Families & Guests

Families and guests, we congratulate you on your student's graduation from Winona State University. To help ensure your experience at WSU's commencement is a positive one, please review the information below.

New this year, the commencement ceremonies will be ticketed. Learn more about Commencement Tickets.

The ceremony is typically 60-90 minutes. Doors open one hour prior to each ceremony.

In addition to the live stream, the commencement ceremony will be broadcasted by HBC in Winona.

The ceremonies will be streamed with captions in multiple language including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish.

    The ceremony will be re-telecast at later dates. The dates and times will be posted on the WSU webpage.

    The date and time of the commencement ceremony can be found in the commencement schedule.

    The doors to McCown Gymnasium - Memorial Hall open one hour prior to the ceremony. If seating on the bleachers would be uncomfortable, guests can also view the ceremony from Integrated Wellness Complex (IWC) room 143 and the DuFresne Performing Arts Center.

    Strollers will not be allowed in McCown Gymnasium or the DuFresne Performing Arts Center Recital Hall during the commencement ceremony. IWC 145 is reserved for stroller parking. Please note that this room is not monitored.


    If a sign language interpreter is needed, the Warrior Hub should be notified at least five weeks prior to the commencement ceremony by emailing Graduation@winona.edu.

    Guests that will be using a wheelchair or crutches or have other personal needs that require accessible seating should let the Graduation Team know at least two weeks prior to the commencement ceremony by emailing Graduation@winona.edu.


    Graduates will follow the stage party and faculty once the ceremony is over. Guests are asked to wait until graduates have left the gym. Please make a plan to meet at a location away from McCown Gym. 

    Winona offers a variety of dining and lodging options. Please take some time to explore Visit Winona for more information on these options. Winona State offers on-campus housing Thursday and Friday nights of Commencement weekend in a traditional residence hall on West Campus. For more information and to reserve your room, register online with Housing and Residence Life.

    There are also dining and lodging accommodations in Rochester, MN and La Crosse, WI. Visit the Rochester and La Crosse websites for further details. 

    To respect the dignity of the ceremony and allow all guests to see their degree candidates recognized, guests are not allowed on the gym floor and are requested to remain seated. Lifetouch will photograph each candidate during the ceremony. Degree candidates will receive a proof via their WSU email account with information regarding the options to purchase portraits. Questions regarding photographs should be directed to Lifetouch.

    Lifetouch information flyer (PDF)

    Winona State University awards university cords to graduates who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement.

    High Academic Standing or Grade-Point Average Cords

    • Cum laude - Purple cords - GPA of 3.60 to 3.74
    • Magna cum laude - Silver cords - GPA of 3.75 to 3.89
    • Summa cum laude - Gold cords - GPA of 3.90 to 4.00

    Campus Organization Cords

    • Alpha Lambda Delta - All-University Honor Society - Red, white and gold cords - GPA of 3.5 or higher
    • Alpha Psi Omega - National Theatre Honor Society - Amber and sky blue cords - GPA of 2.5 or higher
    • Alpha Upsilon Alpha - International Reading Association Honor Society - Maroon and grey cords - GPA of 3.25 or higher
    • Beta Beta Beta - Biological Honor Society, Gamma Delta chapter - Red and green cords - GPA of 3.0 or higher
    • Chi Sigma Iota - International honor society for counselors - Blue and white cords - GPA of 3.5 or higher
    • Golden Key National Honor Society - Gold and blue double cords or gold medallions - GPA of 3.4 or higher
    • Kappa Delta Pi - International Honor Society in Education, Gamma Tau chapter - Purple and teal cords GPA of 3.0 or higher
    • Lambda Epsilon Chi - National Honor Society in Legal Assistant/Paralegal Studies - Purple satin sashes embroidered with gold - GPA of 3.5 or higher in paralegal courses and overall GPA of at least 3.2
    • Lambda Pi Eta - National Honor Society in Communication Studies - Red and white cords - GPA of 3.25 or higher in communication studies courses and overall GPA of at least 3.0.
    • Mu Sigma Rho - National Honor Society in Statistics - Gold and black cords - Rank in the top third of class
    • National Society of Collegiate Scholars - International Honor Society for all majors - Burgundy and gold cords - GPA of 3.4 or higher during their first and/or second year
    • Phi Alpha Theta - National Honor Society in History - Silver and red cords - At least 12 credits in history with GPA of 3.0 or higher in all history courses and overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
    • Pi Mu Epsilon - Honorary National Mathematics Society - Violet, lavender and gold cords - Indicates completion of two years of mathematics, including a full calculus sequence, with GPA of 3.0 or higher in all mathematics and statistics courses and rank in top third of class
    • Pi Sigma Alpha - National Political Science Honor Society - Red, white, black cords - GPA of 3.25 or higher in political science courses and overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
    • Sigma Theta Tau - International Honor Society of Nursing, Kappa Mu chapter - Purple cords - GPA of 3.5 or higher for graduate students and 3.2 or higher for undergraduate students

    Organization or Service Cords

    • African-American graduates wear a Kente cloth, a colorful stole dating back to 12th century royalty of the Asante people of Ghana. The Kente cloth honors those persons who represent the highest expression of esteem and dignity of African-American culture.
    • Purple, silver and white triple-braided cords are worn by graduating members of the Student Senate who have provided at least one full semester of service, are in good standing with the Senate and have the approval of the Student Senate Executive Committee.
    • Red, white and blue cords are worn by graduating students who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
    • White, light blue and aquamarine cords are worn by graduating students of the Education Minnesota Student Program (EMSP). Students wearing these cords have completed at least 35 hours of service in an advocacy group.