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Commencement 2014
Rockford University Commencement
Sunday, May 18, 2014
2:00 p.m.
(procession beginning at 1:45 p.m.)
Coronado Theatre, 314 N. Main Street, Rockford, IL 61101
Please read through the page carefully and refer to the Commencement Checklist, as it is designed to provide you with final reminders to prepare you for this important event.  
All Pre-Commencement events will take place on the Rockford University campus (all graduates and families are to park in visitor lots A, B, and C; map of campus is available on the university’s website- Please note the following Pre-Commencement events and their times and locations:
Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony, 9 a.m. in the Clark Arts Center
Baccalaureate, 10 a.m. in Fisher Memorial Chapel  
The Coronado Performing Arts Center will be used for candidate line-up and the Commencement ceremony.
To be eligible to participate in the 2014 Commencement ceremony, you must meet one of the following requirements:
  • All degree requirements completed Summer 2013
  • All degree requirements completed Fall 2013
  • All degree requirements completed Spring 2014


In order to graduate, you must have completed a graduation application. Undergraduates, please call Wayne Cheng at 815.226.4072 immediately if you have not yet submitted an application or paid the application fee. All graduation applications should be complete and on file in Student Administrative Services (SAS, Blanche Walker Burpee Center, first floor).

MAT and MBA students should contact the Office of Graduate Studies at 815.226.4040 for the appropriate degree verification forms.


Academic dress is required of all graduates participating in Commencement and must be ordered by April 4, 2014. You should purchase your cap and gown through the Rockford University Bookstore. Students graduating with a bachelor’s degree wear a gown, mortar (cap), and tassel. Students graduating with a master’s degree wear a gown, academic hood reflecting area of study, mortar, and tassel. A cap and gown for a bachelor’s degree are $36.00 plus tax. A cap, gown, and hood for a master’s degree are $68.00 plus tax. Appropriate attire to be worn under your gown consists of dress slacks with a shirt and tie for men, and a dress, skirt, pants or suit for women.

If you have not already done so, please contact the Rockford University Bookstore for information and the necessary forms to order your academic dress. You may also download an order form on the University website at The bookstore is located on the first floor of the Blanche Walker Burpee Center. Please contact the Bookstore for hours at 815.226.4019.


Graduation announcements and class rings may be purchased, through Jostens, at the Rockford University Bookstore. Jostens’ products include yearbooks, class rings, graduation products, etc. For more information, call the Rockford University Bookstore at 815.226.4019 or contact Jostens directly at 800.854.7464 or

Note: The Bookstore will be holding a graduation event this year with Jostens (rings and announcements), Framing Success (diploma frames), and Central Valley Studios (graduation photos) on March 31 and April 1 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Blanche Walker Burpee Center.


Undergraduate students showing high scholastic achievement are granted a degree with honors at Commencement. Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Cum Laude honors and MacLeish Scholar honors are awarded. Honors for Commencement Day are based on final grades through Fall 2013. The specific criteria for honors are outlined in the Academic Policies and Regulations section of the 2013-2014 Academic Catalog on page 79 located at

To be considered for honors at Commencement, students must have completed at least 60 semester hours at Rockford University and must have earned a Rockford University GPA of 3.4 or higher. Honors, however, are determined by students’ cumulative GPA, i.e., the GPA earned in all course work, including all work completed at other accredited institutions of higher education. Additionally, regardless of what cumulative GPA students have attained, they may not earn a higher classification of honors than that for which their Rockford University GPA would qualify them.

Students receiving honors will be informed before the ceremony and will receive their cords when they arrive at Commencement Check-In on May 18.

Determination of final honors will include final semester grades and will appear on the transcripts.  These will be determined when all grades are submitted after the Commencement ceremony.

Honors are not awarded to graduate students. All graduate students are required to maintain honors-level GPAs throughout their academic programs. Graduate students are not allowed to wear honor cords during Commencement.


Rockford University will be honoring our veterans and active duty graduates at the ceremony. If you would like to be honored with a military cord, contact Kelley Rippentrop at 815.226.4063 or no later than Friday, April 18.


Commencement event locations are accessible for those with special needs. There is an interpreter for the hearing impaired during the ceremony. Degree candidates who have special needs should notify Teddy Phillips, Special Assistant to the President, at 815.226.3387.


Tickets are required for all guests of degree candidates for the Commencement ceremony. Each degree candidate will be allotted four tickets for family and friends. Tickets become available on March 3 and must be picked up or ordered by Friday, April 25. *If tickets are not picked up or ordered by April 25, they will be made available to other degree candidates.

There are two ways to receive Commencement tickets – through the Box Office or through a link on the home page of the Rockford University portal. To pick up your tickets in person, please visit the Box Office (located in the Clark Arts Center lobby) between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. To order your tickets online and print at home, please refer to the link on the home page of the Rockford University portal ( and follow the onscreen instructions.

