Graduation Information

Commencement 2014

Here’s What You Need to Know for this year's commencement.  This site was updated on April 7, 2014 with more information about tickets, parking and Latin honors!

IMPORTANT: IF YOU ARE GRADUATING in May or August, and you have not applied to graduate in Banner (for May) or petitioned to walk at Commencement (for August), do so RIGHT NOW!  It can take up to a week to get on the ticket list once you apply, so in order get tickets, you must apply to graduate!  Students who have not applied by now will not be listed in the Commencement book.

·       May graduates: Self Service Banner:  Student -> Student Records -> Apply to Graduate

·       August prospective graduates: fill out a petition to walk in May:

There are two, count ‘em, 2 separate Commencement ceremonies for students at Tyler.

The first ceremony is the big Temple Commencement at Liacouras Center.  This ceremony starts at 10 am on Thursday, May 15 (you will need to be there about 8:30 am), and this is the ceremony with the big, named speaker.  This year’s speaker is yet to be announced.  There is also a student speaker, and Neil D. Theobald, Temple’s president, also gives a short address.  If Bill Cosby (Dr. William H. Cosby, Jr) is available, he will also give a pretty funny little talk; he is a Temple Alumnus and a member of the Board of Trustees.  This ceremony lasts about 90 minutes and you do NOT walk across the stage or have your name called.  At this ceremony, degrees are “conferred” on a school by school basis.

The second ceremony is just for Tyler.  This one will take place at 6:30 pm on Thursday, May 15 at McGonigle Hall on Broad Street at Montgomery.  This ceremony takes just about 2 hours, usually a little less, and includes a student speaker from Tyler.  The Dean makes a few brief remarks, and then your names are called by major (Printmaking, Visual Studies, Architecture, etc.) and degree (PhD, MFA, MS, MED, BFA, BA, BS).  This is where you will march across the stage and pick up an empty folder (okay, there is a nice letter inside) from the Dean.  Your diploma is actually mailed to you 6-8 weeks after the ceremony.

All ceremonies are optional–you may attend either, both, or neither ceremony.  You will receive your diploma in the mail whether you participate in the ceremony(ies) or not.  The University encourages you to attend the morning Liacouras ceremony, but you don’t have to in order to attend the Tyler ceremony.  You will order tickets separately for each ceremony, and make sure you order tickets for the ceremony(ies) you wish to attend.

Graduates need to report at 5:30 pm to room 145 at Pearson Hall.  Pearson is the building that wraps around McGonigle.  Pearson is the building with the climbing wall.  To get to room 145, you walk all the way back PAST McGonigle Hall, past the red bank of elevators, and through one of the sets of double doors.  Turn right after you go through the double doors, and 145 will be on your left.  We will have staff in Pearson 145 to help you figure out how to correctly wear your regalia, so if you're confused after opening the package, don't despair!  You will pick up your announcement card in Pearson 145.  We will gather and line up there, and will process into McGonigle at 6:30 when they play Pomp & Circumstance.  Once everyone's seated, the ceremony will begin.  You will go up with your department and as you walk across the stage, you'll hand your announcement card to Dean Carmina, who will read your name.  You'll get a scroll from the Dean, and go across the stage and down the ramp and back to your seat to sit down. 

Tickets?  You want tickets?

This year we are in a larger venue, McGonigle Hall, than we have been in before.  McGonigle Hall is a basketball facility, so most of the visitor seating will be bleacher-styler seats.  There are many more seats in this venue than we’ve had in the past.  You, the graduate, will not need a ticket, but each of your guests will.  Tickets were ordered in March online.  If you did not order tickets, you may pick up to 3 Tyler tickets while supplies last as detailed below.  Liacouras tickets were all distributed during the online order period, but students occasionally turn in unwanted tickets, so if you want ticket to that ceremony, you will need to ask if any are available during the ticket pickup times.

You will pick up tickets from Student Life April 21-25.  I will be announcing times and places via email the week before so you can easily pick up your tickets. When you pick up your tickets, you may request up to 3 extra tickets (for a total of 7) while supplies last. This means it behooves you to pick up your tickets early! Tickets not picked up by the final ticket dates will be given to those people who request extra tickets.  Seriously, I WILL give away your tickets if you don’t pick them up, so pick them up!  When I announce times and places to pick up tickets, I will also invite you to reply to the email with a mailing address and I will happily mail your tickets to you so you get them in time.  Students who request their tickets mailed may also request 3 extra tickets, which will be distributed while supplies last as if they were picking up tickets. This is especially handy if you graduated in the Fall 2013 semester, or you are student teaching, or your mom would just feel better if I mailed them to her.  Please, please, please take advantage of that opportunity if you need it.  Even if your only excuse is that you are just too busy to pick up your tickets, I would rather mail them to you than to give them to someone else because you failed to pick them up and then have your dad disappointed because he can’t see you graduate.

