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What to Expect at Commencement

What is Commencement?

The annual commencement exercise is the high point of a university's academic year. The purpose, after all, of any college or university is to prepare its students to merit academic degrees. Commencement is the recognition of its success, and that of its students, in the undertaking.

The first organized institutions of learning took form during the 12th and 13th centuries, generally under the jurisdiction of the church. Commencement ceremonies -- with their academic gowns, tassels, hoods, and maces -- are colorful traditions handed down from European universities of the Middle Ages. The first Commencement in the United States was held at Harvard University in 1642.

How Will I Know Where to Go?

Please review the "Undergraduate Participant Information" for Undergraduates. When you park near the Shrine, follow the signage and volunteers from Mount Saint Mary's University to the Graduate line-up area.

Please review the "Graduate Participant Information" for Masters and Doctoral students section of the Commencement webpages. When you park near the Los Angeles Convention Center, follow the signage and volunteers from Mount Saint Mary's University to the Graduate line-up area. 

What Will I do When I Get There?

Once you arrive at the line-up area with your ticket, you will check in with Mount Saint Mary's staff to receive a card with your name and brief survey. You will use the card to provide information for the photographers and to spell your name out phonetically, as to avoid mispronunciation when you cross the stage. You will then line up according to your major and type of degree (Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral).

What Will the Ceremony Be Like?

Many of the details of the Commencement ceremony will be planned over the course of the Spring Semester. However, you may use the brief outline of the ceremony below, as a guide. Commencement is expected to be two hours in length, and ALL in attendance (Graduates and Guests) are expected to stay for the entire ceremony.

  • Processional
  • Invocation
  • Presentation of Collegiate Honors
  • Alumnae Welcome
  • Class Tribute
  • Commencement Address
  • Conferral of Degrees
  • Blessing of the Graduates
  • Recessional

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