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Commencement Day

Getting to the DECC and Parking

Parking for commencement is at regular DECC rate.   Parking is also available in downtown Duluth, which is connected to the DECC by a skywalk system.  Maps to the DECC are available online at Maps for Commencement.

Traffic gets very congested on commencement day.  In past years, it has been at a standstill on Highway 35.  Please allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the DECC, park, get inside to pick up your name card and get into line in a timely manner.  If you are able, you may want to consider parking at a downtown location and using the sky walk system to the DECC.  Duluth Alternative Parking Options Map

Accessible parking spaces are available on the surface lot near Entrance B (City Side Convention Center) and Entrance E (AMSOIL Arena).  Additional accessible spaces are available in the ramp on all levels. The elevator is located in the northeast corner of the ramp. The elevator transports guests to the ground floor or to the skywalk level (3rd level) of the ramp that connects directly to the DECC to the AMSOIL ticket lobby.  Guests may also drop off individuals with accessibility needs at entrance E, an elevator is located inside the entrance to bring guests to the skywalk level.  The DECC provides standard vehicle and van accessible parking on the surface level parking lots and on levels 1, 2 and 3 in the parking ramp.  

Guest Seating

Guest seating is general admission; no tickets are needed.

The doors to AMSOIL Arena will open for guests at 8:30 for the 10:00 ceremony and at 1:30 for the 3:00 ceremony.  ALL seating is on a first come first served basis.  The DECC is fully accessible and able to accommodate the needs of guests.  If you have a guest who is unable to climb stairs or needs American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, please arrive early and locate an usher for assistance.  There is handicapped seating in a number of locations around AMSOIL Arena and DECC staff will be able to assist.  ASL interpreters are available to guests in section 116 of AMSOIL Arena. 

When students arrive to pick up their name card, there will be a maroon or gold sticker and a number on the card.  The color denotes which side of the arena the student will be seated on; please feel free to contact your guest and alert them to the color on your card.  There will be maps for guest to view so they can see which side of the arena you will be sitting on and approximately where your college will be seated.  When you are looking at the stage, maroon seating is on the ride side of the arena; gold seating is on the left side of the arena. 

The doors to AMSOIL remain open for the entire ceremony; guests arriving late may not be able to find seats next to each other or may end up standing. 

Commencement Program and Live Stream

The printed commencement program distributed on commencement day will list the names of all graduates and undergraduates who have applied to graduate by the DEADLINE DATE. All eligible students who have applied for graduation are listed in the commencement program, regardless of whether they participate in the commencement ceremony. 

The commencement ceremony will also be available through a live stream, which will be closed captioned, and the program will be available online in a flipbook format. The link will be provided on commencement day through the official Commencement website,

Students who attend commencement will have a program on their chair in AMSOIL Arena. 

CLA and SCSE ceremony is at 10:00

ALL students must report to the name card table in Paulucci Hall, on the ground level of the DECC.  Doors open at 8:30, you must pick up your name card by 9:00 and be in your procession line by 9:30. 

CEHSP, LSBE and SFA ceremony is at 3:00

ALL students must report to the name card table in Paulucci Hall, on the ground level of the DECC.  Doors open at 1:30, you must pick up your name card by 2:00 and be in your procession line by 2:30. 

Student Line Up

Students receiving their bachelor’s degrees, when you enter Paulucci Hall, proceed straight ahead and pick up your name card (ONLY) at the Undergraduate table.   Cards are in order by college, and then in alphabetical order by last name. IF there is not a card with your name, go to the far left by the sign Extra Cards 

If you are graduating with Honors, proceed to the Honors table where cords and medallions are distributed. 

Students receiving their graduate masters or doctoral degrees, when you enter Paulucci Hall, turn to your right and pick up your name card (ONLY) at the Graduate table.   Cards are in order by major and then in alphabetical order by last name. IF there is not a card with your name, please see the Commencement staff member at the Graduate table. 

Name cards are color-coded (MAROON or GOLD) and numbered so graduates will know which line to join and their approximate place in line. As you enter the DECC Arena, the gold line will be on your right, the maroon line on your left.  Line locations are clearly marked on the walls of the arena. Once you have taken your place in line, follow the instructions of the staff wearing "Commencement Volunteer" lanyards; they will also answer any questions.

