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Northwest Missouri State University


Commencement (Photo by University Photography)

Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I need to pay the graduation fee, even if I am not participating in the ceremony?

Yes. Anyone graduating from the University is required to pay the graduation fee.

The graduation fee assists with everything related to graduation and the Commencement ceremony. These costs include but are not limited to:

  • degree conferral on transcripts
  • diploma printing and mailing costs
  • cap and gown rental
  • overhead/man hours/and other expenses related to the Commencement ceremony
  • degree audits and the final graduation audit
  • correspondence with degree candidates related to Commencement and graduation
  • financial aid exit counseling communication and processing
  • commencement program printing
  • etc.

Where can guests park for graduation?

Free parking is available at most areas on campus the day of graduation.
A lot designated for handicapped parking is located across the street from the Lamkin Activity Center, just to the west of the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building. (See parking map, lot 2)

Winter ceremony only - Free shuttle parking buses will be running to and from lot 62, (see parking map) located to the west of the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts. Shuttles will begin 90 minutes prior to each ceremony.

View campus maps

Where do the graduates sit inside the arena?

Banner carriers will escort graduates to a designated seating area for each college/school. You do not need to be in alphabetical order.

What should I do if I have an unusual name to pronounce?

Before you cross the stage, you will hand the reader a card (included with your cap and gown order) that will have your name printed on it. If you think the reader will have a difficult time pronouncing your name, please call the commencement coordinator, Gina Bradley, at 660.562.1143. You may also e-mail a phonetic spelling to gbradle@nwmissouri.edu. Example: Michaela (mih-kaý-luh)

What time should I be there?

Graduates should arrive no less than 30 minutes before the ceremony.

Where do I go?

All participants should line up in the Student Recreation Center located at the end of the long hallway adjacent to Bearcat Arena.

Will I have honor cords?

The Registrar's Office has the listing of those graduates who have earned honors. Only undergraduate candidates are given honors.

Is there a dress code?


Men should wear slacks and a shirt and tie. Women should wear a dress or slacks and a blouse that does not have a high collar. Undergraduate women will have a white collar included with their cap and gown order. This collar fastens to the gown with velcro. (Master's gowns do not have a collar.)

Can my guests take photos during the ceremony?

Your guests are allowed to take photos from their seat. To allow graduates to safely proceed to and exit the stage area, we ask that no photographs be taken in the aisles or the area in front of the stage. There is an area to the right of the stage where guests may stand in a gated area to take photos. 

How long will the ceremony last?

Graduation ceremonies usually lasts between 90 min to two hours.

I haven't received any information about graduation. Who do I need to talk to?

If you do not receive an information letter and feel you should have, please contact the Registrar's Office at 660.562.1151 to check your status.

Who can I contact for more information?

If you have questions, please contact the Office of University Marketing and Communication at 660.562.1143 or e-mail gbradle@nwmissouri.edu.