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Chapman Commencement

» Frequently Asked Questions


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Has the date been set?

We’re targeting a weekend in late summer. We will provide more details when available.

Will I still get to walk across the stage to get my diploma cover?


Will every name be called?

All graduates in attendance will have their name called as they walk across the stage.

Will the colleges hold their degree ceremonies?

While we would like for each school/college to hold their own degree ceremony, this will all be dependent on how many students return for the rescheduled ceremony.

If there are not individual college degree ceremonies, will I still be able to celebrate with peers from my major?

Yes, we will have graduates seated by major.

Will my family get refunded for travel?

No, unfortunately Chapman University is not able to refund the cost of travel fees.

Should I still purchase regalia?

Yes. If you plan to participate in the postponed Commencement activities, you will need to purchase regalia. The deadline for ordering will be extended to 5 weeks before the rescheduled Commencement dates. If you are unsure if you will be able to attend the postponed events, please refrain from purchasing regalia until you know for certain as the vendor is not accepting returns.

If I can’t attend, will you refund the money I spent on regalia?

No. The regalia is sold by an outside vendor, so we are unable to process refunds or changes.

Do I need tickets to attend the rescheduled Commencement Exercises?

No. This year’s commencement is open to all. We also provide a livestream of the ceremony that can be viewed at several locations on or off campus.

What precautions are being taken by the university in relationship to COVID-19?

Chapman University has a task force working diligently to follow developments related to COVID-19 and to keep the campus informed about best practices. We will place hand sanitizing stations and signage about proper hygiene in key locations around campus.

Will there still be a University Commencement Ceremony?

At this time, we are unsure what events will remain during Commencement Weekend. Many of the logistics will be planned once we know how many graduates will attend. Our goal is to provide the full Commencement experience our graduates have earned. We will continue to update the Commencement website as we finalize details. 

Will there be a President’s Toast?

At this time, we are unsure what events will remain during Commencement Weekend. Many of the logistics will be planned once we know how many graduates will attend. Our goal is to provide the full Commencement experience our graduates have earned. We will continue to update the Commencement website as we finalize details. 

Will there be a baccalaureate?

At this time, we are unsure what events will remain during Commencement Weekend. Many of the logistics will be planned once we know how many graduates will attend. Our goal is to provide the full Commencement experience our graduates have earned. We will continue to update the Commencement website as we finalize details. 

Will I still get my diploma if I don’t walk?

Yes. If you have completed the necessary requirements, you will receive your diploma in the mail in summer of 2020.

Will my ceremony still take place on Wilson Field?

Yes, the Commencement activities will still be held on Wilson Field.

Where can I find the most up to date information?

We will distribute the information to all necessary channels, including the Chapman University website, email, social media, and the Commencement webpage.

Accessibility and Accommodations

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What if it rains or is hot?

There is no rain plan for Chapman Commencement ceremonies. Ceremonies will take place as scheduled unless a downpour or electrical storm create a safety hazard. Graduates should plan apparel beneath their gowns according to weather conditions. Guests are also requested to dress comfortably for the weather. The artificial turf on Wilson Field can be be very warm on a sunny day, so please plan accordingly.

Do you provide accommodations for guests with special needs?

All Chapman University parking locations provide designated ADA parking spaces. Please make the appropriate arrangements with your group if you need to drop off a guest close to the ceremony site.

Guest seating for commencement exercises is at field level, and there is no designated seating for guests in wheelchairs. Wheelchairs may be placed on the outside edge of a row next to the rest of the family. Please note that the University does not have wheelchairs available for guest use.

For guests with hearing impairment, captioning will be available on the large screens near the stage.

Commencement Prep

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Is there rehearsal for Commencement?

There is no rehearsal for Chapman Commencement, so it is vital that students check in on time. Food will not be available at check-in, and students should eat a sustaining meal before they come to line-up. Students should allow ample time to arrive, park, and walk to the check-in location. Students must bring cap and gown and their printed "Commencement Passport." Students will part from their guests at check-in, as friends and family are not permitted at line-up.

How many guests may I invite, and will they need tickets for Commencement?

No tickets are required for degree ceremonies and there is no limit to how many guests you may invite. Please note that seating is first come, first served. Seating is in folding chairs on artificial turf. Once the ceremony begins, empty seats must be made available to accommodate guests without seats.

Please note, guest tickets are required for students that choose to participate inThe University Commencement Ceremony. Please see the The University Commencement Ceremony tab for more information.

How can I make sure my name is pronounced correctly?

All Chapman readers sincerely desire to say your name correctly and practice with a list of grads' names in advance. To ensure that Chapman has this information, contact the department office of your major and provide them with a phonetic pronunciation of your name well in advance of Commencement Weekend. You may also write the phonetic pronunciation of your name on your grad card to assist the reader.

Day of Information - Students

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Do I need to bring anything with me on Commencement Day?

Please arrive dressed in your cap and gown and with your printed "Degree Ceremony Passport" in hand. Students should avoid bringing valuables such as purses or packs to the procession lineup, as they will be obliged to carry them around for the duration of the ceremony. Security for abandoned items is not provided in the lineup locations or at the ceremony venues.

How do we line up?

  • Each degree ceremony will have a line up area for students in the Hutton Gym.
  • Please bring your printed "Degree Ceremony Passport" with you.
  • Staff will show you to a lineup area assigned to your major.
  • Students are required to sit within their major cohort.
  • Departments march in alphabetical order by subject.

What will I receive on Commencement Day?

When you cross the stage, you will receive a diploma cover only. Your diploma will not be handed to you at Commencement. The Office of the University Registrar will mail your diploma to you upon certification that all degree requirements have been satisfied.

Will photos be taken during Commencement?

