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December Commencement Guide for Students

All graduating seniors and graduating master’s candidates are encouraged to attend commencement. No rehearsal will be held. No tickets are required, but due to space limitations and for the comfort and safety of everyone, we ask that you consider inviting five or fewer guests per graduate.

The following information will help you to be fully prepared for this important occasion. Please print and read this information carefully.

Ordering Caps, Gowns and Announcements

Information about ordering procedures will be sent from the University's bookstore via a global email, directly to students' home address and to students' UT mailboxes. Students should order their academic regalia by visiting the bookstore or online at Students may also order personalized announcements suitable for mailing to relatives and friends at these locations.

Students should present their UT ID cards when picking up their academic regalia. Candidates should check immediately to make sure they receive a cap, gown and tassel in their packet. Masters’ candidates should also receive an academic hood. Students residing off campus should contact the University Bookstore at (813) 253-6230 or

Name Cards

Graduates will receive their name "reader" cards when they check into the commencement ceremony. Please do not fold the cards or write on the bar code. Fill out the reverse side of the "reader card" to ensure GradImages has your contact information. The cards will be used to ensure names are correctly read aloud at commencement when you receive your diploma cover from President Vaughn.

Name cards may be picked up Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the commencement table located in the Martinez Center main lobby prior to the assembly area.

Appropriate Dress

Men are requested to wear dark trousers and shoes. There is no need to wear a suit coat. Women are asked to wear dark shoes with low heels for safety reasons. All candidates should tie their tassels to the button on top of their hat. Bachelor candidates' tassels are to be on the right side. Master candidates' tassels are to be on the left side. Master candidates are to wear their hoods.

Alcohol and Noisemakers

Alcoholic beverages and noisemakers are not allowed at the commencement ceremony and will be confiscated.


Graduates in caps and gowns should arrive by 9 a.m (doors open at 8:15 a.m.). Graduates are to enter through the Bob Martinez main doors. Graduates should follow the signs and gather in the main west hallway off the Martinez lobby. Signs and diplomats will direct you to this entrance. Prior to leaving your family and guests, please designate a place where you will meet them after the ceremony.

Please proceed to the gathering area for the bachelor and master candidates. Bachelor candidates will gather in the main west hallway leading to the Martinez lobby area. Master candidates will gather in a special section in this area. The assistant marshals and diplomats will guide you.

Academic Procession

Your cooperation in forming an efficient and well-paced processional will reduce the overall time of the entire commencement ceremony. On Saturday, please arrive at the gathering area no later than 9 a.m. (the doors for family and guests open at 8:15 a.m.). Please follow staff and diplomat instructions and report to the designated areas to gather for the processional. Please be on time.

You will be formed into two columns by staff and faculty marshals. Please follow the directions of the faculty marshal and staff for this processional formation. There will be commencement faculty marshals (wearing gold robes) who will guide you during the commencement ceremony. At 9:30 a.m., the processional will begin. Faculty will lead the processional followed by the platform party. Next to enter are the degree candidates (master candidates will enter first, followed by bachelor candidates). Candidates will enter the arena floor though the southwest doors. The faculty marshals will guide you. Graduates can usually sit with their graduating friends by walking in front or behind them in the same column when they assemble for the processional (depends on the number of seats and graduates in each row). 

Please remain standing by your chairs until after the national anthem. Men should remove their caps during the National Anthem and replace them afterward. Women leave their caps in place throughout the ceremony. Graduates should be seated as a group when the National Anthem is completed. The assistant marshals will direct you in all phases of the ceremony.

Awarding of Degrees

Candidates will rise, one row at a time to be presented with their respective degrees. The assistant marshals will direct the movement to the platform ramp.

When the candidates advance toward the stage, they should present their "reader" name cards to the staff member at the bottom of the ramp. The staff member will scan your card into the software program. Please follow the other candidates closely and walk up the ramp. Present your card to the academic dean, who will read your name. Please do not stop.  You will be ushered to stand next to President Vaughn on the center platform of the ramp. When you are standing next to President Vaughn, your name will be announced - so that your name and degree will appear under the photo on the north wall screens, all at the same time. President Vaughn will hand you your diploma cover before your photo is taken with him. Please take your diploma cover.

