Towson University Commencement is a formal ceremony and a dignified event. Learn more
about what to expect on the day of your ceremony.
An academic commencement is a formal ceremony, where decorum and respect for the customs
of the occasion enhances the experience for degree candidates and their guests alike.
Therefore, in accordance with thousands of years of academic tradition, students,
guests, and the platform party are asked to observe the guidelines and policies set
forth to maintain the formality of the ceremony.
Help Make Commencement Day a Safe & Memorable Experience
We ask all participants and guests to demonstrate courtesies and behaviors befitting
the dignity of the occasion. While participating in Commencement, I agree that I will:
Refrain from arriving to the arena under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other
Be respectful to all Commencement speakers, administration, faculty, staff, event
volunteers, and fellow graduates.
Refrain from engaging in distracting behaviors (e.g., inappropriately-timed shouting,
excessive celebration, etc.) during any portion of the ceremony.
Refrain from using my phone or any other electronic device during the ceremony.
Remain seated in my chair unless instructed otherwise.
A degree candidate is subject to be removed from the ceremony any point if the degree
candidate does not comply with staff instructions, is found to be in violation of
the Commencement Promise and/or engages in any behaviors that are deemed inappropriate
and are not consonant with the formal tone befitting of an academic ceremony. Please note: inappropriate or non-compliant behavior may result in referral to the
Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education.
Before You Arrive
What should I wear?
We recommend business attire with comfortable shoes. We strongly discourage wearing
high heels or stilettos as the processional from the robing area to SECU arena requires
a walk of nearly a half mile! There are also a limited number of seats in the robing
area, so you should also expect to be standing for at least one hour prior to the
start of the ceremony.
What should I bring?
Your ceremony day essentials include your regalia, cell phone, and photo ID. You are
able to take a small crossbody bag into the arena, but it may not exceed 10 x 10 x 2 inches (you will be required to bag check any other belongings that exceed this size, including
jackets, purses, coats, umbrellas, etc.).
Aside from your cell phone, you will not be allowed to bring other electronic devices
(e.g., GoPro’s, cameras, etc.) into the arena. To ensure the safety of all ceremony
participants and guests, Safe Management (security staff contracted by the university)
will conduct bag checks and related security procedures prior to admittance into the
robing area. Learn more about Commencement safety & security procedures.
Where do I park?
Approximately three weeks before the ceremony, you will be mailed a "Graduate" parking
permit that will allow you to park in Lots 13/14. This will be mailed to the address you submitted with your Commencement registration.
On the day of your ceremony, you must display your “Graduate” parking permit in order
to access this parking area. If you misplace your permit, you can park in the Union
Garage and take a shuttle to the arena. Still have questions? Learn more about parking on Commencement day.
Can I be dropped off near the arena?
No. To limit congestion outside of the arena, vehicles are not permitted near the
Towson Center or SECU Arena to drop off passengers. Paratransit Service is available
to take those with limited mobility from parking areas to SECU Arena. See parking
attendant to call for a Paratransit van.
Where is the student robing area?
Degree candidates should report to the gymnasiums located in the Towson Center.
What time should I arrive?
You should arrive by 8:30 a.m. if you are participating in a morning ceremony and
1:30 p.m. if you are participating in an afternoon ceremony. Please arrive on time!
Candidates who arrive late may not be able to participate in a ceremony. We also recommend eating something before arriving to prevent you from feeling faint
prior to and during the ceremony.
Where do my guests go?
If you are carpooling with your guests, they will be directed to the SECU arena and degree candidates will be directed to the robing area in the Towson Center. The
arena doors open for guests at 8:30 a.m. (for the morning ceremony) and 1:30 p.m.
(for the afternoon ceremony). Please remember to give your guests their ceremony tickets
as they will not be able to enter the building without them. As a reminder, ALL guests
will need a ticket to enter (this includes infants and children) due to building safety
codes. Learn more about ceremony ticket policies.
Robing Room Instructions
You will spend approximately 90 minutes in the degree candidate robing area, located
in the Towson Center gymnasiums.
As soon as you arrive at the robing area, check-in with the volunteers located against
the back wall to receive your name card. You must present yourTU student ID or another official form of identification to receive your card and participate
in the ceremony.
Staff and volunteers will be circulating the room to answer questions and provide
assistance to candidates with putting on regalia, if needed. Listen for important
reminders and instructions given by staff in the robing area.
Professional photographers will be on site to take individual and group photographs
that may be purchased after the ceremony, if desired.
Light refreshments are available on a first come, first served basis. Restrooms are
located just outside of the robing area.
During the Ceremony
How do we line-up?
Candidates will be lined-up alphabetically (not by major) for the processional in
the candidate robing area. Please follow the instructions of university staff and
volunteers during this process.
How long will the ceremony last?
The ceremony will last approximately 90 minutes, depending on the number of degree
candidates in your ceremony. You must remain seated, unless instructed otherwise,
throughout the ceremony.
What happens during the ceremony?
During the ceremony, several speakers will address the graduating class before degree
candidates’ names are called.
Do I receive my diploma at the ceremony?
No. Diplomas will not be issued during the ceremony because final course grades have
not yet been submitted and a final evaluation of each student record will still need
to take place. Instead, undergraduate degree candidates will receive a commemorative
scroll and masters’ degree candidates will receive a diploma folder.
How do we cross the stage?
When it is time for you to receive your scroll or diploma folder, a marshal will signal
your row to stand and come forward. Be sure to bring your name card with you.
You will be directed by the marshal to approach the stage where you will give your
name card to a staff member who will scan your card so that your name appears on the
screen. You will then present your card to the name card presenter at the top of the
stairs on stage who will give your card to the faculty reader. When your name is called,
walk forward, take your scroll or diploma folder, shake hands with the dean, and walk
down the center stairs and return to your chair.
Please note: live-streaming and/or excessive celebration that is disruptive to the
ceremony and/or poses a safety risk to others is not permitted and those who engage
in these behaviors may be escorted from the arena.
What if I don't want to shake hands when I cross the stage?
If there is a religious, cultural, or personal reason that you would prefer not to
shake hands while crossing the staff, please place your right hand on your chest as
a signal to the dean who is distributing scrolls/diploma folders.
What if the reader pronounces by name incorrectly?
While we make every effort to pronounce degree candidate names correctly, we are unable
to guarantee that your name will be pronounced with 100% accuracy. If your name is
pronounced incorrectly, you should still cross the stage and proceed forward. We are
not able to re-read names. Please note that your name will still appear on the screen.
After the Ceremony
Once the ceremony concludes, the stage party will exit the arena followed by the faculty
and then degree candidates.
The recessional route will take you back to the robing area in the Towson Center. Due to crowd safety procedures, you will not be permitted to leave the arena floor
during the recessional to meet family inside the arena.
There will be numbered flags (1-4) placed throughout the SECU arena courtyard to serve
as meeting locations. We recommend that you coordinate a meeting place with your family
ahead of time to assist with this process.
You may take photos with families, friends, and other degree candidates in the SECU
arena courtyard. Please note that no open containers of alcohol are permitted.