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.

Elliott Hall of Music Q&A

What time do the doors open before a performance?  Doors generally open 90 minutes prior to the published ceremony start time.

Can I bring a bag into the venue? Guests are encouraged not to 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 one-gallon clear plastic bag (Ziploc bag or similar)
  • Also permissible is 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 non-acceptable items for Elliott Hall of Music?

Acceptable Items

o Cameras
o Flowers
o Registered service animals only
Not Acceptable Items
o Camera bags or tripods
o Balloons
o Beverages or food products, unless there is a medical need
o Noisemakers/poppers/posters
o Wrapped gifts
o Strollers or car seats
o Alcohol/tobacco/vape products
o Emotional support animals
o 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 on the NW and SE sides of the Hall of Music. *Gold squares noting the two entry doors with ramps.

Entry doors

If guests have more specialized seating needs, the graduating student must complete this request one month prior to the event to secure special seating. Special seating will be approved for the person needing accommodations and one chaperone.

Where can guests park? Guests may refer to the Purdue parking page for information.

Commencement Task List Q&A

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 participating in commencement ceremony? On the commencement website go to the Schedules tab, click Key Dates.

When is the Commencement Task List on 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 recorded name that you recorded in Name Coach to the orators so they can pronounce your name correctly. Only first and last names are read at commencement.

Commencement Attire Q&A

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, 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 2 weeks after 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 is 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 Schedules tab, then 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 should contact the University Book Store for availability.

Can I get a refund on my cap & gown? Yes. If you cancel your order prior to receipt or you return it unopened, you can receive a refund. However, we do 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 AWAY. Simply remove the paper backing and apply over the shipping label on the box it came in and return.

For the cap & gown rental, what do I return? The information from Herff Jones said to return the cap & gown. Undergraduate – return the gown, keep everything else. Masters/Professional/Ph.D. – return the gown and hood (if applicable). If you rented the tam, then return unless you purchased it.

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 stop by the University Book Store on State Street if you would like to purchase the second tassel.

I am eligible for Honors medallion. How do I get that? The Honors College handles distribution of their medallion. I am eligible for Athlete medallion. How do I get that? Purdue Athletic leadership handles distribution of their medallion.

Can I decorate my cap/mortar board? 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, DP and you met the GPA criteria, you will receive your cords at your college check-in table in the Armory.

Where do I go if my academic gown or attire is incorrect? If you notice this prior to your event, contact our vendor representative at Herff Jones. If it’s commencement weekend, try the University Bookstore.

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 Bookstore on campus.

Tickets and Ceremony Q&A

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 serve basis to view the livestream.

Can we request more tickets for the graduation 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.

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, first serve 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? Yes, in order to comply with fire code, every person requires a ticket.

My guests are having difficulty accessing the tickets. Please refer your guests to the box office with the Hall of Music for assistance.

How long does the ceremony last? Ceremonies are approximately 90 minutes long.

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), Purdue Global? No. Information in this Q&A is for Purdue West Lafayette graduates only. Candidates should visit the websites of each campus for campus-specific graduation information.

I am graduating but am 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, and by reservation only. If the candidate or your guests require special seating accommodations, visit the Accessibility Request for instructions.

Are there any COVID-19 restrictions ceremony visitors should know about? Not at this time.

Will my name be read in the Spring 2023 ceremony? All participating candidates that present their orator card will have their first and last name announced by orators as they walk across the stage, if you meet all Commencement Task List deadlines.

If I choose not to attend the ceremony, will my name still be announced? Unfortunately, only candidates that 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 Public Orators with your name 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 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 live-streamed? 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, providing you indicated you were participating before the published deadline we will not remove you from the graduate line up. You will look like any other graduating student at the ceremony.

Diploma Q&A

When can I expect to receive my diploma? Graduates attending the Spring ceremony: the diploma you receive on stage is your official diploma.

Graduates who do not attend the Spring ceremony or for Summer and Winter graduates: Diplomas will be mailed 8-10 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 website page 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 special FedEx reduced shipping fee, found on the Commencement Task List in your myPurdue portal. If you do not pay the special shipping fee 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 and the expedited international shipping cost is $175.00.

When can I order a Digital diploma? Candidates who have met requirements will receive an e-mail from 8-10 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 8-10 weeks, you can contact Commencement at, Be 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 only post degrees 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.

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