Updates from Aquinas College about COVID-19 are at aquinas.edu/coronavirus.  Updates on our academic plans are at aquinas.edu/saintstogether.

Commencement at Aquinas College

FAQs

Please check back often. Additional FAQs will be added as we finalize details for commencement activities.


General Information

What day is my commencement ceremony?

Students who graduated in the 2019-20 academic year may RSVP for the commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 9, at 1 p.m. at the Alksnis Athletics and Recreation Building.

Students who graduated in the 2020-21 academic year may RSVP for the commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 8, at 2 p.m. at the Alksnis Athletics and Recreation Building.

Both 2019-20 academic year graduates and 2020-21 academic year graduates may RSVP for the combined Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday, May 8, at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew.

Are the commencement ceremonies and Baccalaureate Mass being held in person?

Commencement Ceremony

Yes, commencement ceremonies will be held in person.

The Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 9, at 1 p.m.

The Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 8, at 2 p.m.

Due to current state restrictions on indoor gatherings, the commencement ceremony will be held in Alksnis Athletics and Recreation Building. The ceremony is limited to graduates and the platform party only. Students are required to RSVP for their commencement ceremony by Monday, April 26. The RSVP forrm was emailed to all students who have applied for graduation.

At this time, we will not be able to accommodate family members and guests at the ceremony. A professional livestream of the event will be provided. The livestream will be closed-captioned. It will also be available after the ceremony on the Aquinas College YouTube channel for viewing any time.

Graduates will be required to participate in an on-site temperature check and health screening (or show their Healthy Roster green check mark) in order to participate in the in-person ceremony. Mask wearing and social distancing protocols will also be observed.

Baccalaureate Mass

Both the Class of 2020 and 2021 may participate in a combined Baccalaureate Mass. Due to current state restrictions on gatherings, Baccalaureate Mass is limited to graduates only. At this time, we will not be able to accommodate family members and guests at the Mass.

Gradutes are required to RSVP for Baccalaureate Mass and the commencement ceremony by Monday, April 26 at 10 a.m. The RSVP form was emailed to all students who have applied for graduation. Graduates do not need to submit a separate contact tracing form for Baccalaureate Mass, as the appropriate information was gathered in their RSVP form.

For those who cannot attend in person, a professional livestream of Mass will be available.

Are graduates allowed to bring guests?

Due to current state restrictions on indoor gatherings, Baccalaureate Mass and the ceremonies are limited to graduates and the platform party only. Due to the high number of graduates that indicated that they will attend Baccalaureate Mass, we will no longer be able to accommodate family members and guests at Baccalaureate Mass. As previously communicated, we will not be able to acccommodate family members and guests at the commencement ceremonies. A professional livestream of both events will be provided.

How do I RSVP for the Commencement Ceremony and/or Baccalaureate Mass?

Students are required to RSVP for Baccalaureate Mass and their commencement ceremony by Monday, April 26. The RSVP form was emailed to all students who have applied for graduation.

What does it mean if I RSVP to "attend virtually"?

Graduates who RSVP to attend commencement virtually will be able to watch the ceremony via livestream. They will not appear on camera from their homes, but can submit a photo in the RSVP form. As a virtual attendee, the graduate's photo, name and degree will be shown on the screen during the ceremony in Alksnis, as well as on the livestream, and the graduate's name will be read aloud.

How do I make an accommodation request?

Please refer to our Accommodation Request Form or contact Allie McCahill of Accessibility Services at arb012@aquinas.edu.

What are the health and safety protocols for commencement activities?

Please check our Health and Safety page for the most up-to-date information about commencement health and safety protocols.

Please note that commencement activities are subject to change given the uncertainty of the pandemic, and activities will be conducted in line with health department guidance. We will continue to communicate with you as additional details and updates become available.

How can those unable to attend the commencement ceremony or Baccalaureate Mass watch the ceremony?

Links to all livestreams are available on our Livestreams page. Following the ceremony, a recording of the livestream will be available on the Aquinas College Youtube channel for viewing at any time.

Could the commencement activities be postponed or altered again?

Commencement activities are subject to change given the uncertainty of the pandemic, and activities will be conducted in line with health department guidance. We will continue to communicate with you as additional details and updates become available.

Who do I contact if I have questions about commencement activities?

Please email your question to commencement@aquinas.edu.


Health and Safety

Please see the commencement Health and Safety page for more information.

What are the health and safety protocols for GradFest?

Graduates attending GradFest must show their Healthy Roster green checkmark to enter. Graduates who are not participating in Healthy Roster must visit the Campus Safety office for a health screening prior to entering Alksnis Athletics and Recreation Building. A health screening checkpoint will NOT be located at Alksnis.

