Commencement Rehearsal Information


Attendance at rehearsal is not mandatory, but is highly recommended.

There are no finals scheduled from 10am - 1pm to allow for rehearsal time.

Line-up and Processional


Plan to check in no later than 45 minutes before your ceremony begins. In spring, the check-in tables will be outside the Memorial Hall doors facing Sanborn (8th) Street.

In case of inclement weather in spring and in the fall, check-in is in the lobby of the Harriet Johnson Auditorium on the second floor of Somsen Hall.

Check-in staff will give you your name card and direct you to your row for line-up.

If your name is difficult to pronounce, you may write it phonetically on your name card. This is the card your name is read from when you cross the stage. 

In the spring, the processional will begin approximately twenty minutes before the ceremony. The graduates will join the President’s party, proceed toward the Science Lab Center, then the Gazebo, and finally to McCown.

In the fall, the processional will begin approximately twenty minutes before the ceremony.

You will join the stage party and process to McCown through the Somsen and Memorial hallways. The row ushers will direct you to the correct row.

Do not leave empty seats between graduates and remain standing until after the national anthem is sung.

Conferring of Degrees


At the correct time in the ceremony, the Provost will ask each group of graduates, by degree type, to rise.

President Olson will confer your degree, and then you may be seated. 

Doctoral Hooding Ceremony & Diploma


You will not need a name card; your dean will read your name and project title. When the Provost asks for the DNP candidates to come forward, the row usher will guide one row at a time to stand in unison with your hood draped over your right arm.

You will proceed to the left to the stage, pause for a photo, after which your faculty advisor will join you, unless she is already on the stage. Go across the stage immediately and as you reach the Dean of Graduate Studies, turn to face the audience.

The Dean and your advisor will place your hood over your head and hand you your diploma. Take the diploma cover with your left hand and shake with your right hand.

Keep your diploma cover in your left hand with the writing up, proceed down the ramp and shake hands with the President.

Candid photos will be taken as you receive your diploma and shake the President’s hand. Do not pose for the photos.

You will then shake hands with the MN State Trustee, receive your Alumni pin and return to your seat. You may be seated as soon as you reach your seat. 

Master's Hooding Ceremony & Diploma


When the Provost asks for the Master’s candidates to come forward, the row usher will guide one row at a time to stand in unison.

Have your hood draped over your right arm and your name card in your hand. You will proceed to the left, pause for a photo, proceed up the ramp, hand your card to the name reader, and immediately cross to the middle of the stage to your dean.

Your dean will hood you and hand you your diploma. Take the diploma cover with your left hand and shake with your right hand.

Keep your diploma cover in your left hand with the writing up, proceed down the ramp and shake hands with the President.

Candid photos will be taken as you receive your diploma and shake the President’s hand. You do not need to pose for the photos.

You will then shake hands with the MN State Trustee, receive your Alumni pin and return to your seat. You may be seated as soon as you reach your seat. 

Awarding of Undergraduate Diploma


When the Provost asks for the undergraduate candidates of your college to come forward, the row usher will guide one row at a time to stand in unison. Take your name card with you!

You will proceed to the left, pause for a photo, proceed up the ramp, hand your card to the name reader, and immediately cross to the middle of the stage to your dean.

Take the diploma cover with your left hand and shake with your right hand.

Keep your diploma cover in your left hand with the writing up, proceed down the ramp and shake hands with the President.

Candid photos will be taken as you receive your diploma and shake the President’s hand. Do not pose for the photos.

You will then shake hands with the MN State Trustee, receive your Alumni pin and return to your seat. You may be seated as soon as you reach your seat. 

Recessional


When the ceremony has ended, you will follow the stage party and faculty out of McCown and your row usher will lead you to the Gazebo (in spring).

Make a plan to meet your guests in the courtyard, near the gazebo (in spring) or away from gym (in fall).

The gym doors will be closed immediately following the ceremony. 

Gown, Mortarboard (Cap) & Tassel

Cap, gown and tassels are available at the WSU Bookstore.

The DNP gowns are purple. The Master’s and undergrad gowns are black. There are different styles of gown for Master’s and undergraduates.

Your mortarboard is to be worn flat on top of your head (parallel to the floor and the tassel is worn over the right temple.

The tassel color is determined by your degree type:

  • Doctoral and Master’s tassels: Black
  • Bachelor of Applied Science: Gold
  • Bachelor of Arts: White
  • Bachelor of Music: Pink
  • Bachelor of Science: Gold
  • Bachelor of Science-Teaching: Light Blue
  • Bachelor of Social Work: Citron
  • Associate of Arts: Royal Blue 

Guest Tickets at Spring Ceremony Only


All guests (including those with mobility issues or young children) need a ticket to enter the gym. You should have received yours from the Warrior Hub.

Overflow viewing is available in the Performing Arts Center Main Auditorium and the Recital Hall for those without tickets or do not wish to sit on bleachers. 

Seating


Guest seating is primarily on bleachers. There is a very limited number of folding chairs on the floor of the gym.

If you have a guest who will be in a wheelchair, scooter, or cannot climb stairs, please contact the Registrar’s Office at graduation@winona.edu for reserved seating.

The maximum number of reserved seats for this section is two, each guest will need a ticket for entrance into the gym, and they should plan to arrive early. 

Strollers, Balloons, Signs & Noise-makers


These items are not allowed in the gym. Strollers should be returned to your vehicle.

Balloons, signs and noise-makers can be stored for you until after the ceremony.

Diploma


You will receive a diploma cover at Commencement.

Your actual diploma will be mailed to the home address you indicated on your graduation application.

If that address has changed, update it on the graduation application within one week after the ceremony. 

Off-campus Viewing


The ceremonies will be live-streamed on the WSU website, with closed-captioning available in five languages.

Also, HBC-Winona Channel 25 will broadcast the ceremonies live and will rebroadcast them over the weekend.

Check HBC’s schedule for times.

Questions?


 Email the Registrar’s Office at Graduation@winona.edu.