[ skip to content ]

Commencement Ceremony

Student Ticket

You do not need a ticket for yourself for commencement. Current ODU students who wish to attend the ceremony must obtain a standard guest ticket from an eligible graduating student.

Reporting Place and Time

There is no rehearsal for the ceremony, so it is important that you report to student registration by the required time. Students should be checked in and in the line-up (with reader card in-hand) no later than:

May commencement:

  • 8:15 a.m. for the 9:00 a.m. ceremony
  • 1:15 p.m. for the 2:00 p.m. ceremony
  • 3:15 p.m. for the 4:00 p.m. ceremony

December commencement:

  • 8:15 a.m. for the 9:00 a.m. ceremony
  • 1:15 p.m. for the 2:00 p.m. ceremony

Prior to your arrival, please review the Student Information and Instructions PDF. This document will be available on Blackboard one week prior to your ceremony and will tell you exactly what will happen during the ceremony.

Please bring only the following items with you to registration/robing area:

  • Your academic regalia (cap, gown, hood and tassel)

Student check-in takes place in the North Mall of Webb University Center, located on 49th Street, across from the football stadium (campus map). Please enter Webb Center using the east entrance doors facing Starbucks in North Mall. When you arrive, go to the table that corresponds to the first letter of your last name. Tell the volunteer your name and he/she will give you your pre-printed reader card. Do not lose this card... you will give this to the reader right before you cross the stage so that he/she can announce your name properly. Please check your card for accuracy. It may have your home (permanent) address pre-printed at the bottom. Please ensure this address is correct, as it will be used by the photographer to send your proof.

After getting your reader card, move immediately to the appropriate line for your academic college and degree level. Masters and Undergraduate lines form in North Cafeteria. Doctoral lines will form in the hallway near the Virginia Webb Rice Room. Volunteers will be on-hand to assist you in putting on your robe and hood if you require assistance. Please do not robe in North Mall.

In the event that inclement weather is imminent for the day of the ceremony, an inclement weather announcement will be made. This announcement will be made no later than noon on the day before the ceremony and will be posted on the ODU Home Page, on the main page of this site, and will be available through the campus information number (683.3000). If the announcement is made, please follow the Inclement Weather Plan.

General Protocol

The commencement exercise is a formal academic ceremony. You and your fellow graduates have worked hard for this day and the commencement staff have worked hard to make the day a memorable one for you, your family and your guests. We ask that you respect the ceremony, your fellow graduates, and guests by dressing and behaving in the dignified manner that the occassion merits. Cap and gown regalia is required dress for all graduates. No food or beverage is permitted in the line of march or on the arena floor.


Your ceremony will begin with a march from Webb Center, across the seal on Kaufman Mall, to the Ted Constant Convocation Center. The processional is led by (weather permitting) bagpipers and the University Marshal, followed by the platform party. The student lines will follow the faculty. Please follow the directions of your faculty marshals and remain in your lines as you process.


The actual ceremony will last approximately two and a half hours. During the ceremony, you will be asked to stand with your college as degrees are conferred. After the confirmation of degrees, you will be asked to come to the stage, have your photo taken (see below), have your name announced, receive your personal congratulation, and receive your alumni certificate. After the ceremony, the platform party will recess and then you will be dismissed to meet your family and friends.

You must remain for the entire ceremony. We ask that all participants and guests respect every graduate in attendance.

We ask that you arrange to meet your family and friends outside the Ted Constant Convocation Center, as we must clear the building as quickly as possible. The plaza in front of the convocation center has wonderful photo opportunities as well as various photogenic locations around campus.


A commencement program is given to each guest and participating student as he/she enters the Ted Constant Convocation Center. This program contains information about the commencement speaker, honorary degree recipients and each of the academic colleges. It also contains an unofficial list of students who have filed their intent to graduate (submitted an application for graduation). Student names will appear in the program as they are in LeoOnline at the time this list is finalized. This list is finalized on the final day that the commencement participation registration is available.

Students who apply for graduation after that date will not have their names printed in the program.

Neither the Commencement@ODU staff or the Registrar's Office can respond to email requests about whether a particular name appears in the program.


A professional photographer will take pictures of each graduate. There is no obligation to purchase these photos, but proofs will be sent to you shortly after graduation using the information on your reader card. Guests are also welcome to photograph or videotape the ceremony. Please ask your guests not to disrupt the ceremony by taking photographs at inappropriate times and locations. Restraint should be exercised, particularly during the processional.

GradImages (www.gradimages.com) is the authorized vendor for ceremony photos. They will also produce a DVD of the ceremony. You should receive information concerning proofs and the DVD within a month of the ceremony, typically via email. If you do not receive this information or have questions or concerns about the photography, contact GradImages directly via their website or by calling 800.261.2576.

Items Not Permitted

Alcoholic beverages are expressly forbidden in the registration/robing areas, the processional, and the arena. Police will be present at all locations to enforce this regulation.

Please advise family to power off all cellular devices once the processional begins.

Children and other family members are not permitted in the robing area or in the processional. They should be seated with other guests in guest seating at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.