We will have accessible seats if one or more of your guests uses a wheelchair or walker.  Please let me know if you or your guests will need accommodation when you order your tickets so we can set aside enough seats for all of your guests in this area. The venue we have will be wheelchair accessible, and we will have a staff member at the accessible entrance available to assist your guests in finding accessible seats.

Your guests will need to be in their seats in the venue at least 20 minutes before the ceremony starts.  If there are empty seats, we will allow un-ticketed guests to fill empty seats 15 minutes before the ceremony starts, so if your guests are not in their seats at that time, they may lose their seats even if they have a ticket.

You need to wear a cap and gown to participate!

Commencement is a very special once-in-a-lifetime event, and it celebrates a major milestone in your life.  We treat Commencement as a special ceremony, and we expect that you will too.  In order to make it special, and following history going back to the twelfth century [, we wear caps and gowns (“Academic Regalia“).

Bachelors Degree students wear a black robe with wide, loose sleeve, a mortarboard (square fabric-covered cardboard cap), and a hood.  The hood will be black with a cherry and white lining (symbolizing Temple’s colors) and a “velvet” trim that symbolizes your major:
BA in Art or Art History: white
BFA, B.Arch: brown
BS in Art Ed or Arch: yellow
You will also have a tassel that matches that trim.

Masters Degree students wear a black robe with a weird pocket shape to the bottom of the sleeve.  They also wear a mortarboard and hood, but the hood is slightly more elaborate.  Same colors as above (black, with cherry & white lining) and here are your trim colors
MA: white
M.ED: light blue
MFA or MArch: brown
You will also have a tassel that matches that trim.

Doctoral candidates have a much more elaborate gown, hood and cap.  You should discuss your regalia with your adviser, as it may make sense that you purchase good (ie, very expensive, not the cheap bookstore stuff) regalia.  In any event, the hood trim for Tyler doctoral candidates is dark blue.

Temple’s bookstore will sell (not rent) you the regalia you need.  You can pre-order here: or you can just go to the bookstore and buy it closer to graduation (usually during most of the month of April).  The gown is made of woven plastic-y-like cloth made from recycled water bottles.  It’s not a top-of-the-line beautiful robe. Don’t buy it if you don’t need to!  Recycle instead!  The Bachelors kit will cost you $64 and the Masters kit will cost you $70.  You can pick it up in the bookstore without a shipping charge, or you can have it shipped somewhere for $14.50.  The last day to pre-order is usually in late April.  But seriously, do not buy one if you can find a free recycled one!  Just make sure you get the right hood–you may have to buy that, but you’ll still save a  lot of money if you’re only buying the hood & tassel instead of the whole kit.

(Here's a hint, courtesy of prospective graduate Emily Hurley:  if you're ordering online and want to pick up your order at the bookstore--saving the $14.50 shipping charge--once you submit all of the info, it asks for your address and then you just hit "Submit Order" and it takes you to another screen where you fill out your credit card information and shipping info and one of the options is to pick it up at the bookstore. So that's what you do if you want to pick it up at the bookstore.)

If you’re getting your bachelor’s degree, and you have a plain black robe and mortar board (left over from high school, your cousin who graduated last year, your brother who graduates from another institution a week before you), you can (and should!) use that.  You can often find them on free-cycle websites or free or cheap on Craigslist.  Now is the time to use all your Facebook connections.  If you can find one that’s free, by all means, use that and don’t buy one from the book store.  You will need to have the correct hood and tassel, so if you’re not getting one from someone who graduated from Tyler with the same major, plan on getting that from the bookstore; they will sell you just a hood & tassel for about half of what it will cost you to buy the whole kit, or just a tassel for less about $7.

