Commencement - Clark University

Information for Senior Degree Candidates

Congratulations! You will soon receive your degree from Clark University. Although most of your work is completed, there are a few significant details to which you need to attend before graduation in May. Please read carefully and note important dates, times, locations, procedures and attire requirements for Commencement 2016.

Commencement 2016 will be held Sunday, May 22, on the Jefferson Academic Center Green. Students who have completed all work and whose grades (no incompletes) have been received at the Registrar's Office are automatically included in the Commencement Program and invited to participate in the graduation ceremony.

Please review your student account prior to April 1 to see if you have any holds and/or a balance due. All holds and balances must be eliminated before you can be cleared for graduation. Contact your student account counselor, before April 1, with questions.

Last names beginning:
A-G (508) 793-7721
H-O (508) 793-7483
P-Z (508) 793-7491

All students who received federal or Clark institutional loans to finance their education must complete an online exit interview. These are mandatory, and diplomas of any students who do not complete online exit interviews may be withheld. You will be notified in April about the exit interview process.

Clark Invitations for Your Family and Friends

Graduates may invite as many guests as they wish to Commencement; guests do not need to show an invitation or ticket in order to attend.

Five formal invitation/announcements will be delivered to your campus mailbox in April. These invitations are not tickets, but a formal written announcement of your impending graduation that you can share with family and friends.

You may request up to five additional invitations at the Dean of Students Office. There is a limited supply. Extra announcements will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until they are gone.

Commencement Brunch for Graduates and their Families

Commencement Brunch

9 – 11 a.m.
Higgins University Center

Brunch reservations are available for graduates and their families at $12 per adult, $6 for graduating students, $5 for senior citizens (65+) and children 6-12 years-old; children under 5-years-old eat free. Walk-ins are welcome for $13 per adult and $6 for senior citizens (65+) and children 6-12 years-old. Please remember to include your graduating student in your reservation. Please note brunch is general seating.

Commencement Day Brunch Information and Reservations


Caps and Gowns

Caps and gowns for all graduating seniors may be picked up in the Atwood Hall on:

Tuesday May 17, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday May 19, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

You will be required to show identification and will be fitted when you pick up your caps, gowns, tassels, and hoods. You will have been billed in advance for your regalia, which is yours to keep.

Senior Survey

At the Cap and Gown pick-up you will be asked to complete a brief survey about your post-graduation plans. Whether you are pursuing graduate study, employment, Year of Service programs, entrepreneurial ventures, travel, or a well-deserved break, we hope that you will share your plans and help spread the word about the wide range of possibilities open to Clark graduates. Information that you provide will be maintained by the undergraduate office of Career Services and shared only in summary form without individual identifiers. Please allow an extra 10 minutes or so to complete the Senior Survey.

Commencement Ceremony


Processional begins at 12 p.m.
Kneller Athletic Center

Graduates must assemble by 11:30 a.m. sharp in the Kneller Athletic Center wearing (or carrying) their caps and gowns. The Kneller will open to graduates at 11:15 a.m.

If a last-minute emergency on the day of Commencement prevents you from joining the ceremony as planned, please call (508)793-7575.

Anyone who does not arrive in time for accurate placement in the procession risks not receiving a diploma on stage. Commencement is a formal affair. University officials reserve the right to prohibit a student from participating if the formal cap and gown are not worn — or if the student's identity is concealed in any way.

Backpacks or large handbags will not be allowed at Commencement. High-heeled shoes are not recommended for the procession or ceremony.

In the Kneller gymnasium, tagged seats are arranged alphabetically for all students. Graduate students will be seated in alphabetical order by degree in the sections closest to the stage; Undergraduate students will be seated in alphabetical order behind the Graduate students. Please be seated; Commencement marshals will be on hand to help. You will receive last-minute instructions at this time.


From Kneller, you will walk in pairs to the Commencement area. Students must take their seat on the Campus Green, and stay in the same order in which they were seated in the Kneller.


Part I
The program will begin on the Campus Green and will include a welcome, opening remarks, the Commencement address, conferring of honorary degrees and recognition of all graduates. This portion of the ceremony will run approximately 1 hour.

Part II
At the conclusion of the University-wide ceremony, designated members of the platform party, followed by Graduate students, will process to the Kneller Athletic Center for the Graduate School Commencement.

The undergraduate Commencement ceremony will continue on the Campus Green. The undergraduate program includes opening remarks, honorary degree speaker, Senior Class speaker and the awarding of degrees and diplomas.

At the appropriate point in the ceremony, the faculty marshal will ask students to stand. Remain standing as President Angel confers your degree. Students will then proceed toward the podium, row by row, beginning at the front and the extreme left. Follow the person on your left. When your name is called, walk across the platform, receive your diploma and return to your seat.

To avoid disruption, and out of respect for all degree recipients, all students are expected to remain in their assigned seats for the entire ceremony. Students are advised to take care of their personal needs prior to the start of the procession. Drinking and raucous behavior during the ceremony will not be permitted.


After the ceremony, the formal recession of the platform party begins. You are expected to remain seated until the party has left the platform. Graduates will follow the platform party in a recession from the platform to Atwood Plaza along the walk beside Jefferson Academic Center, where faculty members will have formed a receiving line to congratulate you.

Consideration for Guests

Guest seating is on the campus green.

Indoor seating for guests of Undergraduates is located in Daniels Theater/Atwood Hall. Both the University-wide ceremony and the Undergraduate Commencement will be broadcast in Atwood Hall.

Seating for Physically Challenged Attendees

If special seating is required for physically challenged family or friends, please arrange to reserve seating in advance by contacting:
Physical Plant
(508) 793-7566

Clark Students:

Any Clark student needing special accommodations for him/herself should contact:
Emily Tarconish
Director of Disability Services

Photography and Video Coverage

Professional photographers will set up near the Commencement platforms to take photographs of each graduate as he/she is handed a diploma. Details about purchasing these photographs will be sent to students' homes directly from Commencement Photos, Inc. There is no obligation to buy. Additional information and online ordering is available through the company's website after graduation day.

Please note this professional photograph is a candid shot and graduates are asked not to stop and pose as this will hold up the diploma awarding part of the ceremony; photographers will not take posed photos. To ensure your photograph comes out well, please be sure to look at the President and smile when you are receiving your diploma.

Family and friends may take their own photographs along the processional route from the Kneller Athletic Center. Please note there are no photography areas near the stage; we respectfully ask that guests do not try to approach the platform for photographs as this creates unsafe conditions and blocks the views of others.

Clark will use to broadcast Commencement; a link to the broadcast will be available on May 22. You can also watch Commencement on-demand (available, shortly after the ceremony finishes) or download the event.

Additional Information

If you have any additional questions please call or email:
Dean of the College Office
(508) 793-7671

We Salute You! On May 22, 2016, you will reach your destination as graduates of Clark University and begin your journey as Clark Alumni, Class of 2016!