Student FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions by students and guests. 

Are tickets required for the ceremony?

Tickets are NOT required for you or your guests. Graduates are asked to limit their guests to (6). All seating is general admission, first come first served, and specific seats and/or consecutive seats are not guaranteed.

Does CLA have more than one undergraduate commencement ceremony?

Yes, there is an 11:00 am and a 4:00 pm ceremony. You will be invited to a ceremony based on your major. Both ceremonies will fill to capacity. You must attend the ceremony associated with your major. We are unable to accomodate requests to change ceremony times. Please share your ceremony time with your family and guests so they are able to make the appropriate travel arrangements. 

How long is the ceremony expected to last?

2.5 hours (roughly)

I am an international student. What do I need to do in order to invite my family members to the U.S. for the ceremony?

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) provides detailed information on their website. You can also contact them directly with your questions.

How do I know which ceremony time I am in and, how is this determined?

Your invitation will indicate the time of your ceremony. The ceremonies are divided by majors. A list of the majors can be found here. You must attend the ceremony associated with your major. We are unable to accomodate requests to change ceremony times. Please share your ceremony time with your family and guests so they are able to make the appropriate travel arrangements. 

Will I be invited to participate in the commencement ceremony? What do I have to do?

If you graduated in fall 2019 or you will graduate in spring 2020, May term 2020, summer 2020 the CLA Student Services office will email you a commencement invitation, usually the week after spring break. Follow that email's registration instructions. In order to attend the commencement ceremony, you must RSVP by the deadline.

Can I switch ceremony times?

No. Both ceremonies will fill to capacity and we are unable to switch ceremony times. Please share your ceremony time with your family and guests so they are able to make the appropriate travel arrangements. 

How do I get a cap and gown for the commencement ceremony?

99% of all graduates wear cap and gown. Students can buy a graduation cap and gown at U of M bookstores located in Coffman Union or online. Each year, the University of Minnesota also holds the GradFest event in March, which provides commencement information, services, and products, including caps, gowns and announcements.

Will I graduate with special distinctions or honors? How will I know that?

Students who meet a specific GPA or Honors Program threshold may receive special recognition. If, at the end of fall semester, you have a minimum GPA of 3.75, you'll receive the "distinction" recognition. If your GPA is 3.9 or higher, you'll receive "high distinction" recognition. Both distinctions receive a special cord to wear at commencement, given to students at check in before the ceremony. HONORS: If you are in the University Honors Program (UHP) and will graduate with Latin honors, UHP will contact you with details about the medallion you'll wear.

Where should I go to check in for the ceremony? Where do I sit or stand?

Graduates need to check in at the (Maturi) Sports Pavilion located across the street from Mariucci Arena on Fourth Street SE. For the 11 a.m. ceremony graduates need to check-in between 9:30am – 10:15am. For the 4 p.m. ceremony, graduates need to check-in between 2:30 - 3:15pm. Full line up instructions can be found here. You are allowed to line up in an order you would like. So yes, you can sit with a friend!

Will there be a photographer at the ceremony?

Yes, we have made arrangements with GradImages to have a professional photographer take three pictures of each student. One photo is taken on stage with your diploma cover in hand. The other photos are taken as you enter and exit the stage. GradImages will contact you directly when the photo proofs are available to view. There is no obligation to purchase photos. Please preregister with GradImages

Is there somewhere for me to store valuables during the ceremony?

No. If you must bring a purse, backpack or other valuables, please leave them with your guest(s) in the audience. You will not be able to leave anything behind at the (Maturi) Sports Pavilion.

Will my name be read in the ceremony and how?

Yes, on the day of the ceremony you will “check-in” at the (Maturi) Sports Pavilion and pick up your name card. Your name will be preprinted on the card. You will be able to make changes to your name card as necessary. As you cross the  stage your name will be announced.

Will I get my diploma certificate at commencement?

No. Because the majority of students who attend commencement have not completed their degree requirements by the ceremony date, an empty diploma cover is handed to you as you cross the stage. This is standard practice at university graduation ceremonies. Your diploma will be mailed to you 6-8 weeks after commencement ceremony. It is up to you to make sure your diploma is mailed to the correct address. Your diploma will be mailed to the diploma address that appears in MyU: My Info.

What will my diploma say when it is mailed to me?

By default your primary/legal name will print on your diploma, the degree you earned, the confer date, honors earned (if applicable). If you want to change the name on your diploma you can update your degree name here.  Your diploma does not indicate your major or minor, these details are recorded on your official transcript. 

Guest FAQ's

Here are some frequently asked questions by guests. 

Where is the 3M Arena at Mariucci and where do I park?

All guests are encouraged to park in lots recommended on the 3M Arena at Mariucci page.

This is a printable map (PDF) showing the entire East Bank campus, including parking areas. This is an online map for the 3M Arena at Mariucci and surrounding areas.

What time should guests arrive?

Guest can arrive up to 75 minutes early. If they arrive earlier, the doors may be locked as we are prepping for the ceremony.

Does 3M Arena at Mariucci have disability access?

Persons with special needs can be dropped off at the ground-level entrance on the northeast corner of the 3M Arena at Mariucci (access to this area is located between 5th and Oak Streets). Parking is not allowed in the transitway, but drivers with state-issued disability permits may park in designated spaces in nearby parking facilities. Once inside there is an elevator to the seating level with wheelchair seating areas and seats (top row) that do not require the use of stairs. The arena has adapted restrooms. Both ceremonies are live streamed and closed captioned in the arena. If you have additional questions or if you would like to request an ASL interpreter, email at least two weeks before the commencement ceremony.

Can guests bring balloons or flowers?

Balloons are NOT allowed in the arena. There are no exceptions, due to fire codes. Your guests are welcome to bring flowers, flowers are also available for purchase in the lobby of the arena.

What is the U of M Bag policy?