Families & Guests

Even as your student went on their journey at WSU, you were there too– supporting them, giving them strength and sharing their joy along the way.

Now it's time to celebrate and show your graduate how proud you are of their accomplishments.

What to Expect

The ceremony is typically 60-90 minutes. Doors open 30 minutes prior to each ceremony.

Masks are required for all students, staff, and visitors on-campus per the WSU COVID response measures.

Tickets for Guests

Due to limited seating available on campus, there is a ticketing system.

Each participating student will receive 4 tickets for the in-person ceremony held in the McCown Gymnasium.

Tickets are free, but all guests must present a ticket to be admitted to the McCown Gym.

Additional guests can attend a live stream viewing of the ceremony in the Harriet Johnson Auditorium in Somsen Hall and in the Vivian Fusillo Theatre in the DuFrense Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are not required for guests to be admitted to the auditorium.

International students can also learn more about getting a visitor visa for family members.


The McCown Gym has bleacher seating for guests. The Harriet Johnson Auditorium has theater-style seating with wooden chairs.

Strollers are not allowed in either location during the commencement ceremony.

IWC 145 is reserved for stroller parking. However, this room is not monitored.

Accessibility Accommodations

A portion of seating will be reserved to accommodate for persons with limited accessibility.

Please advise ticket agents of your accessibility needs, and you will be directed to the area of the venue that suits your needs.

If a sign language interpreter is needed, please notify graduation@winona.edu at least six weeks in advance.


To respect the dignity of the ceremony, guests are not allowed on the gym floor.

Please remain seated during the ceremony so that everyone can see their degree candidates recognized.

A professional photographer will photograph each candidate during the ceremony.

Graduating students will be notified via their WSU email account that their photos are ready and available for purchase.

If you have questions about photo packages, contact graduation@winona.edu.

Televised Ceremony

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

The ceremony will be re-telecast at later dates that are yet to be determined.

After the Ceremony

Graduates will follow the stage party out of McCown Gym to the Johnson Street turnaround to ring the WSU Commencement bell once the ceremony is over.

Guests are asked to wait to exit the gym and auditorium until the graduates are outside.

Please make a plan to meet at a location away from McCown Gym and the bell.

Keep the Celebration Going

Winona offers a variety of dining and lodging options. Please take some time to explore Visit Winona for more information on these options.

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