Commencement / Information for Graduates


Participation in the May 2017 Commencement ceremony is open to students who are completing degree requirements in May 2017 or who completed degree requirements in August 2016 or December 2016. Students who will complete requirements for the degree by August 2017 are eligible to petition to participate in the May 2017 Commencement ceremony. Information about eligibility and the request to petition are available through the Office of the Registrar.

Graduation Events

Friday, May 12th 
Class Day

3:15 p.m.: Seniors arrive in front of Jones Auditorium to prepare for processional.

4:00 p.m.: Class Day Ceremony begins in the Courtyard between Johnson Hall and Belk Dining Hall (Rain Site: Jones Auditorium). Senior and Sophomore students wear a white dress or other white attire.

At the end of the ceremony the Seniors will take a senior only photograph on the outdoor steps in front of Jones Auditorium. 

5:30 p.m.: Class Day Picnic  

Families/students already received information to pre-order tickets.

Location of Picnic: Courtyard (Rain Site: Belk Dining Hall).


Saturday, May 13th

2:45 p.m.: Seniors line up in front of Jones Auditorium for Baccalaureate processional wearing gown. 

3:30 p.m.: Baccalaureate Worship Service begins in Jones Auditorium. 
Baccalaureate is a celebration and spiritual reflection for graduates as they transition from their college years to the next phase of life. Members of the Class of 2017 will participate in their academic regalia (gown only) and should arrive no later than 2:45 p.m. A special invitation is extended to families and guests, faculty, and staff to join graduates for this service.

4:30 - 5:30 p.m.: Reception in Johnson Hall Rotunda 
Graduates and their families are invited to celebrate with the campus community prior to the Commencement ceremony. Light refreshments will be served in the Rotunda. 

7:00 p.m. - J.S. Dorton Arena, N.C. State Fairgrounds
Doors to J.S. Dorton Arena will open for families and guests of graduates at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are not necessary for the ceremony. Graduates should arrive at Dorton Arena no later than 6 p.m. Graduates are asked to visit the North Lobby to check in. Line-up will occur on the lower level of Dorton Arena.

Accessible Seating and Parking

At Dorton Arena accessible seating is available on the arena floor behind the graduates and faculty. Requests for accessible seating accommodations for your guests may be submitted online. An email confirmation will be sent to you on Friday with details of the accommodation arrangements for you to share with your guests.

A limited number of accessible parking spaces are available to guests with a government issued accessible parking placard. Guests needing assistance may also be dropped off using the West entrance (between the Arena and the Jim Graham building).

Live Streaming

In an effort to make this event accessible to all, the College will be live streaming the ceremony. To watch the ceremony, which will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017, at 7 p.m., visit

Attire for Commencement

Commencement is a formal occasion. It is recommended that women wear a dress or skirt, shorter than the gown, or wear black dress pants. It is recommended that men wear black dress pants. Comfortable, black dress shoes should be worn by both women and men. Personal possessions (such as purses) should be left with a family member.

Caps and Gowns

Caps and gowns will be available for purchase in the bookstore beginning in February until Commencement weekend. Should you have questions about caps and gowns, contact the bookstore at (919) 760-8545.

Undergraduate students wear a maroon gown and maroon mortarboard. 

The tassel worn pertains to the academic degree being received: Bachelor of Arts, black tassel; Bachelor of Music, pink tassel; Bachelor of Science, gold tassel; Bachelor of Social Work, white tassel. Undergraduate students in regalia wear the tassel on the right side of the mortarboard. During the Commencement ceremony the students change the tassel to the left side, signifying they have earned their degrees. Students may decorate the top of the mortarboard.

Many participants wear international flag patches, which are worn by students, faculty, and staff who have lived, studied, or done research abroad, including international students and faculty. These patches are the only embellishments permitted on the commencement gowns. Graduates may not embroider or otherwise decorate their gowns.
Graduate Students wear a black gown, black mortarboard, black tassel and a hood. Hoods reflect the color of the academic discipline: Business, drab; Education, light blue; Nutrition, gold. Graduate students in regalia wear the tassel on the left side of the mortarboard as they have already graduated (earned the undergraduate degree). They do not change the tassel during the Commencement ceremony. For the ceremony, each graduate student will give his or her hood to the appropriate dean, who will then hood the graduate as the individual crosses the stage.

Account Balances

All unpaid balances on accounts for members of the Class of 2017 must be settled with the Accounting Office. Failure to do so by April 15, 2017, will delay graduates in receiving diplomas and the processing of transcripts. Graduates who need to pay after that date will need to pay by cash or cashier's check to guarantee clearance for graduation.

Announcements and Invitations for Graduation

Announcements can be ordered online at by searching under Meredith College.

Invitations can be purchased from the bookstore beginning the second week of April.


Diplomas will be available for pick-up in the Office of the Registrar beginning Thursday, May 25, for graduates. Diplomas that are not picked up will be mailed to the address provided on the Application for Graduation beginning Thursday, June 8.

DVD Purchase

Commencement DVDs will be available through Meredith’s Media Services Department. To order your DVD please complete this form. For questions concerning purchase, please call Media Services at (919) 760-2346.


Photo Specialties, located in Chapel Hill, N.C., will be the professional photographers for Commencement. A photo will be taken of each graduate as the president presents diplomas. A proof will be mailed to each participating graduate. However, there is no obligation to purchase photos. After Commencement, questions should be addressed directly to Photo Specialties at (919) 967-9576.


Contact Information:

Office of the Provost
(919) 760-8117

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