2021 Commencement Ceremonies FAQs

When and where is the ceremony?

One ceremony for all graduates will take place Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, beginning promptly at 9:30 a.m. at the Bradley University 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. Please know this is subject to change should COVID-19 guidelines change. In the unlikely event we reach seating capacity in the ceremony arena, guests will be turned away. The ceremony will also be live streamed for guests who are unable to attend.

Will there be accessible seating for those who need it?

Yes. For any guests who need accessible seating, please have them tell an usher when the arena doors open and they will be helped to the accessible seating area.

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. 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 Renaissance Coliseum, located through the middle set of doors on the southwest side of the building facing the Main Street Parking Deck. The doors to the practice gym will open at 8 a.m. and graduates MUST be in line no later than 9 a.m. to participate in the ceremony. Bachelor degree recipients will march in by college and will form two lines behind their college banner. It is critical that students maintain their positions in their line once the processional begins.

What do I do if I want to sit next to my friend during the ceremony?

Bachelor degree recipients will only be able to attempt to sit next to a friend if that friend is in the same college. You will need to line up in the same line behind your college banner, NOT across from each other in both lines. Please know that you may need to start a new row, depending on where you are in line, thus not being able to sit next to your friend. It is critical that you maintain your position in this line once the processional begins. Master and Doctoral degree recipients will not be able to sit next to their friends during the ceremony and must line up in the designated order upon arrival to ensure they are hooded by the appropriate person during the ceremony.

Do I need to bring anything with me?

Graduates should arrive dressed in their cap and gown and wearing a face covering. All 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 yellow (bachelor or master degree recipients) or blue (doctoral degree recipients) 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. The reader card will include an area for the pronunciation of your name, which readers will use to announce your name as you cross the stage.

Can I record my name for proper pronunciation?

All graduates should have received an email on November 24, 2021, with a personalized link to a website where they will be able to record their name, so readers may review the recording ahead of the ceremony. The deadline to submit the form is 11:59 p.m. (CST), Friday, December 3, 2021.

How do I get my reader card?

Graduates will pick up their reader card when they pick up their cap and gown at the Grad Fair on Thursday, December 9, 2021 or in the University Bookstore during regular business hours beginning December 10, 2021. Distance education students will be able to pick up their reader card in the lineup area.

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. Graduates and guests should plan accordingly.

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

On Campus Students:

The deadline to order cap and gown online has passed. On campus students can inquire about ordering a cap and gown in store at the University Bookstore.

Distance Education Students:

You must order your cap and gown online. The items you order will be sent to the address you provide when completing the order. The deadline to order a cap and gown with standard shipping and handling has passed. The deadline to order cap and gown with express shipping and handling is 11:59 p.m. (EST), Dec. 3, 2021.

What COVID-19 protocols will be in place during the events?

All graduates and guests must be prepared to wear a mask from the time they arrive until the time they depart the commencement venue; the only exception is graduates can remove their face covering for their official commencement photo.

What happens if COVID-19 guidelines change?

Any and all commencement ceremony guidelines may change or the ceremony may be cancelled due to changing State of Illinois COVID-19 regulations.

Is there anything that I cannot bring into the commencement venue?

  • Alcohol
  • Animals/Pets (except service animals)
  • Audio/Video Recording & Professional Photo Equipment
  • Baby Powder or any other Powder Based Substance
  • Balloons
  • Chains, Studded Bracelets, etc.
  • Glitter and Confetti
  • Illegal Substances
  • Laser Pens and Pointers
  • Noisemaking Devices (i.e. whistles, air horns)
  • Outside Food, Cans, Bottles, Glass, or Other Drink Containers
  • Skateboards, Rollerblades, Bikes, etc.
  • Unapproved pamphlets, fliers, handbills, etc.
  • Use of Tobacco Products (i.e. Smoking Cigarettes/Cigars, chewing tobacco, snuffs/snus, etc.)
  • Weapons of any kind (including, but are not limited to: firearms, explosives, handcuffs, batons, stun guns, knives, tear gas, pepper spray, etc.)
  • Any Other Item deemed inappropriate or dangerous by the venue in its sole discretion

Any other information for guests?

