Student Information

Participating in Commencement

You will be invited to participate in commencement and your name will appear in the commencement booklet if you apply to graduate summer 2016, fall 2016, spring 2017, May term 2017, or summer term 2017**.  Please apply to graduate by the Graduation Deadline. If you miss the deadline, please contact your advisor so they can assist you in the late degree application process. Students can expect an emailed invitation come late-March.  Once you receive your invitation, you will be able to RSVP to commencement for yourself and your guests.

**Special note regarding summer 2017 graduates: If you apply to graduate before March 27, for the summer term you will be invited to participate in the May 2017 ceremonies. Summer graduates who apply after the March 27 deadline need to contact the CLA Student Services at (612) 625-2020, or email to be invited to attend the May ceremonies.

If you will not be graduating during any of the above terms and wish to participate in commencement please contact the CLA Student Services at 612-625-2020, or email to be placed on a waiting list. You will be notified by email the week of April 10, with an update on whether there is space available for you to participate.

Student Speaker Applications

The College of Liberal Arts will select one student speaker for each commencement ceremony. This is a unique opportunity for a graduate to take part in the program by addressing his or her fellow graduates, friends, and family. Application deadline is Friday, April 14, 2017.

Applicants must:

  • Have a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Be eligible to graduate and scheduled to complete their degree requirements by August 2017
  • Be in good standing with the university

Applications should include:

  • A cover sheet with your name, major, and contact information (phone and email)
  • A speech proposal of about 1-2 pages. The proposal should briefly address why you want to be the student speaker, but the majority of it should focus on the topic of your speech.
  • Current Resume

Complete applications should be emailed as a Word document to Please use "CLA Commencement Student Speaker Selection Committee" in the subject line. Student representatives will review all submissions and select finalists to interview before making final decisions. All applications will be reviewed by the Office for Undergraduate Education in the College of Liberal Arts.

Speeches will be less than 4 minutes in length, or about 600 words. They should reflect on your experiences at the University of Minnesota and address topics that you believe will resonate with your audience. When writing your proposal you may want to consider some of the advice given in the links below:

USA Today: 8 Keys to a Graduation Speech with Pomp and Significance
USA Today: 10 Stellar Commencement Addresses

Faculty Invites

Each year, the Commencement Committee invites faculty members from the College of Liberal Arts to participate in commencement by being part of the faculty procession. In an effort to involve College of Liberal Arts students in the faculty invitation process, the Commencement Committee invites you to submit the names of faculty who have had an impact on you during your time at the University. It may be a professor that you had for a class, a faculty member in your major department who served as your mentor, or someone who helped to make your experience at the University a positive one.

You will have the opportunity to submit the names of faculty members you would like to extend invitations to when you RSVP for you and your guests.

Caps and Gowns

Caps and gowns, along with many other commencement items, can be purchased at GradFest, the University Bookstore in Coffman Memorial Union, or online. Caps and gowns are not required to participate in the ceremony; however, 99 percent of students choose to wear academic regalia. Business professional attire is suggested for underneath your academic robe.


GradImages® was the official photographer at your graduation ceremony. Your photos are available to view and order by visiting Simply enter your Last Name, your School Name: University of Minnesota and, select 2016 from the dropdown menu. Once you see your name, click on the link to view your photos. If you need additional help to locate your photos, call our customer service department at 800-261-2576 or email us at