Commencement Ceremonies


Happy Grads

Rehearsal is on Friday, June 13, 2014, at 9:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. We will meet in the lobby of the Student Recreation Center. You will pick up your tickets, go through the entire process of lining up, walking on stage to receive your diploma to leaving the stage in Prosper Hall. Rehearsal ensures that you are with fellow graduates from your major and are lined up properly. It is important that you stay in order or you may be given the wrong recognition.

You are invited to a BBQ for graduates, family and friends and SWOCC staff in the Henry Hansen Union Square sponsored by the Laker Club, Southwestern’s Alumni Association.  


Graduates should arrive by 5:30 p.m. to ensure that you are ready for the ceremony at 7:00 p.m. You will meet in the gymnasium of the Student Recreation Center, to line up and prepare to enter the auditorium. You will be walking with graduates of the same degree, so it is important to be in the proper order.

Explanation of Faculty Academic Robes

There is an Inter-Collegiate code which sets out a detailed uniform scheme of academic dress, but not all colleges follow it. Doctoral robes are typically black, although some schools use robes in the school's colors. In general, doctoral gowns are similar to the gowns worn by master's graduates, with the addition of velvet stripes across the sleeves and running down the front of the gown, tinted with the disciplinary color for the degree received. The robes have full sleeves trimmed with bands of velvet instead of the bell sleeves of the master's gown. Some gowns open more at the front to display a tie or cravat while others take an almost cape-like form.

In the US, academic dress is rarely worn outside commencement ceremonies. In many American schools, the color of the hood represents the school or department that the wearer is graduating from. A number of other items, cords or sashes, may be also seen worn, representing various academic achievements.

The tassel worn on the mortarboard may indicate the university's colors, or the colors of the specific college or discipline from which the student is graduating.

The colors allocated to the various academic disciplines have been largely standardized, and are:


The tassel is initially worn on the right side of the graduation cap. Once the student has officially graduated the tassel is moved to the left side.  This designation is for Associate and Bachelor degrees.  The process is reversed for Master and Doctorate degrees.

Explanation of Honors

Phi Theta Kappa is an international honors society. Check out PTK's website.

Graduating with Honors – Students must meet the criteria for graduation and have a 3.75 cumulative GPA. Cumulative GPA includes all transfer credits from other colleges. All coursework from other colleges is included in the cumulative GPA, regardless of applicability to current coursework.

Honors in English – Students who have completed 15 credits of transfer classes at Southwestern with a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better are eligible to enter the Honors in English program. This program encourages exceptional achievement in reading, literature and writing. Completion of the program will be recognized at commencement and on the transcript with the designation “Honors in English”.