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May Commencement Guide for Students

All graduating seniors and graduating master's candidates are encouraged to attend commencement. There will be no rehearsal held. No tickets are required; there is plenty of seating for everyone. The following information will help you to be fully prepared for this important occasion. Please print and read this information carefully.

In choosing to attend the commencement, you are required to remain in your seat until directed by the marshals to go to the platform and to exit during the recessional.

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. Graduate candidates should order their academic regalia by visiting the bookstore or online beginning Monday, Feb. 27. Students may also order personalized announcements suitable for mailing to relatives and friends at these locations.

The on-campus Grad Fair will be held on Monday, Feb. 27, (12 to 5:30 p.m.) and Tuesday, Feb. 28, (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) in the bookstore. Please watch your email for more information.

The last day to order your academic regalia is March 17.  Please go to the link above and place your order immediately (there is no charge for academic regalia).

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. Master's candidates should also receive an academic hood. Students residing off campus should contact the University's bookstore at (813) 253-6230 or bksutampa@bncollege.com.

Directions and Parking 

The Florida State Fairgrounds is located at 4800 U.S. Highway 301 North in Tampa. From the University, travel on I-275 North toward I-4/Orlando and merge onto I-4 East via Exit 45B. Take Exit #7 (U.S. Hwy. 301 South) and stay in the right lane heading south for 1/4 mile. Turn right into the Fairgrounds entrance. Do NOT go past the light at Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

** Please note that there is no fee for parking.**

***Please take proper precautions for downtown Tampa traffic.*** 

Name Cards

Graduates will receive their "reader card" upon checking into the the ceremony. Please fill out the reverse side of this "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.

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 permitted at the commencement ceremony and will be confiscated.

Assembly

Graduates in caps and gowns are to arrive before 8:45 a.m. for the morning ceremony and before 1:15 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony. Graduates are to enter through the Entertainment Hall entrance stairwell. Signs and plaza ushers 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.

You will receive further instructions for the processional from the commencement staff.

Master's candidates will gather in a special section near the front of the line in each of the gathering areas. The assistant marshals 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, May 6, please arrive at the Florida State Fairgrounds, Entertainment Hall, for the morning ceremony, no later than 8:45 a.m. (the doors for family and guests open at 8 a.m.). For the afternoon ceremony, arrive at the Florida State Fairgrounds, Entertainment Hall, no later than 1:15 p.m. (the doors for family and guests open at 12:30 p.m.) Please follow staff and Diplomat instructions and report to the designated areas to gather for the processional. Please be on time.

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 for the morning ceremony and at 2 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony.

Please fill in every seat in your row. The commencement marshal will assist.

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 anthem is completed. The assistant marshals will direct you in all phases of the ceremony. Please give them your attention and cooperation.

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 toward the stage, follow the other candidates closely and walk up the ramp. Present your card to the academic dean, and continue walking. PLEASE DO NOT STOP as your name is being read; you will be immediately ushered to stand next to President Vaughn on the center platform of the thrust stage. President Vaughn will hand you your diploma cover before your photo is taken with him. 

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

A professional photographer will photograph each graduate prior to mounting the stage, as they receive their diploma and again when they are offstage. Please ask friends and family not to block the view of others when taking their own photographs.

Etiquette

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.

We also ask that if you decide to attend the commencement ceremony, you remain in your seat for the entire event. Each ceremony is approximately 2 hours long, and we want to afford all graduating students and their families the same respect and honor that you deserve. 

In choosing to attend the commencement, you are required to remain in your seat until directed by the marshals to go to the platform and to exit during the recessional.

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

Instructions

Attention May graduates. Below are a few final tips to make Saturday's commencement ceremony a success.

PROCESSIONAL

  • On Saturday, May 6, please arrive no later than 8:45 a.m. (doors open at 8 a.m.) for the morning ceremony and no later than 1:15 p.m. (doors open at 12:30 p.m.) for the afternoon ceremony, to the Entertainment Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds. The fairground staff will direct you to the entrance. A diplomat will be located in this area to direct you to check in for the ceremony and receive your reader card.
  • There will be commencement faculty marshals (wearing gold robes) who will guide you during the ceremony.
  • The processional will begin at 9:30 a.m. for the morning ceremony and at 2 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony. Please remain standing by your chairs until after the national anthem.
  • Your cooperation in forming an efficient and well-paced processional will reduce the overall time of the entire commencement ceremony.

SEATING

  • If you want to sit with a friend during the ceremony, you need to check in to the ceremony at the same time.

CEREMONY

  • The commencement ceremony program begins immediately after the processional is complete.
  • After the program, the "Presentation and Introduction of Candidates for Degree" begins.
  • The marshals will guide your row for you to cross the ramp stage to receive your diploma cover. You will have four photos taken by a professional photographer - one before you walk up the ramp, one on the stage with President Vaughn and two after you leave the stage.
  • You will pick up your "reader card" when you check into the ceremony. This card will be handed to academic dean so your name can be announced as you cross the stage. It is of upmost importance that you keep this card with you at all times prior to walking across the stage.  
  • Please move quickly up the ramp to the next staff member who will guide you to the academic dean who will collect your card. (Please move quickly; if every candidate takes one extra second, that will extend the entire commencement ceremony more than 23 minutes.)
  • You will then be directed to another staff member who will guide you to stand next to President Vaughn. 
  • After you receive your diploma cover from President Vaughn, please move quickly down the ramp for additional photos from our professional photographer. 
  • Please return to your seat immediately after these photos.

RECESSIONAL

  • At the end of the ceremony, the platform party will leave first, followed by the faculty.
  • As soon as the faculty leaves, fairground's ushers and Diplomats will guide you to an outside exit. 
  • Please notify your family and friends to meet you after the ceremony at a predetermined location outside.
Live Stream

We are proud to bring you coverage of the May Commencement. Live coverage of the ceremony allows our students to share this important event with loved ones who normally would not be able to attend, due to health issues or great geographic distances.

Recessional

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. Platform occupants withdraw first, then the faculty members. Finally, the graduates exit, beginning with the front rows and following the sequence front to back.

Photographs

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 www.gradimages.com 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 service@gradimages.com.

During the ceremony, only official University and media photographers will be allowed access to the stage and the graduates' seating area for taking photographs. Family and friends must not enter the floor area to take personal pictures.

Diplomas

At the commencement ceremony, each graduate receives a diploma cover from President Vaughn. The 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.

Academic Honors

Students receiving bachelor's degrees or master's who are also candidates to receive academic honors are recognized at commencement. Upon completion of the spring semester or summer term, the honors are inscribed on diplomas and transcripts. Transfer students must have earned at least 31 hours at The University of Tampa in order to qualify for academic honors. Students who are scheduled to graduate in August do not receive recognition of honors in the May commencement program.

The Levels of Latin honors are:
Bachelor's Candidates

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 Candidates

Honors for those with overall grade point averages of 3.9 through 3.99.

Highest Honors for those with overall grade point averages of 4.0 in graduate level coursework.

Academic honors are not announced during May Commencement for those who will complete their academic requirements in the summer; however, any honors earned will be recorded on their diploma and transcript.  

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 April 25 through May 6, 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 may apply to speak at commencement, either as the “student challenge speaker” or the person who does the “introduction of speaker.” Students interested in speaking must fill out the application. To be considered, applications must be received by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3. 

Graduates with Disabilities

Graduates with physical disabilities should contact commencement@ut.edu or (813) 257-1999 as soon as possible.

Further Information

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