FAQs


General Questions

When will graduates receive specific information regarding Commencement?

Up-to-date information regarding Commencement is available on the Commencement website.

Graduates will receive several emails from the provost’s office throughout the spring semester. Topics will include: cap and gown information, ticket information, schedule updates, and various other information.

If you have questions that are not addressed on the website, please contact University events at commencement@up.edu

Will parents of graduates receive information?

Commencement information will be mailed to parents of graduates in March 2017. You may view a copy of the Parent Advisory here

Up-to-date information regarding Commencement is available on the Commencement website.

If you have questions that are not addressed on the website, please contact University events at commencement@up.edu

Do students have to apply for Commencement?

Students should apply for graduation on the registrar's website.

If students have questions about their application or they are unsure if they are graduating, please call the registrar's office at 503.943.7321.

Which events do I need to attend?

We encourage graduates and their guests to take part in as many of the weekend activities as possible. These events provide the opportunity for graduates, faculty, staff, and guests to interact in these celebratory activities.

For a full schedule, see the Schedule of Events.

I am an international student, and I need a letter from UP to invite my parents for Commencement.

International students needing a Visa support letter for their parents and family to travel to the U.S. for Commencement should contact international student services directly at iss@up.edu or 503.943.7367.

Can guests who are not able to attend Commencement watch online?

Yes – you can watch a live stream of both Commencement ceremonies.

Please visit our Live Stream page for more information. 

The live stream will have live captions of the ceremony to assist hard of hearing or deaf viewers. 

What is the proper dress for the weekend for graduates?

Your cap and gown are required for the Baccalaureate Mass and the Commencement ceremony.

The Nurses' Pinning Ceremony also requires cap and gown.

Students often ask what should I wear under my cap and gown? We ask that you dress comfortably. For women, this typically means a dress or a blouse and skirt that is shorter than the gown so it does not hang below the gown. Men generally choose to wear dress pants and shirt (tie optional).

When will I receive my diploma?

On stage, you will receive an empty diploma jacket.

After each Commencement Ceremony, graduates may pick up diplomas at the Office of the Registrar in Waldschmidt Hall. Photo ID is required. The Office of the Registrar will be open for two hours after the conclusion of each ceremony.

Will wireless Internet be available on campus?

The UP-guest wireless internet is open to visitors on the University of Portland campus during Commencement Weekend.

To access this service, just select "UPGuest" in your WiFi settings. The UPGuest wireless service is offered for casual personal use on an "as is" basis with no guarantee of availability and no warranty of any kind.

Will a professional photographer take pictures as diplomas are distributed or will I be allowed to take pictures in front of the stage?

Photographers will be available at each Commencement ceremony to take individual student photographs while they cross the stage. These photos are available for viewing and purchase at gradimages.com.

You are welcome to take photos of your graduate from your seat at the ceremony. 

For more information about graduation photos, please visit the Graduation Photos page.

Where can I purchase a diploma frame?

You can purchase a diploma frame at the UP bookstore.

Where can I find information about Commencement during Commencement Weekend?

There will be three information booths available on campus at the Pilot House, Bauccio Commons, and Chiles Center to assist with your questions and guest needs. The booths will be open:

  • Saturday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 7, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Commencement Ceremonies

Which Commencement Ceremony will I participate in?

Commencement I: Schools of Nursing, Business, and Engineering

Commencement II: College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education  

How early should graduates arrive for Commencement Ceremonies?

Commencement I begins at 10 a.m. and graduates are to be present in the Chiles Center no later than 8:30 a.m.

Commencement II begins at 3 p.m. and graduates are to be present in the Chiles Center no later than 1:30 p.m.

Students should enter the Chiles Center through the north doors, off Portsmouth Avenue.

How early should guests arrive for Commencement Ceremonies?

Guests are encouraged to be on campus at least one hour prior to the ceremony to find parking and to make their way to the Chiles Center and their seats.

Doors will open one (1) hour prior to the Ceremony starting. 

How long is the University Commencement ceremony?

Each Commencement ceremony will last approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. 

What is the schedule on Commencement day?

