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Spring 2023 Commencement FAQs 

See below for answers to frequently asked questions about the Purdue West Lafayette campus commencement.

Where can I find the commencement schedule? 

The commencement schedule can be found on the commencement website under the Schedules tab. 


What time do the doors open before a ceremony? 

Doors generally open 90 minutes prior to the published ceremony start time.  

Can I bring a bag into the venue? 

Guests are encouraged to not bring any type of bags, and only the following are permissible:  

  • One bag that is clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and does not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches.  
  • One 1-gallon clear plastic bag (Ziploc bag or similar).  
  • One small clutch bag (no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches) — approximately the size of a hand — with or without a handle or strap.   

Exceptions will be made for guests with medically necessary items and/or diaper bags (with a child/children present). All bags are subject to a security search, which creates a slower entry process.    

What are acceptable and unacceptable items for Elliott Hall of Music? 

Acceptable Items 

  • Cameras  
  • Flowers  
  • Registered service animals only  

Not Acceptable Items 

  • Camera bags or tripods  
  • Balloons  
  • Beverages or food products, unless medically necessary  
  • Noisemakers/poppers/posters  
  • Wrapped gifts  
  • Strollers or car seats  
  • Alcohol/tobacco/vape products  
  • Emotional support animals  
  • Weapons   

I am bringing a guest with physical limitations. How do I ensure they are accommodated? 

Guests with physical limitations may use the ADA-accessible entrances at the NW and SE sides of the Hall of Music. (See map: Gold squares indicate the two entry doors with ramps.) 
If guests have more specialized seating needs, the graduating student needs to complete this request one month prior to the event to secure special seating. Special seating will be provided for the person needing an accommodation and for one chaperone.   

Where can guests park? 

Guests may refer to the Purdue parking page for information.  


When is the last day I can apply to graduate for the commencement ceremony?

Go to the myPurdue portal, Academics tab, Destination: Graduation. 

When is the last day I can indicate I will participate in the commencement ceremony?

On the commencement website, go to the Schedules tab and click Key dates.     

When is the Commencement Task List on the myPurdue portal going to be available?

If you applied to graduate prior to the deadline on your myPurdue portal, check here for key dates and deadlines. If you applied after the deadline, then you will see the Commencement Task List tab appear on the left side of the myPurdue portal within 24 hours.  

The name presented on the Name Coach task list item shows something different. Can I change this? 

No. The name presented on the Name Coach section of the Commencement Task List is not going to be used for the announcement of your name during the ceremony. We are only providing the name that you recorded in Name Coach to the orators so they can pronounce your name correctly. Only the first and last name are read at commencement.  


Do I need to rent the Purdue cap and gown for my commencement ceremony? 

Yes. To participate in the ceremony, you must indicate participation on your Commencement Task List before the deadline, along with renting a Purdue University custom cap and gown. Our distributor Herff Jones (rental link will appear on your Commencement Task List after you indicate participation) will ship the cap and gown to you, along with a prepaid mailing label for you to mail back your gown (and hood if you are a graduate or professional candidate). You should receive your cap and gown within 10-14 business days of submitting your rental order, and you must return the gown within two weeks of graduation. Please note, the rental of the cap and gown does not mark you as participating in the event. You must indicate attendance on the Commencement Task List in your myPurdue portal.  

Can I wear a keepsake gown that I have at home?

No. A rental gown is required to participate because it’s a custom rental gown unique to Purdue University.  

How can I purchase only the keepsake items (mortarboard, tassel, stole)? 

Please email Herff Jones to purchase these items.  

What is the deadline for cap and gown rental? 

Go to the commencement website under the Schedule tab and then to Key Dates for rental deadlines. The first deadline is to receive an early bird discounted price, and the second deadline is the last date to purchase online at regular price. For rentals after the regular price deadline, you should contact the University Book Store for availability.  

Can I get a refund on my cap and gown? 

Yes. If you cancel your rental prior to receipt or you return it unopened, you can receive a refund. However, we encourage you to consider renting the cap and gown for your special graduation photos. Contact Herff Jones to purchase these items. 

