Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Last modified: Wednesday, May 6, 2009

IU commencement ceremonies to be full of pomp and circumstance -- but not handshakes

NOTE: There will be a live (and archival) steam of both IU Bloomington ceremonies at

May 6, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University graduates and their families can expect a traditional, stately commencement ceremony complete with pomp and circumstance as students accept their diplomas throughout the week (from May 9-15) on all eight of IU's campuses. Missing from the 2009 ceremonies on all IU campuses will be congratulatory handshakes from the president, chancellors and deans.

Last week, IU President Michael A. McRobbie announced that handshakes would be eliminated in order to comply with Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Judith Monroe's recommendations that personal contact between people be limited to stem the spread of the H1N1 flu virus.

Even so, there will be no shortage of congratulations and celebration.

"Commencement is a celebration of academic achievement, and I look forward to this wonderful occasion each year," said McRobbie. "I especially appreciate the opportunity to personally congratulate our graduates. Each has worked long and hard over the past several years to reach this landmark moment in their lives. This has not come without sacrifice, effort and the support of families and friends. I am delighted to congratulate them on this memorable day for all of us."

Graduates at Indiana University Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis actually will notice little difference this year from past ceremonies.

At IU Bloomington, where sheer numbers prevent every graduating student from walking across the stage for face time with President McRobbie, only Ph.D. and doctoral candidates are introduced individually. Rather than shake hands, the president, provost and appropriate dean will peak their caps -- touch the brim of their mortarboards or tams in a traditional academic salute -- and congratulate candidates, who will then leave the stage to be hooded on the floor.

The same Ph.D. and doctoral hooding procedure will take place at IUPUI. However, other IUPUI degree candidates participate in a student parade in which they go to the front of the hall to receive a special memento from their respective dean, and then return to their seats. This procedure will differ only in that the dean will hand the memento to the graduate instead of shaking his or her hand.

Handshakes, or the absence thereof, may be more noticeable at other IU campuses -- IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast -- where smaller numbers of degree candidates allow everyone to walk across the stage as they are individually introduced. At these campuses, instead of handshakes, the president and campus chancellor will congratulate the graduates and hand them their diploma cover. The exception is at IPFW, a campus administered by Purdue University, where it is Chancellor Michael Wartell who extends congratulations, and he has decided he will shake hands.

For full information on Indiana University commencement ceremonies -- including dates, locations and times -- go to