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Southern Nazarene University - Character Culture Christ
Information for Graduates

The doors to Sawyer Center will open one hour before the ceremony begins.Therefore, guests and graduates should time their arrival to the Sawyer Center conscientious of their physical ability to stand outside and wait. To be fair to all our graduates and guests, those discovered inside Sawyer Center prior to the official opening of doors may be asked by Commencement personnel to exit the building until the doors are open.

PLEASE NOTE: For parties with elderly or disabled guests, the prospect of experiencing physical challenges of standing outside waiting for the doors to open creates a common concern. To address this issue as best we can, SNU has designated sections of the main floor of the gymnasium as priority seating for elderly and disabled guests. This courtesy is provided in an attempt to allow those in more fragile physical condition to arrive as the doors open and still have an opportunity for adequate seating. Because of this provision of special seating, we request that ALL guests and graduates remain outside the Sawyer Center until the doors open.

Because there is no rehearsal scheduled, we recommend graduates read these instructions before Commencement to become familiar with the procedures involved in the day.


9:00 a.m. check-in for MORNING ceremony
1:00 p.m. check in for AFTERNOON ceremony

1:00 pm check-in

Unable to attend in person?
Watch Commencement FREE online at:

May 2016 broadcast will begin at 10:30AM (CST)

Prior to the ceremony, graduates may enter through Sawyer Center NE doors (click here for map) and follow the signs to the SE lobby where you will be assigned your position in the graduation line. Graduates will be given a name card at that time. Graduates should verify the home and e-mail addresses listed on the card and note any corrections necessary. Phonetic pronunciation should be written on the card for any name that needs clarification. This card should be kept until the marshal on the platform takes it to identify each student as they cross the platform.

If graduates wish to be seated as a group, ALL MEMBERS of the party should arrive and check-in NO LATER than 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Late arrivals may not be able to sit together.

If a graduate is physically unable to stand in line to wait for Commencement to begin (e.g. leg or foot injury, back problems), University and/or Faculty Marshals (wearing medallions), or other Commencement personnel (wearing "Staff" badges) are available to assist. Also, if special seating for the graduate is needed during the ceremony (e.g., wheelchair, hearing impaired) the Office of Academic Affairs should be notified at least two weeks prior to the ceremony so that appropriate arrangements can be made. 

Graduates should be aware that there is no secure location to store personal items during the ceremony. Arrangements should be made with family or friends to hold these items during the ceremony.

Graduates and guests should be reminded that this event is a formal and dignified occasion, celebrating the educational accomplishments, diligence, and perseverance of all our graduates. It is expected that graduates and guests show courtesy and decorum during the ceremony with respect to other graduates and guests, and behave in a manner that reflects the SNU motto - "Character / Culture / Christ". 

Before the ceremony, tassels hang over the right edge of the cap for bachelors; over the left for masters. Men customarily remove caps for prayer.

Graduates will be lead by the University Marshals into the auditorium. Graduates will remain standing (except those who are physically unable) until instructed by someone from the platform.

At the march to the stage, each row stands up all together at the Marshal's signal. Graduates will follow the Marshals to the stage. Once the graduate reaches the platform, the name card is given to the designated person. Due to live-streaming Master degree students will move to the hooding area on stage before their name is called.  After being hooded they will proceed across stage to receive their diploma cover.  Here Graduates should pause for a photo.

Bachelor degree students will proceed across the platform to receive their diploma cover. At that time their name will be called.  Here Graduates should pause for a photo. Then graduates will exit the platform down the north staircase (opposite side of stage)  and proceed to their assigned seat. Graduates may be seated individually.

The printed program lists instructions for the recessional for each ceremony. Graduates should listen for instructions from the platform and be aware of the guidance from the University Marshals.

Our Nazarene Heritage
Founded in 1899, Southern Nazarene University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university - a service of the Church of the Nazarene. Located on a 40-acre campus just west of Oklahoma City, SNU grew out of several small colleges committed to educating people for lives of service to God, leadership, and reconciliation toward their neighbors and within the global community. More than 32,000 alumni work and serve throughout the United States and the world. Read About Our Heritage

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