What are the health and safety protocols for Baccalaureate Mass?

Due to current state limitations gatherings and the number of graduates who responded to the RSVP that they are attending, Baccalaureate Mass is limited to graduates. At this time, we will not be able to accommodate family members and guests.

Graduates do not need to submit a separate contact tracing form for Baccalaureate Mass, as the appropriate information was gathered in their RSVP form.

Participants are required to wear either disposable face masks or reusable cloth face coverings in all public indoor settings. Masks are also required in public outdoor settings when in the presence of others, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Participants are required to practice safe social distancing, maintaining at least 6 feet of space (about 2 arms’ length) between themselves and others in all spaces.

In addition, please wash hands frequently and monitor your daily health. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19, please stay home and follow steps advised by CDC.

What are the health and safety protocols for the commencement ceremony?

Due to current state limitations gatherings, ceremonies are limited to graduates and the platform party only. At this time, we will not be able to accommodate family members and guests.

Graduates will be required to show their Healthy Roster green checkmark or pass a health screening in order to participate in commencement. A health screening checkpoint will be located at the entrance of Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center on the day of each commencement ceremony.

Participants are required to wear either disposable face masks or reusable cloth face coverings in all public indoor settings. Masks are also required in public outdoor settings when in the presence of others, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Participants are required to practice safe social distancing, maintaining at least 6 feet of space (about 2 arms’ length) between themselves and others in all spaces.

In addition, please wash hands frequently and monitor your daily health. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19, please stay home and follow steps advised by CDC.


Graduation Requirements

What is my Primary Major/Degree Title and why is it important?

Your Degree Title is either Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, etc. Your degree Title correlates to your chosen major.  For example, if a student is a History major, they will earn a Bachelor of Arts. If a student is double majoring, then they must pick a Primary Major. If a student is double majoring in History (BA) and Psychology (BS), they can choose if they want the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science to be their Degree Title.  A student who is double majoring will not earn two degrees. They must pick one or the other. The Primary Degree choice will be printed on the diploma and called at Commencement. Both majors will be reflected on the transcript.

What if I have a financial hold on my account?

Your diploma will not be released to you unless you have a zero balance on your account.  If you are unsure of your balance, you can check on MyAQ or contact Student Accounts at (616) 632-2864.  Once your balance is paid, Student Accounts will inform the Graduation Auditor and your diploma will be released.

What is GradFest?

Find out more about GradFest here.

What if I missed GradFest?

If you have specific questions about GradFest, please contact Alexa Carey '09 at alumni@aquinas.edu.

What If I need to postpone my graduation?

If you need to be moved to the next graduation period, please contact the Graduation Auditor.

How do I know if I qualify for Honor Cords?

If you are approved for graduation you should have received a scan of your completed Application for Degree Candidacy. The Application for Degree should be used by the student to verify all of the remaining requirements for graduation. If you submitted your Application for Degree to the Registrar’s Office and have not received a scan, please contact the Graduation Auditor.

Why does the Registrar’s Office need a copy of my high-school transcript?

To maintain our accreditation and to follow Federal Compliance standards, Aquinas College needs to have a final, official copy of all graduate’s high school transcripts.  Often, the transcript sent during the Admissions process was while you were still enrolled in high school. If we do not have a final transcript on file for you, it was noted on your Application for Degree Candidacy.  Your diploma will not be released to you until the transcript is received.


Commencement Day

What do I wear to the Baccalaureate Mass?

When participating in the Baccalaureate Mass, it is important to wear your commencement gown and cord/s. The hood and cap are to be worn only at the commencement ceremony. All participants must wear an appropriate mask.

What do I wear to the Commencement Ceremony?

When participating in the commencement ceremony, it is necessary to wear the gown, hood, cord/s, stole (if you choose) and cap. Watch our videos on how to properly wear your commencement regalia. All participants must wear an appropriate mask.

Class of 2020 graduates should also bring their diploma cover, which was provided in the commencement boxes that were mailed to 2020 graduates this past fall.

Update (4/27/21): We request that graduates do not wear spiked/high heels, as they are a tripping hazard on the turf field in Alksnis& and on the grated ramp to the graduation stage, and they may cause damage to Coach Bo Court (where graduates will line up).

How do I wear my cap and gown?

Check out the helpful how-to videos on our Cap and Gown page for information on how to put on and wear your academic regalia.

What time should I arrive for Baccalaureate Mass? Where do I go?

Graduates should arrive at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew at 9:30 a.m. Parking is available in the Cathedral parking lot or the Catholic Information Center parking lot.

Graduates will line up outside (rain or shine).

Class of 2020 graduates line up on the sidewalk approaching the South Transept (between Catholic Central High School and the Cathedral) for entry into the Cathedral.

