Ceremony Protocol for Graduates

Towson University Commencement is a formal ceremony and a dignified event.  

doctoral candidate
A doctoral candidate awaits hooding by a faculty member. Ceremony traditions like doctoral hooding extend back almost a thousand years.

The Academic Ceremony

An academic commencement is a formal ceremony, where decorum and respect for the customs of the occasion enhances the experience for the graduates 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.

We live life forward, but we only really make sense of our lives, we only really understand the pattern and shape of our lives by looking backwards. We must understand our past in order to be able to chart our future. ”



Preparing for the Ceremony

When you check into the student robing area, located in the Towson Center gym, you will be greeted by several enthusiastic staff, faculty and alumni volunteers. 

  • You must show your TU student ID or another official form of identification to receive a name card and participate in the ceremony.
  • You will be asked to write the correct pronunciation of your name on your name card. This will significantly decrease the chance of your name being mispronounced when you receive your scroll during the ceremony.
  • Volunteers will be available to assist you with putting on your regalia correctly. Please note that caps and gowns may not be altered in any way.
  • Professional photographers will take individual and group pictures that you will have the option of purchasing after the ceremony.
  • This is a great time to visit with your faculty, fellow students, staff and alumni.
  • There are a limited number of chairs available in the gym. You should expect to stand for at least one hour.
  • Graduates who arrive and display signs of being under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol will be removed from the processional and will not participate in the ceremony.

Participating in the Ceremony

The ceremony will last approximately 90 minutes, depending on the number of graduates in your ceremony. During the ceremony, several speakers will address graduates, and you will walk across the stage to receive a commemorative scroll in place of your diploma. 

  • The final awarding of degrees and Latin honors is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of the appropriate requirements by each candidate. This is determined by the Office of the Registrar after the submission of final grades.
  • All hand-held electronic devices such as cell phones must be turned off during the ceremony. These devices may not be used on the commencement stage.
  • When it is time for you to receive your scroll, a faculty marshal will signal your row to stand and come forward. You will stand for approximately 20 minutes prior to walking across the stage and returning to your chair.
  • As you approach the stage, professional photographers from Grad Images will take a picture of you in front of a Towson University backdrop.
  • You will be directed by volunteers or marshals to the stage where you will give your name card to the name card presenter at the edge of the stage. After your name is called, walk forward, take your scroll, shake hands with the dean, and walk down the stairs and return to your chair.
  • You must remain seated throughout the ceremony and must follow the direction of the marshals for the recessional.
    • Silly string, beach balls, inflatable animals and other related items distract from the dignity of the ceremony and are not permitted in SECU Arena.