Please refer to the Schedule for detailed information about the schedule of events.

Can I sit next to my friends at the Commencement Ceremony?

Graduates are seated by college/school in alphabetic order.

Marshals and Commencement staff will be available in your designated assembly area to assist with lining up and answer any questions.

Can guests who are not able to attend Commencement watch online?

Yes – you can watch a live stream of both Commencement Ceremonies.

Please visit our Live Stream page for more information. 

What time should my family/friends make lunch/dinner reservations before/after Commencement ceremonies?

Commencement will last approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. 

Graduates often take photos and walk around campus for 60 - 90 minutes following the ceremony.

Also consider increased travel times to/from campus due to heavy traffic as well as additional time needed to find parking.


Cap and Gown / Announcements

Where can I order/purchase announcements?

Personalized graduation announcements, may be ordered through Jostens.

Jostens will be at the Grad Fair on February 7 to answer questions and take orders. 

How do I specify that I graduated with honors in my announcements?

When placing your announcements order through Jostens, there will be a dropdown menu to add a line for your level of honors.

Honors are based on your overall grade point average. University honors is designated as: 3.5 minimum GPA is cum laude; 3.7 minimum GPA is magna cum laude; 3.9 and higher GPA is summa cum laude. 

Where do I order my cap and gown?

Caps and gowns are ordered online through Jostens

Undergraduate and graduate students need to place their online order by Wednesday, March 22. Cap and gowns are free for students as long as you order by Wednesday, March 22. A late fee of $15 will be applied to all orders after this date. 

Jostens will be at the Grad Fair on February 7 to answer questions and assist with placing your order

When can I pick up my cap and gown?

Caps and gowns will be available for pickup in the Chiles Center Hall of Fame Room on:

  • Thursday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • And, in the Jostens tent outside the Chiles Center, on the Portsmouth Avenue side of the building, one hour prior to each event that occurs in the Chiles Center on Saturday, May 6, and Sunday, May 7.

Please visit the cap and gown page for further details.

Do I need to return my cap and gown?

No, your cap and gown are yours to keep.

What color is my tassel?

Tassel colors indicate your affiliation with a college and discipline.

See Commencement Traditions for a list of tassel colors.

Before my degree is conferred or I receive my diploma, how should my tassel be worn?

Tassels are worn on the right side and shifted to the left. The shifting of the tassel will take place at the instruction of the Provost. An easy reminder: "Left is for later."

How do I get a Stole of Gratitude?

The stole is available for purchase when you pick up your regalia in the Hall of Fame. The cost of the stole is $25, cash or check only.

For more information about the Stole of Gratitude please visit the page. 

How do I know if I received honors?

Honors at graduation are determined one semester prior to graduation by computing the GPA in all courses applicable toward graduation. Transfer students who have not completed 30 semester hours in residence by one semester prior to graduation will be evaluated at the conclusion of all work. Summer semester graduates' honors are determined according to the criteria used with the previous spring semester graduates. Honors are based on the following formula: within a given college or school,

  • summa cum laude will be awarded to all students receiving a 4.00 GPA;
  • maxima cum laude to the next 3%;
  • magna cum laude to the next 7%;
  • cum laude to the next 10%.

Commencement Tickets

Are tickets needed for the Commencement ceremonies?

Yes, each graduate will receive up to seven (7) tickets to their ceremony.

All tickets are assigned on a first come, first served basis when ordered. 

Are additional tickets available for the Commencement Ceremonies?

Please complete the Additional Tickets Form to be placed on the wait list for additional tickets.

If additional tickets are available, they will be distributing starting mid-April. We will post on the Tickets page once we start distributing extra tickets.

The events office will email your tickets to you if you are granted additional tickets. You will need to print these tickets like you printed your original seven (7) tickets. 

What are Special Accommodations tickets?

There are four types of special accommodations tickets for guests at Commencement.

