Ceremony Details

Please Note: Applying to Graduate is a separate process from registering for the ceremony. Registration is required for participation in the commencement ceremony. Registration is conducted through the Herff Jones regalia rental website.

What to Expect

CU Denver's commencement is an all-campus ceremony during which we recognize all doctoral, educational specialist, master's and bachelor's degree recipients. Below is a quick overview of what to expect on the morning of commencement. Please note that there is no rehearsal for the ceremony. Review a detailed explanation of how to pick up your cap and gown, where to park and what to expect on ceremony day in the Know Before You Go page.

Check In

Graduates arrive to the PE/Events Center gym no later than 7:45 a.m. We know this is early, but it takes some time to check in over 1,600 graduates. Come dressed in your regalia. Undergraduates wear tassels on the right side of the cap until instructed to move it to the left side. Master's degree candidates wear their hoods. Doctoral candidates drape hoods over their left arm until hooded in the ceremony.

Free parking is available in all Auraria Campus lots. Alternatively, Light Rail drops off and picks up at two locations on campus.

Find Your School/College

Locate the flag with your school/college's name on it and check in to receive a commencement program and a reader card (the card is what you present to have your name read as you cross the stage). Doctoral students and CLAS master's graduates will check in at the Graduate School table located on the patio next to the gym entrance. All other students should check in with their respective school or college. If you don't know in which school/college you are enrolled, find out before you register for the ceremony. Seven schools and colleges, plus the Graduate School, comprise the University of Colorado Denver. If you are interested in purchasing professional photographs, confirm that your contact information is correct on the back side of the reader card.

Line Up

At 8:30 a.m., all graduates will be directed to return to the PE/Events Center and begin lining up for the procession. Follow the instructions provided by the faculty marshals. Each school/college lines up on two colored lines taped to the floor (red/yellow or green/blue). The colors determine down which aisle you will process and ultimately in which section you are seated. Please note that you are lined up two-abreast on each line and you will be seated with the classmates in your own line. If you and your friends are standing on different colors, you will be seated in different sections. We do not line up graduates in alphabetical order since the reader card is what you use to have your name announced. Don't lose it!

Doctoral graduates process behind the Graduate School banner and lead all graduates onto the field. Behind them, banners are carried by designated graduates at the front of each of the schools/colleges. Master's graduates line up behind the banners and bachelor's degree recipients line up behind master's grads.

Graduate Line-Up Diagram

Processional/Seating Diagram​​

Follow Faculty to Your Seat

The procession begins at 9:00 a.m. sharp. Follow the colored lines until directed down one of four aisles toward the graduate seating. Upon reaching your seating row, faculty marshals will direct you into your seats. Please fill every seat in the row. You will remain standing until the commencement marshal invites you to sit.

The following items are prohibited on the Tivoli Quad: alcohol, illegal drugs, artificial noise makers, banners, large signs, and pets (service animals are permitted, please contact the Commencement Office). Umbrellas are discouraged and may not be used while seated. If needed, graduates will be issued ponchos during the ceremony.

Cross the Stage, CU Denver Graduate

Every graduate's name is read as he or she crosses the stage and receives a diploma cover. Degrees are conferred in the following order: Doctoral and Educational Specialist degrees, master's degrees and then bachelor's degrees. The doctoral graduates are called to the stage as a single group, followed by Educational Specialists. Starting with the master's degrees, graduates are directed to both sides of the stage. Names are read alternately from each podium as printed on your reader card. Photos are taken by professional photographers at the bottom of each ramp, halfway up the ramp and then again as you receive your diploma cover and shake the Chancellor's or President's hand. You will reach out with your left hand to accept the diploma cover from the Chancellor or President and shake hands with your right hand (if shaking hands with a male is not culturally acceptable, you may simply accept the diploma cover from the President with your left hand).

For safety and consideration for the significance of the ceremony, graduates with children are not allowed to bring their child to the stage with them.

Return to Your Seat

After crossing the stage, you exit down the stairs and return to the same seat. You'll be excited, so a faculty marshal will be there to help you find it again. As a courtesy to your fellow graduates, nobody is permitted to leave until the ceremony has concluded.

Proceed off the Field

At the end of the ceremony, graduates recess off the field in order that they processed in - first in, first out. Gowns and hoods (if applicable) are returned upon the conclusion of the ceremony. Caps and tassels are yours to keep!