  • Each graduate has earned the honor of having his/her/their name read and heard during the presentation of degrees. For this reason, we ask that guest refrain from using air horns or other noisemakers when their graduate’s name is read. We ask that guests be considerate of all graduates, their families, and guests so that all names may be heard.
  • Aisles in the coliseum must be kept free and open at all times.
  • Bradley University is not responsible for items left in the Practice Gym or the Coliseum.
  • An area within the guest seating area will be reserved on both sides of the stage to permit family and friends to photograph. These areas are intended to provide guests the temporary opportunity to take photos and are not to be used as permanent seats. As a safety precaution, guests are not permitted in the candidates seating area or on the stage during or after the ceremony.

How will I get my official commencement photo?

Professional photographers from Pro Pics will be at commencement 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 www.BradleyUniversityPhotos.com to submit your information. You can email questions about photos to: info@propicsusa.com

What is Grad Fair and when is it?

Grad Fair, or Graduation Fair, is an event hosted by the Alumni Relations Office where students can take some fun photos, grab a quick snack, get in on some fun giveaways, and on campus students can pick up their cap and gown. The Fair is scheduled to take place on Thursday, December 9, 2021 from 9:30am to 6:00pm on the 3rd floor of Hayden-Clark Alumni Center.

What if I can’t go to the Grad Fair?

On campus students can pick up their cap and gown and gown at the University Bookstore Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm and Saturday 10:00am to 2:00pm beginning Friday, December 10, 2021.

What is the Graduation Reception and when is it?

The Office of Alumni Relations hosts a reception to welcome all graduation candidates to the Bradley family of alumni. Students can celebrate their achievement with fellow graduates, family, faculty, and staff. Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served. The reception is scheduled to take place on Friday, December 17, 2021 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm in the Student Center Ballroom. Families will receive a separate invitation to the reception.

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

Yes, you may come to campus to take photos. Please visit Bradley Unite for all Bradley University safety guidelines.

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

The ceremony will be live streamed for anyone to watch. The link will be available on Bradley’s Website at bradley.edu the morning of the ceremony.

Will Bradley print commencement programs?

Yes, the programs will be available the day of the ceremony. Programs will not be mailed to students who do not attend the ceremony.

Will I receive a diploma cover?

Students who attend the ceremony will receive their 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 at registrar@bradley.edu or 309-677-3101 if you have any questions.

Will I get a tassel?

If you ordered a cap and a gown through Herff Jones, 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. However, Mega-Tassels are Bradley themed tassels that can be ordered from Herff Jones. On Campus Students Mega-Tassels order form. Distance Education Students can Mega-Tassels oder form.

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 $20.21 to represent your class year and to support the endowed scholarship fund established by the Bradley University Alumni Association (BUAA). Purchase a spirit tassel.

How do I get my honors stole?

If you have earned an honors stole and you order 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 and doctoral students.

Where can I get graduation announcements?

On Campus Students:

You may do so through Herff Jones.

Distance Education Students:

You may do so through Herff Jones.

What is a Legacy Stole?

The legacy stole can be worn by a graduate who has a parent, grandparent or sibling that graduated from Bradley University. If you are interested in ordering a Legacy Stole, please send an email to commencement@bradley.edu.

How do I wear my cap?

The cap, also known as a mortarboard (bachelor and master degree recipients) or tam (doctoral degree recipients), is kept level with the tassel at the middle of the left side. Please note, there is a front and back to a mortarboard and tam.

What should I wear under my gown?

We recommend that students wear attire representative of a formal ceremony rich with tradition and dignity. We ask that students refrain from wearing jeans, tennis shoes, or other informal clothing.

Does Bradley have yard signs?

Yes! You can order a standard or customizable sign.

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 participation in a ceremony. For information about how to apply to graduate as an undergraduate student, please visit the Registrar’s Office. For information about how to apply to graduate as a graduate student, please visit the Graduate Education page.