If you’re getting your master’s degree, please note that the sleeve on the master’s robe is different than the standard bachelor’s robe.  So the robe your mom saved from when you got your bachelor’s degree won’t work.  Check to see if one of your friends who graduated last year still has theirs, or if you happen to have a cousin/brother/aunt etc. who got a master’s degree you might be able to borrow theirs.  You’ll still need the specific hood color for your degree, so if you’re getting a kit from someone who graduated last year, make sure they got the same degree.  If you’re just getting the robe/mortar board from someone, you can get the hood and tassel from the bookstore.

You worked extra hard and are getting honors?

Latin honors are given to the top 16% of students in Temple’s (undergraduate) graduating class as determined by GPA.  These are based on your GPA as of LAST spring.  The calculation is handled by the Temple Provost’s Office. The Tyler Student Honors Convocation and reception, which will be held on Wednesday, May 14 at 2 pm in the Temple Performing Arts Center. At this ceremony, you will receive a set of honor cords to wear with your cap and gown at the commencement ceremony.

If you are receiving Latin Honors and did not RSVP to that ceremony on May 14 when you ordered Commencement tickets online, that ceremony is full and there are no more RSVPs being accepted.  If you were to receive honor cords, please note that I will not have them; you may pick them up on the loading dock (where graduates line up) at Liacouras center the morning of the ceremony on May 15, or from the Provost's office in Sullivan Hall between 1 and 5 pm on May 15.

Please note that this list is calculated by the Provost’s office and not Tyler, so we are not able to make any adjustments if you’re under the GPA limit. Also, it is important to note that students are invited to attend the Honors Convocation based their projection to receive Latin honors. Final Latin honors lists are not prepared until students are cleared to graduate and their final grades are recorded. So while you may be listed as Magna Cum Laude now, it is based on your grades up to last spring.  Your final designation could be higher or lower depending on how you do in your final year.  Latin Honors are finalized until your grades are certified, which actually doesn’t happen until after the Commencement Ceremonies.  For specific information about Latin Honors, please see the Latin Honors section of the official Temple Bulletin.

The cut-off GPAs for Latin honors at Tyler are:
Summa Cum Laude (with highest honor):  3.89 (top 2% of the class)
Magna Cum Laude (with high honor): 3.80 (next 5% of the class)
Cum Laude (with honor):  3.68 (next 9% of the class)

* Note that GPA cut-offs for Latin honors are determined by school.  You may have a friend in the School of Hospitality and Tourism who has a lower GPA but higher honors than you.  That’s because the Latin honors go to the top 16% of students in each school.  Some schools have higher and some have lower cut-offs than ours.

Invitations and Announcements

The Provost’s office has provided us Commencement Announcements.  You will be able to get a few (less than 10) of those from Student Life for free when you pick up commencement tickets the week of April 21.  They announce the main Ceremony at Liacouras center, not the Tyler ceremony, but you can mail them to Uncle George to announce that you’ve finally finished.

Formal Invitations, picture frames for your diploma, stuffed owls with mortar board hats will be available from the campus bookstore later this spring.  You can also order customized invitations, class rings, and diploma frames from Herff Jones [].  Make sure you’re looking for Temple University and the May Commencement when you order.

Templar Yearbooks

Yearbooks will be available on a first-come first-served basis at the Tyler front desk as soon as they are printed, probably in late April.  They’ll just be at the front desk–take one if you want one.

Parking for the big day

When you pick up your commencement tickets the week of April 21, you will receive a parking pass that will allow you to park (free!) one car in one of our assigned lots once that day.  Our assigned lots are Lot 1 (next to McGonigle Hall, west of Broad where Pollet Walk ends--if you look at a map, it would be Berks St if it were not Pollet Walk/Lot 1), and Lot 10 (the big surface lot across 12th Street from Tyler--enter Diamond St.). In the spirit of treating other as you would with to be treated, if your family consists of able-bodied people who can easily walk from Lot 10 to McGonigle Hall, please park in Lot 10.  Lot 1 is small and all the other ceremonies in McGonigle have that lot assigned to them, so parking in that lot will be limited.  People who have mobility issues will find that lot much easier in terms of getting into and out of McGonigle.  As an incentive for parking in Lot 10, please note that it will be much easier to get into and out of that lot on May 15.  Note that your pass allows ONE car to park ONCE.  There's a gap of time between the Liacouras ceremony and the Tyler ceremony, and if you drive your car out of the lot, you will have to pay to park again.  You will need $14 cash to park in a Temple lot IF there is space available.  If you are going to both ceremonies, you may want to park in the morning, then take a subway downtown to a nice restaurant for a leasurely lunch somewhere and leave your car parked.

