Commencement FAQ

Please review the Commencement website thoroughly and if you are still having trouble locating the information you need, contact, or call 319-363-1323, ext. 1494.

What is commencement?

All degrees are formally conferred during the commencement ceremony—also known as graduation. During the ceremony, the provost formally presents to the University president the candidates who have been approved by the Registrar's Office. (Apply for graduation.) The president then confers the degrees and admits new graduates to their degree’s “rights and responsibilities.” Each student is then presented with a symbolic diploma from the president.

When and where will the commencement ceremony be held?

The 2018 commencement ceremony will be held at 1 PM on Sunday, May 20 at

U.S. Cellular Center
370 1st Avenue SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Who participates in commencement?

All bachelor's and master's degree candidates are encouraged to participate in the commencement ceremony, including those who earned their degree at the end of the fall and winter terms.

Students on track to graduate during the summer semester are invited to participate, however, their diplomas will not be available until they have successfully completed all classes.

Do I need tickets for the commencement ceremony?

Tickets are not required, and there is no limit to the number of guests you may bring. Your RSVP is appreciated. 

What are the Mary Frances Warde and Mary Catherine McAuley Awards given at the commencement ceremony?

The Mary Frances Warde Award is the highest honor given to a student who transferred to Mount Mercy and acquired a minimum of 30 credit hours at the University. This award is given to a graduate who, in addition to high scholastic achievement (3.0 GPA or higher), has exemplified meaningful collaboration with administration, faculty, and students; integrity in his/her personal relationships; and leadership and loyalty in furthering the ideals of Mount Mercy. This award is named for Mary Frances Warde, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in America in 1843.

The Mary Catherine McAuley Award is given to a graduate who, in addition to high scholastic achievement (3.0 GPA or higher), attended MMU for all four years of undergraduate studies, and has exemplified meaningful collaboration with administration, faculty and students; integrity in his/her personal relationships; and leadership and loyalty in furthering the ideals of Mount Mercy. This award is named for Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831.

What time do graduates need to arrive for the commencement ceremony?

Doors open at the U.S. Cellular Center at 11:30 AM.


Graduates should enter through the Box Office entryway and assemble on the 1st floor in Exhibit Hall C. Graduates must be in the lower level to check in and line up no later than 12:15 PM.

Families & Guests

Families and guests can use the escalators on the concourse level or the skywalks from the parking ramps to get to main level to watch the ceremony.

Can I participate in commencement if my bill isn’t paid?


All candidates must have their bills resolved by 12 PM on May 16 to participate in the commencement ceremony. Diplomas will not be issued and official transcripts will not be released until all financial obligations to the University have been paid in full.

» Please see the Financial Obligations for Graduation (PDF) for more information. «

Questions? | 319-368-6470

Will recordings of the commencement ceremony be available?
Will photos of me accepting my diploma be available?


Visit this page to find and order photos from the commencement ceremony.

Where do I pick up my diploma and what do I need to bring?

Graduates may pick up their diploma at the commencement reception in the Grand Ballroom at the DoubleTree (attached to the U.S. Cellular Center), immediately following the commencement ceremony.

Graduates must present a photo ID to receive their diploma.

Diplomas can be mailed upon request or picked up from the Registrar’s Office during regular business hours following graduation.

Questions? | 319-363-1323, ext. 1584

Who do I contact if I have accessibility needs during commencement activities?

At all events:
Those who need accessibility accommodations at any event should contact the Events Office, 319-363-1323, ext. 1494 at least two weeks prior to their needs.

At the commencement ceremony:

  • Seating is available throughout the facility for guests who use wheelchairs and those with medical conditions or limited physical mobility. If needed, an usher can assist you in finding seating.
  • A sign language interpreter will be present during the commencement ceremony at the U.S. Cellular Center. Seating for guests utilizing the interpreter can be arranged by contacting the Events Office, 319-363-1323, ext. 1494.
Are there any restricted items and/or security requirements?

Though Mount Mercy does not anticipate any security problems, we constantly monitor events to protect the safety of our guests. Please observe the following restrictions for all commencement activities:

  • No artificial noise makers, air horns, or megaphones.
  • No poles, banners, large signs, flags, laser pointers, or incendiary devices.
  • No firearms, explosives, or other weapons.
  • No promotional items with commercial slogans or identification.
  • No alcohol is permitted at any of the events, unless organized by the University.
  • No strollers are allowed into seating areas at the U.S. Cellular Center. Guests attempting to park strollers in these areas will be required to remove them.

All commencement venues have the authority to prohibit any items deemed to be a security risk. Patrons will not be allowed to bring such items inside the venues. These policies are subject to change without notice.

What are the smoking guidelines on campus and at the U.S. Cellular Center?

Mount Mercy enforces the State of Iowa’s Clean Air Act.

Smoking is prohibited on all Mount Mercy property, including buildings, lawns, parking lots, athletic facilities, etc. The law also prohibits smoking in personal vehicles on Mount Mercy’s campus.

Smoking is also not permitted inside the U.S. Cellular Center.

What hotels are available in Cedar Rapids?

Visit for a list of hotel accommodations.

Where should I park?

See this page for parking information.

Where do I pick up my academic apparel?

This information can be found here.

What if my name is difficult to pronounce at the commencement ceremony?

Please call 319.363.1323 x:1494 by noon on Friday, May 18, and leave a voicemail message with the pronunciation of your full name.

Can I borrow a cap & gown from a friend/family member instead of purchasing a new one?


A tassel specific to your degree and a special MMU medallion come with the purchase of your cap and gown and cannot be purchased separately. If you do not purchase a cap and gown, we will not expect you at the ceremony.

How do I order/pick up my master's hood?

The hood for your master's degree is included in the cap and gown ordering process.

You will receive your hood during the master's hooding ceremony. If you are not participating in the ceremony but are walking in the commencement ceremony, your hood will be available at the U.S. Cellular Center.

If I am participating in the hooding ceremony but not the commencement ceremony, do I still need to order a cap & gown?


Graduates need to be dressed in their gowns so that they may receive their hoods.

All master’s graduates are encouraged to participate in the master's hooding ceremony and the commencement ceremony.