If more than four tickets are needed, please ask the Box Office to add your name to a waiting list or indicate the number of additional tickets you require through the online order form. After the April 25 ticket deadline, degree candidates on the waiting list will be notified if they may receive additional tickets, as space allows. If you have tickets and do not plan to use them, we ask that you return them to the Box Office for redistribution or notify the Box Office at 815.226.4100.

Each person in attendance at the Commencement ceremony, regardless of age, must present a ticket to gain entrance. Tickets will not be available at the door of the Coronado Performing Arts Center.


An area will be reserved at the Coronado for those with special needs and two guests. Please request special needs seating when reserving your tickets in person, or call the Box Office at 815.226.4100 if you are ordering tickets online. Special needs seating areas will be clearly marked and we ask that only those with special needs with two maximum guests be seated there.


The following events will take place on Sunday, May 18, 2014:

Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony, 9:00 a.m. in the Clark Arts Center
This event is for new members of Phi Beta Kappa, their families, and invited faculty. For information about Phi Beta Kappa, a national scholastic honor society, please contact Dr. Jules Gleicher, Professor of Political Science, at 815.226.4029 or, or visit

Baccalaureate, 10:00 a.m. in Fisher Memorial Chapel

Baccalaureate is an interfaith prayer experience open to all graduates and their families. Graduates should wear their caps and gowns. The approximate length of Baccalaureate is 50 minutes. Please call 815.226.4137 or e-mail to reserve a place for you and all family members who will be joining you. This is a wonderful way to begin your special graduation day. 

Check-In and Line-Up, 1:00 p.m. Coronado Performing Arts Center, Back Door entrance (off Park Ave)
All degree candidates are asked to report to the back door entrance (off of Park Ave) of the Coronado Theatre by 1:00 p.m. to officially check in and line up for the Commencement procession. Graduates must bring only their caps and gowns and leave purses, coats and valuables with their families. Storage for personal items is not available. There will be Faculty Marshals, Junior Marshals, and event staff in the area to direct you, help you robe, and arrange you in line for marching.

Procession, 1:45 p.m. Coronado Performing Arts Center

Led by the Head Faculty Marshal and the Junior Marshals, degree candidates will process through the corridors and theatre lobby. Faculty will follow the graduates in the procession. The Platform Party, led by their marshal, will complete the procession. When you find your seat, we ask that you please remain standing until instructed otherwise.

Commencement Exercises, 2:00 p.m. Coronado Performing Arts Center

The approximate length of the ceremony is two hours. This time-honored traditional event marks an end to many years of study on your part. Each student will have his/her name called, will walk across the stage, receive his/her diploma cover and shake hands with Dr. Robert L. Head, President of Rockford University. In addition to the conferral of degrees, the ceremony will include presentation of the senior class gift, and the Commencement address.

We ask that all families and friends of the degree candidates remain in the theatre throughout the entire ceremony – including the recession.

There will be a light reception to follow in the lobby of the Coronado Performing Arts Center.


In order to accommodate your out-of-town guests, family, and friends unable to attend the ceremony, you may direct them to view the ceremony live on our website at


All graduates and their families are to park in visitor lots A, B and C on campus for the Pre- Commencement events. Other parking lots on campus will be reserved for faculty, event staff, etc. To view a campus parking map, please visit Coronado parking for Commencement is available in the parking ramp on Main Street. Ramp parking is complimentary. A map of the downtown area will be provided in the April mailing.


Central Valley Studios, professional photographers, will take your picture as you approach the stage and as you receive your diploma. You will receive information by mail from Central Valley Studios approximately three weeks prior to Commencement about the opportunity to purchase pictures. There is no charge to have your picture taken. Central Valley Studios will mail you a selection of proofs and information about purchasing photos.

Family members and friends are welcome to take pictures during the ceremony. We ask that as they position themselves to take photos of this very important event, they are mindful of those seated around them.


Please make sure the SAS Office (first floor, Blanche Walker Burpee Center) has correct and updated information (both mailing address and telephone number) for contacting you after graduation. Diplomas will be mailed to you during the summer months. If there is a question about the status of your account, please contact the SAS office at 815.226.4062 by 4:00 p.m., Friday, May 16. It is your responsibility to ensure that your account with the University is up-to-date prior to Commencement.
If you are unable to attend Commencement, you must notify the SAS Office in writing to 5050 East State Street, Rockford, IL 61108 or fax at 815.394.5174. Include your name, written signature and preferred mailing address, so we can mail you your diploma after Commencement.

You will receive a letter in April with final reminders and information for Commencement weekend. 

Should you have any questions, please contact:

General questions – visit
Graduation Status – undergraduate students – please contact Wayne Cheng at 815.226.4072
Graduation Status – graduate students – please contact the Office of Graduate Studies at 815.226.4040
Student account questions – please contact SAS at 815.226.4062
Pre-Commencement & Commencement questions – please contact Teddy Phillips at 815.226.3387 or email


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