Information for Degree Candidates

Information for Degree Candidates

Be prepared for commencement.


Who Can Participate

  • Students who complete all requirements in Summer 2019, Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 semesters are invited to participate in the commencement ceremony.

    The only exception to this is a student who still needs to complete a maximum of two courses totaling no more than 12 semester hours and plans to complete that coursework in Summer 2020. All other graduation requirements must be met.

    Graduating students must submit a degree application and pay a completion fee no later than April 2. Any student who does not inform the Hub for Enrollment Services of his or her intent to participate in commencement by submitting an application by April 2 will not be included in the printed commencement program.

    Graduation Application

    Degree candidates must finish “Incomplete” grades, forward any necessary transcripts, and clear all obligations with the Hub for Enrollment Services and library in order to graduate. A $125 degree completion fee will be billed by the Hub for Enrollment Services. You must pay this fee by April 30 in order to receive your diploma and any transcripts.

    If you have any doubt that all holds have been cleared from your record please visit the Hub for Enrollment Services immediately.


Name Pronunciation

  • Look for an email announcement regarding name pronunciation to be distributed in April/May. If you have a name that could be mispronounced, please provide the information requested at that time. Those details will be used by the Provost to ensure that your name is pronounced correctly when your diploma is awarded.

Ordering Graduation Regalia

  • On Campus Herff Jones Representative Dates

    • January 27-28, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oglethorpe Class Ring Event – Students should order their Oglethorpe ring at this time.
    • February 20, 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Herff Jones representatives will be at the career fair in the Turner Lynch Campus Center.
    • March 11, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Ordering and information gathering event for all graduate products (rings, caps, gowns, announcements and diploma frames).
    • March 18, 11:59 p.m. ONLINE order deadline for caps and gowns. Order cap and gown online at Herff Jones.
    • April 20, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. and April 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Cap and gown distribution dates (also the last chance for graduates to purchase cap and gown for graduation.


    Please try your gown on several days before graduation so any problems with size and necessary exchanges are not a last-minute emergency.

    Invitations are not necessary for admittance to the commencement ceremony, but printed announcements are available through the bookstore. Online ordering is also available at Herff Jones. Candidates can also purchase diploma frames and other commencement memorabilia. Visit the bookstore with any questions.

    Honorary and Greek organization regalia, such as a sash, a cord, a stole or medallion, is permissible if the organization is sanctioned by the university. Please inquire in the Campus Life Office if you are unsure about the legitimacy of your organization or about the appropriateness of the insignia you wish to wear. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain such insignia or regalia from the sponsoring organization; this should be done well before commencement day.

  • Moving Day

    • The residence halls and Greek Row housing will close for the spring semester for all students at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13 unless you are a graduating senior or have special permission from Residence Life to stay later. Anyone who is not a graduating senior should complete the Stay Late Request Form on the Residence Life website no later than May 7th. Final check out for ALL students after Commencement is Sunday, May 17 by 10 a.m. No students will be allowed to stay later than this date. Check out instructions will be sent via email. If you have questions about moving out please contact the Residence Life Office at 404.364.8520.

    Parking and Transportation

    • Parking will be ably handled and directed by Campus Safety and DeKalb County police officers; overflow parking is directed to the two churches adjacent to Oglethorpe. Graduates must check-in by 8 a.m., and guests should be seated no later than 8:50 a.m.; be sure to allow ample time for parking and walking to the ceremony site. There will be shuttles and golf carts on-site to transport elderly guests from distant parking spots.

      For guests using a wheelchair, walker, or any other mobility-assistance device, the closest point of access to the ceremony location is the circular drive at the front of campus. Campus Safety personnel can direct you to this drop-off point and then redirect you to nearby parking. For ease of parking and seating, it is strongly advised that guests who require mobility-assistance arrive on campus at least 45 minutes before the ceremony begins.

      Please note that Oglethorpe does not provide onsite wheelchairs. However, if you are interested in renting a wheelchair you may do so through ADA Medical Supply. Be sure to reserve your wheelchair at least 1 week in advance.

      If you require any disability-related accommodations, please submit your need for this accommodation no later than Saturday, May 2, 2020. Accommodation requests can be submitted by emailing Also, be sure to keep in mind that there will be shuttles and golf carts in service to provide additional support.

      If you have any specific questions regarding a disability accommodation, please email

    What to Wear

    • The gown and hood add an extra layer of clothing to whatever you are wearing. You will also be sitting in the sun, which will warm you significantly. Unless the weather is exceptionally cool, you should dress according to the general guidelines below. And by the way, don’t even think about going barefoot – the stage gets very hot, and you will burn the bottom of your feet.

      Men: It is advisable that you wear a short-sleeved white or light-colored shirt with a dark tie. Light-weight, dark-colored trousers will be most comfortable and will look best with the gown. Jeans or shorts are unacceptable. Dark shoes are recommended footwear, with no athletic shoes, sandals, or flip-flops.

      Women: It is advisable that you wear a light-weight dress or light blouse and pants. Jeans or shorts are unacceptable. Dress sandals are acceptable for footwear, as long as they do not “clop” when you walk. No athletic shoes or flip-flops. Keep in mind also that the ground is uneven, soft and sometimes damp early in the morning, so we discourage mid- and high-heeled shoes to prevent you from falling.

