What to expect when you’re about to graduate


Kevin Bradsher

Students can deck out their graduation caps for a chance to be featured on Oakland’s social media accounts.

Graduating in the spring and have no idea what’s going on? Here’s a full run-down of what you need to know:

Who, what, when, where

The commencement ceremonies are on Thursday, April 27, Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29 in the O’rena.

The graduate degree ceremony will be at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Friday and Saturday are devoted to undergraduates, who are divided up by school and major. A detailed breakdown can be found on the commencement website.

Preparation beforehand

Those who still haven’t purchased a graduation cap, gown or ring can do so at the Barnes and Noble in the basement of the Oakland Center. This attire is required, and casual clothing like jeans, T-shirts and tennis shoes will not be permitted at the ceremony.

If you’re planning on decking out your cap, submit a photo on OU Social Media’s website for a chance to be featured in its posts. Participants may also win a diploma frame and an alumni swag bag. Submissions will be accepted until noon on April 27.

For those who want a visual walk-through of the event, check out the virtual commencement rehearsal video on Oakland’s website.

Students who requested additional tickets prior to April 13 are now able to pick them up from the Center for Student Activities and Leadership Development window in the basement of the Oakland Center. However, there are no extra tickets available for the 2 p.m. ceremony on April 28.

DVDs of each ceremony will be available for purchase. The commencement programs will include order forms, and the DVDs can also be ordered online.

In addition, commencement flowers can be pre-ordered online at www.thecommencementgroup.com/Oakland or purchased at the ceremony.

What to expect on the big day

One hour prior to the ceremony start time, graduates should arrive through the Recreation Center doors, whereas their guests should enter through the Athletic Center doors.

Graduates will go down to the lower level, check in at the registration table, pick up their name cards — which will list their degree titles and any honors — and hold on to the cards.

Those with a 3.6 GPA or above and/or school, departmental or conciliar honors will also receive honor cords. Graduates should not be carrying cameras, purses or food, and all electronics should be turned off.

Graduates will proceed to the three-court gym and be instructed on how to stand by major. With around 20 minutes to go, they will be led in two single-file lines. Stand in front of, or behind, someone to sit next to them at the ceremony.

Once in the O’rena, graduates will walk up the center aisle and file into the rows, taking a seat after the national anthem. Row by row, graduates will line up by the sides of the stage, where a photographer will snap a picture.

Graduates will have their name cards scanned before handing them to the reader and stepping onstage. After receiving their diploma covers and another photo op shaking hands with President George Hynd, they will return back to their seats.

Following closing remarks, graduates will be escorted out of the O’rena and meet up with their guests in the Oakland Center.

The ceremonies should last around two hours each, and graduates are asked to stay for the duration.

For those unable to attend commencement, a live stream will be broadcast at www.oakland.edu/outv/live-streams/commencement/. The stream will also be played in the OC.

Graduates will be contacted afterward with information about purchasing photos from the ceremony, and diplomas will be mailed out within 10-12 weeks.

Theawiana Bracewell, events coordinator for the School of Business Administration, feels this day is an important one for graduates.

“It symbolizes the completion of the students’ academic journey and the beginning of their professional career,” Bracewell said. “Students should feel proud, honored and joyous on this day that their hard work and dedication paid off.”

For more information, visit the commencement website at www.oakland.edu/commencement or call the Office of the Provost at (248) 370-2190.