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Commencement:Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between graduation and commencement?

Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements in order to be awarded your degree and receive your printed diploma. Commencement is the symbolic ceremony at which your graduation is publically acknowledged and celebrated. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not equate to graduating.

How does my name get on the graduation list?

You must follow the directions from Registrar's Office for Applying for Graduation. Upon completion of these steps and approval from the Registrar's Office, your graduation status on LEO Online will be changed to "Pending."

When do I apply for my degree?

Please see the table below. Note that not only does applying for graduation on time allow you to receive guest tickets for the commencement ceremony, but also puts your name in the commencement program. Graduates who apply after the deadlines listed below will not have their names listed in the commencement program. - The names of August graduates will appear in the May commencement program.

Graduating Semester Application Deadline
Spring (May) November 30
Summer (August) February 28
Fall (December) June 30

I have questions about whether or not I am eligible to graduate. Who do I talk to?

It is important that you meet with your academic advisor early in the graduation process to ensure that you meet all of your requirements and necessary deadlines.

I applied to graduate but now I am no longer eligible. What do I do?

Once your graduation status is listed as "Pending," a registration hold is placed on your record and you will be unable to register for classes for future semesters. It is important to notify the Registrar's Office in writing as soon as possible if you will not be graduating so that this hold can be released.

Commencement Ceremony

When and where is commencement?

The commencement ceremony is always held in the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Graduates meet in Webb University Center (campus map) for check-in and robing and then process across campus to the Constant Center. The next commencement date is always listed on the top of each page of this site. Other known future dates can be found at Future Commencement Dates.

I'm graduating in August. Which commencement ceremony should I attend?

August graduation candidates should attend the May ceremony. The names of the August graduates will appear in the May commencement program. August graduates must apply for graduation by February 28 and submit the Commencement Participation Form by the prescribed deadline.

Do I have to register to attend the commencement ceremony?

Yes. Every graduate who wishes to attend the ceremony must submit the Commencement Participation Registration online. Only graduates who complete the participation registration by the deadline will have guest tickets available to them.

Do my guests need a tickets to attend?

Yes. Due to limited seating, each guest must have a ticket to enter the Constant Center. Children 2 years of age or younger do not require a ticket if they can sit in a parent's lap. (Ticket Information and Policies)

How many tickets do I get?

The number of tickets available to each student varies each semester. The maximum number will be clearly stated on the ticket section of the participation registration. Graduates who register to participate after the deadline will receive fewer tickets than those who register by the deadline.

Where do I get my tickets?

Graduates who have completed both forms listed above must pick up their tickets at the Campus Information Center in Webb University Center during Reserved Ticket Distribution.

What if I have guests coming who do not have tickets?

Auxilliary viewing is provided for guests without tickets. Auxilliary viewing is located in the multipurpose room of the Ted Constant Convocation Center. There, guests will see the processional enter the building (the processional enters through the multipurpose room) and then view the remainder of the ceremony on screen.

Is there a reception?

There is no university-wide reception prior to or following the ceremony. Your academic college may host a reception. Check the Schedule of Events to see if your college has anything planned.

How long is the ceremony?

The ceremony typically 2 hours. If you are making plans for after the ceremony, be sure to allow time for leaving the Constant Center and the parking garage.

What should I bring to commencement?

Your cap, gown, hood and tassel.

What can't I bring to commencement?

Alcoholic beverages, cell phones, noisemakers, beach balls, silly string, or anything else that will cause disruption. Do not bring purses or backpacks as the robing area is not secure and is cleared after the processional has left Webb University Center.

What time should I arrive for the ceremony?

Graduates should report to the check-in area no later than 1 hour prior to the start of the ceremony.

What is appropriate dress to wear under my robe?

Men traditionally wear a dress shirt, dress slacks, tie, and black shoes. Women traditionally wear a dress or skirt and blouse and dress shoes.

How do I get my cap and gown?

You must purchase these items at the Graduation Fair, which takes place at the University Village Bookstore.

How will you know how to announce my name during the ceremony?

When you submit the Commencement Participation Registration, there are questions that ask you how to pronounce your name. Please make this information as clear as possible. When you arrive at studen check-in, you will be given a reader card with this information pre-printed on it. You will then hand this card to the reader right before you walk across stage. The reader will use the pronunciation on the card to properly announce your name.

Will my name appear in the commencement program even if I don't attend the ceremony?

The names of every eligible graduate who filed the Application for Graduation by the prescribed deadline will appear in the commencement program. Graduates who complete the application after the deadline may not have their name listed in the program. These names will not appear in any subsequent program as each program is only for the current semester.

Will there be an interpreter for the hearing impaired at commencement?

Yes. Sign language interpreters will be located on the stage.

Can a family member walk with me?

No. Only graduating students may walk in the processional or be seated on the arena floor. All family members must be seated in the guest seating with a ticket.

Where do I get information for my guests?

Please refer your guests to this site (www.odu.edu/commencement) and have them click on "Information for Family & Guests."

What if I need special accommodations?

Graduates who need special physical accommodations for the ceremony should email commencement@odu.edu with their needs and contact information so that commencement staff can make the necessary arrangements. Commencement@ODU staff ask that you make us aware of these needs as early as possible.

What if my guests need special accommodations?

Please refer to the Special Needs Accommodations page.

Diplomas & Transcripts

What is the size of the diploma?

All Old Dominion University diplomas (bachelors, masters, doctorate) are displayed horizontally (landscape) at 14" x 11".

What information will appear on the diploma?

Your name (as it is on file with the Registrar's Office), your degree (not your major), and your graduation date will appear on your diploma. The University Seal and the signatures of the President and the Rector appear on the diploma as well.

When will I receive my diploma?

Diplomas are mailed 6-8 weeks after graduation to the permanent (home) address on file with the Registrar's Office. It is important that you update this information early in your final semester. May graduates' diplomas should arrive in late June/early July; August graduates' diplomas should arrive mid-October; December graduates' diplomas should arrive mid-February.

Where do I get information about transcripts?

Visit the website on Transcripts for complete information.