Frequently Asked Questions by McNichols Campus Guests

Commencement: Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Commencement Committee requests your cooperation in making Commencement a memorable event for both you and your graduate. A past complaint from the graduates and their guests was the behavior of some of the guests attending the Ceremony. The Committee asks that all participants be considerate for the solemnity of the Commencement and by not trying to get your graduate’s attention during the Ceremony. Below is information that we hope you find helpful in planning for and attending the Commencement Events.

Q: How long is Commencement?

A: The actual Commencement Ceremony takes about 2 hours, 1 hour for speeches and conferring of degrees and 1 hour for degree presentation. It is not an event that most young children find interesting. With deference for the Ceremony, you are expected to stay in place for the entire event. Families with young children may find viewing the ceremony in the Fitness Center an option.

Q: What if my candidate has some existing commencement concerns?

A: Commencement Day is not the time to address pre-existing concerns. These matters should be immediately brought to the attention of your candidate’s college/school office or academic advisor.

Q: How many tickets are available?

A: In the last few years, Calihan Hall has not been filled to capacity so, again this year, no tickets will be distributed and candidates are asked to be judicious in the number of invitations they extend. We ask that no more than 10 guests be invited. Remember that seating is on a first come, first served basis and once Calihan Hall is at capacity, no more guests will be admitted. Overflow seating is in the Student Fitness Center with a live feed for viewing.

Q: Where do I park?

A: Parking is limited. Allow extra time to park and, if possible, car pool. For parking locations, see the map provided to your candidate or visit the Commencement website. Disabled parking, in front of Calihan Hall or in Lot E, is restricted to those with valid handicapped stickers or license plate. Parking is also on a first come, first served basis.

Q: When and where are the Commencement Events?

A: The 2017 Commencement takes place on Saturday, May 13 on the McNichols Campus. See map that will be mailed to your candidate in April or visit the Commencement website.

Commencement Events Time Location
Baccalaureate Line-up 9:40 a.m. Gesu Church
Baccalaureate Mass 10:00 Gesu Church
Continental Breakfast 11:00 - 11:45 Fitness Center
Candidate Line-up 12:00 noon Designated Assembly Areas given to candidates
Procession begins 12:45 p.m. Fisher Fountain
Commencement 1:30 Calihan Hall

Baccalaureate Mass

This mass is an integral part of the Commencement activities and candidates and guests of all faiths are invited to join this religious service thanking God for His blessings and praying for our future. Mass begins at 10:00 a.m. in Gesu Church, located one block north of the McNichols Campus on Santa Maria between Quincy and Oak Drive.

Complimentary Continental Breakfast

Breakfast will be served from 11:00 - 11:45 a.m. in the Fitness Center for candidates and their guests. NO tickets are required.


Calihan Hall is not an air-conditioned facility.  If it is an extremely warm day you may be more comfortable viewing the ceremony in the air-conditioned Fitness Center.


At noon, candidates are to be in their designated procession assembly areas. Over 30 minutes are needed to line up the candidates and provide event instructions. At 12:40 p.m., the college/schools processions will move to the Fisher Fountain area north of the Student Center and at 12:45 p.m., to Calihan Hall. It is traditional for a Bagpiper to lead the procession. Rain or shine, the procession will process. Each college/ school will be led by its Banner Bearer who is followed by the Faculty, Graduate and Undergraduate Candidates. The procession arrives at Calihan Hall’s northwest doors at approximately 12:50 p.m.

Q: Will the Commencement Ceremony be televised? 

A: Family and friends unable to attend the Commencement Ceremony may watch online. For information, see the Watch Online page.

Q: How can I get a good seat?

A: Calihan Hall doors open at 11:00 a.m. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Please do not arrive at Calihan Hall before 11:00 a.m.

Q: Is there special seating for a physically disabled guest?

A: There is limited Calihan Hall main floor seating for disabled guests accompanied by one able bodied companion. The chance of sitting in the disabled section shortly before the procession begins is unlikely. Balcony seating can be accessed only by steep steps. An alternative viewing site, Fitness Center, will be opened to accommodate those disabled guests who cannot be seated in Calihan Hall. The Fitness Center is equipped to receive the Live Link to the ceremony. It provides approx. 200 seats with air-conditioning and plenty of space for wheelchairs and accessible restrooms. The Fitness Center is located east of the Engineering Building and north of the residence halls. The most convenient parking areas to the Fitness Center are Lot E (with handicapped sticker) and the Student/Visitor Lot east of the residence hall complex.

