Winter Commencement Instructions
The 2013 Winter Commencement is scheduled Friday, December 13th in the William P. Hytche Athletic Center Arena. Candidates should report at 8:00 am to corridor 1510 in the Hytche Center for final commencement instructions. The commencement will begin promptly at 10:00 am; doors will close at 9:45 am, so arrive early.
All candidates who are participating in the Commencement Exercises must attend the mandatory rehearsal held Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm in the William P. Hytche Center. Mark this date on your calendar and do not be late, your promptness is encouraged so that we can begin and end in a timely manner. Your attendance at the commencement rehearsal is mandatory. If you are not present, you will not be able to participate in commencement. Exceptions will be made with prior approval only; for approval to be absent from the rehearsal, contact the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at (410) 651-8440. You do NOT need your cap and gown for rehearsal.
Immediately following the rehearsal, the Office of Alumni Affairs invites you to enjoy complimentary refreshments in the William P. Hytche Center, where you will also receive a small gift in celebration of your academic achievement.
Candidate Arrival Time
All candidates who are graduating are invited to a complimentary breakfast in the Plateau student dining hall, located in the Student Services Center. Breakfast will be provided between the hours of 6:15 am and 8:00 am. Candidates are to report to the Dr. William P. Hytche Athletic Center no later than 8:30 a.m. and assemble in corridor 1510 for robing and final commencement instructions. Please leave all personal belongings (purses, jackets, etc.) with a family member prior to arrival at the William Hytche P. Center. The University is not responsible for personal items.
The Commencement Exercise
The ceremony will last approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours. The ceremony will start with a processional that will enter the arena. The program begins with the invocation and is followed by the presentation and conferral of degrees, benediction and recessional. Men should remove their caps for the singing of the "National Anthem," invocation, benediction, and the Alma Mater. Candidates will be given a 3x5 card on which their names will be printed. The Provost and President for Academic Affairs will request candidates to stand for the conferring of degrees by Schools. As directed by the Marshal, give your name card to the announcer, who will read your name to the public at the appropriate time. Once your name has been read, proceed across the stage to the President to receive your diploma. Undergraduate candidates should return and be seated immediately. When directed by the President, candidates for undergraduate degrees should move their tassel from the right to the left. Candidates receiving graduate degrees should wear tassels on the left for the entire ceremony. Candidates receiving doctoral degrees should carry the hood over their left arm and will be hooded by their dean on the dais. Candidates receiving the Masters degree will be hooded in the assembly area in the Hytche Center. After your name has been announced to the public and you have been hooded, proceed across the stage to the President to receive your diploma. Graduate candidates should return and be seated immediately.
Tickets are required for the winter commencement for everyone entering the building. Tickets will be distributed beginning Monday, December 2nd, between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and noon, and again between 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., in the Student Services Center, Suite 2169. Candidates are responsible for disseminating tickets to their guests. Candidates who are away from campus and not able to pick up their tickets in person should contact Mrs. Linda Woolford, Executive Administrative Assistant in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management (410) 651-6687 to discuss making arrangements to obtain their tickets. Please do not request additional tickets as none are available! Lost or stolen tickets cannot be replaced!
Doors will close to the general public 9:45 am at the start of Commencement exercises and will remain closed throughout the exercises. Please encourage your guests to arrive early!
The procession will leave corridor 1510 at 9:50 am sharp. The Commencement exercises begin promptly at 10:00 am with the procession led by the Grand Marshal, the President, members of the administration, honorary degree recipients and the faculty. Candidates will follow in the order of academic Schools (i.e., School of Graduate Studies, School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, School of Arts and Professions, School of Business and Technology and School of Health Professions), as directed by the Marshal.
All graduates will recess from the William P. Hytche Athletic Center under the direction of the Grand Marshal and proceed out the building. Graduates should arrange to meet relatives and friends in the Student Services Center after the Commencement exercises. Guest are asked to stand during the recessional and to remain standing at their seats until all graduates have recessed out of the arena.
While a spirit of joy and enthusiasm is encouraged, commencement is a dignified academic event that recognizes the achievements of all our graduates, honorees and our guest speakers. Students and guests who elect to participate are expected to observe some simple guidelines.
- Cell phones and other electronic devices must be turned off for the duration of the exercise.
- Noise-making devices, banners and posters are prohibited, as are any objects that would detract from the formality of the event.
- Students and guests should remain in their seats until the faculty has proceeded in and out of the arena.
- The aisles must remain clear throughout the commencement exercise.
- Applause should be held until all students have received their degrees. Names will be read quickly, and it is important that every name is heard.
- Guests are requested to cooperate with any requests by Commencement Marshals and UMES Event Staff.
Following these guidelines should ensure the best possible experience for our graduates and guests.
A commencement program will be given to each candidate when they assemble for the procession. Candidates are asked not to pick up additional programs prior to the processional.
Commencement programs are available to guests at the entrances to the arena.
Caps and Gowns
All graduating students undergraduate, master and doctoral candidates must wear the official academic regalia. Undergraduate and master candidates (black cap and gown, maroon and gray tassel); doctoral candidates must wear the official doctoral robe and hood. All commencement items can be purchased during the Grad Fair. It is recommended that you purchase your cap and gown early to avoid any unnecessary delay or inconvenience on graduation day. Doctoral gowns and faculty gowns must be ordered at least eight weeks in advance, with distribution in December. A representative will be on hand at the Grad Fair to take orders. Only official academic regalia may be worn during the commencement exercises. No visible jewelry or other decorations on the academic robe or mortarboard (cap) is allowed.
