Drab: business
Light blue: education
Salmon pink: public health
Orange: engineering
Crimson: journalism
Citron: social work
Brown: fine arts
Pink: music
Sage green: physical education
Copper: economics

Text Messages

Students and families have the opportunity to receive text messages with information about the commencement ceremony via Commencement Text Alerts. This is a no-reply text-messaging system. Recipients will not receive a response if they reply to these messages.

Students - text TASSEL to 80077

Family members - text TASSEL FAMILY to 80077

To stop receiving text messages from the university - text STOP to 80077

Data rates may apply.

SMS subscription service. Up to 2msg/mo. Msg&Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 80077 to STOP. Full terms: mGive.com/E  Privacy Policy: mGive.org/P

Tickets

No tickets are required for the commencement ceremony in O'Shaughnessy Stadium, which will be held  outdoors, rain or shine, unless severe or dangerous weather conditions occur.

Wheelchair Rental

The university does not provide wheelchairs. For wheelchair rental information, please contact Fairview Home Medical Equipment, (651) 632-980. The cost is $28/week (no daily rate), and reservations can be made by calling Fairview Home Medical Equipment one week prior to Commencement.