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.

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 www.herffjones.com/college/ut. 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. 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.

Name Cards

Graduates should bring their name cards, which they should have received from the Registrar's Office two weeks before commencement. Please do not fold the cards or write on the barcode. 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, and will ensure that your name appears on the live stream of the ceremony on the Tampa Bay Times Forum's Jumbotron when you receive your diploma cover from President Vaughn.

Name cards, if forgotten, may be picked up Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Registrar's Office table located in the Tampa Bay Times Forum assembly area located on the floor level.

There is a new plaza level special entrance for the graduates at the forum's south end - signs and plaza ushers will direct you (as you face the forum from the plaza, the entrance will be on the right).

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. Undergraduate candidates' tassels are to be on the right side. Graduate candidates' tassels are to be on the left side. Graduate candidates are to wear their hoods.

Alcohol and Noisemakers

Alcoholic beverages and noisemakers are not permitted at the commencement ceremony and will be confiscated by the assistant marshals or ushers.

Assembly

Graduates in caps and gowns are to arrive by 9 a.m. Graduates are to enter through the South Plaza 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 - perhaps on the plaza or at your vehicle.

Please walk down the stairs to the floor level.

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 10, please arrive at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, South Plaza Level entrance 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 four columns by faculty marshals. Each degree candidate will receive a color-identifying card for his or her designated column for the processional. Please follow the directions of the staff for this 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. Students (graduate students, followed by undergraduate students) will lead the processional, followed by faculty and platform party. 

Candidates will enter the arena floor, two columns from the northwest entrance and two columns from the northeast entrance. Each column will be seated in alternating rows in each of the two floor sections. The faculty marshals will guide you. 

Please remain standing by your chairs until after the national anthem.

Graduates can usually sit with their graduating friends by walking in front or behind them in the same line when they assemble for the processional (depends on the number of seats and graduates in each row).

Men should remove their caps during the 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 Degree

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, they should present their "reader" name cards to the staff member at the bottom of the ramps. 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. As your name is being read, you will immediately be ushered to stand next to President Vaughn on the center platform of the ramp -  so that your name and degree will appear under the photo on the overhead screens, all at the same time. 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 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. We know that it is a long ceremony (approximately 2 hours 45 minutes), but please afford every other student and family the same respect and honor that you deserve.

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. Following the ceremony, families are welcome to use the stage and surrounding area as a backdrop for photos.

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, 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 28 through May 9, to pick up their honors cords. Master's candidates will receive honor cords for "highest honors" and for "honors." 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 and submit it to the Associate Provost and Dean of Academic Services Office in Plant Hall 202 for the committee to review and make a decision. To be considered, applications must be received by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 7.

Graduates with Disabilities

Graduates with physical disabilities should contact commencement@ut.edu or (813) 257-3147 as soon as possible.

Further Information

If you need additional information, please email us at commencement@ut.edu or call the Associate Provost and Dean of Academic Services Office at (813) 257-3147. We will be pleased to answer questions and provide assistance whenever possible.