Important preparation and information you need to know:

Name Pronunciation 
If you think we will have difficulty pronouncing your name during the ceremony, please email Toni Rowe, executive assistant to the Provost, at with the phonetic spelling of your full name no later than April 15.

  • Dress for the weather. Our football stadium is uncovered so we strongly encourage you and your guests to dress for the elements, including choosing footwear appropriate to walk across the grass.
  • Wear a mask. Masks are required to be worn by all attendees throughout the duration of the ceremony. No one will be allowed entry without a mask.
  • Arrive one hour early for check-in. All degree candidates are asked to report to the football stadium one hour before their ceremony start time (9 a.m. for the 10 a.m. ceremony and 2 p.m. for the 3 p.m. ceremony) to officially check in and line up for the Commencement procession. There will be Faculty Marshals, Junior Marshals, and event staff to direct you, help you robe, and arrange you in line for the procession.
  • Park in the designated areas. Campus parking for Commencement is available in Lot A adjacent to the football stadium. Please refer to our campus map
  • Wear appropriate academic attire. Each student must wear a cap and gown to participate in the ceremony. MAT and MBA degree candidates wear hoods as well.
  • Don’t bring personal items. There is no place to store purses, coats, or other personal items. Leave these items with your guests.


  • Follow the order of the processional. Led by the Head Faculty Marshal and the Junior Marshals, degree candidates will process through the football stadium to their seats. Faculty will follow the graduates. When you find your seat, we ask that you please remain standing until instructed otherwise.

Commencement Exercises

  • Enjoy the ceremony. The approximate length of the ceremony is two hours. Each student will have their name called, walk across the stage, and receive a diploma cover from Dr. Eric W. Fulcomer, President of Rockford University. Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, degree candidates will not shake hands with Dr. Fulcomer this year.
  • Move your tassel. At the beginning of the ceremony, tassels are worn on the right. Upon direction from the podium, the tassel is moved to the left.

After Commencement

  • Expect your diploma in the mail. Diplomas will be mailed over the summer. Please make sure that SAS has your correct mailing address and telephone number on file by contacting 815.394.3700 or
  • Order your graduation photos. Central Valley Studios, professional photographers, will take your picture as you approach the stage and as you receive your diploma. Enclosed in this mailing is information 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.