How do I return my gown (and hood if a graduate student or professional candidate)?

There is a return shipping label found in the box of your rented gown. DO NOT THROW THE LABEL AWAY. Simply remove the paper backing and apply it over the shipping label on the box your items came in and return.   

For the cap and gown rental, what do I return? The information from Herff Jones said to return the cap and gown. 

Undergraduate students should return the gown and keep everything else.  

Master’s/Professional/PhD students should return the gown and hood (if applicable). If you rented the tam, then return unless you purchased it.   

How do I access the link to rent my cap and gown? 

You must indicate participation in the ceremony on the Commencement Task List on your myPurdue portal; then the link for the cap and gown will appear after you refresh the page. See Key Dates to find out when the Commencement Task List tab opens.  

I am completing two degrees from the same college; is there any way I can order two tassels?   

You will order one tassel from Herff Jones and must stop by the University Book Store on State Street if you would like to purchase the second tassel.  

I am eligible for the Honors medallion. How do I get that?

The John Martinson Honors College handles distribution of its medallion.  

I am eligible for the Athlete medallion. How do I get that? 

Purdue Athletics leadership handles distribution of its medallion.  

Can I decorate my cap/mortarboard? 

If your decorations are not offensive or obstructing the view of students behind you, then yes, you may decorate your cap.  

I am eligible for distinction. How do I get my cords? 

If you are an undergraduate student (BA, BFA, BS), DVM or DP and you met the GPA criteria, you will receive your cords at your college check-in table in the Purdue Armory.   

Where do I go if my academic gown or attire is incorrect? 

If you notice this prior to your ceremony, contact our vendor representative at Herff Jones. If it’s commencement weekend, try the University Book Store.  

I am completing a degree in two colleges. When I applied to graduate, I selected the college I wanted to walk with first, then applied to graduate to the second college. How do I ensure this is correct? 

We assign you to walk with the college that is listed first on your Apply to Graduate application. When you rent your cap and gown, select the college on the Herff Jones website that you will walk with. If you wish to purchase a tassel for the other college, you may do so with Herff Jones or at the University Book Store on campus.   


How many guest tickets can I receive? 

Each candidate who plans to take part in the commencement ceremony is guaranteed up to four guest tickets at no charge. The university does not offer guest tickets for sale. There will be a livestream link available on the commencement website for guests without tickets. During the Spring commencement ceremony only, Fowler Hall (Stewart Center) will be available for guests without tickets on a first-come, first-served basis to view the livestream.  

Can we request more tickets for the commencement ceremony? 

No. Due to the size of our graduating class and venue constraints, the university can only guarantee up to four guest tickets per graduate. We are no longer creating a list of names with unused tickets or reallocating unused tickets. Guests without tickets are welcome to check with the Elliott Hall of Music box office for availability of unused tickets after the ceremony starts.  

Will an overflow room be available for guests without tickets to watch the ceremony livestream? 

Only for the Spring commencement ceremony. Fowler Hall, which is located inside Stewart Center, 128 Memorial Mall Dr., West Lafayette, IN 47907, will be available for guests without tickets on a first-come basis in the Spring.  

Can I sell any guest tickets that my family doesn't need? 

No. Selling something Purdue provided for free would violate our student code of conduct and could result in disciplinary action that could also jeopardize a graduate’s degree.    

Do children require guest tickets?

Those ages 3 and older will require a guest ticket. Those who are ages 2 and below are required to be seated in the lap of a guest with a ticket.  

My guests are having difficulty accessing the tickets. 

Please refer your guests to the Hall of Music box office for assistance.  

How long does the ceremony last? 

Ceremonies last approximately 90 minutes.  

Does Purdue allow students to only walk with "their class" they started with? 

No. Students routinely elect to participate in a ceremony with students they didn’t enter college with for a variety of reasons, including early completion, delayed completion and travel constraints. We ensure that each traditional in-person ceremony looks the same, with a personal recognition of each participating graduate.   

Does this ceremony information also apply to Purdue Northwest, Purdue Fort Wayne, Polytechnic Statewide, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Purdue Global? 

