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Undergraduate Commencement


Tuesday, December 22, 2009, at 10 a.m.
in the Retriever Activities Center

(Procession begins promptly at 9:50 a.m.)

Academic Regalia (Graduate Candidates)
Alumni Association
Application for Graduation
Bookstore Graduation Center
Campus Map
Career Services Center
Change of Address
Class Rings
Hotel Accommodations
Inclement Weather
Line-Up Instructions for Students
Special Accommodations Seating for Guests
For More Information


UMBC’s Winter Graduate School Commencement will be held Tuesday, December 22, 2009, at 10 a.m., in the Retriever Activities Center (RAC) Arena.

Out of courtesy to your fellow graduates, you are expected to arrive on time and stay for the entire program, which will last approximately 90 minutes.

There is no Commencement rehearsal. Instructions for line-up, marching and the awarding of degrees should be followed carefully on the day of the ceremony.

Important Note: Leave all valuables at home or with a friend or family member when you arrive at the RAC. There will be no secured area for personal belongings, such as coats, cameras, purses or book bags. Smoking is not permitted inside the RAC.

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Students receiving master's and Ph.D. degrees should report to the lower level (basement) of Sondheim Hall by 9:15 a.m. Report to the graduate student assembly area to check in and obtain your name card. No one will be allowed to participate in the ceremony without a name card, so please keep it with you at all times and remember to bring it on stage. If you have been certified for graduation, the name card will be pre-printed with your name (and your mentor's name, for Ph.D. candidates).

The procession will begin promptly at 9:50 a.m., at which time the candidates and Ph.D. mentors will lead the platform party and faculty and staff processions into the arena. Ph.D. candidates and their mentors will be grouped by graduate program. The Ph.D. candidates will march in first with their mentors and be seated with them. Master’s degree candidates will then be lined up alphabetically within each degree category and program discipline.

When it is time to receive the degrees, a commencement staff volunteer will escort each row of candidates and the mentors of the Ph.D. graduates to the ramp that will be used to walk onto the stage. Be sure to bring your name card with you because you will hand it to the reader before you walk across the stage. (Do not bring flags, signs or other visible distractions on the stage. These items will be confiscated.)

Ph.D. candidates and their mentors will walk to center stage where Provost Hirshman will be standing. To be hooded, the Ph.D. candidates will continue along the lower platform and the mentors will stand opposite of Provost Hirshman. After receiving their hoods and degrees, the Ph.D. candidates and their mentors should walk towards President Hrabowski and other guests on the stage to receive a congratulatory handshake.

Master’s degree candidates will hand their name card to the commencement volunteer, walk to the center of the stage where President Hrabowski, Provost Hirshman and Dean of the Graduate School Rutledge will be standing with other guests to congratulate them with a handshake.

After receiving their acknowledgement, all candidates should proceed down the center stairs and return to their seats on the arena floor.

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All graduate students participating in the Commencement ceremony MUST wear the academic regalia of the appropriate color and style that must be obtained from the UMBC Bookstore Graduation Center. Candidates participating in the ceremony are prohibited from wearing a borrowed cap or gown from an alumnus/a or another student. NO EXCEPTIONS. Note: There is no additional fee to the students for master’s and Ph.D. regalia.

The dates for ordering regalia at the Bookstore Graduation Center are Monday, October 5, and Tuesday, October 6, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Wednesday, October 7, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Regalia can also be ordered online through Friday, October 16. (The Web site will not operate after this date.)  Beginning October 9, candidates who order regalia will be assessed a $20 late fee. All forms of payment usually accepted in the Bookstore are allowed. 

Regalia must be picked up in the Bookstore Graduation Center on Monday, December 7, and Tuesday, December 8, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Wednesday, December 9, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. The Bookstore will not be responsible for regalia unclaimed by Monday, December 14, the last day of classes. During the Bookstore Graduation Center hours, a professional photographer from Graduation Images will be available for formal portraits of candidates in their regalia. There is no purchase obligation.

Tassels are worn on the left side of the mortarboard. The cap should be worn so that the mortarboard is level. It should not be tilted to the back or side of the head. The crown should be approximately one inch above the eyebrows. The front of the cap is indicated on the inside of the crown. Men remove their caps during the playing of the National Anthem.

Students earning master’s degrees wear hoods marked with bands of color indicating the degree earned. Master’s candidates wear their caps, gowns and hoods in the procession. Master’s hoods, along with the rest of their regalia, must be returned to the Bookstore immediately following the ceremony.

Master of Arts (M.A.) – white velvet band
Master of Science (M.S.) – gold velvet band
Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) – dark blue velvet band
Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) – gold velvet band

The doctoral degree awarded by the Graduate School is the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), signified by a dark blue velvet band on the hood. Ph.D. candidates wear their caps and gowns in the procession and carry their hoods on the left arm, with the velvet band at the wrist. Ph.D. hoods, along with the rest of their regalia, must be returned to the Bookstore immediately following the ceremony.

If regalia is not returned immediately following the ceremony, the graduate will be charged the full cost of the regalia.

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As a graduate of UMBC, you are automatically a member of the Alumni Association. There are no dues or fees. We hope you will stay connected with your alumni friends, classmates and University associates through the many events, programs and services offered, especially through C-YA, our Chapter of Young Alumni. Stay informed of alumni activities and news by reading our monthly e-mail newsletter or by visiting Retriever Net, our alumni online community, at Once online, you may update your mailing address and check all the special alumni advantages you’re eligible for – from great rates on consumer services to short-term health care coverage. You can also sign up for e-mail forwarding with a special UMBC alumni e-mail address!

