Commencement is a formal celebration honoring the achievements of graduates and candidates for graduation. The annual ceremony is held after the spring semester. Participation is voluntary and does not mean a degree has been awarded.

  • 1. Salute to Grads - Cap and Gown Pick-Up


     Salute to Grads: Commencement Prep

    • Doctoral students will order and receive their regalia through the College. 
    • Bachelor and Master's degree participants who ordered online can be picked up at Ticket Pick-Up, May 7 and 8 from 11 am to 7 pm.

    • 2. Commencement Event - Grad Celebration


      Graduation Celebration

      • May 3, 2014, 11 am to 3 pm
      • RSVP required
      • Celebrate with your family and classmates

    • 3. Commencement Event - Ticket Pick-Up


      Ticket Pick-Up

      • May 7 and 8, 2014, 11 am to 7 pm
      • Cafeteria Annex
      • Pick-up your cap and gown from online ordering
      • A photo ID is required and participants must be in good financial standing in order to receive tickets
      • If you cannot attend Ticket Pick-Up, you may send someone to pick up your tickets. That person will need:
        • A signed letter from you indicating that you give that person permission to pick-up your tickets on your behalf;
        • A copy of your photo id;
        • Their own photo id to show at Ticket Pick-Up.


    • 4. Commencement Event - Doctoral Hooding


      Doctoral Hooding

      • May 15, 2014, 6:30 pm
      • Center for Performing Arts
      • Doctoral students will receive your hood to wear at Commencement
      • Tickets required

    • Commencement Details


      The 2014 Commencement Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 17, 2014.

      10 am - Colleges of Arts and Science and Business and Public Administration

        5 pm - Colleges of Education and Health and Human Services

      Graduates should arrive about two hours before the ceremony.

      Late graduates will be held in the rear of the auditorium and escorted at the appropriate time 
      Governors State University Commencement is held at the:

      Tinley Park Convention Center
      18451 Convention Center Drive
      Tinley Park, IL 60477 


    • Graduate Information


      This is important information for you to ensure great Commencement experience. 

      • Graduates do not need tickets to attend Commencements. 

      • All guests must have tickets to be seated (including children 2 years and older)  
        • A family friendly seating area will be available to guests with children to watch on a monitor.
      • If you (or your guests) have a physical disability and are in need of special services, please contact Robin Sweeney, Disability Services, at 708.235.3968 or   

      • Parking is very limited, carpooling is strongly encouraged. 

      • Plan to arrive early  
        Late graduates will be held in the rear of the auditorium and escorted at the appropriate time (don't be THAT graduate)

      • Inform guests of the college/program you are graduating from to assist with seating (i.e. College of Health and Human Services; Nursing)

      • Pre-arrange a meeting location to meet family and guests after the ceremony outside of the auditorium.

      • Please leave personal items (such as purses) with your guests or leave locked in your vehicle. Neither GSU nor the convention center is responsible for lost or stolen items. 

      • Only GSU approved honors cords and stoles may be worn with regalia.

      • Graduates should not leave the ceremony floor until the appropriate time. Only Platform Guests, Faculty/Staff, and Marshals will recess out. All graduates are to remain seated throughout the ceremony unless directed otherwise by the commencement marshals or master of ceremonies.

      • Cell phones should be turned off and remain off during the ceremony.


      Click here for a pdf of Commencement Information

    • Guest Information


      This information is provided so that you and your graduate have a great Commencement experience.

      •  All guests must have tickets to be seated (including children 2 years and older)
      • Infants and toddlers may be seated in the lap 
      • Children may not sit with graduates
      • A family friendly seating area will be available to guests with children 
      • Doors open at 8:30 a.m. or 3:30 p.m. respectively

        •  Saving seats is not permitted
        •  Seats are not guaranteed for late arrivals
        •  Admission will be temporarily suspended at 9:50 am and 4:50 pm respectively in preparation for the procession of graduates.
        • Remain in seats for the entire commencement ceremony  
      • Grad Flowers will be making  variety of fresh cut, flowers available for guests to purchase between the West and South Entrances
        • All flowers will be offered in a variety of colors as half dozen or full dozen
        •  They will also be hand wrapped on location with baby’s breath and greens with a choice of custom school colored bow 
        •  Flowers are to be given to graduates AFTER the ceremony is complete
      •  No balloons or large gifts are allowed in the convention center.
      • No photographs or videotaping in the front, side or middle aisles.
        •  A live webcast will be available through GSU's website on Commencement day
        •  DVD’s of both ceremonies can be purchased in advance or on the day of the ceremony from 
      • Ceremonial Etiquette:  

        The University wants to ensure that commencement is a dignified academic ceremony enjoyed by both the graduates and guests. Please refrain from yelling, shouting, or whistling until all graduates have been individually acknowledged on stage.

      • Cell phones should be turned off and remain off during the ceremony.
      Click here for a pdf of Commencement Information

    • Faculty Information - Regalia Information




      The university will no longer provide employees with rented academic regalia. If employees prefer to rent academic regalia rather than purchase their own personalized regalia, each individual employee can arrange rental of academic regalia with Oak Hall Cap & Gown at the employee’s expense.

      If you would like to rent, please click this link:

      If you would like to purchase, please contact Oak Hall’s customer service line between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., at 800.223.0429 (mention Governors State University).

      Orders must be placed by Friday, April, 18, 2014.

      Online rental and custom orders ordered via the website or customer service line will be personally delivered by a commencement staff member to your office or to your college’s office when they arrive.
      Rental or purchase of regalia from Oak Hall Cap and Gown are at your own expense.  This website is for regalia rental only.

       If you would like to purchase regalia, please contact Oak Hall’s Customer Service between the hours of 7:30am and 6pm central time at 800-223-0429.

