Instructions for Graduates

Commencement Weekend Activities are usually as follows. These details/prices are subject to change, but, if so, new instructions will be posted in March 2017.

Friday, May 5
Baccalaureate (Senior/Family) Dinner by Reservation Only  |  5:00pm

(This event is coordinated by the Senior Class and invitations will be mailed from the Senior Class the first week of April. Written reservations are required and must be received by Mr. Mike Ferguson no later than 4/25 with accompanying check. For those who include an e-mail address, an e-mail confirmation will be sent upon receipt of your completed reservation.  Questions should be directed to Mr. Ferguson, 540-365-4604.)

Baccalaureate Service |  Vaughn Chapel  |  7:30pm

Speaker:  The Reverend Dr. Jan Nicholson, Dean of the Chapel

Saturday, May 6      
Breakfast  |  Franklin Dining Hall  |  7:15 - 9:00am

($7.65 per guest, pay at the door.  No Charge to graduates)

Commencement  |  Lawn between Stanley Library and Garber Hall  |  10:30am

(RAIN PLAN – B Swartz Gymnasium:  Up to four rain tickets will be available to each graduate. We regret that ushers may not hold tickets for family members at the door; please make sure you have received the rain tickets from your graduate in advance. A live-feed will be available in case of rain. Off-site viewing locations will include the AVD classrooms, Blue Ridge Mountain Room in Franklin Hall, and in the Panther's Den.)

Lunch on the Stratton House lawn in honor of Graduates and their families  |  Immediately following Commencement

Three meal tickets will be distributed to each graduate. (Additional meal tickets may be purchased through Ferrum College Dining Services @ $9.00; Children ages 6-12 @ $5.00; Children under age 6 @ no charge). Questions and requests to purchase additional meal tickets should be directed to 540-365-4453. 
(Rain Plan, Franklin Hall).

Ample parking will be available. If handicapped parking and/or special seating are needed, arrangements should be scheduled in advance (and no later than Wednesday, April 30) by calling Ms. Brenda Martin at 540-365-4211. In the event of rain, each ticket for handicap section must be accompanied by one of the rain tickets distributed to graduates.

A list of area lodging facilities is enclosed for your convenience in scheduling overnight accommodations. Graduation photographs may be purchased separately. Photo Specialties of Chapel Hill, North Carolina will take individual photos of each senior receiving a degree; information about the services offered by Photo Specialties as well as contact information is also included. 

Please contact us at 540-365-4207 if you have questions pertaining to these scheduled events,

Event Date, Time & Location Information & Instructions
Baccalaureate Dinner May 5, 2017
Franklin Hall
By Reservation Only
Invitations mailed to parents by Senior Class
RSVP to Mike Ferguson
Baccalaureate Line-up and Dress May 5, 2017
Vaughn Chapel

Gather on sidewalk between Chapel bell tower and patio for Baccalaureate procession.

Dress: Men should wear shirt, tie and dark shoes. Women should wear skirt and blouse or dress and dark shoes.

Honor Societies: May choose to purchase and wear cordons, medals, etc. If you choose to do this, please contact the following sponsors who will help you coordinate this with the Registrar's Office and the sponsor of your Honor Society.

No Club, Sorority, or Fraternity is approved to wear stoles, cords, sashes, or insignia pins.

Alpha Chi – Dr. Katherine Grimes
Alpha Beta Pi – Dr. Edmond Hally
Alpha Mu Gamma – Dr. Patricia Suppes
Alpha Psi Omega – Dr. Helen Prien
Alpha Phi Sigma – Dr. William Osborne
Delta Tau Alpha – Dr. Nancy Brubaker
Kappa Delta Pi – Dr. Mary Ann Norman
Kappa Pi – Prof. Jeff Dalton
Lambda Sigma – Mr. Jason Sharp
Phi Alpha – Ms. Jennie West
Phi Alpha Theta – Dr. Milt Rowan
Psi Chi – Dr. Sharon Stein
Tri Beta – Dr. Michaela Gazdik                        

