Commencement Information

 

Student FAQs
Family & Friend FAQs
Faculty & Staff

Important Dates

Saginaw Valley State University wishes to extend congratulations to the graduating students and their families on this festive occasion. Commencement marks the culmination of our students' college experiences and commemorates the beginning of their very promising futures. Please join us for this special celebration.

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FALL 2019 Commencement - Friday

December 13 at 7:00 PM
Health & Human Services
Business & Management
 
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FALL 2019 Commencement - Saturday

December 14 at 11:00 AM
Arts & Behavioral Sciences
Education
Science Engineering & Technology

Student FAQs

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • There will not be a rehearsal for this ceremony. You will receive instructions at the East end of O’Neill Arena prior to the ceremony.

SVSU official colors are Cardinal Red and Royal Blue. White is used as a highlight color.

  • The traditional university-issued cap and gown is required. Please iron and hang your gown to eliminate wrinkles.

The undergraduate tassel is to be placed on the right side of the mortarboard (cap). The mortarboard is to be parallel with the floor. Graduate level tassels are to be worn on the left side of the mortarboard (cap).

Please wear appropriate clothing under the gown.

Honors Cords can be worn by those who have achieved such honor.

  • The specific honor for each student attaining the honors is printed in the official Commencement program under each student’s name.
  • When the student crosses the stage during the Commencement ceremony, the honor the student received is read after his/her name.
  • The academic honor received is printed on the student’s diploma.
  • The academic honor received is printed on the student’s transcript of grades.
  • Please note that honors designations are determined at the completion of the semester prior to the semester of graduation and are linked to the cumulative GPA at that time. Many Commencement participants are enrolled in courses during the semester of graduation and will earn grades that might alter the honors designation. The Commencement program must be prepared before the end of that semester, so the honors designations listed in the Program will pertain to the GPA as it appeared at the completion of the previous semester.
  • Please note that honors cords are available only for those completing bachelor’s degrees, corresponding to their Latin honors (summa cum laude, e.g.).  For the purposes of Latin Honors designations and honor cords, grade point averages are not rounded as a matter of policy.  This policy adheres to the GPA categories for Latin honors listed in the university Catalog.  Those completing graduate degrees will wear the appropriate hood for the degree they have earned.

Stoles and other cords may be worn if they represent organizations or recognitions that are affiliated with SVSU. 


  • Honors designations are determined at the completion of the semester prior to the semester of graduation and are linked to the cumulative GPA at that time.  Many Commencement participants are enrolled in courses during the semester of graduation and will earn grades that might alter the honors designation.  The Commencement program must be prepared before the end of that semester, so the honors designations listed in the Program will pertain to the GPA as it appeared at the completion of the previous semester. The specific honor for each student attaining the honors is printed in the official Commencement program under each student’s name. When the student crosses the stage during the Commencement ceremony, the honor the student received is read after his/her name. The academic honor received is printed on the student’s diploma. The academic honor received is printed on the student’s transcript of grades.

  • East O’Neill Arena (behind the Commencement stage curtain) is the location for both undergraduate and graduate degree students to gather, approximately 90 minutes before the ceremony. Each college (Arts & Behavioral Sciences, Education, etc.) will have a table with the announcer cards available for pick-up and there will be signage for line-up in the same area by the college. SVSU ushers will be available for assistance.

  • Graduates are discouraged from bringing extra belongings to Commencement. However, if a graduate must bring these valuables, they can be left with their guest until the ceremony is over.

  • Before the Commencement ceremony, you will line up by college in the East O'Neill Arena. An usher will lead your processional line down the hall and into the main O'Neill Arena floor. From there you will be directed to the row you will be seated. Following the Commencement speaker, the Deans of each college will call forward their graduates. An usher will lead your row out to the aisle, you will be directed up the right-side of the stage and will give your announcer card to the Announcer who will read your name over the sound-system. You will proceed to walk across the stage and shake the hand of the Dean and SVSU President. As you exit the stage to the left you will be stopped for a photograph. The photographer will also capture your handshake with the SVSU President. You will return down the aisle to your seat.

  • Graduates with special needs should contact The Office of Disability Services at (989) 964-7000 no later than two weeks prior to commencement.

  • Along the aisles of graduate seating (main floor) there are flags with each college name and a flag for Masters degrees. Guests should locate the flag for your college to determine which side you will be seated. All graduates enter the right side of the stage, walk across the stage to shake hands with the SVSU President and exit on the left side of the stage.