Class of 2021 graduates line up on the sidewalk leading to the North Transept and daily chapel (between the rectory of the Paulist and the Cathedral) for entry into the Cathedral.

Mask wearing and social distancing protocols will be observed. In addition, please wash hands frequently and monitor your daily health. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19, please stay home and follow steps advised by CDC.

What time should I arrive for my commencement ceremony? Where do I check in?

Class of 2020 graduates will check in at Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center. The main entrance of Sturrus will open for check-in at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday, May 9. Graduates must arrive no later than 12:40 p.m. Graduates must pass a health screening at the checkpoint at the entrance of Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center in order to participate in commencement.

Class of 2021 graduates will check in at Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center. The main entrance of Sturrus will open for check-in at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 8. Graduates must arrive no later than 1:40 p.m. Graduates must show their Healthy Roster green check mark or pass a health screening at the checkpoint at the entrance of Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center in order to participate in commencement.

Where and when do graduates line up for the commencement ceremony?

At check in inside Sturrus, graduates will receive a card which has their name printed on it. DO NOT LOSE OR WRITE ON THIS CARD. Please keep this card with you at all times as it will be required to have your name read as you cross the stage. Graduates will be lined up in alphabetical order by degree in Coach Bo Court and will be led in procession outside and into Alksnis.

Will there be a commencement procession?

Graduates will process from Coach Bo Court around the Mayfield Lot and into Alksnis Athletics and Recreation Building. At this time, the procession will not be livestreamed.

What if it rains?

The College will monitor weather before commencement activities. In the event of inclement weather, any changes to commencement activities will be communicated to graduates.

Is there a parking map for commencement? Is there a seating map for commencement?

Maps are available on the commencement Parking and Information page.

Where do I park for my commencement ceremony?

For both the 2020 and 2021 ceremonies, graduates may enter campus through the main entrance on Fulton St E. Graduates may park in the Fulton St Lot (Lot 1) next to Sturrus or the Mayfield Lot (Lot 4) next to Alksnis. Accessible parking will be available next to Sturrus. Campus Safety officers will be onsite to direct parking as needed.

Graduates who are being dropped off may proceed to the main entrance of Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center after being dropped off. Vehicles will then be directed to the JLH Lot for parking.

Maps are available on the commencement Parking and Information page.

Will programs be available at the commencement ceremony?

Printed programs will be available for graduates at the ceremony.

Will graduates receive their diplomas at the commencement ceremony?

Class of 2020 graduates received their diplomas in 2020. Those you did not receive a diploma should contact the Graduation Auditor.

Class of 2021 graduates will receive their diplomas by mail.

Will graduates walk across the stage?

Final ceremony details are still being finalized; however, the current plan is for graduates to walk across the stage.

What about commencement photography?

GradImages is the official graduation photographer for Aquinas College. Receive a coupon for 20% off your entire order when you pre-register before graduation day at http://GradImages.com/Preregistration. See our Commencement Photography page to find out more.

Will there be an alternate viewing location on campus?

No. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, there will not be an alternate viewing area on campus.

How do I order a cap and gown?

Cap and gown information is available on the Cap and Gown Ordering page.

When will I receive my cap and gown order?

Herff Jones is experiencing delays with order fulfillment. If you want to check the status of your order, please visit https://collegegrad.herffjones.com/order/inquiry. You will need your CPA internet order reference number, which can be found in your order confirmation email.

What are hood colors and honor cords?

Hood colors/honor coords information is available on the Hood Colors/Honor Cords page.


Post-Commencement

Will there be a video recording available after commencement?

A recording of the commencement ceremony livestream will be available on the Aquinas College YouTube channel following the event for viewing any time.

When will I receive my diploma?

Students typically receive their diploma in the mail 4-6 weeks after their graduation date. The three graduation periods are December, May, and August. If you have moved or would like your diploma mailed to a different address than what you listed on your Application for Degree Candidacy, please contact the Graduation Auditor.

What if I want to change the way my name is printed on my diploma?

Your diploma is a legal document and must reflect your legal name.  To change how you would like your name printed on your diploma, it is important that you contact the Graduation Auditor as soon as possible to prevent misprints.  If you are recently married or divorced, you will need to provide official documentation to the Registrar’s Office.

What if I need to order a final transcript for graduate school or employment?

A final transcript will be mailed to the student with their diploma.  If you need an official copy of your transcript sent elsewhere, please go to www.getmytranscript.com.  We work with the National Student Clearinghouse to provide transcripts in a timely and efficient manner.  If you need your transcript to reflect your graduation, make sure to mark the “Hold for Degree” option when ordering your transcript.