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Commencement

 

May 8, 2021

Provisional Graduates and Spring Virtual Learners:

All provisional graduates are permitted to participate in Commencement. Graduates who were approved to learn remotely during the spring semester also are permitted to participate in Commencement.

Event Outline:

Baccalaureate (Friday, May 7), 6:30 PM

 Watch Baccalaureate Service

Commencement (Saturday, May 8)

Outside Location: South Lawn of Old Main and Weisel Senior Terrace

Inside location for inclement weather: Will W. Orr Auditorium

Ceremonies

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM (seating begins at 8:30 AM)

Schools of:

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Music

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM (seating begins at 11:00 AM)

Schools of:

  • Life & Health Sciences
  • Physical & Mathematical Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Graduate School
  • Individual Interdisciplinary Majors

You must plan to attend the ceremony for your school as your name will be read only in that ceremony, and seats for you and your guests will be available only during that ceremony. If you are a double major, then you have been assigned to attend the ceremony that is associated with your first major.

Graduate Seating

To ensure the health and safety of graduates, there will not be a formal processional onto the South Lawn. Instead, your ticket will have a seat number and you should plan to take your assigned seat no later than 15 minutes before the start of your ceremony.

Conferral of Degrees

Dr. Jamie McMinn, Dean of the College, will present the degree candidates to Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson, College President, by groups (B.A., B.M., B.S., M.A., M.B.A., and M.Ed.). As each group is presented all candidates in the group rise together and remain standing while the President confers the degree formally. Candidates in each group come forward by rows to receive their diploma. After receiving their diploma, candidates return to their seat on the lawn and remain standing. After all candidates in each degree group have returned to their seat, the President will instruct the group to shift the tassel on their mortarboard from right to left (except for the provisional graduates, who should not shift their tassel). The group is then instructed to be seated.

Diplomas:

Students should receive their diploma mid-to-late June. It will be mailed in a rigid cardboard envelope with the College’s address and logo so it will be easy to recognize. All College holds must be cleared before your diploma will be released.

Proper Attire

Graduates must wear a cloth facial covering at all times while on campus and during the Commencement ceremonies.

All Baccalaureate and Commencement participants wear formal academic regalia, which is purchased through the Campus Store. Regalia can be picked up at the Campus Store up until 9:00 AM on the day of graduation.

Street clothes worn under the academic gown should be in keeping with the formality of the occasion. Recreational clothing and footwear (e.g., jeans, khakis, tennis shoes, jogging shoes, etc.) are not appropriate attire>.

At the beginning of the ceremony, undergraduate students wear the mortarboard tassel on the right and graduate students on the left. All mortarboards should be worn straight and not tilted to one side or back. Women wear mortarboards throughout the ceremonies. Men remove mortarboards during invocation, prayers, benediction, and the Alma Mater. Out of respect for all students, their families, and the academic nature of Commencement, you are reminded to avoid customizing your robe and mortarboard beyond official academic regalia.

Students may wear academic symbols of honor, including College Latin honors, All-College honors, Academic and All-College honorary societies, and student membership on the Board of Trustees.

Latin Honors:

The Registrar’s Office will distribute medals for Latin Honors. A reminder that the Latin Honor you receive and are recognized for at Commencement is based on your Fall Semester. The official honor may, or may not change based on your Spring Semester grades.

Attendance

All students participating in Commencement exercises are invited to view the Baccalaureate service. Unless excused by Dean McMinn, all undergraduate degree candidates must attend their assigned Commencement ceremony. Students unable to attend for any reason must contact Bethany Lockie in the Professional Development Center via email at lockiebj@westminster.edu.

Name Pronunciation

Dean McMinn will announce each graduate’s name during the awarding of degrees. If you have a unique name, or if the pronunciation of your name is not typical, please call Dean McMinn (x7123 or 724-946-7123). Pronounce your name clearly into the voicemail.

Tickets for Commencement

Each graduate will receive a ticket that gives you access to a seat on the South Lawn of Old Main or in Orr Auditorium during your ceremony. You also will receive four blue tickets for your invited guests to view your ceremony on the South Lawn of Old Main, and two white tickets for your invited guests if we must hold your ceremony in Orr Auditorium. These tickets have an assigned seat number, and guests may sit only in their assigned seats so that we can maintain appropriate physical distancing.

The time of your ceremony will be noted on the tickets for your convenience. Do not lose your tickets: You and your guests must present the tickets to Westminster staff to gain access to the South Lawn or Orr Auditorium. Replacement or additional tickets will not be available, and graduates/guests without tickets will not be allowed to participate in Commencement exercises or to stand/sit near the South Lawn or in Orr. I appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we comply with the Commonwealth’s mandates around crowd size.

Graduates will receive four guest tickets for an outdoor ceremony and two guest tickets for an indoor ceremony. All guests must have a ticket to participate in Commencement, whether outside or inside. Pennsylvania’s capacity restrictions do not make exceptions based on participant age; therefore, infants and children must have a ticket, even if they are seated on an adult’s lap.

Each Commencement ceremony will be live-streamed on www.wcnlive.com. Please share this link with family and friends who are unable to attend. Some classroom spaces on campus will show the livestream for your guests who do not have a ticket.

Commencement Update: March 29, 2021

Dear Graduates:

We are looking forward to celebrating your achievements at Commencement on Saturday, May 8. You have worked hard, and we are excited to mark your degree conferral. This letter contains important updates, so please be sure to read everything carefully.