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The deadline for graduate students to apply for December 2009 graduation has passed (it was September 15). The deadline for the May 2010 Graduate School Commencement is February 10, 2010. Applications can be obtained from the Graduate School's Web site at

For more information, contact Linda Thomas at 410-455-2440 or Kathy Miller at 410-455-3269.

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In addition to ordering academic regalia through the Bookstore, you can purchase standard (non-personalized) graduation announcements and order diploma frames, featuring a mat border with the seal of the University.

The Bookstore is open Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. The Bookstore telephone number is 410-455-3807.  Please visit the UMBC Bookstore Web site at

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A campus map and directions to UMBC are available online.

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Career Services is your "one-stop" avenue for exploring career options, sharpening your job search strategy and connecting with employers from all over the country that want to hire UMBC talent! Visit the Career Services Center (Math/Psych building, Room 204) and meet one-on-one with a career specialist who will help you clarify your motivated strengths and career objective, as well as plan a targeted job search. Walk-in sessions are available from 2 to 4 p.m. every Monday through Friday for quick questions and resume critiques. The Career Services Center also affords you the opportunity to interview and meet with employers through job fairs, on-campus interviews and a multitude of job listings that are accessible through UMBCworks.

The Career Services Center collects information on what UMBC students do with their degrees via the annual Graduating Student Report. Graduating students are asked to complete the short survey via e-mail or at cap and gown pick-up. Information collected allows the campus to compile relevant and recent data about employment offers, graduate/professional school acceptances and salary averages to share with faculty, employers and perhaps most importantly, current and future UMBC students. Check out for a comprehensive view of programs, events and opportunities to create career satisfaction. For more information, e-mail or call 410-455-2216.

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Graduate students should contact the Graduate School if their mailing address after December 22 will be different from the one listed on their application for graduation. Master's students should contact Linda Thomas at 410-455-2440 or Doctoral students should contact Kathy Miller at 410-455-3269 or

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Order from the Herff Jones Company or Balfour. Sales representatives from Herff Jones will be on campus at the Bookstore on October 5 - 7 and December 7 - 9.

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Ph.D. candidates will receive their diplomas at the Commencement ceremony. Ph.D. candidates not participating in the ceremony may pick up their diplomas in the Graduate School beginning on December 22, 2009. Diplomas for master’s degree candidates will be available for pick-up in the Graduate School beginning January 25, 2010. The office is open from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

Ph.D. candidates wishing to have diplomas mailed should contact Kathy Miller at 410-455-3269 or Master’s students should contact Linda Thomas at 410-455-2440 or

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The front doors of the RAC will open at 9 a.m. Tickets are not required for the Graduate School Commencement ceremony. Seating is unassigned and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For information on special accommodations seating, see the Special Accommodations section.

The Commencement procession begins promptly at 9:50 a.m., at which time the doors to the RAC will temporarily close. In observance of the National Anthem, guests will not be seated while the anthem is performed. When the doors reopen following the singing of the National Anthem, guests will be seated as space permits.

For information on hotels near campus, click the link below.
Hotel Accommodations

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There is no alternative date for the December 22 ceremony.

For the most reliable information during inclement weather, consult UMBC’s homepage under the “Announcements” section or call the Hot line telephone number at 410-455-6789.  Students may also look for information on myUMBC.  

Although the University distributes closing information to regional news outlets, do not depend on the news media for complete, accurate and up-to-date information. Be sure to consult UMBC's homepage.

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Please allow time to park and walk to the RAC arena.

Signs will be posted on campus to assist you in locating appropriate parking lots.

General parking for graduates and their guests will be available along Hilltop Circle and in any non-gated parking lots including The Commons Garage. You will not need to pay any metered parking on campus if you elect to park at a metered parking space during the Commencement ceremony.

The top deck of the Administration Drive Garage will be reserved for handicapped parking only. All guests must display either handicapped hang tags or license plates. Permits are required for other handicapped parking spaces on campus as well.

There will be a designated drop-off area in front of the RAC on Administration Drive for those family members and guests who may not be able to walk long distances.

Commencement participants and guests are strongly encouraged to share rides to alleviate parking difficulties. Parking is not permitted at fire hydrants, in fire lanes or along yellow curbs.

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Your friends and guests are welcome to bring cameras to the ceremony; however, the use of tripods for video and camera equipment is not permitted. A professional photographer from Graduation Images will photograph each graduate during the ceremony. You will receive color proofs by mail within approximately two weeks after Commencement. If you wish to purchase prints, you may do so, but there is no obligation. Graduation Images’ contact information is 800-424-3686 or

Graduate students need to notify the Graduate School if their address will be different after December 22. Master's students should contact Linda Thomas at 410-455-2440 or Doctoral students should contact Kathy Miller at 410-455-3269 or

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If one of your guests requires special arrangements, please complete the Graduate School Special Accommodations Form and fax or mail the form to Lisa Morgan in the Graduate School (2nd Floor Administration Building; 1000 Hilltop Circle; Baltimore, MD 21250) no later than Friday, December 11. The fax number is 410-455-5932. Special accommodations may include reserved seating for mobility-impaired persons, as well as hearing-impaired services.

A drop-off point for physically challenged persons has been designated on Administration Drive, near the Administrative Drive Garage. Contact Lisa Morgan at 410-455-8142 if you require further information.

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Tickets are not required for the Graduate School Commencement ceremony.

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If you have specific questions regarding the Graduate School Commencement ceremony, contact Lisa Morgan in the Graduate School at 410-455-8142 or

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