      Group orders will not be accepted.  Only one complete package may be purchased per order.

      Rental Pricing:

      Bachelor cap/gown/tassel/hood - $23.20

      Master cap/gown/tassel/hood - $24.60

      Optional rental tam - $20.60

      Doctor tam/gown/tassel/hood - $47.90

      University of Chicago Doctoral Rental - $49.70

      If you have questions or wish additional information, please contact Karen Caesar-Smith,

      708.534-6360 or

    • Volunteer Information


      Volunteer Orientation - May 9, 2014 at 10 am in the CPA Mezzanine Level.

      Volunteers should complete a participation form. Any questions, please contact Karen Caesar-Smith at

      Excerpt from Joyce Coleman's memo to staff:

      All Associate and Assistant Vice Presidents and Unit Directors are expected to assist with one of the two commencement ceremonies;

      Each unit should assign three to four staff to work one of the two ceremonies and/or to assist with commencement set-up on Friday, May 16.  Working on the day of the ceremony will be considered a workday and all non-exempt employees who are assigned to work one of the two ceremonies will be granted a day off during the work week preceding May 17 (May 12 through 16).


      Staff assigned to assist with commencement set-up on Friday, May 16  will be transported from GSU to the Tinley Park Convention Center.  They will leave campus at 9:30 a.m. and will return at 1:15 p.m. This time will be considered a part of their regular work day.  Staff assisting with the morning commencement ceremony are expected to arrive at the Tinley Park Convention Center at 7 a.m. and will work until 1:30 p.m.  They will be provided breakfast.  Staff assisting with the afternoon ceremony are expected to arrive at the Convention Center at 2 p.m. and will work until 8:30 p.m.  These staff will be provided lunch.  Please note that staff are particularly needed to assist with the afternoon ceremony.


      All staff assisting with the commencement ceremony and the set-up the day before are required to attend an orientation meeting on Friday May 9, 2014 at 10 a.m. in  the Mezzanine level of the Center of Performing Arts.  The names of all staff who are assigned to assist with commencement ceremonies or the set-up should be submitted to Karen Caesar-Smith no later than Wednesday, April 30, 2014.  If you are not sure of the exempt or non-exempt status of any of the employees you are assigning to assist with commencement, please contact Human Resources at extension 4100.


      Best regards,


      Joyce Coleman

      Associate Vice President

      for Human Resources & Diversity


    • International Visitor Visa Letters


      Complete the Invitation Form to receive a letter to be sent to your guests for visas.

      Type in the form, then print and sign and return to the Office of the Registrar, located in C-1300.

    • Eligible Participants


      For the 2014 Commencement ceremony, eligible participants are:

      • 2013 December graduates
      • 2014 Spring candidates* for graduation
      • 2014 Summer candidates** for graduation

      Participation in Commencement is voluntary.

      You must be in good financial standing with the University in order to participate in this event.

      *The deadline to apply for 2014 Spring graduation has passed. If you missed this deadline, please contact your academic advisor.

      **Summer 2014 graduation applicants who applied by February 7, 2014 are eligible to participate in Commencement.

    • Commencement Sponsors


       marchingorders oakhall
      signature tgs

    • FAQs


      Graduation FAQs

      1. What is the difference between graduation and commencement?
        Graduation is a process where you complete an application in order to earn your degree. A $50 non-refundable processing fee will be placed on your account. A graduation application is required for each degree you earn at GSU.
        Commencement is a formal ceremony and participation is voluntary. Participating in the ceremony does not mean your degree has been earned. 
      2. I walked across the stage, doesn't this mean I earned my degree?
        No. Only December graduates from the previous year will have earned degrees by commencement.. Since spring and summer graduation applicants are eligible to participate in the ceremony, their degrees will not be posted until after ceremony has taken place. 
      3. Can I use my financial aid to cover the $50 fee?
        You will need to check with the financial aid office.  
      4. What does the graduation fee cover?
        The graduation fee covers the time and paperwork it takes to post your degree. The graduation fee does not cover any items related to the commencement ceremony (i.e. student regalia).
      5. When will my diploma be mailed?
        Diplomas are usually mailed out six to eight weeks after final grades have been submitted.  
      6. I missed the deadline to turn in a graduation application, who do I contact?
        You should start with your academic advisor.  

      Commencement FAQ's

      1. When does Commencement begin?
        In recent years, GSU has held two ceremonies at 10 am and 5 pm.
      2. How will I know which ceremony I will attend?
        This will be announced later depending on the number of participants. Participants are grouped by Colleges. 
      3. How many tickets will I receive?
        Participants usually receive four tickets per ceremony for family and guests. 
      4. Does my child need a ticket?
        Children age two or older will require tickets.
      5. How long is the ceremony?
        The Commencement ceremony lasts about three hours.
      6. Where do I pick-up my regalia?
        Eligible participants may pick-up regalia at Salute to Grads: Commencement Prep event. If you order regalia online, you may pick them up the day of commencement.
        If you are a doctoral student, you will receive your cap and gown through your college/division.
      7. How early should I arrive at commencement?
        Participants should arrive an 90 minutes before the ceremony. Guests should arrive an hour before the ceremony. 

    • Apply to Graduate


      If you are in your last semester, or close to your final semester, you will need to complete a graduation application in order to receive your degree. You need to complete a graduation application for each degree you receive from GSU.

      A $50 non-refundable processing fee will be charged to your student account.

      GSU awards degrees three times a year: May, August and December.

      The graduation application for 2014 spring* and summer** are available and must be submitted by February 7, 2014.

      *The deadline to apply for 2014 Spring graduation has passed. If you missed this deadline, please contact your academic advisor.

      **Summer 2014 graduation applicants who applied by February 7, 2014 are eligible to participate in Commencement.