Commencement Information Meeting for Graduates

On Thursday, April 8, we will hold a Zoom meeting to provide updates on Commencement and other information that you will need to know. The meeting is scheduled from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. If you are unable to attend this meeting because of classes, work, or athletics, don’t worry. We will record the meeting and post a copy for you to view later. To avoid the problem of participants being locked out because too many people are in the Zoom room, this meeting is for graduating students only.

Baccalaureate Service

Chaplain Mohr will lead the College’s annual Baccalaureate service on Friday, May 7. The virtual service will be livestreamed, beginning at 6:30 p.m., and we encourage you and your family to watch from the comfort of your home.

 Watch Baccalaureate Service

Location for Commencement Ceremonies

Commencement ceremonies will be held on the South Lawn of Old Main and Weisel Senior Terrace. Our intention is to hold Commencement on the South Lawn, unless there are extreme temperatures or thunder and lightning. If it is a little chilly or there is a drizzle in the air, please encourage your guests to dress accordingly and to bring an umbrella.

In the case dangerous inclement weather is forecast, ceremonies will be held in Orr Auditorium. A final call about any anticipated need to move ceremonies into Orr will be made by Thursday, May 6 at 4:30 p.m. Please check the Commencement website for current information, as changing weather conditions may force us indoors at the last minute.

Our official Commencement photographers will take candid photos as you receive your diploma, and you will be given information about purchasing photographs in a separate mailing from Leary Studio. The College will provide each graduate with one professional photograph, which will be mailed to the address in your student record.

If you are unable to attend Commencement on May 8, please email Bethany Lockie ( lockiebj@westminster.edu) to request to be excused from the ceremony.

Schedule for Commencement Ceremonies

To comply with COVID mandates around crowd size, we will hold two ceremonies, organized by schools and their associated departments.

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Schools of Arts & Humanities, Business, Communication, Education, and Music

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Schools of Life & Health Sciences, Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Social Sciences; Graduate School; Individual Interdisciplinary Majors

You must plan to attend the ceremony for your school as your name will be read only in that ceremony, and seats for you and your guests will be available only during that ceremony. If you are a double major, then you have been assigned to attend the ceremony that is associated with your first major.

Tickets and Live-Streaming

In mid-April, we will mail tickets for Commencement to the address that is listed in your student record:

  • A ticket for you, the graduate, that gives you access to a seat on the South Lawn of Old Main or in Orr Auditorium during your ceremony.
  • Four blue tickets for your invited guests to view your ceremony on the South Lawn of Old Main.
  • Two white tickets for your invited guests if we must hold your ceremony in Orr Auditorium.
  • These tickets have an assigned seat number, and guests may sit only in their assigned seats so that we can maintain appropriate physical distancing.

The time of your ceremony will be noted on the tickets for your convenience. Do not lose your tickets: You and your guests must present the tickets to Westminster staff to gain access to the South Lawn or Orr Auditorium. Replacement or additional tickets will not be available, and graduates/guests without tickets will not be allowed to participate in Commencement exercises or to stand/sit near the South Lawn or in Orr. I appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we comply with the Commonwealth’s mandates around crowd size.

Each Commencement ceremony will be live-streamed on www.wcnlive.com. Please share this link with family and friends who are unable to attend. Some classroom spaces on campus will show the livestream for your guests who do not have a ticket.

Regalia and Diploma Frames

All graduates must wear official Westminster regalia to participate in their Commencement ceremony. Regalia can be purchased in-person at The Campus Store in McKelvey Campus Center, from March 31 through May 8 (Monday through Friday from 8:30AM -4:30PM). There is no need to pre-order your cap and gown; they are already in stock at The Campus Store! Store staff will assist you in selecting the correct size gown. You will take your cap and gown with you at the time of purchase. If you choose to order and ship your cap and gown to your home, please do so before April 30 to ensure timely delivery. Westminster College diploma frames also may be ordered through The Campus Store or its website (www.westminster.edu/bookstore).

Parking

You and your guests should park in the lots for Admissions, Shaw/McKelvey, and Patterson. Handicap parking will be available in the Old Main lot if ceremonies are outdoors, and the Shaw/McKelvey lot if we are in Orr Auditorium. Please encourage your guests to wear comfortable shoes and clothing that enable the short walk.

Dining

Due to COVID safety protocols, meals will not be provided on campus.

Self-Screening and Cloth Face Coverings

Graduates and guests should self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to campus (see www.cdc.gov for a list of symptoms). If symptoms are present, we ask that you remain at home and view your ceremony online.

All graduates and guests, regardless of vaccination status, must bring and wear a cloth facial covering at all times while on campus; both nose and mouth must be covered. We appreciate your cooperation with and kindness to Westminster staff as they reinforce wearing facial coverings to protect your health and the health of those around you.

Updated Information about Commencement

Please check the College’s website for updated information about Commencement, including outside versus inside locations. The College must comply with all current federal, Commonwealth, and local mandates about physical distancing, crowd size, and facial coverings. As mandates may change prior to May 8, all graduates and guests should consult the College’s website before traveling to campus.

We look forward to celebrating Commencement with you. You have reached an important milestone in your education, and we want to mark it in ways that protect the health and safety of graduates, guests, and Westminster faculty, administration, and staff. I appreciate your understanding and cooperation. The pandemic has affected your time at Westminster, and Commencement will be no exception. Nevertheless, the “We in Westminster” remains strong and vital, and I could not be more proud of you and your accomplishments.

Sincerely,
Dr. Jamie G. McMinn,
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College