  1. Wheelchair-access tickets — required for a guest who will remain in their wheelchair for the duration of the ceremony. 
  2. Communication access tickets — required for a deaf or hard-of-hearing guest whose primary language is ASL and would like to be seated near an ASL interpreter.
    Please note: The ceremony will be live captioned and shown on the video board in the Chiles Center which is visible for all guests. Guests are welcome to bring their own device to view live stream and captions.
  3. Limited mobility tickets — required for a guest who can only walk up a maximum of five (5) stairs to access their seating. 
  4. Other — required for a guest who does not fall in to one of the above categories. Please share how we can best accommodate. 

Please request two tickets if you would like the special accommodations guest to have a companion sit with them. 

Due to high demand, there is a limited supply of these types of special accommodations tickets.

Special accommodations ticketed guests and their companion will not be seated with the rest of your guests

Please fill out the form to specify which type of ticket you need so that we can ensure you have the appropriate seating

How many Special Accommodations tickets should I order?

When ordering, please include both a ticket for the special accommodations guest as well as the companion sitting next to them. Due to high demand, we are only able to accommodate one companion with your special accommodations guest.

For example, if a wheelchair-using parent will be attending the ceremony, two special accommodations tickets should be requested, one for the parent and one for the companion.

If I need Special Accommodations tickets, do I include them in my online order?

No – when placing your order for your guest tickets, do not include your special accommodations tickets.

You would then complete the Special Accommodations Form to request special accommodations tickets.  

For example, if you want a total of seven (7) tickets and two (2) are for a wheelchair-using parent and their companion, you would order five (5) tickets and then complete the Special Accommodations Form for the other two tickets. 

How can we make adjustments to the ticket request if our plans change?

The student can make adjustments to guest tickets by emailing commencement@up.edu

If I have extra tickets, what should I do?

If you have extra tickets, please email commencement@up.edu to return them to the events office.

It’s important to return any tickets you will not use, as every year we have students who would like extra tickets for their families. Please help your classmates by returning any extra tickets.

Reselling tickets is not permitted. 

What if in my original order I did not order my maximum allotted 7 tickets? For example, you only needed 4 tickets when you placed your original order but now you need 3 more tickets?

There is only one online order per student. If you did not request your seven (7) allotted tickets in your first order, please email commencement@up.edu with your first and last name, student ID number, which Commencement you are attending and how many tickets you still need.

Where and when can I pick up my tickets?

All tickets will be emailed to the student’s email to be printed at home on April 21, 2017.

If you cannot print your tickets, please email the events office at commencement@up.edu

If I should have a ticket question or concern, who should I contact?

Please email commencement@up.edu and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

We ask that you email instead of calling so that we can establish a paper trail.

On Sunday, May 7, 2017, the Chiles Center Box Office will be open at 8:30 a.m. to assist with any ticket issues. 

If I need help with my tickets on Sunday, May 7, what should I do?

The Chiles Center box office opens at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 7, to assist with ticketing concerns. 


Baccalaureate Mass

Are tickets needed for the Baccalaureate Mass?

All guests are welcome to Baccalaureate Mass and tickets are not required.

Do you have to be Catholic to attend the Baccalaureate Mass?

No. All guests are welcome to Baccalaureate Mass regardless of their faith background.

Should graduates wear their cap and gown for the Baccalaureate Mass?

Yes – graduates should wear their cap and gown.

How early should graduates arrive for the Baccalaureate Mass?

Students should be at the Chiles Center no later than 4:15 p.m.

Students should enter the Chiles Center through the north doors, off Portsmouth Avenue.

The Academic Procession begins promptly at 4:50 p.m. 

Can I be seated with my friends at Baccalaureate Mass?

Yes. There is no specific order for the academic procession for Baccalaureate Mass so you are welcome to sit with your friends.

When you arrive, marshals and Commencement staff will be available to assist with the procession and can answer your questions.

How early should guests arrive for the Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday?

The Chiles Center will open for guest seating at 4:15 p.m.

The Academic Procession begins at 4:50, and we ask that guests be in their seats prior to the start of the Academic Procession.

How long is Baccalaureate Mass?

The Baccalaureate Mass begins at 5 p.m. and should last approximately one hour.

What happens after Baccalaureate Mass?

The University will host a reception for all graduates and their guests, as well as faculty and staff, immediately following Baccalaureate Mass on the Chiles Center Mezzanine.


