Commencement Ceremony

Vol State currently conducts two commencement ceremonies each year, one at the end of the Fall semester and one at the end of the Spring semester. Summer graduates participate in the following Fall ceremony. Participation in Commencement is optional, but strongly encouraged. Participating in the ceremony in no way confirms completion of requirements or official graduation. All program requirements must be completed before the credential can be posted to the student's transcript or diploma.

Due to the timing of grade entry at the end of each term, graduation honors to be included in the ceremony and on transcripts for degree seeking students are calculated based on the student's previous term GPA. All college level courses, including transfer work, will be included in calculating honors.

Student names will appear in the Commencement program as listed in our system. If a student has had a name change, an Update Student Record Form along with official documentation must be submitted to the Office of Records & Registration.

We strongly encourage all Graduates to attend the Commencement Ceremony. This is a time for you, your family and friends, instructors, and college staff to celebrate your achievement!

Commencement Ceremony Checklist

If you plan to participate in the Fall commencement ceremony, please make sure to do the following:

  • Your cap and gown has been purchased by the college for you to keep as a memento of this great accomplishment. ANY STUDENT PLANNING ON PARTICIPATING IN THE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY MUST ORDER A CAP AND GOWN THROUGH THE BOOKSTORE BY November 8th. Caps & gowns are ordered based on height measurements. If you should fall out of the range of standard sizes in either height or weight (small, medium, large) please ask the bookstore about sizing options. You may discuss sizing either by phone or in person. Be prepared to supply approximate height and weight to the bookstore staff. Please contact the Bookstore at 615-230-3636 or 1-888-335-8722 ext. 3636. The Bookstore is located in the Wood Campus Center, Room 212.
  • Each participant will receive a minimum of 7 guest tickets for Commencement.  Once there is a final headcount of participants, the number of guest tickets allotted may increase by 1 – 3 tickets (not to exceed a total of 10 guest tickets each). The final number of guest tickets will be determined and communicated to participants via email no later than November 15.
  • Students may visit the Herff-Jones website to order custom graduation invitations.
  • Participants graduating with Latin (GPA) Honors receive a gold honors tassel through the Bookstore when picking up their cap and gown. The Bookstore will have a list of all participants that qualify for Latin Honors.
  • Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society students may order PTK honor accessories through the ptk website. Leave time for shipping!
  • Veterans:  A special cord to identify your veterans status can be purchased through the main campus bookstore.  The Bookstore will have a list of all participants that have veterans status with the Office of Adult Learners & Veterans Affairs. 
  • GradImages is the official photographer for the commencement ceremony.  The company contacts all students via email with information on commencement photo proofs, prices, etc. 
  • You will receive an email when your cap and gown is available for pick up.  Please pick those up no later than December 13 at the Bookstore. Tickets for your guests will be given to you at this time.
  • Attendees with physical or sensory challenges: There are a limited number of seats on the main floor for attendees who cannot ascend/descend the bleachers and for those with vision or hearing difficulties. These seats are located in reserved sections and provided for those attendees with stamped tickets. Each participant is allowed up to two stamped tickets on a first come, first served basis through Disability Services, located in the Ramer Administration Building, Room 176. In addition to the marked accessible parking spots throughout campus, an additional section reserved for cars with state accessible tags is available. Please call Disability Services at 615-230-3472 if you need additional information.
  • Contact the Office of Disability Services if you have special needs for the Commencement ceremony.
  • Attend Graduation Rehearsal on December 13 at 10:00 am at the Pickel Field House in the Gymnasium. It is extremely important for all participants to attend rehearsal.
  • Arrive by 9:00 am at the Pickle Field House and then in your designated room by 9:30 am on the day of Commencement, December 14.
  • Please complete our graduate surveys.

Academic Regalia

Following is approved regalia for commencement:

  • GPA Honor Graduates – Gold Tassel
  • United States Veterans – Red, White & Blue Cords
  • Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX), Paralegal Honor Society – Purple Sash with Gold Society Letters
  • Vol State Academic Honors Program – Red Ribbon with a Bronze Honors Program Medallion
  • Sigma Chi Eta, Community College Honor Society of the National Communication Association – Red & White Cords
  • Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society – Gold Key Honors Stole, Blue & Gold Cords, and/or Blue Cord with Golden Key Medallion
  • Sigma Alpha Pi, The National Society of Leadership and Success – Platinum Stole with Black Society Letters and/or Black & Platinum Cords
  • Sigma Kappa Delta, The English Honor Society for 2-Year Colleges – Gold & Green Cords
  • Kappa Beta Delta, International Honor Society for ACBSP Accredited Business Programs – Royal Blue Stole with Black & Gold Key and/or Blue & Yellow Honor Cords

Commencement Tickets

Graduation is an exciting milestone for all our students and we wish that we could provide unlimited tickets. However, with the increase in the number of graduates, the number who attend the graduation and the overcrowding in the Gymnasium, we recognize the potential for a number of safety hazards.  Due to these reasons and to ensure each participant is able to have guests present, we must limit the number of guests at the ceremony. 

Each summer graduate and fall applicant participating in the December 14th ceremony will receive a minimum of 7 guest tickets. Once there is a final headcount of participants, the number of guest tickets allotted may increase by 1 – 3 tickets (not to exceed a total of 10 guest tickets each). The final number of guest tickets will be determined and communicated to participants via email no later than November 15. Tickets will be given to participants when they pick up their cap and gown in the Bookstore.

Guest tickets will only be given to students participating in the Commencement ceremony. Participants are encouraged to return any ticket they will not need to the Records Office, Ramer 183.  Any tickets returned to the Records Office by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 12th will be distributed during rehearsal. Participants attending rehearsal will have an opportunity at check-in to enter their name in a drawing for up to 2 extra tickets. Participants must be present at rehearsal to enter the drawing and claim tickets (photo ID required). 

Guest(s) must have their ticket with them to attend the Commencement ceremony and must show it to attendants each time they enter the Gymnasium. Only children age two (2) and under may be admitted without a ticket. Guests who do not have a ticket will not be allowed to enter the Gymnasium.