No. Information in this Q&A is for Purdue West Lafayette graduates only. Candidates should visit the websites of their institution for campus-specific graduation information.  

I am graduating but also performing at the graduation ceremony. Do I indicate participation? 

Yes. Please indicate your intent to participate and request your needed guest tickets. Please also be sure to notify your director/conductor of your graduation status so we make sure you get your diploma.  

When should I expect to receive my guest tickets? 

Graduates will receive an email link to their tickets the week leading up to the event.  

What accommodations do you provide for patrons with disabilities? 

Click here to learn about audio enhancement, special seating options, service animals and other accessibility considerations. Please note that Elliott Hall of Music does not have elevators, and all accessible seating is located on the main floor,  by reservation only. If the candidate or your guests require special seating accommodations, visit Accessibility Requests for instructions.  

Are there any COVID-19 restrictions ceremony visitors should know about? 

All visitors need to be fully aware of and completely adhere to the Protect Purdue Plan.   

Will my name be read in the commencement ceremony? 

All participating candidates who present their orator card and meet all Commencement Task List deadlines will have their first and last name announced by orators as they walk across the stage. 

If I choose not to attend the ceremony, will my name still be announced? 

Unfortunately, only candidates who indicate participation by the deadline and cross the stage with their orator card will have their name announced.  

Can I change my name that is announced?  

No. Your name as it appears in your university record will be announced by the orators. The purpose of recording your name is to assist our orators with your name’s pronunciation.  

Will my middle name be announced during the ceremony? 

Due to the size of the graduating class, we are only able to announce first and last name. Even if you indicate your full name on the Commencement Task List, only your first and last name will be printed on the orator card.  

Can I walk in a future graduation ceremony? 

Yes. Deadlines to request participation, registration links and additional information can be found on our Returnee Participation Information page.  

Will the ceremonies be livestreamed? 

Yes. Ceremonies will be available to watch on the commencement website home page.  

I failed a class. Can I still walk in the ceremony? 

Yes. If you indicated you were participating before the published deadline, we will not remove you from the graduate lineup. You will look like any other graduating student at the ceremony.   


When can I expect to receive my diploma? 

Graduates attending the Spring ceremony: The diploma you receive onstage is your official diploma.   

Graduates who do not attend the Spring ceremony or for Summer and Winter graduates: Diplomas will be mailed eight to 10 weeks following the end of the term. If you do not provide a diploma address in your Commencement Task List, which is valid after the semester ends, your diploma will be sent to your permanent address on file. If you do not provide a valid address, and your diploma is mailed to an old address, you will need to purchase a duplicate diploma through the vendor website.   

For those not attending, refer to Key Dates/Deadlines webpage for diploma mailing address deadline.   

What if I have an international mailing address for my diploma? 

If you are using an international mailing address, we highly recommend that you pay the $25 (reduced shipping cost) for Federal Express; see Commencement Task List in your myPurdue portal. If you do not pay the $25 for Federal Express and your diploma is lost in the mail, then you will be required to order a duplicate diploma at your expense directly from the printing vendor; the expedited international shipping cost is $175.  

When can I order a digital diploma? 

Candidates who have met requirements will receive an email from eight to 10 weeks after the end of term when the digital diploma is ready for download.    

Who do I contact if I haven't received my diploma? 

If you still haven’t received your diploma after eight to 10 weeks, you can contact commencement staff at Make sure to include your PUID number so that we can look up your diploma order.  

Why isn't my major printed on my diploma? 

Per Purdue University regulations, very few majors are part of the degree name. Your degree name only is printed on the diploma. Majors, minors and areas of concentration will appear on your transcript and can be ordered here, for verification purposes.  

Why did I receive only one diploma when I completed two degrees? 

Those who complete more than one major within the same college receive one degree and one diploma. All majors, minors and areas of concentration will appear on your transcripts and can be ordered here.  

When should I expect to see my degree posted on my transcript? 

Our goal is to post this information one week after the semester ends. We can post degrees only for those candidates who met requirements and were cleared by their college. You can check your myPurdue unofficial transcript to see if it has cleared and is posted.