Commencement Planning

New opportunities. Whether it's graduate school, employment, service or something else, this year will bring a new beginning to your student.

But first, it's time to celebrate. Commencement is the capstone of your student's BW experience. It's a chance to express pride in his or her achievements and applaud the conferring of your student's college degree.

As you plan for this big day, questions may arise. To assist you, we've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about Commencement.

When is Commencement?

There are two Commencements: one in May at the completion of the spring semester and one in December after the completion of the fall semester. For 2016, Commencement will be Saturday, May 7 and Dec. 10.  The ceremony begins promptly at 2 p.m. and lasts approximately 2-1/2 hours. A full schedule of Commencement events, driving directions and listing of hotel/motel accommodations are available online. Seniors must complete an application for graduation, which is available through the Office of Registration and Records. They will receive detailed information about Commencement approximately two months before the event.

Where is Commencement held?

Commencement will be held at Ursprung Gymnasium in the Lou Higgins Center, 136 E. Bagley Rd.

How many guests can attend?

Because of fire regulations, seating is limited to six guests per graduate and admittance is by ticket only. Students will be notified when they can pick up tickets from the Office of Registration and Records. Graduates wanting additional tickets can ask friends for extra ones. Other unused tickets are made available in pairs through the Office of University Relations on the Friday before Commencement.

Where is handicapped seating?

Persons with special needs, including wheelchair accommodations, will be seated at ground level. One family member may accompany the person with special needs. Guests who need special seating should be at the location 30 minutes before the ceremony begins. Special tickets or advance notice is not needed. However, inform the usher upon arrival.

Are there accommodations for hearing impaired?

To request a signer for someone hearing impaired, call the Office of University Relations at least two weeks prior to Commencement at 440-826-2325.

Where is handicapped parking?

A limited number of handicapped parking spots are available in the lots adjacent to the Lou Higgins Center. These go quickly. It is recommended drivers drop off handicapped individuals close to the Lou Higgins Center before parking. No parking is allowed in fire zones. For additional information, call Parking Services at 440-826-2333.

Is Commencement broadcast?

The ceremony is webcast live and then posted on the BW website. The link is available 30 minutes prior to the ceremony.

How is photography handled?

GradImages is a professional company that takes several photos of each graduate—including the moment he or she receives the diploma case. These photos are available for purchase online within days of the ceremony. Families also can take their own photos in a designated area off to the side of the platform. To give everyone who wants to do this a chance, individuals taking photos are asked to go to the designated area shortly before their graduate's name is called and then return to their seat.

What about caps, gowns, tassels and personalized announcements?

These are available for purchase via the BW Bookstore.

When will graduates receive their diplomas?

Diploma cases will be presented at Commencement. Diplomas will be mailed to graduates as soon as final grades are verified All financial obligations to the University or BW organizations must be met before official documents (diploma, official academic transcripts) will be released. Contact the Bursar's Office at 440-826-8567 if you are experiencing difficulty in meeting these obligations.

The Celebration Continues

Individual departments may host receptions for graduates and families on ceremony day.