Indiana University

Skip to:

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

Media Contacts

Larry MacIntyre

Last modified: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Indiana University to have separate Commencement to award graduate degrees

Nov. 11, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University today announced a new event for spring Commencement activities at the Bloomington campus, adding a separate ceremony for graduate students receiving master's and doctoral degrees.

The new event will take place at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 7, at Assembly Hall. Commencement ceremonies recognizing undergraduate students will be conducted as previously announced on Saturday, May 8, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Graduation image

Photo by Jacob Kriese

Print-Quality Photo

Traditionally, graduate students had received their degrees on Saturday along with undergraduate students in their respective schools. But IU President Michael A. McRobbie and Bloomington Provost Karen Hanson wanted to enrich the graduation experience for all participants and their families. Moving to a separate ceremony for graduate students will allow for more time to focus on their distinct achievements and observe the academic tradition of hooding Ph.D. and doctoral candidates.

Likewise, the undergraduate ceremonies on Saturday will focus exclusively on the undergraduate experience and include new emphasis on undergraduate achievement, including the addition of undergraduate voices to the official program.

"Commencement is a singularly important event in the lives of our students and their families," McRobbie said. "I feel very strongly that the university must do all it can to make this occasion a special and memorable event, especially for our undergraduate students who cannot be individually recognized because of time constraints. By separating these ceremonies, we will be able to focus more intently on each group of students, their outstanding accomplishments, and the enduring contributions they have made at IU."

Hanson emphasized that all three ceremonies will adhere to IU tradition and protocols. Commencement speakers will deliver speeches at all three; alumni inductions will be conducted at all three; and honorary degrees may be conferred at all three, depending on the disciplines involved in each ceremony.

"We believe it is important to preserve for students and faculty the strong traditions connected to this cherished ceremony," Hanson said. "But even a ceremony so rich in pageantry and tradition, and so much a part of the history of our great university, can be improved. This is an opportunity to make commencement events more meaningful occasions for all our students, and for faculty, family and friends."

James Wimbush, dean of the University Graduate School, said he believes graduate students will welcome the addition of the more focused ceremony.

"What we want to stress in regards to the new graduate ceremony is that it will look and feel exactly like the traditional undergraduate ceremony," Wimbush said. "It will be in the same place and follow the same protocols as the undergraduate event. Nothing is being taken away. What is being added is the opportunity to focus on graduate achievements."

The undergraduate ceremonies will take on a new emphasis on undergraduate achievement and will see the inclusion of undergraduate speakers. The invocation will be delivered by a student, and a student speaker will make remarks on behalf of fellow grads. Undergrads will carry in their school banners and will participate in the procession of the platform party.

A complete commencement program, listing the names of all graduates (both undergraduate and graduate) will be printed.

School and department recognition ceremonies will continue as before. The new graduate ceremony is being added a time on Friday afternoon when no other events are held. A complete schedule will be posted on the Commencement Web site after the holidays.

These changes will apply only to May commencement. Winter commencement, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19, at 10 a.m. in Assembly Hall, will see degrees conferred on both graduate and undergraduate students.

Undergraduate Commencement will be held, as previously announced, on Saturday, May 8, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Assembly Hall, IU Bloomington. Graduate Commencement will be held on Friday, May 7, at 3 p.m. in Assembly Hall, IU Bloomington, for candidates for all master's, Ph.D. and doctoral degrees.

Complete information is available at, including Commencement weekend schedules and activities, how to order caps and gowns, tips on visiting Bloomington, and how to make arrangements for guests with disabilities.