Graduate Instructions

Who Can Participate

The following groups of students will be invited to participate in Commencement exercises held at the close of the Spring 2014 term:

  • Students who have completed degree requirements prior to Commencement. 
  • Students who will, at the end of the spring term, have earned at least a 2.0 overall, major and INQ grade point average but who are lacking no more than two units of academic credit and have made arrangements to complete degree requirements by the end of the summer term (no later than July 31). 
  • Students who are participating in the 3-2 Engineering program who have completed all residency  requirements at Roanoke College and will complete all degree requirements by the end of the 2014 summer session. A notation of "Anticipated August Graduate" will be included in the Commencement program beside the names of students in groups (b) and (c). An empty diploma tube will be presented to these students at Commencement.  Following the completion of all degree requirements, a diploma will be ordered and mailed to the student's home address. Further, candidates with outstanding financial obligations are not allowed to participate in Commencement so it's important that you complete all payments to the College prior to Commencement.   

Please note that if you have concerns about the pronunciation of your name at Commencement, you should stop by the Registrar's Office at your earliest convenience.

Academic Attire 

Representatives from Oak Hall Cap and Gown will be located in the Bookstore on May 2, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., and on May 3 from 7:00-9:30 a.m. You may pick up your cap, gown, and hood at these times.  

Please note that you must pick up your own attire (will not be given to anyone else) and your RC identification will be needed to pick up the academic attire.

The hood and cap are NOT worn at the Baccalaureate service but are required at Commencement. Also, note that cords or stoles are NOT worn at Baccalaureate. The academic attire does not have to be returned. Please bring "bobbypins" if you need them to steady your cap. Faculty marshals and staff will be on hand to assist you in robing and lining you up in the proper order.

Instructions for Commencement Ceremony 

Saturday, May 3, 10:00 a.m., The John R. Turbyfill '53 Quadrangle (Front Lawn)

1. Proper attire is gown, hood, and cap with the tassel on the right.  Wear the same type of street clothes as for the Baccalaureate. Cords/stoles may be worn if these have been approved for your group/organization by the Commencement Operations Group (deadline for submitting approval requests: April 1, 2014).

  • Please wear the cap properly.  The front point extends to the center forehead so that the mortarboard is level on the head-not perched on the back of the head like a baseball cap.  Tassel is on the right.               
  • Assemble no later than 9:00 a.m. in West Hall or on College Avenue (Salem Civic Center Annex in case of inclement weather).  Remember to check the alphabetical listing near the door of West Hall (or the alphabetical standards at the Civic Center) to determine your location within the building or on College Avenue.   You will find lineup locations in West Hall and on College Avenue on this link - by April 15th.             
  • Note that a locked area will NOT be provided in West Hall/Salem Civic Center during the Commencement ceremony.   Therefore, it would be wise to leave all personal items with your family and/or guests.
  • Please do NOT carry Commencement Programs with you.  You will find programs on your seat.  Also, note that water will be available for you in West Hall prior to the ceremony.  Please do not carry water bottles or personal items in your hands in the Procession.  These items are clearly visible on the video being filmed as the Procession enters.

2. A line of march precisely ordered according to degree and alphabetical arrangement must be established. As soon as you are robed, go to the area designated for your degree and alphabetical listing so you can find your place in line.  Please remain in that place. Marshals and staff will be on hand to organize the line-up.  (Be sure to note the graduate in front and behind you in line.)  There is time for only one roll call and if you are not in your proper place, we will assume you are absent and your diploma will be pulled from the case before the procession begins.

3.  The order of march for the processional will be:

  1. Platform Party
  2. Faculty
  3. Seniors

*Follow the directions of the marshals. They are counting and will get you in the proper seat.

4.  The women will keep their caps on during the entire program.  The men will remove their caps just prior to the invocation.  If you are unsure, watch the Platform Party on the stage.

5.  When the time comes for the conferring of degrees, Dean Smith will instruct the B.A. candidates to rise and put on their caps.  President Maxey will make a statement officially conferring the B.A. degrees.  Immediately after this statement, change your tassel from right to left.  Dean Smith will instruct you to be seated.  B.S. and B.B.A. candidates will follow the same procedure.

6. Later in the ceremony, the Dean will announce the presentation of the graduates individually to receive their diplomas.  At that point, you will rise, one row at a time, face left and move in single file to the ramp on the left side of the platform.  As the last person in each row steps into the aisle, the first person in the next row should file in behind him/her so there is an unbroken line extending to the platform.  Follow the directions of the marshals.

7.  As your name is called, ascend the ramp, receive your diploma in the left hand, shake hands with President Maxey, and return to your seat.  Again, marshals will be there to direct you.  Men should leave their caps on until the benediction.  If unsure, watch the Platform Party. 

8.  Following the benediction (if Commencement is held on Front Lawn), the faculty will form a double line along an exit pathway.  The Platform Party then exits, followed by the graduates.  The new alumni will pass through the faculty line and receive congratulations from the faculty.  Please continue walking along the designated pathway so that all graduates will have the opportunity to recess through the faculty linesArrange to meet your family and friends on the back quad for the Celebration Luncheon.

9.  Following the benediction (if Commencement is held at the Civic Center), the faculty will exit followed by the Platform Party.  The new alumni will then exit following the Platform Party.  Continue marching until you have cleared the arena.  Due to limited space, the faculty will be unable to greet all graduates at the Civic Center.  Plan to meet your family and friends in the Civic Center lobby to return to the RC campus for the Celebration Luncheon.  

Instructions for Baccalaureate Service

Friday, May, 2, 4:30 p.m., Bast Center

1. Proper attire is gown only (no cap, hood or cords/stoles).  Remember this is a formal occasion so please wear appropriate clothing and shoes.  

2.  Assemble no later than 3:30 p.m. in Alumni Gymnasium.  Bring your gown only.  Caps, hoods and cords/stoles are not worn for Baccalaureate.   

3. No special order according to degree or name is necessary at this service; however, it is important to form and maintain pairs so that a double line of march is established.  Please do not mill about.  As you arrive, go to the end of the line.  A marshal will then pair and count you.  When this is done, it is imperative that you keep your place so that you may be ushered smoothly into the proper row of seats.  If you arrive after the marshal has begun this process, it is essential that you go to the end of the line.  (Note, if you are a member of the Roanoke College Choir, please go to the front of the line.)  

4. The order of march for both the processional and the recessional will be: 1) the Platform Party, 2) the Faculty, 3) the Seniors.  When you arrive at the seats, watch the marshal for directions about which row to enter.  If you are directed into a row, go on in even though it may seem that all seats are taken.  The marshals are counting, so depend on them.

5. During both marches, please avoid talking or any other action that might detract from the dignity of the occasion.  Please do not carry personal items with you.  Note that your Baccalaureate Program will be on your seat. The Alumni Gymnasium will NOT be locked during the Baccalaureate service so you should plan to leave purses, jackets, or other personal belongings in your room or with your family.  

NOTE:  Because of our affiliation with the Lutheran Church, the Baccalaureate service is by tradition a Lutheran religious service.  Everyone is expected to attend; if you need to be excused, please notify the Dean's Office by contacting Dianne Eary at extension #2204 or email