  • Typically, the Commencement ceremony will last approximately between 1.5 - 2 hours.


  • A professional photographer will take portraits as each graduate cross the stage.  For more information on ordering prints, go to http://gradimages.com.  You will be under no obligation.

Please advise your guests that pictures may not be taken from any area of the arena's floor during the ceremony.  Ask them not to cross the arena between the seating sections during the processional, the ceremony, or the recessional.  Guests may take pictures only while remaining in their seats.


  • Graduates will make their way behind the stage curtain and will be able to meet their guests in the east end of the arena after the ceremony.

  • You will receive your diploma cover at Commencement.  The actual diploma will be mailed within 2 months to the address listed on your graduation application or may be picked up at the Registrar’s Office, Wickes 151.
  • You will be notified via mail with a letter stating your diploma is ready to be picked up.
  • The diplomas are printed after all degree audits are complete and notices to this effect are mailed to the  new graduates. If you live in the tri-city region (Saginaw, Bay City, or Midland), you are asked to pick up the diploma in person at the Registrar’s counter; please show the staff a form of official identification.  If you live outside this region, the diplomas will be mailed. You can ask someone else to pick up your diploma for you, as long we have this request in writing (email registrar@svsu.edu), stating the person’s name who will be picking up the diploma. That person will have to show some form of official identification to Registrar staff that matches the name in the email.

Graduation Announcements

Personalized announcements may be ordered at the Grad Fair on Wednesday, April 10, 10am-6pm, or by calling (877) 225-3687 for credit card orders. Online orders can be placed by visiting www.balfour.com.

Academic Apparel for Commencement

Keepsake gowns will be used; they need not be returned. There is no charge for the cap and the gown. Hoods for Masters Candidates may be purchased for $38.98+plus tax ($41.98 for Specialist hood), but are not required. Extra tassels may be purchased for $5.98 (plus tax) each.

There will be no pre-measurements for academic regalia. A variety of sizes are available up to the day before graduation.

Caps and gowns will be available for pick-up at the Grad Fair on Wednesday, November 8 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Class Rings

Class rings may be ordered at the Grad Fair on Wednesday, November 8 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. If you are unable to attend the Grad Fair, you may visit the bookstore to view samples of announcements and/or class rings as well as ordering information.


You MUST complete and submit a graduation application and pay the $85 fee online by April 19, at 4:30 p.m. to be included in the published Commencement booklet/program. It will be possible to submit a late application to graduate after this deadline but the student's name will not appear in the published booklet/program. The next ceremony will be held in December 2019. Also, while students can graduate in August 2019, there will not be an August 2019 commencement ceremony. See the Registrar's Office for details.

Ceremony Details: Friday

Students graduating from the colleges of Business and Management and Health and Human Services.

The ceremony will be held in the O'Neill Arena of the Ryder Center. The following times are important.

5:30 p.m. - Ryder Center doors open

6 p.m. - Graduates arrive at the Ryder Center, entering at the northwest corner on the first level (user entrance). Please go immediately to the East end of O’Neill Arena for instructions and to line up for the processional.

6 -7:25 p.m. - Family and friends may be seated by entering at the north ramp to the second level

7:30 p.m. - Processional

9-9:30 p.m. - Ceremony concludes

Ceremony Details: Saturday

Students graduating from the colleges of Arts and Behavioral Sciences, Education, and Science, Engineering and Technology.

The ceremony will be held in the O'Neill Arena of the Ryder Center. The following times are important.

9:00 a.m. - Ryder Center doors open

9:30 a.m. - Graduates arrive at the Ryder Center, entering at the north ramp (second level) or at the south entrance near the Fitness Center. Please go immediately to the East end of O’Neill Arena for instructions and to line up for the processional.

9:00 - 10:55 a.m. - Family and friends may be seated by entering at the north ramp to the second level

11:00 a.m. - Processional

12:30-1:00 p.m. - Ceremony concludes


No, seating is open bleachers and tickets are not needed for any of the Commencement ceremonies. Note that tickets are needed for special accessible areas (wheelchair, walker, etc.) and can be reserved by filling out the following form https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4827079/2019-Winter-Commencement-Accommodations-Survey.


There are no reserved seats. Members of the audience should arrive early for the best seating locations. Seating should be completed before the processional begins. General seating in the O'Neill Arena is bleacher seating with no back support.


