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Undergraduate Commencement


Friday, May 18, 2012 at 10 a.m.
in the Retriever Activities Center (RAC)
(Procession begins at 9:50 a.m.)

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


The Commencement ceremony lasts approximately 90 minutes. Out of courtesy and respect for your fellow graduates, do not leave early. Graduates are expected to remain for the entire program. Smoking is not permitted inside the RAC.

There is no Commencement rehearsal. Instructions for line-up, procession and the awarding of degrees should be followed carefully. Graduates should leave all valuables at home, or with a friend or family member. There will be no secured room for personal belongings, such as coats, cameras, purses or book bags.

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Students receiving master’s and Ph.D. degrees should come to the lower level (basement) of Sondheim Hall by 9:15 a.m. Report to the graduate student assembly area to check in and receive 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 is pre-printed with your name (and your mentor’s name for Ph.D. and M.F.A. candidates).

The procession will begin promptly at 9:50 a.m., at which time the candidates and Ph.D. and M.F.A. 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. and M.F.A. 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. and M.F.A. 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 as these items will be confiscated.

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

Master’s degree candidates will hand their name card to the commencement volunteer and walk to the center of the stage where President Hrabowski, Interim Provost Rous 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 across the platform and return to their seats on the arena floor.

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Everyone who participates in the Commencement ceremony MUST wear the academic regalia of the appropriate color and style that can only be ordered from the UMBC Bookstore Graduation Center. Candidates are prohibited from wearing a borrowed cap or gown from an alumnus/a or another student – no exceptions.

The dates for ordering regalia at the Bookstore Graduation Center are Monday, March 12, and Tuesday, March 13, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Wednesday, March 14, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Regalia can also be ordered online through Wednesday, March 21. (The Web site will not operate after this date.)  The cost of graduate regalia is $78.99 for master’s students and $123.99 for doctoral students. Beginning March 15, candidates who order regalia will be assessed a $25 late fee. All forms of payment usually accepted in the Bookstore are allowed.

Students who ordered their regalia before or on March 21 can pick up their regalia in the Bookstore Graduation Center on Monday, April 30, and Tuesday, May 1, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Wednesday, May 2, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Students who ordered their regalia after March 21 can pick up their regalia on Tuesday, May 1, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Wednesday, May 2, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. The Bookstore will not be responsible for regalia unclaimed by Friday, May 11, the last day of classes. During these 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 Fine Arts (M.F.A) – brown velvet brand
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 UMBC Magazine and 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. Congratulations on graduating, and welcome to the Alumni Association!

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The deadline for graduate students to apply for May 2012 graduation has passed (it was February 12). The deadline for the August 2012 Graduate School Commencement is June 14, 2012. 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 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 primary source 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 212) 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, employer networking events, 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 find employment or to assist with the graduate school application process. 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 May 20 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 March 12 - 14 and April 30 - May 2.

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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 May 18, 2012.  Diplomas for master’s degree candidates will be mailed to the address provided on the application for diploma approximately 6 weeks after commencement. 

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 spring Commencement ceremonies. 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.

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A list of nearby hotels is available online.

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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 or in fire lanes.

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On Monday, April 30 through Wednesday, May 2, a professional photographer from Graduation Images will be available to take formal portraits of graduation candidates in their regalia. There is no obligation to purchase photos.

Graduation Images will also photograph each graduate during the ceremony. You will receive color proofs by mail approximately two weeks after Commencement. If you wish to purchase prints, you may do so, but there is no obligation.

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.  No guests will be allowed down on the Retriever Activities Center floor.

Please make sure that the Graduate School has your correct mailing address. Graduation Images’ contact information is 800-424-3686 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, May 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. Please contact Lisa Morgan at 410-455-8142 if you require further information.

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Tickets are not required for general seating.

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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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UMBC is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Institution