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Graduate Commencement


Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 10 a.m.
in the Retriever Activities Center

(Procession begins promptly at 9:40 a.m.)

Frequently Asked Questions

The Day of the Ceremony

Academic Regalia for Graduate Students
Alumni Association
Application for Graduation
Bookstore Graduation Center
Campus Map
Career Services Center
Change of Address
Class Rings
Commemorative Video
Hotel Accommodations
Inclement Weather
Special Accommodations Seating for Guests
For More Information


How many tickets will I receive?
How long does the ceremony usually last?
Where and what time should I arrive?
Do I need to wear a cap and gown?
Is there a graduation rehearsal?
Where should I have my guests park?
How do I request special seating for a guest in a wheelchair or with other special needs?
Is there a snow date?
When do I receive my diploma?
How do I join the Alumni Association?


UMBC’s Winter Commencement will be held on Thursday, December 18, 2008 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: Please 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 the Math/Psych building by 9 a.m. Come to the graduate student assembly area to check in and obtain your floor pass. No one will be allowed to participate in the ceremony without a floor pass, so please keep it with you at all times and remember to bring it on stage. If you have been certified for graduation, the floor pass will be pre-printed with your name (and your mentor's name, for Ph.D. candidates). Graduates will line up alphabetically within each degree category and program discipline. Ph.D. candidates will march in with and will be seated with their mentors.

The procession will begin promptly at 9:40 a.m., at which time the candidates and Ph.D. mentors will lead the platform party and faculty and staff processions into the arena. The order of procession is: Ph.D. candidates with mentors, then master’s degree candidates. Ph.D. candidates and their mentors will be grouped by graduate program. The Ph.D. candidates will march in with their mentors and be seated with them. Master’s degree candidates will 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 floor pass with you because you will hand it to the reader before you walk across the stage. (Please 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 step down to 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.

After handing their floor pass to the commencement volunteer, students receiving their master’s degree will walk to the center of the stage where President Hrabowski, Provost Hirshman and Interim Vice Provost 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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Academic RegaliA FOR Graduate School STUDENTS

All graduate students participating in the Commencement ceremony MUST wear a cap and gown of the appropriate color and style that may only 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, as it has been included in the graduation fee.

The dates for ordering regalia at the Bookstore Graduation Center are Monday, October 6 and Tuesday, October 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesday, October 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.   Regalia can also be purchased online through Friday, October 17.  (The Web site will not operate after this date.)  Beginning October 13, 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 1 through Wednesday, December 3, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Bookstore will not be responsible for regalia or tickets unclaimed by Tuesday, December 9, the last day of classes.

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 your 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

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. The hood is yours to keep, but the rest of your regalia must be returned to the Bookstore Graduation Center immediately following the ceremony.

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As a graduate of UMBC, you are automatically a member of the UMBC Alumni Association. There are no dues or fees. We hope you’ll stay connected with your alumni friends, classmates and University associates by taking advantage of the many events, programs and services offered by the Association and the Chapter of Young Alumni. Be sure to check out all of the special Alumni benefits that you’re eligible for – everything from great rates on consumer services to short-term healthcare coverage – by visiting the Alumni Association Web site and online directory, Retriever Net, at

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The deadline for graduate students to apply for December 2008 graduation has passed. (It was September 11.) The deadline for the May 2009 Graduate School Commencement is February 9, 2009. Applications can be obtained from the Graduate School's Web site at There is a $110 application fee for master’s candidates, $150 for Ph.D. graduates and an additional $5 renewal fee to update the application. 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 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 to 4 p.m. The Bookstore telephone number is 410-455-3807.

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A campus map and directions to UMBC are available online.

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Career Services Center

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 also 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 email 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 your mailing address after December 18 will be different from the one listed on your 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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Class Rings

You may order your class ring from the Herff Jones Company for discounts that range from $50 to $150. Company sales representatives will be on campus at the Bookstore on December 1 through 3 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. A $25 deposit is required at time of order.

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Commemorative video

This is the day you’ve dreamed of, worked toward and eagerly anticipated. Now, you can revisit the memories of your 2008 commencement anytime you’d like and share the memories with those closest to you. To purchase a VHS or DVD copy of the graduation ceremony, please click here to order online from VPC, Inc. The deadline to order a copy of the ceremony will be January 25, 2009. If you have questions, please contact VPC, Inc. at 410-526-9100 x307. Order forms are available at the Bookstore and will be available at Commencement.

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Doctoral students not participating in the ceremony may pick up their diplomas in the Graduate School beginning on December 18. Master's degree diplomas will be available at the Graduate School, on the second floor of the Administration building, after January 19, 2009. Master's students wishing to have diplomas mailed should contact Linda Thomas at 410-455-2440 or Doctoral students should contact Kathy Miller at 410-455-3269 or

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The front doors of the RAC will open at 9 a.m. All guests entering the Arena must show their general admission tickets. These tickets are for unassigned open seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Commencement procession begins promptly at 9:40 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.

Guests sitting in the overflow area should go to Lecture Hall III in the Administration building, where there will be a closed-circuit broadcast of the Commencement ceremony.

Please allow adequate time to drive to campus, park and walk to the RAC Arena. Remember that rush hour traffic in the Baltimore area may be heavy, as the ceremony is being held on a weekday morning.

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

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Inclement Weather

There is no alternative date for the December 18 ceremony.

For the most reliable information during inclement weather, consult UMBC’s homepage under the “Events” or “What’s New” sections or call the Hotline Telephone Numbers at (410-455/8881/8882/8883/8884/8885).

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.

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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 on Commencement day.

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 Chappell Studios (1-800-247-3435) 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. Graduate students need to notify the Graduate School if their address will be different after December 18. 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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When you pick up your Commencement tickets from the Bookstore Graduation Center on December 1 through 3, you will be able to exchange up to two general admissions tickets for special accommodations tickets. (The second ticket will enable one family member or friend to sit with and assist the person requiring special accommodations.) Special accommodations seating includes reserved seating for people with mobility or hearing impairments.

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Guests are required to present general admission tickets for admittance into the RAC. When you pick up your regalia from the Bookstore, you will receive FOUR tickets admitting your guests to the Commencement ceremony.

If you have guests with special needs, such as hearing or mobility impairments, you will need to exchange general admission tickets for special accommodations seating tickets at this time. (See "Special Accommodations" above.) Up to two general admission tickets may be exchanged.

Students should pick up their regalia and tickets from the Bookstore Graduation Center on December 1 through 3 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Bookstore Graduation Center will not be responsible for regalia and tickets unclaimed by Tuesday, December 9, the last day of classes.

In addition to the ticketed seating in the RAC Arena, overflow seating will be available in Lecture Hall III, located in the Administration Building, with a closed-circuit broadcast of the Commencement ceremony. Tickets will not be required at this location. When you pick up your regalia and tickets at the Bookstore Graduation Center, please also indicate the number of additional guests (if any) who may need seating in this area. We will use this information to plan for seating

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For more information, contact Laura Arnwine in the Office of Institutional Advancement at 410-455-5897 or at

Provost's Office: 410-455-2333
Bookstore Graduation Center: 410-455-3807
Registrar's Office: 410-455-3158
Graduate School: 410-455-2440 or 410-455-3269

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