Q: Does Calihan Hall have accessible restrooms?

A: Restrooms are located around the main floor hallways. Accessible restrooms are located in the north corridor near the main entrance of the building.

Q: Can the Ceremony be videotaped/photographed?

A: Videotaping/photographing is permitted by guests from the balcony only. A professional photographer will take three shots of your graduate on the floor during the degree presentation. Guests, other than those seated in the physically disabled section, are not permitted on the main floor.

Q: What happens if it rains?

A: Candidates are to report to their assembly areas regardless of the weather. If rain is predicted, they are instructed to bring an umbrella. If the Rain Plan is put into effect, i.e., colleges/schools will come directly to the northwest doors of Calihan Hall from their assembly areas rather than organizing a formal procession at the Fisher Fountain. Implementing the rain plan will not affect the Procession within Calihan Hall.

Q: What can’t I bring into Calihan Hall?

A: Commencement is a formal academic ceremony, not an athletic event. Balloons, noise makers, air/bull horns, beach balls, signs, etc. are not permitted.

Q: What is appropriate guest behavior?

A: Since Commencement is a formal academic ceremony, guests are asked to please show proper respect for both the ceremony and the other guests by:

    • Not interfering with the Procession.
    • Turning off all beepers, pagers and cell phones.
    • Remaining quiet and dignified during the ceremony.
    • Refraining from shouting graduate names from the balcony during the Ceremony. This type of behavior is disrespectful and disruptive. Guests who choose not to respect the rights of others will be asked to be quiet and then, if the behavior continues, asked to leave.
    • Conferring of Degrees - This is the most important and solemn part of the Ceremony. Although quiet should be maintained while the President confers the degrees, expressions of joy are appropriate after the conferring of degrees.
    • Presentation of Degrees - A joyous expression is also appropriate when your graduate’s name is read. The celebrations should be very brief so that the next graduate’s name can be heard.
Q: Where will my graduate be sitting?

A: A floor-seating diagram will be available for viewing at the northeast lobby entrance when you enter Calihan Hall.   The diagram is also available on the website a couple days before the ceremony. This will give the general location of where your graduate’s college/school will be seated. The candidates are seated alphabetically within their degree section.

Q: What are the decorations that some graduates wear?

A: Graduates’ gowns should not contain adornments such as jewelry, flowers, signs, emblems, etc. Gown decoration is strictly limited to university, college and school honor regalia such as cord, sashes, stoles, pins and medallions. Your graduate may obtain a listing of the approved items from their college/school office which normally involves membership or nomination into an academic honor society. Candidates with caps that are decorated or contain messages are unacceptable. Fraternity and sorority apparel is not appropriate. Faculty and University Marshals will ask graduates to remove any unauthorized items being worn. Candidates will not be permitted to march in the procession with an unapproved items.

Q: What do the hood and tassel colors signify?

A: The colors represent the academic degree area. The colors are:

Bachelor Degree Majors Tassel Color
Accounting Golden Yellow
Addiction Studies Golden Yellow
Architectural Engineering Orange
Architecture Blue-Violet
Biochemistry Golden Yellow
Biology Golden Yellow (BS) White (BA)
Business Administration Drab
Chemistry Golden Yellow (BS) White (BA)
Civil Engineering Orange
Communication Studies White
Computer Science Golden Yellow
Criminal Justice Golden Yellow
Developmental Psychology White
Digital Media Studies White
Economics White
Electrical Engineering Orange
Elementary Education Light Blue
Engineering Orange
English White
Financial Economics White
Health Information Management Golden Yellow
Health Services Golden Yellow
Health Services Administration Golden Yellow
History White
Industrial/Organizational Psychology White
Legal Administration White
Liberal Studies White

Golden Yellow (BS)
White (BA)

Mechanical Engineering Orange
Nursing Apricot
Philosophy White
Political Science White
Psychology White
Robotics and Mechatronic Systems Engineering Orange
Religious Studies White
Social Studies Education Light Blue
Social Work Citron
Sociology White
Software Engineering Golden Yellow
Software Production and Management Golden Yellow
Special Education - Emotionally Impair/Beh Dis Light Blue
Special Education - Learning Disabled Light Blue
Theater White

