Fall Commencement Instructions

  • Fall Commencement
    The 2017 Fall Commencement is scheduled Friday, December 15th in the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. Candidates should report by 8:00 a.m. to corridor 1510 in the Hytche Center for final commencement instructions. The commencement will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m.; doors will close at 9:45 a.m. Guest are encouraged to arrive early.

    All candidates participating in the Commencement Exercises must attend the mandatory rehearsal held Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. Mark this date on your calendar because 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 Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at (410) 651-8440. You do NOT need your cap and gown for the rehearsal. Immediately following the rehearsal, the Office of Alumni Affairs invites you to enjoy complimentary refreshments in the Student Services Center.

    Candidate Arrival Time
    Commencement day traffic and parking will be a challenge. Candidates are to report to the William P. Hytche Athletic Center no later than 8:00 a.m. and assemble in corridor 1510 for robing, assembly and final 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 Vice 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 the Masters degree will be hooded in the assembly area in the Hytche Center. Candidates receiving doctoral degrees should carry the hood over their left arm, to be hooded on the dais. 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.

    Commencement Tickets
    Tickets are required for the Fall commencement for everyone entering the building, including children. Tickets will be distributed beginning Monday, November 13th thru Thursday, December 14th, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and again between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 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 Ms. Tina Cottman, Administrative Assistant, in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at  (410) 651-8440 or send an email to CommencementRequests@umes.edu  to discuss making arrangements to obtain their tickets by certified mail. The deadline for mailing tickets will be December 6th. 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 a.m. at the start of the Commencement exercise and will remain closed throughout the exercise. Guest are encouraged to arrive early!

    The Procession
    The procession will leave corridor 1510 at 9:50 a.m. sharp. The Commencement exercises begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. 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 Pharmacy and Health Professions), as directed by the Marshal.

    The Recessional
    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.

    Commencement Decorum
    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 guest are expected to maintain a measure of decorum consonant with the regal nature of Commencement. Graduates are expected to return to their seats after receiving their diploma, and to remain seated for the rest of the Commencement exercise. Family and guests are asked to remain seated for the entire exercise, refraining from leaving their seats in order to take pictures or to talk to graduates. Students and guests who elect to participate are expected to respect the rights of others, and 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 all objects that would detract from the formality of the event. Participants and guest are asked not to bring these items into the venue.

    • Students and guests should remain in their seats until the faculty have 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 made by Commencement Marshals and UMES Event Staff.

    • No alcohol or illegal drugs will be permitted in or around the Athletic Center.  Graduates who appear to be under the influence of either will be removed from the lineup and will not participate in the ceremony. Improper conduct may result in disciplinary actions.

    • All degree recipients are requested to refrain from inappropriately celebrating (i.e., gyrating and dancing on stage, calling out names of others, loud, offensive noises and gestures, etc.) during the exercise.

    • Candidates should NOT have personal belongings in their possession during the commencement exercise, these items should be given to family or friends. UMES will not be responsible for these items.

    Commencement Program

    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
    Commencement is a formal occasion with a time honored academic history. All graduating students undergraduate, master and doctoral, must wear the official university approved regalia. Undergraduate and Master's degree candidates are to wear (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 in the University Bookstore and/or online. It is recommended that you purchase your cap and gown early at the Grad Fair 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, in the University Bookstore 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 permitted.

    Grad Fair
    Both graduate and undergraduate candidates should contact the University Bookstore, located in the SSC, to purchase commencement regalia. This is the place to purchase your cap and gown and other graduation supplies. Contact the bookstore for date, time, and pricing information. Commencement cap and gowns can also be ordered online at:  www.herffjones.com    

    Personalized Announcements
    Herff Jones representatives will be at the Grad Fair to assist you with your on campus order. Personalized commencement announcement orders will be shipped directly to the address you specify. 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.

    General Seating
    Guests should be seated 30 minutes before the start of commencement exercises. All of the entrance doors will close at 9:45 a.m. and will not reopen. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once the doors have closed, guests will be redirected to the Student Services Center (SSC) Theater where they can watch the ceremony via closed circuit. Limited seating will be available for people with disabilities or in need of assisted seating. No more than one additional guest may be seated in the area reserved for people with disabilities. Candidates with guest needing assisted seating should contact Dr. Dorling Joseph, Coordinator of Student Disabilities Services at (410) 621-3446 at least two weeks prior to the ceremony. 

    Disability Access and Seating
    Limited seating will be available for people with disabilities, or in need of assisted seating. No more than one additional guest may be seated in the area reserved for people with disabilities. Candidates with guest needing assisted seating should contact, Dr. Dorling Joseph in the Office of Disability Services (410) 621-3446, at least two weeks prior to the ceremony.

    Transporting the Mobility-impaired
    Handicapped parking near the William P. Hytche Athletic Center is limited. Persons transporting mobility-impaired visitors may use Student Center Lane, behind the Hytche Athletic Center to drop off passengers. Drivers will be asked to park their vehicles in a general parking area after dropping off their passengers. For visitors who 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.

    Emergency Services
    A special Aid Station will be located at the east end of the corridor in the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. Ushers and safety personnel will be able to direct you to the Aid Station.

    General Parking
    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.

    Photographing Commencement
    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, and as they leave the stage. 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 address for the mailing of your diploma. 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 Students
    International candidates for graduation, who have family members that require an invitation letter to support family members’ must obtain visitor’s visas to attend Commencement Exercises. Students should contact Dr. Lombuso Khoza at (410) 651-8385 and complete a Request Invitation letter. The letter from the University is prepared for students making the request who will be responsible for delivering the letter to their family members. 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 post­ers, or amplification equipment i.e., bullhorns or mega­phones, 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 a.m.), guests will be directed to the Student Services Center Theater, where they will be able to watch the ceremony via closed circuit.

    Cell Phones
    In consideration for our graduates, we ask that you please turn off all cell phones, 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.

    Fall Commencement Schedule at a Glance

    7:30 a.m.            Graduates begin to arrive at William P. Hytche Center, Corridor 1510

    8:00 a.m.            Doors open to the general public

    8:30 a.m.            Gospel Choir prelude; faculty and special guest begin to arrive to robe

    9:15 a.m.            UMES Wind Ensemble prelude

    9:30 a.m.            Line up; candidates, faculty, platform participants and special guest

    9:45 a.m.            William P. Hytche Center doors closed

    10:00 a.m.          Commencement begins with procession moving into the arena to the platform