Commencement Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some answers to typical questions that graduates or visitors may have about Commencement.
- When is Commencement?
The 2015 Shaw University Commencement Exercise will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015 (10:00 AM) in the Downtown Raleigh Convention Center (500 South Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC 27601).
- What time should graduates arrive?
Graduates should arrive at Spaulding Gym at 7:30 AM to line up for the Commencement Exercise.
- What time should my guests arrive?
We recommend that you arrive early to allow time for traffic and parking. The lots will open approximately two (2) hours prior to the start of the ceremony and doors to the Convention Center will open at that time as well.
- How do I order my cap and gown?
You may order your cap and gown, as well as additional graduation products from the Herff Jones website. The cost of the cap and gown are included in your graduation fee. Please remember that the deadline to order all graduation items is March 30, 2015 by 11:59 PM on the Herff Jones website.
- What should I wear under my cap and gown?
Appropriate business attire should be worn beneath the regalia and you should wear black shoes that you feel comfortable walking across stage in. Those persons who are not dressed properly will be asked to leave the assembly area and will not be allowed to participate in the ceremony. You will also find more information on appropriate attire and decorum on the commencement website. Note: If you do not have proper academic regalia, you cannot participate in the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies. If you already have a cap and gown, you must obtain approval by April 24 to wear them from appropriate staff in the Shaw University Bookstore.
- How do I get my honor cord?
The Registrar will give out honor cords at rehearsal.
- Can I wear cords and medallions with my cap and gown?
Graduation cords can be worn at Commencement if they represent high academic achievement and not simply membership in a student organization, athletic team, or fraternity/sorority.
- Will there be handicap parking?
Handicapped parking for individuals with valid, state-issued handicapped permits/plates will be available in the parking lots surrounding the Downtown Raleigh Convention Center.
- Can my family bring signs or noisemakers to cheer for me?
No. The Commencement ceremony is a traditional academic ritual. This means: no signs, no fireworks, no bottles, no beach balls, no cans, no noisemakers, etc.
- Who is the University Commencement Speaker?
The Office of the President will announce the Commencement speaker in the near future.
- Will a photographer be on hand to take individual pictures as the diploma is received?
Yes. A photographer will be on hand taking pictures as graduates walk across the stage. Additional details for ordering those pictures will be made available on the website.
- Will I receive a diploma if I did not apply for graduation?
ALL STUDENTS MUST APPLY TO GRADUATE in order to receive a diploma, regardless of whether you intend to participate in any commencement exercises.
- What is the deadline for graduation applications?
The deadline for graduation applications for Spring 2015 is November 14, 2014. You can get a graduation application from the website under Commencement, from the Registrar’s Office, Advisor or Chair.
- Should the senior graduation fee be paid by the first week in April? What is the deadline date? Senior exams begin April 28 thru May 1st, graduation fee should be paid on or before April 4th. All balances must be paid. Seniors with an outstanding balance will not be allowed to take final exams. For further questions pertaining to senior clearance, seniors should contact the Student Accounts Office at (919) 546-8228.
- Should students contact the Cashier’s Office for credit card payments at 919-546-8678 or 919-546-8655? Yes. Students can also make cash, certified check, money order or on-line payments through the Cashier’s Office. Office hours for Student Accounts and Cashier’s Office are 8:00am-5:00pm. Both offices are located in Tyler Hall, 1st floor.
- May I participate in the Commencement Exercise although I have an outstanding account balance at the institution?
No. Only students who have completed the Graduation Clearance Process (which includes clearing all outstanding balances) will be allowed to participate in the Commencement Exercise.
- May I participate in the Commencement Exercise if I am scheduled to complete coursework after May 2015?
No. Only students who have completed the Graduation Clearance Process (which includes a final degree audit) will be allowed to participate in the Commencement Exercise.
- Will my name be included in the program if I have not completed all requirements to be cleared?
No. Your name will not be included in the program if you have not been cleared before the programs are sent to the printers.
- Do my guests need a ticket to attend the ceremony?
No. The Shaw University Commencement Exercise is not ticketed; however, ample seating is available on a first-come, first-seated basis.
- What should I wear?
In order to walk in a commencement ceremony, you must wear a cap and gown designed especially for Shaw University by Herff Jones. Students not wearing the proper regalia will not be permitted to walk in the ceremony. Please click here for cap and gown ordering instructions.
- Where should my guests park for the Commencement ceremony?
Guests can park in the Convention Center parking deck located on Lenoir Street for all events for a fee of $7.00 per day. Also, go to the Travel and Parking Information page on the website for other parking locations.
- What do I do with my purse during the ceremony?
Please leave all personal belongings with your guests or in your vehicle during the ceremony.
- How do I order graduation announcements?
You may purchase or order graduation announcements from Herff Jones. Herff Jones has created school-specific personalized announcements for Shaw University and you may order them through their website. Generic graduation announcements may also be purchased from the Shaw University Bookstore (Willie E. Gary Student Center, 919-828-1730). Remember it takes several weeks for personalized printing so order them well in advance.
- Must I participate in the commencement ceremony to receive my diploma?
No. Participation in the commencement ceremony is not mandatory. If you wish to have your diploma package mailed to you, then you will need to contact the Registrar’s Office (919-546-8415).
- Will my name appear in the commencement program? Commencement programs have to be printed by a certain deadline date. If seniors have not completed all of their requirements to be cleared by the deadline date, then their name will not be included in the program.