Commencement overview

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Arrival, entrance and line up

NOTE: In order to participate in the Commencement ceremony, you must register in advance.

On the day of Commencement, you should arrive to the Tacoma Dome at least one hour before your ceremony (9 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.), entering the Exhibition Hall doors (next to A Gate). You should arrive already dressed in your academic apparel.

You will check-in in the Exhibition Hall and be given your name card. You must hold onto this card and present it as you walk on stage. The back of your name card has specific directions for the processional and crossing of the stage.

After receiving your name card, head to the line-up area for your academic program. Please follow all instructions given by the Commencement staff.

Please leave purses, umbrellas, coats and other valuables with family or friends; personal items cannot be left in the staging area.

Ceremony overview

  When students walk across the stage, a large screen will display the student's name, degree, honors, and a short personalized message.

At Commencement, the University of Washington Tacoma community gathers at the Tacoma Dome to celebrate the academic achievements of the graduating class.

Faculty, wearing their colorful gowns and hoods, begin the processional by forming an honor guard to greet the graduating students. Dressed in their academic apparel, the degree candidates will enter the Dome to the cheers and clapping of the faculty and assembled family and friends. The processional continues with the seating of the faculty, followed by the Chancellor’s party and the President’s party, who sit on the stage.

The ceremony opens with the singing of the national anthem, and continues with remarks by the UW Tacoma Chancellor and the UW President, and includes the presentation of the Chancellor's and President's Medals and a formal address by a student speaker.

The conferring of degrees begins with master’s degree candidates, followed by bachelor's degree candidates. Each degree candidate will proceed across the stage. As you cross the stage, you will shake hands with the president or chancellor. Pictures will be taken when shaking hands. You will receive a complimentary purple diploma cover bearing the official seal of the University.

10 a.m. Ceremony 
School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences
Social Work & Criminal Justice
Urban Studies

Time Event
9 a.m. Degree candidates arrive, entering the lower A doors
Doors open for guests, entering through the upper C doors
10 a.m. Commencement ceremony begins
12 p.m. Ceremony concludes

2:30 p.m. Ceremony
Milgard School of Business
School of Education
Nursing & Healthcare Leadership

Time Event
1:30 p.m. Degree candidates arrive, entering the lower A doors
Doors open for guests, entering through the upper C doors
2:30 p.m. Commencement ceremony begins
4:30 p.m. Ceremony concludes

During the ceremony

Commencement is intended to be a festive occasion celebrating the accomplishments of our students. However, it is also a formal ceremony. Out of respect for the occasion and each other, we ask that all students:

  • Remain in your seat during the ceremony. Wandering around the floor of the Dome and visiting with guests in the stands are prohibited.
  • Keep mobile devices in silent mode and limit their use during the formal speaking portions of the ceremony.
  • Return to your seat after you have walked across the stage and remain seated until all students have walked and the members of the stage party have exited the stage.
  • Meet your guests outside and don't linger inside the Dome after the ceremony. The Dome must be reset for the next event and that cannot begin until all guests have exited the building.

Thank you for helping us make the ceremony a memorable one for all.