On Campus Parking, Housing and Meals

Where can guests park on campus?

The majority of our parking is available in the main parking lot. There are other lots around campus that you are welcome to park in. 

There is overflow parking available on the River Campus parking lot. Please visit our transit page for directions to the River Campus parking lot. A shuttle will be available to bring you to/from the upper campus on Sunday, May 7, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Please refer to the transit and parking page

Can we stay on campus Commencement weekend?

There are a limited number of rooms in our residence halls for guests to stay in.  

For reservations or questions, please call the Office of Residence Life at 503.943.7205.

Linens are provided which includes bedding and basic towel service; you may want to bring extra towels with you.

This service is free for families of graduates. Rooms are prioritized for students currently living on campus. 

Is food available on campus?

Campus dining facilities will be open during Commencement weekend for both sit-down meals and on-the-go snacks.

Hours for the Bauccio Commons and the Pilot House will be posted in April 2017 on the Commencement website. 

Will a state issued disability hang tag be honored to allow parking on campus and in designated disabled parking areas?

State issued permits and license plates authorizing use of accessible spaces for people with disabilities are honored on campus.

Please ensure it is displayed properly.

Spaces are available on a first come, first served basis.


Disability Resources

Does everyone need a Wheelchair-Access Ticket or a Special Accommodations Ticket to sit in those areas?

Yes, guests seated in these designated accessible areas must have a special accommodations ticket.  Ushers will be available to assist guests in these areas

Where can a wheelchair be stored during the Ceremony if it is not needed?

Please see an usher once you have entered the Chiles Center and they will assist with storing your item.

Please consider marking such items with the name of the guest for easier recovery at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Please note: This storage area is not attended.

How can someone sit with a guest who is in a wheelchair?

Within the wheelchair-access seating areas extra folding chairs are available for companion seating.

Please note that a wheelchair-access ticket is needed to sit in these folding chairs

Ushers will be available to assist guests with elevators, ramps, or stairs. 

What if I have a guest who is hard of hearing or deaf?

Please fill out the Special Accommodations form so that we can assign proper seating for you.

One special accommodation area is positioned for maximum viewing of an ASL interpreter to assist hearing impaired guests. 

The ceremony will be live captioned and shown on the video board and live stream. Guests are welcome to bring their own devices to view live stream captions.

What are the special needs accommodations for the Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday evening?

Tickets are not required for the Baccalaureate Mass, but the immense popularity of the event makes arriving early a good idea.

Please see an usher upon arrival and they will help you find seating that accommodates your special accommodation.

Please contact the events office at commencement@up.edu by April 14, 2017 if you require an ASL interpreter for Baccalaureate Mass.

What if I have guests who are unable to walk across campus?

There are a limited number of wheelchairs available for checkout on Commencement Day.

Wheelchairs will be free of charge, and available for check-out at the Guest Services tent in front of the Chiles Center.

You will be required to leave your driver’s license to check out a wheel chair.

We ask you return the wheel chair within one hour of checking it out so that other guests may use them.

What is the best location to drop off guests with limited mobility?

To get closest to the Chiles Center please go to the main parking lot. At the end of the main parking lot, next to the baseball field along the curb is the best location to drop off your guests. 

Will a state issued disability hang tag be honored to allow parking on campus and in designated disabled parking areas?

State issued permits and license plates authorizing use of accessible spaces for people with disabilities are honored on campus.

Please ensure it is displayed properly.

Spaces are available on a first come, first served basis.

What if I have questions or need assistance while on campus?

Throughout Commencement weekend, there will be three information booths setup around campus to assist with questions or any guest needs. These booths will be open on Saturday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, May 7, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You are also welcome to call the University events office at 503.943.7523 or email commencement@up.edu and we would be happy to assist you with your questions. 

If you cannot reach the events office and have an immediate need, please call public safety at 503.943.7161. Public Safety is open 24/7/365. 

Contact

University of Portland
5000 N. Willamette Blvd.,
Portland, Oregon 97203-5798

503.943.8000

webmaster@up.edu