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FAQs for Graduates

MAY 16 and MAY 17, 2014

Commencement Preparation

Commencement Day 

Policies and Procession Information 

Guests and Accommodations 

More Commencement Tips

Commencement Preparation 
How do I participate in Commencement?
All bachelor's and master's graduates must have completed an Application for Graduation in the Registrar's Office. If you have not done so, please stop by the Registrar's Office. The information provided on this application will be used to order your diploma and for the Commencement program.

Eligibility for Participation in Commencement
In order to participate in Commencement students must:
• Complete an Application for Graduation in the Registrar’s Office
• Meet with the Registrar's Office to conduct a graduation audit
• Be no more than three credits short of all graduation requirements 
• Have a plan approved by the Department Chair and Dean of the Undergraduate College to register for the required course within the next academic year (summer 2014 through spring 2015)
• Agree to pay the College in full for the credits needed before walking at Commencement
• Satisfy all financial obligations to the College
• Complete all exit interviews if they have any federal loans 
• Complete the Oxley Career and Education Program Survey

Federal Loans 
Graduates with Federal Direct Loans must complete an exit interview online or in person at the Center for Student Services in Founders Hall 222A by May 2, 2014. You will need your social security number, FAFSA PIN, and the contact information of three references to complete the exit interview, which takes about 10 minutes. The link for completing the exit interview online is
Should you complete your exit interview online, please save a copy for your records and email a copy to to assist in timely processing. 

Graduates with Federal Perkins Loans must come to the Center for Student Services in Founders Hall 223, to complete their Federal Perkins Loan exit interview prior to May 2, 2014. The Office of Financial Aid will be available at the Graduation Fair and at Cap and Gown pickup to assist graduates in completing the exit interview.
Financial Obligations
Graduates must satisfy all outstanding financial obligations to the College by May 2, 2014. Payments made after this date must be in cash, money order or cashier’s check in the Student Accounts Office. Personal checks will not be accepted after May 4, 2014.

Commencement Day
When and where is Commencement?
Commencement will take place on the College of Mount Saint Vincent’s River Lawn on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. – rain or shine.  

Where do the graduates report on Commencement Day?
Bachelor's graduates will report to Hayes Auditorium, Grace Center at 9:30 a.m. Master's graduates will report to Smith Hall, Founders Hall, second floor at 9:00 a.m. The master's Hooding Ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Smith Hall.  

How long does the ceremony last?
The ceremony is expected to last approximately 1.5 hours.  

How do I order my cap and gown?
Caps, gowns, and hoods are rented by the College for all graduates and they are free for the students. Caps and gowns can be ordered beginning Wednesday, February 26, 2014 through Monday, March 31, 2014 by visiting You can order your cap and gown at the Graduation Fair on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 (see Graduation Fair below).

What is the Graduation Fair?
The Graduation Fair is a one-stop-shop opportunity for graduates to order their caps and gowns, take graduation photos, purchase class rings, diploma frames and more. The Graduation Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26, 2014 in Smith Hall, 2:00 to 7:00 p.m.

When and where do I pick up my cap and gown?
Caps and gowns will be available for pick-up in Smith Hall, Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Do students get to keep the cap, gown, and hood?
No. The cap, gown and hood must be returned to the College immediately after the ceremony so that it may be sent back to the rental company. Students may keep the tassel, which is included in the cap and gown packet. 

When and where do students return their caps, gowns and hoods?
Students must return their caps, gowns and hoods immediately following Commencement in Smith Hall or the student's account will be charged for replacement of the rented regalia ($400 - $700). Students interested in purchasing any part of the regalia (cap, gown, hood) can do so through the No-Book Store.

When do I receive my diploma?
Graduates will receive their diplomas immediately following the ceremony upon return of their cap, gown, and hood in Smith Hall. Students may keep the tassel. Students who have not met their academic requirements, satisfied all financial obligations including tuition, fees and fines, completed their exit interviews and the Oxley Career and Education Program Survey will not receive their diplomas at this time. Following Commencement, diplomas may be picked up in person in the Registrar’s Office, upon completion of all outstanding matters.

Where do I pick up my parking permits for my guests?
Graduates will be given two parking permits for guests, which can be picked up when students get their caps and gowns in Smith Hall. Graduates with current campus parking permits will be able to park on campus on Commencement Day; they do not need to use one of their guest permits.

Is there a rehearsal?
All bachelor graduates are required to attend a mandatory rehearsal on Friday, May 16, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.  Bachelor graduates will convene in Hayes Auditorium, Grace Center. The rehearsal is expected to last approximately one hour. Master's graduates do not attend the rehearsal.  

What if I cannot attend the rehearsal?
Students who cannot attend the rehearsal must contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students to receive information for line-up and name pronunciation.

How will I get my hood if I cannot attend the Awards and Hooding Ceremony?
Hoods will not be available at any time, other than at the Awards and Hooding ceremony. 

Policies and Procession Information
Is there an alcohol policy?
Alcohol is not permitted before or during the Commencement ceremony and will be confiscated if brought to the ceremony. Please advise all guests of this policy.  

