Ceremony Details

Please Note: Applying to Graduate is a separate process from registering for the ceremony. Registration is required for participation in the commencement ceremony. Early registration is conducted through the Herff Jones regalia rental website and will open in March 2023.

What to Expect

CU Denver's commencement is an all-campus ceremony during which we recognize all doctoral, educational specialist, master's and bachelor's degree recipients. Below is a quick overview of what to expect on the morning of commencement. Please note that there is no rehearsal for the ceremony.

Check In

Graduates arrive at the PE Event Center on the Auraria Campus, no later than 7:45 a.m. We know this is early, but it takes some time to check in over 1,200 graduates. Come dressed in your regalia. Undergraduates wear tassels on the right side of the cap until instructed to move it to the left side. Master's degree candidates wear their hoods. Doctoral candidates drape hoods over their left arm until hooded in the ceremony.

Find Your School/College

Bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates should locate the flag with your school/college's name on it and check in. If you didn’t bring your reader card (the card is what you present to have your name read as you cross the stage) that was included in your regalia packet, your school/college will have extras for you to fill out. Doctoral students check in at the Doctoral Candidates table. All other students should check in with their respective school or college. If you don't know which school/college your major falls under, you must find out before you register for the ceremony. Seven schools and colleges comprise the University of Colorado Denver. If you are interested in purchasing professional photographs, confirm that your contact information is correct on the back side of the reader card.

Line Up

At 8:30 a.m., all graduates will be directed to return to the PE Event Center and begin lining up for the procession. Follow the instructions provided by the faculty marshals. Each school/college lines up on two colored lines taped to the floor (red/yellow or green/blue). The colors determine down which aisle you will process and ultimately in which section you are seated. Please note that you are lined up two-abreast on each line and you will be seated with the classmates in your own line. If you and your friends are standing on different colors, you will be seated in different sections. We do not line up graduates in alphabetical order since the reader card is what you use to have your name announced. Don't lose it!

Doctoral graduates process behind the Doctoral Candidates banner and lead all graduates onto the floor. Behind them, banners are carried by designated graduates at the front of each of the schools/colleges. Master's graduates line up behind the banners and bachelor's degree recipients line up behind master's grads.

Graduate Line-Up Diagram

Follow Faculty to Your Seat

The procession begins at 9:00 a.m. sharp. Follow the colored lines until directed down one of four aisles toward the graduate seating. Upon reaching your seating row, faculty marshals will direct you into your seats. Please fill every seat in the row. You will remain standing until the commencement marshal invites you to sit.

The following items are prohibited in on the lawn: alcohol, illegal drugs, artificial noise makers, banners, large signs, bottles, cans, coolers, fireworks, helium balloons, aerosol cans, defensive weapons, and pets (service animals are permitted, please contact the Commencement Office).

Cross the Stage

Degrees are conferred in the following order: Doctoral and Educational Specialist degrees, master's degrees and then bachelor's degrees for each college and school. The doctoral graduates are called to the stage, followed by Educational Specialists. Then each college or school will have their master’s degree graduates followed by their bachelor’s degree graduate whom are directed to both sides of the stage. Names are read alternately from each podium as printed on your reader card. Photos are taken by professional photographers at the bottom of each ramp and as you receive your diploma cover and shake the CU Denver Chancellor's or CU System President's hand. You will reach out with your left hand to accept the diploma cover from the Chancellor or President and shake hands with your right hand (if shaking hands with a male is not culturally acceptable, you may simply accept the diploma cover from the President with your left hand).

For safety and consideration for the significance of the ceremony, graduates with children are not allowed to bring their child to the stage with them.

Return to Your Seat

After crossing the stage, you exit down the stairs and return to the same seat. You'll be excited, so a faculty marshal will be there to help you find it again. As a courtesy to your fellow graduates, nobody is permitted to leave until the ceremony has concluded.

Proceed off the Lawn

At the end of the ceremony, graduates recess off the lawn in order that they processed in - first in, first out. Gowns and hoods (if applicable) are returned upon the conclusion of the ceremony in front of the PE Event Center. Caps and tassels are yours to keep!