Note that there are commencement ceremonies on May 15 all over Temple University.  Traffic and parking at Temple on Commencement day are not pretty.  Bring your patience and allow plenty of time to park and get to the venue.  Philadelphia police require that Broad Street remain open and flowing, so drop offs along Broad Street in front of McGonigle Hall may not be allowed.

If you have a guest using a walker or wheelchair, include that information in the accommodation section when you order your tickets.  If you find out later that one of your guests needs accommodations, you can also contact me [] in April and I will work with you to make sure parking will work for your guests.

Once again, traffic will be like nothing you have seen at Temple.  Public transportation may be your friend, especially if you are attending both ceremonies and want to have lunch someplace downtown between the ceremonies.  The subway will be crowded, but unaffected by the vehicular traffic, so you will find it to be much faster than driving and parking.  You may find that it can take a half hour or more just to get into or out of a parking lot that day.  Streets will be crowded, and you may not be able to make some of the turns onto or off of Broad Street that you normally make.  Philadelphia Police (PPD) are out in force to keep traffic running along Broad Street, and our ceremony will be during the commute period for people who work downtown and drive north to get home.  Temple has no control over how PPD directs traffic that day.  You will need to allow plenty of time to get to Temple, park, and get to the ceremony/line-up spot.  You will also need to leave enough time to get out of the parking lot and navigate traffic to get to any dinner reservations you may have after the ceremony.

At this point, Philadelphia Streets Dept. is scheduled to do some work on Diamond St. in May. They have promised not to close the street altogether that day, but they may have part of the street blocked off between 12th & Broad Streets while they replace a collapsed sewer under the street (if you've traveled on that street this winter you may remember a big hole in the street that has a very bad temporary repair on it right now--this was a temporary fix while they get ready to replace the sewer).  If you are knowledgable about alternative routes to get into Lot 10, you may find that you will want to use them.

Information for your traveling relatives

If you have relatives traveling in, and they’re not staying at your house,remember that there are many many institutions of higher learning in this city and they all have graduations around the same time.  Make hotel/motel/etc. and dinner reservations early.  There’s a handy resource guide here:

So things go smoothly we will have a rehearsal

We will have a short rehearsal a couple of days before the ceremony.  You will practice lining up, walking to the venue, and then the Dean will give you a couple of words of wisdom.  This will also allow us to make sure your name is on our list correctly so Dean Carmina reads it the way you want it read when you walk across the stage.  It won’t take long, and will be very helpful for you, so please plan to attend.  The rehearsal date will be announced about the same time you pick up your tickets.

The day of the ceremony…

You will be asked to report to the venue about an hour before the ceremony.  This will give us a chance to make sure you are correctly dressed in your robes (and your hood is not on backwards!), that you are lined up in the proper order so you get your degree, and so we walk into the ceremony in the appropriate way appropriately dressed.  Your family is welcome to come in and photograph this part of the day, but remember that they need to leave to be in their seats at least 20 minutes before the ceremony so they don’t lose their seats!

Photographs will be allowed during the ceremony.  There will not be a professional photographer taking pictures of each graduate, so if you or your family wants a picture of the Dean shaking your hand, your family can have someone walk down to the mosh pit when your group is called to take your picture.  Make sure you have batteries in the camera!

There is no reception before or after the ceremony.  Once we are done, you are free to leave.  Again, you should plan on the ceremony taking 90-120 minutes, and also allow time for photographs and getting back to the car and negotiating traffic if you make dinner reservations.

Other things to think about

Make sure you have all your holds resolved by mid-April!  If you owe library fines or haven’t completed your financial aid exit interview, you will not be getting a diploma.  You will need to check with holds on Self Service Banner and resolve them all in order to officially graduate.  You must allow 2 week before graduation in order for everything to clear.

If you have any questions about whether or not your classes are complete, make an appointment with an adviser ASAP.  Email Laurie Duffy [] to check out, and give them your name, TUID and major and they can make sure everything is good to go.

Your diploma will arrive in the mail 6-8 weeks after the ceremony.  If you don’t get one, email for help.  Please note, I can’t help you–you will need to contact the Registrar’s Office at that email address. 

If you need transcripts, you order those from this page at Registrar’s Office website.

Need even more info?  Temple has created a handy Commencement page here! Need information specific to Tyler?  Email Student Life with questions!