Master Degree Majors Tassel and Hood Color
Addiction Counseling White
Architecture Blue-Violet
Business Administration Drab
Chemistry Golden Yellow
Civil and Environmental Engineering Orange
Clinical Nurse Leader Apricot
Clinical Psychology White
Community Counseling White
Community Development White
Computer Science Golden Yellow
Criminal Justice White
Curriculum and Instruction Light Blue
Economics Copper
Educational Administration Light Blue
Electrical and Computer Engineering Orange
Engineering Management Orange
Family Nurse Practitioner Apricot
Financial Economics Copper
Health Services Administration Golden Yellow
Health Systems Management Apricot
Industrial/Organizational Psychology White
Information Assurance Golden Yellow
Intelligence Analysis Golden Yellow
Liberal Studies White
Mechanical Engineering Orange
Nurse Anesthesiology Golden Yellow
Nursing Education Apricot
Physician Assistant Golden Yellow
Product Development Golden Yellow
Religious Studies White
School Counseling Light Blue
School Psychology White
Security Administration Golden Yellow
Software Engineering Golden Yellow
Software Management Golden Yellow
Special Education - Emotionally Impair/Beh Dis Light Blue
Special Education - Learning Disabled Light Blue
Teaching of Mathematics Light Blue

Specialist Degree Majors Tassel and Hood Color
School Psychology White

Doctoral Degree Majors Tassel and Hood Color
Civil and Environmental Engineering Orange
Clinical Psychology Dark Blue
Electrical Engineering Orange
Mechanical Engineering Orange
Nursing Practice Apricot

Q: Where may I get information on the Academic Procession, Order of Exercises, Academic Regalia and the Degree Recipients?

A: This information appears in the Commencement Program available at the Ceremony.

Q: How is the right name called when the graduates are presented their degree?

A: At the Candidate Assembly, each candidate receives an identification card that contains his/her name, seat number and honors, if applicable. This card is presented to the Announcer when the graduate shakes hands with the president and is presented with diploma cover. Because in the past some candidates have exercised their creative writing talents, the Announcer will read only the college/school printing and handwritten phonetic name pronunciation.

Q: Why are the names read at such a rapid rate?

A: Detroit Mercy personalizes its Commencement by having each participating graduate’s name read. In order not to extend the Ceremony, the graduates’ names are read rapidly. One additional second per name would lengthen the event by 15 minutes.

Q: Why didn’t my graduate:

- Have their name in the Commencement Program?

Program copy is sent to the printer several weeks before the ceremony. A graduate’s name may not appear in the program if the Graduation Application was filed after the deadline.

- Get a diploma?

Reasons for not receiving a diploma are:
- degree requirements have not been met, e.g., courses remain to be completed.
- outstanding financial balance.
- the Graduation Application was received after the diploma ordering deadline.

Graduates who have any concerns should contact their college/school office immediately.

- Have his/her honors read?

Honors are awarded to undergraduate students who have completed all their degree requirements as of the end of Term II and all final grades have been recorded.

For students who began their studies Fall 2011 and beyond Summa cum laude - 3.90 or above, magna cum laude - 3.75 and above and cum laude - 3.50 or above. All coursework in the cumulative GPA at UDM is used in the honors calculation All students must have completed 60 hours at UDM to qualify for honors. Candidates for Term III (Summer) will not have honors read at Commencement because they have not finished their studies. Honors are not awarded at the master/doctoral degree level.

Q: Where do I meet my graduate after Commencement?

A: After the Commencement Ceremony is complete, the graduates will recess out of Calihan Hall and march to the Sacred Heart Square. Do not wait in the hallways of Calihan Hall. Graduates eligible to receive their diplomas will then proceed to their colleges/schools and pick up their diploma, if eligible. Since campus will be very crowded, to locate your graduate you may wish to pre-determine a meeting location or use your cell phone after Commencement is over.

Q: What social media hashtag should I use?

A: Detroit Mercy is promoting the use of a social media hashtag so that people can find shared comments and photos online through services such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  For details, see the Commencement social media page.

Q: How do I exit the Campus?

A: All vehicles exiting the:
- McNichols (Six Mile Road) Gate are required to make a right (east) turn.
- Livernois Gate can only make a right (north) turn. A short distance up the avenue there is a turn-around.

Q: Where can I get more information about Commencement?

A: Check with your graduate, visit the Commencement website ( or call the Office of the Registrar at 313-993-3313.

Other information


- Student Center Bookstore: first floor, near south exit
- Calihan Hall Concession Stands & Gift Shop: first floor front hallway

Class of 2017 T-Shirts

Calihan Hall - first floor front hallway

Thank you for your cooperation and for your part in helping to make this unforgettable occasion possible.