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FAQs

GRADUATES

I want to participate in the Commencement Ceremony. What do I need to do?

Students who have already graduated or applied to graduate must complete the Commencement and Diploma Information form available in their portal.

Students who plan to graduate spring term or undergraduates who plan to graduate summer or fall term must first apply to graduate.Applications are available online. Once that step is complete, students will receive the Commencement and Diploma Information form in their portal.

For the full graduation experience, be sure to complete the Commencement and Diploma Information form by May 12.

Caps and gowns are required for anyone who wants to walk on Commencement Day. For information on how to purchase graduation regalia, visit the Caps, Gowns & Cords page.

 

What if I need additional accommodations?

There is a section on the Commencement and Diploma Information form that students with disabilities may fill out if they desire accommodation to participate in the ceremony.

What is the difference between graduation and Commencement?

Students graduate when they complete the application for graduation, have competed all the academic requirements to earn their degree and pay all their fees. A diploma will be mailed to them.

Commencement is the ceremony that acknowledges graduates and those close to completing their degree. Not all students who graduate choose to participate in Commencement. For those who do, their names will be called at the ceremony and they will walk across the stage to receive a diploma cover. They are able to celebrate the milestone with their family and friends in attendance. A diploma will be mailed to them after all requirements have been met.

What do the different honors levels mean?

The faculty at WOU recognizes scholarship by conferring honors distinction on undergraduate students who have earned a cumulative WOU grade-point average of 3.50 or higher as follows:

  • Cum Laude: 3.50-3.64
  • Magna Cum Laude: 3.65-3.79
  • Summa Cum Laude: 3.80-4.00

All grade-point averages used for commencement are calculated at the conclusion of the previous winter term. Grade-point averages are recalculated when all coursework is completed and the degree is conferred.

How do I stay in touch with the university after I graduate?

Graduates may join the WOU alumni organization free of charge. Registering as an alumnus or alumna comes with multiple advantages, including updated communications from the university, a subscription to the alumni magazine, Western Edge, and discounts at places such as the WOU Bookstore, among others. To register as an alumni, visit the Alumni Registration page.

 

THE EVENT

Where should I park?

All parking lots will be available for public parking. Lot G will be reserved for disability parking only (see map). Church Street will be closed to traffic and parking. For a map showing all parking lots on campus, click here.

Do I need tickets?

No. Seating is on a first-come basis. No seats may be reserved. There is no limit to the number in your party.

Where should I sit?

General seating is in the stadium. Accessible seating is on the lawn on a first-come basis. Ushers will be available to escort visitors who need assistance to the accessible seating area.

What if I need additional accommodations?

Alternative listening devices and alternative formats such as Braille or large print are available in advance through the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 503-838-8250. The ceremony will be signed by a licensed ASL interpreter. ODS staff members will be available at the ceremony to answer questions about accessibility.

How long is the ceremony?

The ceremony generally lasts 2-2.5 hours.

What if I prefer to watch the ceremony indoors instead?

People who prefer to watch the ceremony indoors can view a live feed in the New PE building across Church Street from the stadium. The ceremony will be shown on a large screen with captions.

What should I wear or bring to the graduation ceremony?

Most people wear nice clothes to the ceremony, but the most important thing is to make sure to dress for the weather. The Mid-Willamette Valley is known for its changing weather, so be prepared for rain, intense sun, chilly temperatures or heat. Only part of the stadium is covered, and the structure faces east, so the seating areas may get direct morning sunlight.

Depending on the forecast, consider bringing a warm coat, a light jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, an umbrella (for before ceremony), water, a seat back and any other tool that will help keep you comfortable throughout the event.

Where are the restrooms in the stadium?

Women’s restrooms are on the south side of the stadium. Men’s restrooms are on the north end. Both facilities include a wheelchair-accessible stall.

Is there wheelchair seating in the stadium?

Wheelchair-accessible seating for the ceremony will be located toward the south side of the stadium closest to Jackson Street. Wheelchair users should park on the south end of Lot G closest to the seating area.

Can I livestream the ceremony?

Yes. It is available at http://www.wou.edu/livestream

Is there food or drink available at the stadium?

Multiple student groups sell food and drink at the stadium as fundraisers for their organizations. Please make sure to properly dispose of all trash and recyclables.

Is there first aid or medical personnel at the stadium?

Yes. Public Safety Officers will be on the ceremony grounds before, during and after the ceremony. The office is located on Stadium Drive.

Can I bring signs to the stadium? What things are prohibited on campus?

There are no rules prohibiting signs, but guests should be courteous to people around them when holding the signs aloft. Do not block other audience members’ views.

The following items are not allowed:

  • Tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping
  • Firearms or weapons of any sort
  • Air horns and other excessive noisemakers
  • Pets, with the exception of service animals

Can I stand near the stage to photograph or video my graduate coming down?

There is a designated area for family and friends to stand to the side of the stage for photography or videography, however an official photographer takes each graduate’s photo during the ceremony and prints are available for a nominal fee.

Can I leave the commencement ceremony after my graduate receives a diploma?

Out of respect for all participants and the solemnity of the occasion, guests are asked to stay for the entire ceremony.

Who can attend the commencement reception?

President Fuller and the WOU faculty and staff invite all graduates and their guests to the commencement reception immediately after the ceremony.

Where is the commencement reception, and what happens if it rains?

The Grove is an outside area located across the street from the stadium and east of the New PE building on Church Street. In the event of inclement weather, the reception will be moved to the Pacific Room in the lower level of the Werner University Center, which is right next to The Grove.

Where can I get official WOU gear to show my support?

The Western Oregon University bookstore in the Werner University Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the day of Commencement. There you will find a wide range of apparel, pennants, mugs, blankets and other items to boost your Western Oregon Wolves memorabilia collection.

Caffe Allegro, the coffeeshop in the Werner University Center, will be open 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Wolf Express, the WUC convenience store, will be open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Can I use on-campus fitness facilities while I am in town?

The Peter Courtney Health & Wellness Center is open to the public with a day-use fee. It contains a variety of workout equipment, including an indoor running track. Use of the outdoor track is prohibited on Commencement day.

Whom do I contact if I have questions?

If you have questions about Commencement, contact the Registrar’s office at 503-838-8327.

 

CONTACT US

University Registrar

503-838-8327 | or e-mail: registrar@wou.edu