Chapman University's trusted professional graduation photographers will capture various photos of the graduate, on stage and portrait-style. They will email photo proofs and ordering instructions directly to graduates within two weeks after the ceremony. 

Family and guests are not allowed near the stage during the ceremony to take photos. Guests are encouraged to remain in their seats during the duration of the ceremony.

When will I get my diploma?

Degrees are awarded three times a year, at the end of January, May, and August. Your degree is awarded at the end of the term in which all requirements have been satisfied on your program evaluation. You will receive a confirmation email to your Panthermail once your degree is awarded. Mailing time for the diploma is estimated between 4-6 weeks from the date the confirmation email is sent.

Student Expectations and Dress Code

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How are we expected to behave at Commencement?

Chapman Commencement is not a somber occasion, but it is one that the institution takes seriously. Commencement is the largest publicly attended event on campus. Families, friends, alumni and honored guests from all over the world will attend this momentous event -- how we present ourselves on that day is, for many of our guests, the only impression of Chapman they ever have. It should be a favorable one. 

We ask that students abide by the Student Conduct Code on Commencement Weekend on university common areas and at offsite venues where official university ceremonies are taking place. Some of these requirements include refraining from possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages or other controlled substances, being publicly intoxicated, and engaging in disruptive or disorderly conduct. All attendees are requested to refrain from bringing food, beverages and gum into any ceremony venue. We ask that students refrain from bringing noisemakers, signs, toys, confetti, streamers, or fireworks to any ceremony.

Students are required to wear academic attire as is appropriate to the historical, dignified traditions of graduation ceremonies. Students must remain seated at all times unless walking in procession and remain present for the entire ceremony until its conclusion. Participants and guests may be asked to leave university property at any time by Chapman University administrators, faculty, or Public Safety officers during Commencement Weekend, if they are not fulfilling these responsibilities and obligations. 

May I leave Chapman as soon as I cross the stage?

Graduates are required to remain for the entire Commencement and Degree Ceremonies and may not leave early. Chapman diligently strives to begin and end Commencement ceremonies on time. Please refer to the Commencement schedule for the expected duration of the ceremony you will be attending. If you make celebration plans after the ceremony, it is suggested that you set your reservations or invitation time to no earlier than one hour after the ceremony's end.

What should I wear to Commencement with my cap and gown?

Your academic gown is black and made of a synthetic fabric -- it might feel hot on a warm day and will not provide much warmth on a cool day, so plan your apparel underneath the gown accordingly. Footwear should be comfortable enough to tolerate standing for a long time, walking on grass and uneven surfaces, and going up and down stairs. Spike heels are not recommended. Bare feet are not permitted.

May I wear flowers with my cap and gown?

Yes! A professional florist will offer corsages, bouquets, and leis available for purchase.

May I decorate my cap?

Yes! However, obscene or offensive words and images are not permitted.


May I keep my cap and gown after graduation?

Yes! At Chapman University, students purchase souvenir-quality caps and gowns through the our regalia vendor.

Travel and Parking

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Where can I find parking?

Parking will be free in all designated parking structures and lots, and curbside permits are not required on local streets during Commencement Weekend.

Visitors and Guests

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How early can guests arrive to reserve seats?

We recommend that you plan accordingly to arrive to campus with plenty of time to navigate parking and get onto campus.

Gates to Wilson Field do not open until 30 minutes prior to the start of each ceremony. Guests will wait in a line, located outside the three main entrances to the field until all guests from the previous ceremony and their belongings have been cleared from the field.

Reserving of seats during a prior ceremony is not permitted.


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What is Baccalaureate, and do I have to go to it?

Baccalaureate service is not your traditional baccalaureate service: it features inspirational messages for all graduates, whether secular, spiritual or religious. And it’s open to all: graduates, their families and undergraduates, faculty and staff.

2020 Baccalaureate service will take place Thursday, May, 21, 2020 at 7:00pm in The Wallace All Faiths Chapel. 

Chapman Graduates and Faculty RSVP:
All Other guests, seating is limited to first come, first serve. For Information email us at

What is the University Commencement Ceremony and do I have to go to it?

The University Commencement Ceremony is the Chapman Family's all-school ceremony honoring student achievements. We'll be turning tassels, cheering on student award recipients, listening to a keynote speaker, and closing the evening with a celebratory toast.

While students will not walk across the stage at this ceremony, they will still wear caps and gowns for the ceremonial conferral of their degree. Graduate and Undergraduate students are invited to participate.

Tickets are free, but are required for guests who are attending the University Commencement Ceremony. Because this event is open to all students, graduate and undergraduate from all of Chapman University's schools and colleges, seating is very limited.

Students must reserve guest tickets by May 8.

What is the Senior Legacy?

"Senior Legacy unites seniors through engaging experiences and instills a lifelong commitment to Chapman University that impacts future student opportunities." 

Senior Legacy is a long-standing Chapman tradition for the senior class to present the University with a gift as a way to commemorate their time at Chapman and support future generations of Panthers. Click here for more information on Senior Legacy

Where may I pick up my Chapman Yearbook?

Each graduating senior is entitled to one complimentary yearbook.

Please visit the CEER webpage for more information about the Yearbook and Senior Photos.

What's this about a Twitter ticker?

Congratulations, graduates! We're excited to share in your celebrations at the 2020 Commencement Ceremonies. But we won't be the only ones…

You're invited to share your celebrations and congratulations with us on Twitter! Tweet your messages using #CHAPMANU and your tweets may appear on the Commencement jumbotrons. 

New to Twitter? Sign up for a free Twitter account


Use #ChapmanU in your Tweets and Instagram posts for the chance to be featured on the Chapman University accounts.