Commencement Day Details

Ceremony Procedures

  • Plan to arrive at Western Hall approximately 1 hour prior to the ceremony. Please leave all belongings with your guests.
  • Students go to the East Arena (Q-Lot side of Western Hall) to pick up name cards and assemble behind the standard designated for their major.
  • Students need to be in line 30 minutes prior to their ceremony.
  • Students will process into the arena area as directed by commencement staff and marshals.
  • Marshals will continue to direct students throughout the ceremony. Marshals are easily recognized by their white robes.
  • Marshals will lead students to the stage by row. Exit rows to the right and re-enter rows from the left.
  • Students walk up the ramp and hand their name cards to the reader at the podium. As individual names are read, students cross the stage, shaking hands with several University dignitaries.
  • At the far end of the stage, students receive their diploma covers and pose with their department chair or leader for a professional photograph.
  • Hold the diploma cover in an upright position with the school seal facing the camera.
  • Students will be directed to move their tassels to the left side of their cap after everyone has crossed the stage.
  • At the conclusion of the ceremony, the music will begin and marshals will direct students out of the arena. Please remain seated until your row is released.
  • The ceremony typically lasts less than 2 hours.


Commencement is a ceremony to recognize the academic achievements of our graduates. All degree candidates are required to wear only appropriate and approved academic attire.

Disability Information

  • Graduating students who need special assistance should contact the Student Development and Success Center at or (309) 298-1884.
  • Western Illinois University staff will be available in the lobby entrance for family members or guests who need assistance.


  • A professional photographer will take a photo as graduates receive their diploma covers.
  • Information regarding photos will be mailed to the diploma address within two weeks following graduation. We ask that all attendees be considerate of others when taking photographs.
  • For more information, please visit

Personal Belongings

  • Do not bring extra belongings as there is not secure storage available during the ceremony. Please leave all belongings with your guests as you may not remain in the same seat throughout the ceremony. Graduating students will not be permitted to march into the gym with food or drink. 


  • No tickets are needed to attend the ceremony.
  • Seating is on first-come, first-served basis. Doors open 1½ hours prior to each ceremony.
  • Ushers will monitor rows to accommodate as many guests as possible.
  • Saving seats is not permitted.


  • Your diploma and a complimentary transcript will be mailed approximately 6-8 weeks after commencement, providing there are no financial encumbrances and all requirements have been met.
  • The address on your commencement name card will be used. Should there be incorrect information on your name card, please visit the information center in the East Arena commencement day or contact the Graduation Department at (309) 298-1891.
  • Participation in commencement does not guarantee graduation.

Western Hall Map