December Ceremony FAQs

When and where is the ceremony?

A single ceremony for all graduates will take place Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, beginning promptly at 9:30 a.m. at Bradley University’s Renaissance Coliseum. Directions to Renaissance Coliseum.

How many guests can I invite?

Each graduate is allowed to invite and bring as many guests to the ceremony as they would like. Tickets are not required for the ceremony. However, in the unlikely event we reach seating capacity in the ceremony arena, guests will be turned away. The ceremony will also be livestreamed for guests who are unable to attend.

Will there be accessible seating for those who need it?

Yes, accessible seating will be available to guests.

What time do I have to arrive and how do I get to the Renaissance Coliseum?

Graduates will line up for the ceremony in the practice gym at the Renaissance Coliseum. The doors to the practice gym will open at 8 a.m. and graduates MUST be in line no later than 9 a.m. Directions to the Renaissance Coliseum can be found here. All graduates are responsible for their own transportation to and from the event.

Where do students line up?

Students will line up in the practice gym of the Renaissance Coliseum located in the south end of the building. Doors to the gym will open at 8 a.m.; please enter from the main street parking deck side of the building and follow the signs. Graduates MUST be in line no later than 9 a.m. to participate in the ceremony.

Do I need to bring anything with me?

Graduates should arrive dressed in their cap and gown. Master’s and doctoral students should not wear their hood, but carry it with them. Personal items cannot be left in the lineup area; please consider leaving all personal items with your guests. Bradley University will not be held responsible for any items left behind, lost, or stolen during the ceremony.

How will my name be announced?

All graduates will be provided a reader card when they pick up their cap and gown; they will hand the card to a designated reader before crossing the stage. Distance education students will be able to pick up their reader cards the day of the ceremony.

Can I record my name for proper pronunciation?

Yes, you will receieve an email closer to the ceremony date with a customized link. This will take you to a registration page where you can also record your name. If your name is frequently mispronounced, we strongly encourge you to complete this step.

How do I get my reader card?

Graduates will pick up their reader card when they pick up their cap and gown. Distance education students will be able to pick up their reader card in the lineup area on December 16.

What time can guests arrive?

Guests may begin arriving at the Renaissance Coliseum as early as 8 a.m. The doors to the arena where guests will be seated will open at 8:30 a.m. Please plan accordingly if standing for longer periods of time is difficult.

Where should I park?

Guests and graduates should park in the Main Street Parking Deck, located to the west of Renaissance Coliseum.

How long will my ceremony last?

The ceremony is estimated to end around 11:30 a.m.

How do I order the cap and gown and when will I get it?

On-Campus Students:

You must order your cap and gown online through Jostens. Students will receive an email communication providing them with pickup information closer to the ceremony date. The deadline to order a cap and gown is October 31, 2023.

Distance Education Students

You must order your cap and gown online through Jostens. The items you order will be sent to the address you provide when completing the order. The deadline to order a cap and gown is October 31, 2023.

How will I get my official commencement photo?

Professional photographers from Pro Pics will be at the ceremony to take portraits of graduates. Photos of the graduates crossing the stage, as well as individual portraits on multiple backgrounds, will be available for purchase from Pro Pics following the ceremony. To identify your photos and receive proofs, please visit to submit your information. You can email questions about photos to:

Where do I pick up my cap and gown?

Cap and gown can be picked up during the Grad Fair, which will be held on December 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Peplow Pavilion at the Hayden Clark Alumni Center. You will also pick up your reader card and get other useful information at the Grad Fair. If you cannot attend, you can have a third party pick up your cap and gown but they must get permission from the Registrar's Office by emailing to

What is Commencement Registration? When is it?

Grad Registration is an event that students can attend to do all of their commencement registration. Commencement staff, registrars and bookstore staff will be at the event to answer any and all questions. The event is October 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. This event is designed as a come and go as you please event. Registration will take about 10-15 minutes so we encourage you to attend at a time that works best for you.

Am I allowed to visit campus to take photos in my cap and gown?

Yes, you may come to campus to take photos.

How do grad students return their cap and gown?

Caps and gowns can be returned immediately following the ceremony. A representative from the bookstore will be in the practice gym to accept returns for graduate students.

Will the ceremony be live streamed for guests who cannot attend?

The ceremony will be livestreamed. The link will be available on Bradley’s website at 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony.

Will I receive a diploma cover?

Students who attend the ceremony will receive their diploma cover during the ceremony. Diploma covers will NOT be mailed to students who do not attend the ceremony.

When will I get my diploma?

Diplomas and official transcripts will be mailed approximately six to eight weeks after graduation, pending successful completion of degree requirements. If you have a grade hold on your record for any reason, your diploma(s) will not be released until the hold is cleared. Holds do not inhibit the conferral of a degree, only the release of the official documents (i.e., diplomas, transcripts). Please contact the Registrar’s Office a or 309-677-3101 if you have any questions.

Will I get a tassel?

If you ordered a cap and gown through Jostens, your tassel will come with your order. The tassel, included with your cap and gown, is specific to the program you are completing. These tassels cannot be ordered separately.

What is a spirit tassel, and how can I get one?

The spirit tassel is a way to show your school spirit by making a contribution of $20.23 to represent your class year and to support the endowed scholarship fund established by the Bradley University Alumni Association (BUAA). You can purchase a tassel here.

How do I get my honors stole?

If you have earned an honors stole and you ordered a cap and gown, the honors stole will be included when you pick up your cap and gown. Please note, honors are only applicable to undergraduate students and are not bestowed on master’s or doctoral students.

Where can I get graduation announcements?

On Campus Students:

You may do so through Jostens.

Distance Education Students:

You may do so through Jostens.

What is a legacy stole?

The legacy stole can be worn by a graduate who has a parent, grandparent or sibling who graduated from Bradley University. Legacy stoles can be ordered through Jostens at the time of cap and gown ordering.

Does Bradley have yard signs?

Yes! You can order a standard or customizable sign here.

Am I required to participate in my commencement ceremony in order to graduate?

No, if you choose not to participate in your commencement ceremony and you have met the university requirements, you will receive your diploma in the mail.

If I don't participate in my commencement ceremony, do I still have to apply to graduate?

Yes, you must apply to graduate regardless of participating in a ceremony. For information about how to apply to graduate as an undergraduate student, please visit the Registrar's Office.