December Ceremony Day Information

Ceremony Day

Ceremony Accessibility

Detailed information about accessibility requests can be found on the Ceremony Accessibility page.

Masks Encouraged

Masks are strongly encouraged for large indoor gatherings, so you may wish to bring your mask (and tell your guests).

Graduate Information

What to expect BEFORE the ceremony

What time do I need to be on campus?

Report to SMATE to line up for the procession into Carver. You will need to arrive 45 minutes prior to the start of your ceremony to pick up your name card. Follow the signs for your college and get your name card alphabetically by last name. Commencement staff will give instructions to line up for the procession.

(Your family and friends can go directly to Carver. The doors will open one hour prior to the ceremony.)

Ceremony Time

10:00 a.m.

1:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m.

Earliest Check-In Time in SMATE

9:00 a.m.

12:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m.

Latest Check-In Time in SMATE

9:15 a.m.

12:15 p.m.

3:15 p.m.

What do I need to bring?

  • Your graduation regalia, including gown, hood (for graduate students), cap, and tassel. If you have not yet purchased your regalia, please visit the WWU Associated Students Bookstore website as soon as possible to place your order. Make sure you have your cap and gown before December 9 to ensure you're able to participate in your ceremony.
  • Something to add to the time capsule.
  • Note that masks are strongly encouraged for large indoor gatherings, so you may wish to bring your mask (and tell your guests).
  • Please consider giving your coat and keys to your guests rather than leave items behind and unattended in SMATE. While we will have staff in SMATE between ceremonies, they will be working on resetting it for the next ceremony and we cannot ensure safety and security of all items.

What to expect DURING the ceremony


The procession from SMATE to Carver starts each ceremony. 


Speakers at the ceremony include the president, the faculty senate president, the Board of Trustees, and a student speaker.

Walk Across

The walk across is the portion of the ceremony where graduates have their name read as they walk across the stage.


Graduates hand their name card (obtained at check-in) to the dean reading names at the podium, the president hands the graduate their diploma cover, the graduate can turn toward the camera for a photo, the graduate walks off the stage and is directed to a green screen at the back of the facility for another photo. A graduate is then directed back to their chair.

Ceremony Length

Ceremonies will last approximately one hour.

Recession and Memory Walk

At the end of ceremony, graduates will recess from the seats on the main floor to the Memory Walk, which is held indoors for December Commencement. You are encouraged to bring an item to place in the Memory Walk box as the processional exits. The Memory Walk has been a commencement tradition at Western Washington University since 1912. Each year, a stone representing the graduating class is laid along the Memory Walk—which is the sidewalk that runs parallel to the façade of Old Main. Beneath each of these class stones lies a time capsule. Graduates are invited to leave items reflective of their time at Western in the time capsule. That capsule will be buried beneath the stone bearing their class year.

Guest Information

No tickets are needed for December Commencement and it will be open seating. Doors open one hour prior to each ceremony, and guests should be seated ten minutes prior to the ceremony start time because entrances will be closed while the graduates process into Carver. Doors will reopen when the procession is complete.

Prohibited ItemsBalloons are not allowed in the gym due to the fire sprinkler system. Thank you for complying.

Flowers and GiftsThe Western Associated Students Bookstore and a floral vendor have a variety of items available for sale in the Carver Lobby. The lobby opens one hour before each ceremony and remains open for thirty minutes after each ceremony.

Parking and Directions

Directions and Maps can be found on the Commencement Parking page.

Dining and Retail Hours

Tony’s Coffee in Miller Hall – 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Atrium POD Market & Starbucks – 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WWU Associated Students Bookstore – 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The bookstore will have a selection of items available in the Carver Lobby and is open for a complete shopping experience during the times listed.

Contact the Commencement Team