Commencement at Aquinas College

FAQs

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


General Information

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

Commencement Ceremony

Yes, commencement will be held in person.

Each graduate will receive four tickets to the commencement ceremony being held in Sturrus and can request up to four additional tickets to one of our alternate viewing areas on campus where the ceremony will be video livestreamed.

A professional livestream video of the event will be provided. The livestream video will be closed-captioned. It will also be available after the ceremony on the Aquinas College YouTube channel for viewing at any time.

Baccalaureate Mass

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

Are graduates allowed to bring guests?

Each graduate will receive four tickets to the commencement ceremony being held in Sturrus and can request up to four additional tickets to one of our alternate viewing areas on campus where the ceremony will be live streamed.

A professional live stream of the event will be provided. The live stream will be closed-captioned. It will also be available after the ceremony on the Aquinas College YouTube channel for viewing any time.

Does a baby or child that can sit on my lap need a ticket?

Yes, a baby or child will need a ticket.

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

Links to all livestream videos 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?

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.

What is GradFest?

Find out more about GradFest on our commencement site here.

What if I missed GradFest?

If you are unable to attend GradFest and still need to pick up your tickets, please contact Sarah Bruursema in Student Affairs (616-632-2171 or bruursemas@aquinas.edu) to arrange for ticket pick-up.

To get your regalia, contact the Aquinas Bookstore.

To pick up honor cords, stop by the Registrar's Office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, or 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

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

Please email your question to commencement@aquinas.edu.


Health and Safety

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

The College will be following recommendations from medical, public health, government and higher education experts, in particular those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State of Michigan and the Kent County Health Department (KCHD).

 


Graduation Requirements

How do I know if I am approved for graduation?

If you are approved for graduation you should have received an emailed copy 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 an approval email, please contact the Graduation Auditor.

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 primary major. For example, if a student is a History major (primary major), they will earn a Bachelor of Arts (degree title). If a student is double majoring, then they must pick their primary major. For example, if a student is double majoring in History (BA) and Psychology (BS), they need to choose if they want the Bachelor of Arts (BA) or the Bachelor of Science (BS) 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 printed on the transcript. For additional questions, please contact the Graduation Auditor.

How do I know if I qualify for Honor Cords?

Aquinas College awards honor cords to undergraduate students based on their most recently completed full semester cumulative GPA, (ie. 22/Fall). Quad grades in the spring will not be considered. The honors printed on your final transcript and diploma correspond to your overall GPA after graduation and are subject to change based upon your 23/Spring grades.

Cum Laude cords (silver) are for students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better.

Magna Cum Laude cords (maroon) are for students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or better.

Summa Cum Laude cords (silver and maroon) are for students who have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or better.

If you qualify for honor cords, you will be notified by the Graduation Auditor by email. Students can pick up their cords at GradFest.

If you participated in a departmental Honor Society, please coordinate with your Faculty Advisor for any cords or pins.

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

A final transcript will be mailed to the student along 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. If you have questions about transcripts and transcript orders please contact the Records Specialist.

When will I receive my diploma?

Diplomas are mailed to the home address listed on the student’s Application for Degree Candidacy. Diplomas will be mailed out 3-6 weeks after final grades are posted. 23/Spring final grades are due by faculty to the Registrar’s Office on May 17th.

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

The name printed on your diploma corresponds to what you listed on your Application for Degree Candidacy. 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 have recently changed your name, you will need to provide legal documentation to the Graduation Auditor (ie. copy of Driver’s License).

What If I need to postpone my graduation?

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

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.

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. 

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.

We request that graduates do not wear spiked/high heels, as they are a tripping hazard on the grated ramp to the graduation stage, and they may cause damage to Coach Bo Court.

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).

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

Graduates will check-in at Alksnis. The west entrance of Alksnis that is accessed by going through Mayfield Lot (Lot #4) will open for check-in at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 13. Graduates must arrive no later than 1:30 p.m. This map shows the check-in area.

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

At check-in inside Alksnis, 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 of Associate, Bachelor and Master on Alksnis track and will be led in procession outside of Alksnis through the Mayfield lot and around to Sturrus’ front entry where they will continue to process into Coach Bo gymnasium.

Will there be a commencement procession?

Graduates will process from the west side of Alksnis through the Mayfield Lot and around into Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center. There will be a cordon made up of faculty, board of trustees, and cabinet members for the students to process through at the front entry to Sturrus. At this time, the procession will not be livestreamed.

What if it rains?

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

Where do I park for my commencement ceremony?

Please refer to the page on Commencement Parking.

Will programs be available at the commencement ceremony?

Printed programs will be available for graduates at the ceremony.

Will graduates receive diplomas at the commencement ceremony?

Graduates will not receive their diplomas at the commencement ceremony. Diplomas are mailed to the graduate’s home address 3-6 weeks after final grades are due.

Will graduates walk across the stage?

Yes, graduates will be walking across a stage.

What about commencement photography?

Full details about registering for professional photography can be found on the Commencement Photography page.

Will there be an alternate viewing location on campus?

Yes, there will be several alternate viewing locations. While at GradFest, each graduate can request up to four alternate seating tickets. A ticket is required to enter and each location is seated on a first-come first-serve basis.


Post-Commencement

Will there be a video recording available after commencement?

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