Each graduate will then proceed down the ramp. Please follow the line of graduates down the ramp for additional professional photos and then return to your seat. The featured awarding of the individual degrees will need to go quickly; please follow the instructions of the commencement staff.


In order to participate in the Commencement ceremony, graduates must be in academic apparel. During the reading of graduate names, we ask graduates and their guests to be considerate in their applause and celebration so that all names are heard clearly and the ceremony is not disrupted.

Ceremony Requirements for Graduates 

In choosing to attend the commencement, you are required to remain in your seat for the entire ceremony until directed by the marshals to go to the platform and to exit during the recessional. The ceremony is approximately 2 hours 15 minutes, and we want to afford all graduating students and their families the respect and honor that all deserve.

Please make post-commencement plans with the understanding that you are expected to attend the ceremony in its entirety.

Live Stream

We are proud to bring you coverage of the December Commencement. Live coverage of the ceremony allows our students to share this important even with loved ones who normally would not be able to attend.


Graduates should rise when the alma mater is played. While women leave their caps in place, men remove theirs for the alma mater and await the signal from the assistant marshals for their row to join the recessional. The platform party withdraw first, then the faculty members. Finally, the graduates will exit via the North arena doors, beginning with the front rows and following the sequence front to back.


The University has arranged for GradImages to photograph each graduate receiving his or her degree. Each graduate will receive a free passport-sized digital of this photo on an order card some time after commencement. After the ceremony you may order online at or call (800) 261-2576. Since photographs will be available, family members and guests are encouraged to remain in their seats, relax and enjoy the ceremony. For more information, contact GradImages at (800) 261-2576 or

During the ceremony, only official University and media photographers will be allowed access to the stage and graduates' seating area for taking photographs. Family and friends must not enter the floor or stage area to take personal pictures. Following the ceremony, families are welcome to use the stage and surrounding area as a backdrop for photos.


At the commencement ceremony, each graduate receives a diploma cover from President Vaughn. The actual diploma is mailed to the address provided by the student in the "apply to graduate" portal once all degree requirements have been met, and all UT financial obligations have been satisfied. Students should keep their diploma covers and place their diplomas in them when they arrive. Diplomas are mailed by the Registrar's Office beginning the second week of February.

Academic Honors

The names of students receiving bachelor’s degrees who are candidates to receive academic honors are announced at commencement if they have completed their requirements by that day. Upon completion, the honors are inscribed on their diplomas and transcripts. Graduation honors, however, are not awarded to those receiving second bachelor’s degrees. Transfer students must have earned at least 31 hours at The University of Tampa in order to qualify for academic honors.

The three levels of Latin honors are: 
Cum Laude for those with grade point averages of at least 3.5 earned on all work attempted at the University and grade point averages of at least 3.5 when combined with all previously attempted college work.

Magna Cum Laude for those with grade point averages of at least 3.75 earned on all work attempted at the University and grade point averages of at least 3.75 when combined with all previously attempted college work.

Summa Cum Laude for those with grade point averages of 4.0 earned on all work attempted at the University and grade point averages of 4.0 when combined with all previously attempted college work.

Master’s candidates with overall GPAs of 4.0 in graduate-level coursework will be recognized at graduation with “highest honors.” Students who graduate with overall GPAs of 3.9 through 3.99 will be recognized as graduating with “honors.”

Honor Cords and Medals

University honor cords will be given out at the Registrar’s Office in Plant Hall Room 90. Students will be notified by email, from Dec. 5 to 16 (business days), to pick up their honors cords. Bachelor's candidates will receive honor cords for Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude. Master’s candidates will receive honor cords for “highest honors” and for “honors.” Honors Program and department honor cords and medals are given out by the respective departments.

Important: Students must bring their ID with them. Only those students with an ID card will be given an honor cord.

Student Speakers

Students are chosen to speak at commencement. Students interested in speaking must fill out the application  for the committee to review and make a decision. To be considered, applications must be received by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.

Graduates with Disabilities

Graduating seniors with physical disabilities should contact or (813) 257-3147 as soon as possible.

Further Information

If you need additional information, please email us at or call Orientation and Family Engagement at (813) 257-1999. We will be pleased to answer questions and provide assistance whenever possible.