commencement theater graduates

Ceremony Information

Driving Directions to the La Crosse Center
(chose the Visitor link at the top for a pdf parking map)


Ceremony Etiquette 

  • A cap and gown (and hood for doctoral master candidates) are required academic apparel.
  • The cap should be worn so that the mortarboard is level and not cocked to either side or placed on the back of the head. The crown of the cap should come to approximately one inch above the eyebrows. The deeper portion of the crown is the back.
  • The gown should be pressed and worn with dark shoes. Women should not wear flowers, pins or other jewelry. A simple straight dress without a high neckline gives the best results. Men should wear a white shirt and tie that will compliment the gown. Coats may be left off for comfort. Nothing should be pinned or attached to the gown.
  • The tassel is worn on the right side before the degree is conferred. It is customary to change the tassel from the right to the left side after the degree is conferred. The president will direct you when to do this during the ceremony. 

Line Up

  • When you check in at the ceremony, you will be given a reader card by Committee members. Carry this with you onto the stage and give to the reader at the first podium.
  • Do not carry anything else with you into the arena at the ceremony.
  • Do not chew gum.
    • For May ceremony at La Crosse Center:  Check-in tables will be to the left of the main 2nd Street entrance.  Line up in the South concourse under the sign for your degree and in alphabetical order. Be in line no later than 1:15 p.m.
    • For December ceremony at Viterbo University FAC: Check-in tables will be outside the Dance Studio.  Line up in the Dance Studio (Associate and bachelor degree candidates) or the first floor east hallway (doctoral and master degree candidates) under the sign for your degree in alphabetical order.   Be lined up no later than 10:15 am.

Ceremony Instructions

  • Graduates will be led into the main arena and to their seats by the faculty council chair. Marshals will direct you to fill in the rows of the arena. Fill in ALL chairs. All graduates should stand in front of their chair and wait until the music has finished.

  • A marshal will give you a commencement program as you are seated.

  • A marshal will indicate to your row when to stand for the presentation of candidates.

  • Proceed to the steps on the right side of the stage. Do not wait at the bottom of steps.  

  • Hand your reader card to the reader to announce your name.  (Proseminar students will present your hood to the person hooding and then turn and face the audience.)
  • Proceed to the table, accept your diploma cover from the president with your left hand, and shake her right hand with your right hand. The photographer will take your picture at this time—stop, shake, and smile!   

  • Move on to the Board of Trustee chair who will congratulate you and shake your hand, then to the alumni representative who will present you with an alumni pin and also shake your hand.
  • Continue off the stage where a second photo will be taken.

  • A marshal will assist you back to your row. 
  • Follow the directions from the marshals for the recessional. Graduates are the last group to leave during the recessional.


  • Empire Photography photographers will take photos of each candidate during the ceremony.
  • Proofs will be emailed to your Viterbo University email address within 48 hours of the ceremony.
  • Pre-register your email address with Empire Photography here
  • Guests may take photographs at any time from their seats.
  • The ceremony will be streamed live via the Web, however, video of the ceremony will not be available afterwards.