Commencement FAQs

What’s the difference between Commencement and Convocation ceremonies?

Commencement – Saturday, May 16th, 2015, 10 a.m., Patriot Center

  • Degrees are officially conferred by the University President
  • Entire university community is invited.
  • Ceremony begins with graduates procesing through campus
  • Official university guest speaker delivers Commencement address.
  • Selected student speaker representing the class of 2015 delivers address.
  • Event is televised
  • Tickets are required for guests. Each graduate may obtain six guest tickets.
  • Ph.D. graduates are individually recognized and photographed on stage receiving their degrees. All graduates are acknowledged, and degrees are conferred by deans/directors and university president.
  • Caps and gowns are worn.
(Duration – approximately two hours)
  • Prelude Music
  • Processional followed by the National Anthem (please stand).
  • Greeting and introductions by President Cabrera.
  • Presentation of Honorary Degrees
  • Commencement Address
  • Student Commencement Address
  • Conferral of Degrees: Bachelors, Masters, Juris Doctorate, and Doctoral
    Each dean will ask his/her college, school, or institute candidates to rise by degree program, until the entire body has been called. President Cabrera will confer degrees. Students will move the tassels on their caps from right to left.
  • Recessional
    During the recessional, faculty marshals direct your exit from the Patriot Center. Students exit from the front to the back. Please meet your family outside the Patriot Center. A sign language interpreter interprets the ceremony for the hearing impaired.

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Convocation Ceremonies

Celebration of graduation sponsored by individual schools:

  • Individual school/college/institute graduates only
  • All guests are welcome; tickets are not required except where noted*
  • All graduates are individually recognized and photographed on stage receiving their degrees.
  • Each school/college/institute selects speakers.
  • Caps and gowns are worn.

* Tickets are required for any convocation taking place at the Hylton Performing Arts Center (Rec. Health & Tourism) and other venues as noted on schedule.

Graduates are encouraged to attend both the university-wide Commencement ceremony, and their specific convocation ceremony.

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Ticket Information for Commencement Ceremony, Saturday, May 16, 10 a.m.

Because more than 7,000 students will graduate this year, seating at Commencement is limited, and guest tickets are required. All graduates except doctoral candidates will be permitted a maximum of six (6) guest tickets. Graduating students do not need a ticket. All tickets are free and are general admission. Handicapped and special-assistance seating is available at the door. Guests requiring special assistance may be seated with one other guest in their party in easy-access sections of the Patriot Center.

Tickets and detailed instructions may be picked up at the March Commencement Fair or the Patriot Center box office with a Mason ID or valid driver’s license as follows:
TICKET PICKUP:
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 – Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Monday – Thursday, 10am – 7pm
Friday – Saturday, 10am – 5:30pm

FINAL DAY TO PICKUP TICKETS:
Wednesday MAY 13, 10 A.M. – 5:30 P.M.

Doctoral students will receive information by email on how to order tickets no later than April 1, 2015.  Tickets will be mailed to address provided by May 4, 2015.  Any Doctoral students who have not received information should contact Rachel Lubar at rlubar@gmu.edu.

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Additional Tickets

Neither Events Management nor the Office of the Registrar has additional tickets. Additional tickets will be available only if students turn in unneeded tickets. Unneeded tickets may be turned in at the Patriot Center box office at any time during box office hours listed previously.

Tickets that are turned in or not picked up by 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 will be redistributed as follows:

Patriot Center, Box Office, West Entrance, Will Call Window, First come, first served Wednesday, May 13, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. With George Mason ID

And again, if tickets are still available on Saturday, May 16, 9 a.m. until ceremony. No ID required.

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Caps and Gowns

Commencement at Mason is a traditional ceremony where caps and gowns are worn by graduates and faculty. Master’s candidates must also wear a master’s hood. Please state your field of study when purchasing your hood as different colors denote different fields of study (for example, economics, copper; sciences, golden yellow; arts and humanities, white). Bachelor’s and master’s candidates may purchase caps and gowns at the University Bookstore.

Doctoral candidates and faculty should order regalia through the University Bookstore as soon as possible and no later than March 27th to avoid late delivery fees. Contact number is 993-2666.

School of Law graduates should order caps, gowns, tassels, and announcements through the Arlington Campus Bookstore at 703-993-8170. Commencement announcements may also be ordered at the Commencement Fair, March 3-5, 2015 from 11am – 7pm at Johnson Center, TBD. Announcements are not invitations to the Commencement ceremony.

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Photo Opportunities

A photographer will be on hand for cap and gown photos before the Commencement ceremony, May 16, starting at  8 a.m. on the North Plaza. Photographers will be present at all convocation events to photograph the ceremonies.

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Guest Parking

All campus parking lots are available for guest parking. Handicapped and special assistance parking is available in Lot A, adjacent to the Patriot Center’s South Entrance. DO NOT park at University Mall; cars parked at the shopping center may be towed.

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Diploma Information

Your diploma will be mailed to you as soon as completion of all degree requirements is confirmed. Most diplomas will be mailed to the student’s “diploma address” which is specified during the online graduation application process. Diplomas are mailed within five to seven weeks following degree conferral.

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Mason’s Commencement on Cable

Click this link to view the GMU-TV Commencement air schedule coming soon.
2015 Schedule not yet available

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Commencement Videos

Commencement videos will be available at no charge online from GMU-TV.

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Commencement Information

School of Law, (703) 993-8043
GMU Bookstore, (703) 993-2666, gmu.bncollege.com: Caps and Gowns, Announcements, Commencent Fair
Office of the Registrar, (703) 993-2441: Change of Address and Degree Application Status, Master’s and Doctoral
Events Management, (703) 993-2853 or 703-993-8844: Ceremonies and Guest Arrangements

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Commencement Tickets for Masters and Bachelors

Who needs a ticket?
“All guests, except infants sitting on a lap. Graduating seniors do not need a ticket.”

How many tickets can I get?
Six

Do I need to reserve tickets ahead of time?
NO

What is the price of tickets?
Tickets are free

Can I pick the section I want the tickets to be in?
All tickets are General Admission

Where do I get tickets?
1. The Commencement Fair taking place Spring 2015 (March 3, 4, & 5, 2015)
2. The Patriot Center Box Office (April 21-May 12, 2015)

Where is the Patriot Center box office?
West Side of the Patriot Center

What date are tickets available?
Tickets are available at the Commencement Fair starting March 3rd.

Tickets are available at the Patriot Center Box Office starting April 21st.

What times can I pick up the tickets at the Patriot Center?
Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

What is the Commencement Fair?
An event where you can buy your cap and gown, announcements, rings, and other items; have photos taken in regalia;. and get Commencement tickets

When is the Commencement Fair?
March 3-5, from 11am – 7pm

How do I get tickets?
Bring your Mason ID or valid Driver’s license to the Patriot Center Box Office or the Commencement Fair

What if my guests need special assistance or are handicapped?
Special assistance/handicapped seating is available. Please ask any Patriot Center usher at the Portal entrances when you arrive.

Where are the special assistance or handicapped seating?
In an easy access section of the Patriot Center near the Portal entrances

Can someone sit with my special needs guest?
One other guest may sit with handicapped persons or those needing special assistance

What if I need more than 6 tickets?
Extra tickets will be available only if students turn in unneeded tickets to the Patriot Center box office

When can we get extra tickets?
May 13th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and May 16th from 9 a.m. until the start of the Commencement ceremony

Where can we get the extra tickets that have been returned?
Patriot Center Box Office, West Entrance

How do Doctoral students obtain tickets?
Information about ordering tickets will be sent to them in the mail. Tickets will be mailed to Doctoral students.

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