Family & Friend FAQs

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The ceremony will be held in the O'Neill Arena of the Ryder Center.  The following times are important.
    • 5:30 p.m. - Ryder Center doors open
    • 6:00 p.m. - Graduates arrive at the Ryder Center, entering at the northwest corner on the first level (user entrance).  Please go immediately to the East end of O’Neill Arena for instructions and to line up for the processional.
    • 6 -7:25 p.m. - Family and friends may be seated by entering at the north ramp to the second level
    • 7:30 p.m. - Processional
    • 9-9:30 p.m. - Ceremony concludes

  • The ceremony will be held in the O'Neill Arena of the Ryder Center.  The following times are important.
    • 9:00 a.m. - Ryder Center doors open 
    • 9:30 a.m. - Graduates arrive at the Ryder Center, entering at the north ramp (second level) or at the south entrance near the Fitness Center.  Please go immediately to the East end of O’Neill Arena for instructions and to line up for the processional.
    • 9:00 - 10:55 a.m. - Family and friends may be seated by entering at the north ramp to the second level
    • 11:00 a.m. – Processional
    • 12:30-1:00 p.m. - Ceremony concludes

  • Typically, the Commencement ceremony will last approximately between 1.5 – 2 hours. 

  • There are no reserved seats.  Members of the audience should arrive early for the best seating locations.  Seating should be completed before the processional begins.  General seating in the O'Neill Arena is bleacher seating with no back support.

    The University requests that all attendees at the Commencement Ceremony observe common courtesy and safety standards and refrain from using artificial noisemakers (such as air horns) and laser pointers, or other devices which could cause physical damage to persons in attendance.

  • No, seating is open bleachers and tickets are not needed for any of the Commencement ceremonies.
    • Note that tickets are needed for special accessible areas (wheelchair, walker, etc.) and can be reserved at the Disability Services office. 


  • If you wish to present your graduate with flowers at the ceremony, you can conveniently pre-purchase your flowers through https://www.thecommencementgroup.com/svsu/ and they will be available for pick-up at Commencement.  Sales also serve as a fund raiser for Forever Red, a student organization that provides SVSU students the opportunity to network with SVSU Alumni, raise funds towards the improvement of the SVSU student experience, create and build on SVSU traditions, and ‘create a legacy of RED PRIDE at SVSU. Flowers will also be available for purchase on the day of commencement at the event.

    The SVSU Wine Collection is the perfect gift to celebrate a graduation milestone. The wine is made in Sonoma County California, is available in chardonnay and red wine and proceeds support the Alumni Legacy scholarship. The collection is available throughout the year to celebrate birthdays and other special events. Purchase wine at: https://vinoshipper.com/svsu. Balloons are not allowed in the Ryder Center.

  • A professional photographer will take portraits as each graduate cross the stage.  For more information on ordering prints, go to http://gradimages.com.  You will be under no obligation.

    Please advise your guests that pictures may not be taken from any area of the arena's floor during the ceremony.  Ask them not to cross the arena between the seating sections during the processional, the ceremony, or the recessional.  Guests may take pictures only while remaining in their seats.

  • Family members and guests may take pictures only while remaining in their seats.

Please be advised that pictures may not be taken from any area of the arena's floor during the ceremony.


  • For family members and friends unable to attend your commencement, there will be a LIVE STREAM of the ceremony.  For more details, go to www.svsu.edu/commencement.

  • Graduates will make their way behind the stage curtain and will be able to meet their guests in the east end of the arena after the ceremony.

Faculty & Staff

 

Announcements

  • Faculty and staff may present the diploma cover to graduating members of their immediate family.  
    Contact Alumni Relations office at 989-964-4916 to make arrangements.
  • Faculty and staff robing, and line-up will occur in the Fitness Center (southwest side of Ryder Center) approximately 30 minutes before procession.

Academic Regalia Ordering

The University continues to provide regalia free of charge to faculty, adjunct faculty and staff. Regalia is due on the date stated by the Bookstore using the online regalia order form.  NOTE: If you have your own regalia and plan on attending, please use the online regalia form to notify us that you will be attending.

If you wish to confirm that your regalia order was received, you may do so by calling the Bookstore at ext. 4277.

Live Stream

View all of SVSU's scheduled live streams from the SVSU YouTube Channel.

Past Ceremonies

CONTACT US.


Office of the Registrar
Wickes Hall 151
registrar@svsu.edu
989-964-4085

Alumni Relations
Wickes Hall 160
alumni@svsu.edu
989-964-4196

Office of Disability Services
Wickes Hall 260
disabilityservices@svsu.edu
989-964-7000