      Commencement day is typically very warm, and you are encouraged to drink plenty of water before coming to campus. While bottled water will be available for all participants and guests, you should make a point of stopping off at the restroom before joining the processional assembly. And if at all possible, refrain from drinking anything once you have checked in. After the processional, and when you are seated there will be a bottle of water under each chair.

      If you have long hair, consider pulling your hair back or up, but remember you will need to be able to wear your mortar board!

      Please leave purses, bags and other items with family members or locked in your car out of sight. You should not have anything in your hands when the ceremony begins, and the only thing in your hands when you exit should be your diploma!

      If you must carry your cell phone, turn the ringer off and refrain from making or accepting calls from the time we begin the processional to the time the ceremony is concluded. There is no such thing as discreet cell phone usage during Commencement, and this includes texting. Such usage would be a rude distraction for other guests and a detraction from your fellow graduates’ special day.

      You may wear sunglasses for the processional and at your seat, but please remove them before going to the stage.

    The Ceremony

    • Arrive absolutely no later than 8 a.m. Allow ample time to find parking, freshen up, and say hello to friends before that time. Please make restroom stops before checking in.

      Please report to Lupton Auditorium where you will pick up a 3 x 5 card with your name on it. You will notice this has a number on it—and you should find your respective seat, and hence your respective place in line, according to this number. (It’s true; we’ve never treated you like a number before. We hope you will bear with us for this one time – it’s simply the best way to make sure you end up processing and sitting in the correct order.)

      It will take an hour to line everyone up properly. Wear comfortable shoes and try to be patient.

      Please do not leave the assembly area once you have checked in!

      A “Help Station” in the auditorium will provide assistance with your cap, hood or gown; with minor first aid and tailoring emergencies; or for sunscreen. Be sure to watch the cap and gown tutorial video for the proper way to wear your regalia.

      Other staff volunteers will be on hand to assist the faculty marshals with the processional assembly. Don’t be shy about asking for help or introducing yourself!

      A nurse will be on hand to assist with any first aid needs. In addition, EMS will be on site throughout the morning.

      Oglethorpe will provide commencement photography for the class of 2020 via TSS Photography. At commencement, each candidate will be photographed receiving his or her diploma and again as each graduate exits the stage. Candid photographs before and after the ceremony will also be taken.

      Graduates’ photos will be available for purchase through the photographer’s website shortly after commencement. A link will be provided on the commencement homepage when the photos are available. Please follow ordering instructions located on the photographer’s website. Printed ordering information for these photos will also be provided in the packets at rehearsal.

      To ensure a safe and smoother ceremony, please ask family members to cooperate with the directives from commencement marshals who are assisting graduation candidates throughout the program. Guests should respectfully remain behind roping and stanchions that are set to facilitate the work of the professional photographers and the flow of commencement participants and graduates to and from the stage.

      TSS Photography
      Visit the TSS website to view / order photos (Search for Oglethorpe)
      Phone: 770-995-0340

      Diplomas will be presented at the commencement ceremony to participants who have met ALL graduation requirements and have cleared ALL obligations to the university, including the $125 degree completion fee billed by the Hub for Enrollment Services and the Senior Survey administered in April. Diplomas held for any reason will be available for pick-up in the Hub for Enrollment Services once pending matters are cleared.

    Following the Ceremony 

    • The ceremony will be over by 11:30 a.m. Faculty, staff and honored guests will form receiving lines to greet our newest alumni and their guests. Spend as much time as you’d like mingling on the quadrangle taking photographs with family and friends. Refreshments will be provided.

    Congratulations! You are now part of a very special group – the only truly permanent component of the Oglethorpe community – our alumni.

    The Alumni Association represents all alumni of the university. The association seeks to keep you informed about Oglethorpe news and events, stay in touch with friends and help you network with others in your career field. Oglethorpe has almost 10,000 living alumni worldwide who share in the memories and traditions of OU and support the institution through their involvement and financial support.

    During commencement rehearsal, you will receive a membership packet with a list of benefits and information on OU’s alumni online community, ePetrel. Among the benefits are continued access to most campus facilities, discounted museum admission, free tickets to many campus events, and membership in professional and social clubs within the association. Within ePetrel you will have access to a alumni online directory, alumni social media connections, a news feed with the latest Oglethorpe information, online registration for events and a secure way to contribute to the annual fund. In addition, please join Oglethorpe University alumni on Facebook and LinkedIn to receive the most up to date information from campus. These tools are the BEST way to keep in touch with Oglethorpe and to network with your fellow alumni. We will notify you of new benefits and other alumni news through our newsletters and magazines.

    Your presence makes a difference in the future success of Oglethorpe University. You will be encouraged to attend alumni events and participate in volunteer opportunities which will help ensure we can continue to offer the Oglethorpe experience to future generations of students. You will also be encouraged to support the association and the university through participation in the annual fund and other fundraising initiatives. We hope your relationship with Oglethorpe will continue to grow over the years and that you will continue to feel welcome as an important member our community.

    As you change your mailing address, email addresses, jobs or have career successes, please be sure to notify us through the Alumni website. We enjoy hearing your good news and sharing it with your classmates and professors!

    Congratulations and best wishes for your future success!