Is my graduation fee refunded if I do not to participate in the Commencement Ceremony?
Graduates who decide not to participate in Commencement cannot have their graduation fee refunded. This fee covers the costs associated with all aspects of the event, including diplomas, chairs, and tent rentals, staging, programs etc. Graduates who do not participate may pick up their diplomas after May 19, 2014 in the Registrar’s Office, provided they have met all of their academic requirements, satisfied their outstanding balances with the College, and 
completed the federal loan exit interviews and the Oxley Career and Education Program Survey.

Do you know who the speaker will be?
This announcement is usually made in mid-April. 

How do I obtain graduation announcements?
Orders for personalized announcements can be placed online at on or around February 26, 2014.

What time do I lineup on Commencement Day?  
Bachelor's graduates will assemble for the procession at 9:30 a.m. in the Hayes Auditorium. Grace Center. Master's graduates will assemble at 9:00 a.m. in Smith Hall for a Hooding Ceremony at 9:30 a.m.
What time does the procession begin?
The procession begins promptly at 10:30 a.m.

How should I dress?
Students should be cautious of the clothes they wear underneath their gowns. Neither the College nor the manufacturer of the caps and gowns guarantees that they are colorfast. Weather conditions have varied from picture-perfect to extreme rain or heat. Graduates are advised to dress comfortably and be prepared for the weather. If it is raining, students may want to bring an umbrella. Students should bring sun block and sunglasses for sunny conditions and wear shoes appropriate for grassy areas. 

When should my guests plan on arriving?
Guests are encouraged to arrive early to better ensure a parking space and seating. Guests will not be permitted to enter the tent before 8:30 a.m. 

Are tickets required and is there a limit to how many guests I can invite?
Tickets are not required for the ceremony. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no limit to the number of guests you can invite.  

I have a guest who is disabled.  Is there special seating?
Requests for disabled seating tickets, disabled parking permits and sign language interpretation requests can be made to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students no later than Friday, May 2, 2014.

There will be a designated seating section to accommodate disabled guests. A limit of one disabled parking permit and two disabled seating tickets per graduate will be issued. As guests enter the campus, they should be prepared to show their disabled parking permit to the security guard, who will direct them to the appropriate parking area. Parking spaces are reserved for vehicles with handicapped license plates, handicapped parking placards issued by a municipality and special parking permits issued by the College. 
What if it rains?
Commencement will take place rain or shine on River Lawn.  

Will photographs of individual students be taken when they receive their diplomas on stage?
Yes, Island Photography has been contracted to photograph each student as the student receives the diploma and right after the student leaves the stage. To receive a direct link to the photos and to register to receive photos on line visit

You may register several emails to allow your friends and family to receive a direct link to your Commencement photos.   Images will be posted within 72 hours of the Commencement ceremony. For further information contact Island Photography at their address above or at (800) 869-0908.

Is it possible to schedule a Senior/Graduation Portrait?
Yes, Thornton Studios is taking appointments for senior/graduation portraits beginning April 7, 2014 through April 11, 2014. Portraits are typically taken at the Grotto next to the campus entrance. You can schedule a time by visiting Detailed instructions will be sent to graduates directly.

Guests and Accommodations
What if my guests need overnight accommodations?
For guests who need overnight accommodations, below is a list of hotels within 20 – 30 minutes from the College:
• Hampton Inn & Suites - 160 Corporate Drive South, Yonkers, NY (914) 377-1144 
• Ramada Inn - 125 Tuckahoe Rd., Yonkers, NY (914) 476-3800
• Royal Regency Hotel - 165 Tuckahoe Rd., Yonkers, NY (914) 476-6200
• Courtyard by Marriott - 475 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY (914) 631-1122

Where do I meet my guests after Commencement?
We suggest that you pre-arrange a meeting place with your guests at the conclusion of the full recessional.

When do graduates have to be out of their residence hall rooms?
Seniors must leave the residence halls no later than 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, 2014.
More Commencement Tips
What about Senior Days activities?
In late March/early April you will receive information about Senior Days, outlining the activities planned by the Senior Class Officers under the direction of the Office of Student Activities, Leadership and Commuter Life. 

What are The No-Book Store hours on Commencement Day?
The No-Book Store will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Commencement Day. The store offers a variety of CMSV spirit wear, cards, gifts, and snacks. The store also will be selling flowers in various locations by the Commencement tent.  

How do I purchase a class ring?
Questions or information regarding class rings should be directed to Herff Jones at Class rings can also be ordered at the Graduation Fair.

Helpful Hints 
  • Before you graduate, your tassel should be worn on the right; after you graduate, move it to the left.
  • The weather can be unpredictable, so remember both your umbrella and your sun block.
  • Remember, the grass can be wet even if it isn't raining, so consider your footwear carefully.
  • All graduates and guests must turn off cell phones. Please be considerate of others.
  • The Commencement ceremony will last approximately 1.5 hours. We encourage you to participate in the entire ceremony. Out of respect for your fellow graduates, please remain seated throughout the entire ceremony.