  May 5, 2017
Vaughn Chapel
Speaker: The Reverend Jan Nicholson., Dean of the Chapel
Processional: Ms. Betsy Smith, Coordinator of Student Marshals.
Following the marshal assigned by Ms. Smith, process to reserved seats on each side of the main floor of the chapel. No particular order is required for this processional; walk two abreast. Male students should remove their caps just prior to being seated.
Senior Candlelight Ceremony May 5, 2017 A special candlelight ceremony will follow immediately after the Baccalaureate Service. Graduates will be directed by the Alumni Office to the Hart International Plaza for this ceremony. You will be advised of further instructions, in the event of inclement weather.
(Line-up 10:00am) Lawn

Commencement on Lawn is Open Seating.
No tickets required.

Reserved Seating Held Only Until 10:30am.

Up to four tickets per graduate. Graduates must pick-up in person (ID Required) from the Office of the VPAA, JWH 100, from April 14 – May 5. Please review the attached RAIN PLAN Diagrams.

You must get these tickets to your family/guests in advance of graduation. Ushers will not be able to hold tickets for your family members.
Commencement Day Breakfast May 6, 2017
Franklin Hall
Breakfast $7.65 per guest, N/C to graduates
Class Photo May 6, 2017
Vaughn Chapel

Must Wear Cap and Gown

Note: Following the class photo, graduates should proceed immediately to line-up between the Chapel and Garber Hall Sun Room.
Cap, Gown & Hood Distribution Caps, Gowns and Hoods were distributed April 5, 2017.

Please contact Registrar immediately if you have not received these.
Because gowns are packaged, please improve their appearance by hanging them up as soon as possible. The cap, gown and hood are yours to keep.
Diplomas May 6, 2017
Commencement Ceremony

The order of procession and the order of the granting of degrees will be strictly alphabetical.  You will be directed by marshals. Please see the attached diagram for clarification. (Note that instructions for last names beginning with A-M are on one side and Mc-Z are shown on the reverse side of your diagram.)

 As you approach the President, be prepared to shake hands with your right hand and to receive your diploma with your left hand crossed above the right hand. Photos will be taken of all graduates receiving their diplomas, so pause slightly for the photographer. You should remove non-prescription sunglasses prior to walking toward the President. Sorority, fraternity, and club cords, sashes, stoles, etc. are not approved, and should not be worn under any circumstances. As soon as you return to your chair, please be seated.

SGA President, Senior Class President, Senior Speaker, and Award Recipients May 6, 2017
Commencement Ceremony
The award recipients will be notified during commencement line-up. These individuals will be asked to sit in the reserved seating marked on the attached diagram.

Dress for the Day May 6, 2017
Commencement Ceremony


  • Wear cap flat on your head.
  • Remove cap for invocation and replace after invocation. Also, remove cap for benediction and replace for recessional.
  • Tassels should be worn on the left side of the cap at all times.
  • Wear light colored or white shirts with collar and tie, dark trousers (no jeans), socks, and dark polished street shoes.
  • No flowers, jewelry, messages, name plates, etc., on the gowns or caps except for designated regalia.


  • Wear cap flat on your head.
  • Wear skirt and blouse or dress, and dark, polished street shoes. (Flats are recommended due to being on the lawn.) If you wear slacks, they must be dark -- no jeans.
  • Tassels should be worn on the left side of the cap at all times.
  • No flowers, jewelry, messages, name plates, etc., on the gowns or caps except for the designated regalia.
Behavior May 6, 2017
Commencement Ceremony
It is extremely important that all participants in the graduation ceremony remember that it is a significant occasion in the academic community and all persons are to avoid cheering or applauding friends or other graduates during the ceremony.  An appropriate time will be given in order to applaud for those graduating or receiving awards. The success of these activities will depend, to a large extent, on your promptness. Please appear at the designated times.
Lunch May 6, 2017
On the Lawn between John Wesley Hall and Lake between Garber Hall / Stanley Library

Meal tickets are being provided for the graduate (at the time the instructions and rain tickets are picked up) plus two guests, for the luncheon immediately following graduation. 

Additional tickets may be purchased at the time of the luncheon at the following rates: 
Adults  $9.00
Children, ages 6-12 @ $5.00
Under age 6, no charge