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Commencement Information

Northwest looks forward to celebrating the achievements of our May 2021 graduates. We are committed to the health and safety of its graduates and guests and weighing all possible options based on the latest COVID-19 data, recommendations and guidelines of University experts and local and national public health officials. 

Spring 2021 Commencement Exercises

As Northwest continues to monitor and evaluate campus events during the COVID-19 pandemic, the University is offering three options for graduates to participate in spring commencement. Graduates should select one option on their commencement order form.

  • Participate in a commencement ceremony this spring, on May 6, 7 or 8. Ceremonies will be capped at 106 graduates, with a four-guest limit. These limits are based on Bearcat Arena capacity with current COVID-19 mitigation's in place. Dates and times are listed below.
  • Postpone participation in a commencement ceremony until fall (December) 2021.
  • Not participate in a commencement ceremony and request that Northwest mail graduation items (cap; tassel; diploma cover; honor cords, if eligible; hood for master’s and specialist degree candidates). Gowns will not be mailed.

Tickets are required for all ceremonies. In alignment with Northwest’s COVID-19 mitigation measures, all individuals attending the ceremony must wear a face covering. Wearing a face covering not only protects you; it protects your loved ones and individuals around you.

Commencement Order form

Our Commencement Order Form will be sent to all eligible graduates through email. Graduates must complete a commencement order form by Friday, March 12. Any form submitted after this date will not be guaranteed a cap and gown or seating at ceremonies.

Commencement ceremony dates and times

Thursday, May 6

  • 3 p.m.
  • 7 p.m.

Friday, May 7

  • 9 a.m.
  • 1 p.m.
  • 5 p.m.

Saturday, May 8

  • 9 a.m.
  • 1 p.m.
  • 5 p.m.

For those who mark “participate in spring 2021 commencement ceremony” on the commencement order form, a link will be emailed in coming weeks to choose your ceremony date and time.

Cap and Gown

Graduates have three options to pick up their cap and gown.

  • Graduates may pick up their cap and gown between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, May 3 through Wednesday, May 5, and Thursday, May 6, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. on the first floor of the Administration Building.
  • Graduates may make arrangements to pick up their cap and gown Monday, May 3 through Thursday, May 6, at Northwest-Kansas City in Gladstone.. 
  • Caps and gowns will be available for pickup at least one hour before your ceremony time in the Student Rec Center in Lamkin Activity Center.

Gowns cannot be mailed.

You may have someone pick up your cap and gown for you, but they need to have your 919#.

Please iron gowns on the wrong side (inside out), or hang in the shower to reduce wrinkling. Ironing boards will be available at cap and gown pickup.

Honor cords

Graduates who are eligible for honor cords will receive them with their cap and gown order.

Honors are based on both a graduate’s current Northwest and cumulative grade-point averages. Honors for transcripts and diplomas are adjusted after final grades have been calculated. Honors are not awarded to master’s degree candidates.

  • Cum Laude: 3.5 – 3.74 (white)
  • Magna Cum Laude: 3.75 – 3.94 (green)
  • Summa Cum Laude: 3.95 – 4.0 (gold)

Graduates who believe they should have received honor cords and did not should contact the Registrar’s Office at 660.562.1151.

Mortar Boards (graduation caps)

The cap is yours to keep, and you are welcome to decorate your keepsake cap and show your Bearcat pride, creativity and style.

Make sure that you look inside the cap to determine which side is the front and decorate accordingly.

Rules for decorations:

  • No vulgar language
  • No inappropriate verbiage or pictures
  • Decorations cannot obstruct the view of those behind you
  • Any cap deemed inappropriate by the University Coordinator will be taken and you will be provided a new cap