Both graduate and undergraduate candidates should attend the Grad Fair Monday and Tuesday, October 7th and 8th, between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm, in the bookstore, located in the SSC. The Grad Fair is the place to purchase your commencement cap and gown.
& Gown Prices (prices before
Bachelor Cap, Gown,
Tassel & Hood
Master Cap, Gown, Tassel
Doctor Tam, Gown, Tassel
Maroon & Gray
(Bachelors) Black Tassels (Masters)
Degree Specific Tassels
Announcement orders will be shipped directly to the address you specify. Herff Jones representatives will be at the Grad Fair to assist you with your on campus order. The delivery date for campus announcement orders is approximately 4 weeks. For more information, please call the bookstore at (410)-651-6437.
Distribution of Diplomas
Diplomas will be mailed to each graduate approximately six to eight weeks following the Commencement exercises. Diplomas will be mailed to the address listed on file with the Office of the Registrar. Please check with the Office of the Registrar to make sure your correct and current address is on file.
Guests should be seated 30 minutes before the start of commencement exercises, doors will close at 9:45 am. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once the doors have closed, guests will be directed to the Theatre in the Student Services Center (SSC), where they can watch the ceremony via closed circuit.
Disability Access and Seating
Limited seating will be available for people with disabilities, or in need of assisted seating. No more than two additional guests may be seated in the area reserved for people with disabilities. Candidates with guest needing assisted seating should contact James White at (410) 651-8440, at least two weeks prior to the ceremony. A few wheelchairs will be available at Commencement, reserved for emergency use only.
Transporting the Mobility-impaired
Vehicles transporting mobility-impaired visitors may use the Student Center Lane, off College Backbone Road to drop off their passengers. Handicapped parking is limited near the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. Drivers will be asked to park their vehicles in a general parking area after dropping off their passengers. For visitors who must park in handicapped spaces, please be sure to bring, and display your personal State Handicapped Parking Tag or verification. This tag or tag verification will allow you to park in an available handicapped space on campus.
A special Aid Station will be located at the east end of the corridor in the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. Ushers will be able to direct you to the Aid Station.
Parking on campus is open and free for Commencement. UMES will provide free shuttle transportation to and from parking lot S-College Backbone Road. The best parking for access to the William P. Hytche Athletic Center will be in lots B-Student Development Center, C-West of the Tennis Courts, D-Wicomico Hall and S-College Backbone Road. Commencement visitors may park in any of the University parking lots and spaces, except for those designated as disabled or loading zones. Parking along College Backbone Road is not permitted.
In consideration for our graduates and others, guests may only take photographs from their seats during the exercises. A professional photography company will take individual pictures of each graduate prior to and during the exercises as they receive their diploma from the President. Each graduate will be contacted by the photographer, however they are not obligated to purchase photograph packages. After the ceremony (when the platform party and faculty have left the area), guests are welcome to come to the stage area to take photographs with their graduates.
Update your Address
Graduates do not forget to update your home mailing address. By informing the Office of the Registrar of changes to your local, permanent, and diploma mailing addresses, you will ensure that your diploma will get to you promptly. Please allow six to eight weeks following commencement for your diploma to arrive.
International candidates for graduation, who have family members that require an invitation letter to support family members’, obtain visitor’s visas to attend Commencement Exercises, should contact Dr. Sarah Acquah at (410) 651-6079, and complete a request for invitation letter. The letter from the University is mailed directly to the parent/family member, and may be used to support their request and application for a visitor’s visa. Please allow three weeks for the letter to reach addresses outside the U.S. Please note that when requesting your invitation letter, you must include a copy of your letter of candidacy for graduation.
The following information must be included on the request for invitation letter form:
- graduate's name
- graduate's local mailing address
- graduate's degree being earned; school/department
- graduate’s parents/family member names, relationships and mailing address
- accompany with a copy of your letter of candidacy for graduation
Security and Safety Advisory
All bags may be subject to search at all entrances to the commencement exercises. No large items, such as banners or post¬ers, or amplification equipment, such as bullhorns or mega¬phones, or air horns, will be allowed; alcohol is not permitted!
Alternate Viewing Location
In the event the William P. Hytche Athletic Center reaches capacity, and/or the doors have closed to the public (9:45 am), guest will be directed to the Student Services Center, where they will be able to watch the ceremony via closed circuit.
In consideration for our graduates, we ask that you please turn off all cell phones, blackberries and other digital devices when the academic procession starts, and to keep them off throughout the exercises. Likewise, noise-making devices, banners and posters are prohibited, as are any objects that would detract from the formality of the event. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated.
6:00 am Complimentary breakfast for graduates in the dining hall
6:30 am Commencement Committee and security arrive at William P. Hytche Center
8:00 am Graduates arrive at William P. Hytche Center, Corridor 1510
8:00 am Doors open to the general public
8:30 am Gospel Choir prelude; faculty and special guest begin to arrive to robe
9:15 am UMES Wind Ensemble prelude
9:30 am Line up; candidates, faculty, platform participants and special guest
9:45 am William P. Hytche Center doors closed
9:50 am Commencement procession begins moving to the arena, led by Grand Marshall,
followed by platform, staff and candidates
10:00 am Commencement begins with procession moving into the arena to the platform
12 noon Graduate reception hosted by the National Alumni Association in the Student