Do not lose your name card. You will hand this card to the reader as you prepare to cross the stage and be recognized during the ceremony. You must present a card in order for the reader to call your name.

The Ceremony

The commencement ceremony is approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes long.

Graduates will be walking and standing a good part of the time -- low-heeled, comfortable dress shoes are recommended.

There is no secure area to leave your personal belongings, please leave jackets, purses, etc. with family members.  Graduates are welcome to keep their phones with them and take pictures.  However, please do not take pictures on the stage while receiving your diploma. 

During the ceremony, if you need to use the restroom, there are women and men’s restrooms at the back of AMSOIL Arena that can be accessed by the doors you entered.  There is also a single stall restroom immediately beyond the exit at the front to the left of the stage (Zamboni door).  Commencement staff will be at each exit to direct you as needed. 

Students enter AMSOIL at the back of the arena and proceed through the faculty who are lined up to greet them as they enter.  Proceed up the center aisle; faculty Marshals and student stage managers will direct students to their chairs.  Students using a wheel chair or scooter, will be directed by a faculty Marshal or student stage manage to proceed behind the back row of chairs, to the side aisle of the seating area and to their colleges section. 

You may be seated once you reach your assigned location. 

Conferral of degrees

Graduate students are the first to be recognized, and will proceed to the stage from the gold side first and then from the maroon side.  After all graduate students have received their hood; undergraduate students will then proceed from both gold and maroon sides of the arena at the same time.   

Please note: students are recognized in order by their college, then by their degree and then alphabetically. Please review to the Commencement Program for the exact order.    

Graduate students proceed by program.  You will carry your hood over your left arm during the ceremony processional, and will be hooded onstage by a faculty member, your program DGS or representative. The Chancellor will announce your degree and instruct you to stand and prepare to walk forward to the bottom of the side ramp. The student stage managers and faculty Marshal will assist in directing you to the stage. You will meet your program faculty member at the bottom of the ramp, which has railings on both sides, and follow them and all students within your program, up the ramp. When it is your turn to be hooded, the student stage manager will take your hood, and you will step in front of your program faculty member and face the audience. The faculty member will place the hood over your head. If you are tall, you may need to bend at the knees a bit. Do not bend at the waist.  Proceed to receive your diploma cover from your Dean or Associate Dean, and then shake hands with either the Chancellor or Regent.   

Undergraduate students proceed by college.  Your college Dean will request you to stand, Chancellor will congratulate the graduates and then the student stage managers and faculty Marshals will direct you to the stage.  Students proceed up the sides of the arena and access the stage, via a ramp, which has railings on both sides.  A name will be read from one side and then the other.  Once you are on stage, you will give your name card to the person reading name cards.  Then proceed to receive your diploma cover from your Dean or Associate Dean, you will then shake hands with either the Chancellor or Regent.   

After receiving your diploma cover, exit on the center ramp, which also has side railing, and go down the center aisle to have your picture taken in the back of arena.  Students then return via the center aisle to their original location. 

Students using a wheelchair or scooter return to their original location via the side aisle after having your picture taken at the back of the arena.   

If you need special seating arrangements or help crossing the stage, please email

Student Speakers

Student speakers rotate by year and are chosen by the designated college in early spring.  For 2019, student speakers will be from the Swenson College of Science and Engineering in the morning and from School of Fine Arts in the afternoon. 

End of the Ceremony

At the end of the ceremony, faculty Marshals and student stage managers will guide students via the center aisle, to exit AMSOIL at the back of the arena, by the same doors they entered and then will exit outside.  We recommend students and their guests plan ahead with a location to meet after the ceremony.  Please do not congregate or stand in the driveways.  In the event of intense rain or severe weather, students will be dismissed via the exit to the left of the stage (Zamboni door) and proceed back to the DECC Arena where students lined up. 


It is not possible to process final grades and prepare degree lists in time to present diplomas on Commencement day. Instead, you will receive a diploma cover when you cross the stage. Assuming all graduation requirements have been met, diplomas are mailed to students within three months following the end of the semester in which a student applied to graduate. Holds may prevent you from ordering a transcript or receiving your diploma.  Check MyU for any holds on your record.  All diplomas are the same size. 

Information on degree requirements and diplomas should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid and Registrar, One Stop, 23 Solon Campus Center, 218-726-8000,