Commencement FAQ


Please review the Commencement website thoroughly and if you are still having trouble locating the information you need, please email Clint Dietrich at or call 319-363-8213, ext. 1839.

What is Commencement?

All degrees are formally conferred during the Commencement Ceremony—otherwise known as your college graduation ceremony.  The name of every degree candidate is submitted prior to Commencement for approval from the Registrar’s Office and during the ceremony the Provost formally presents the approved candidates to the President. The President, in turn, confers the degrees and admits new graduates to all their degree’s “rights and responsibilities.” Each student will be presented with a symbolic diploma from the President.

When and where will the Commencement Ceremony be held?

Commencement 2016 will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 22nd, 2016, at the US Cellular Center at 370 1st Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The ceremony will last approximately two to two and a half hours.

Who participates in Commencement?

All degree candidates — undergraduates, as well as graduate candidates — can participate in the Commencement Ceremony and are encouraged to do so. This would include all Winter, Spring, and Summer graduates in 2014-2015. If you are on track to graduate during the summer this is still your Ceremony; you just won’t get your diploma until after you finish with your academic credits. Mount Mercy only does one Commencement for all graduates. The Graduate Degree Hooding Ceremony held on Friday, May 20th, 2016, does not take the place of Commencement.

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.

What are the Mary Frances Warde and Mary Catherine McAuley Awards which are given at the Commencement Ceremony?

The Mary Frances Warde Award is named for the founder of the Sisters of Mercy in America in 1843. It is the highest award conferred each year upon a graduate who transferred into Mount Mercy and who, in addition to a high scholastic rating, has exemplified to a marked degree cooperation with administration, faculty and students; integrity in his/her personal relationships; and leadership and loyalty in furthering the ideals of Mount Mercy. The Mary Catharine McAuley Award is named for the founder of the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831. It is the highest award conferred each year upon the graduate who began their college career at Mount Mercy as a new freshman and who, in addition to high scholastic rating, has exemplified to a marked degree in his or her four years at the University, cooperation with administration, faculty and students; integrity in his/her personal relationships; and leadership and loyalty in furthering the ideals of Mount Mercy.

What time do graduates need to arrive for the Commencement Ceremony?

Graduates should arrive at the US Cellular Center on Sunday, May 22nd, 2016, no later than 12:15 p.m. to line up. Families and other guests should enter through the main level and go up the escalators or through the skywalks on the concourse level of the U.S. Cellular Center from the parking ramps for the ceremony. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m.

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

All candidates must have their bills taken care of by noon, May 16th, 2016 in order to participate in the Commencement Ceremony. No diplomas will be issued and no official transcripts will be released until all financial obligations to the University have been paid in full. Contact the Business Office with questions at 319-368-6470.

Will recordings of the Commencement Ceremony be available?
  • The formal commencement exercises are videotaped and can be purchased from ProVideo Productions by contacting them at 319-368-7779 or visit
  • Mount Mercy will also be streaming the Ceremony live and an active link will appear on the Mount Mercy home page prior to the event.
Will photos of me accepting my diploma be available?

To order pictures of your graduate receiving his or her diploma, please visit Click the "Find my Pics" button at the top, and for the password use GRAD or MMU to see your photos.  

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

Graduates may pick up their diploma on the lower level of the US Cellular Center immediately following the ceremony. You must bring a PICTURE ID with you to receive your diploma.

Diplomas will be mailed if requested; otherwise they are available for pickup from the Registrar’s Office. If you have questions regarding your diploma, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 319-363-8213, Ext. 1845.

Who do I contact if I have special needs during the Commencement Activities?

Graduates who have special needs for either themselves or their guests at any of the Commencement activities should contact Institutional Events, 319-363-1323, ext. 1839 for more information. Please contact us at least two weeks in advance of commencement activities.

Guests, who use wheelchairs, as well as those with limited physical mobility or medical conditions, will have seating available on the Concourse Level. You can access the Concourse Level of the US Cellular Center by entering through the North entrance or the Main Entrance located on the east side of the building. The Concourse Level is accessible from the elevator located on the 1st Floor. Due to space constraints, guests with disabilities may be accompanied by no more than (1) family member.

A sign language interpreter will be present on the platform for the Commencement Ceremony at the US Cellular Center – seating for guests utilizing the interpreter can be arranged by contacting Director of Events.   

Are there any restricted items and/or security requirements?

Though Mount Mercy does not anticipate any security problems during Commencement Weekend, we are constantly monitoring the 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 or 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 otherwise organized by the University
  • Please Note: Due to safety regulations, no strollers are allowed into seated areas of the US 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 those items inside the event venues. These policies are subject to change without notice.
What are the smoking guidelines on Campus and at the US Cellular Center?

Since July 1, 2008, Mount Mercy enforces the State of Iowa’s Clean Air Act signed into legislation April 15, 2008. Smoking is prohibited on all Mount Mercy property including buildings, lawns and parking lots. This policy applies to all indoor and outdoor air space, including athletic facilities. The law also prohibits smoking in personal vehicles on Mount Mercy’s campus. Smoking is also not permitted inside the US Cellular Center.

What hotels are available in Cedar Rapids?

For information on the City of Cedar Rapids and where to stay during Commencement Weekend, click here.

Will I be able to purchase Mount Mercy apparel or memorabilia during Commencement Weekend?

Mount Mercy’s Campus Store, located on the first floor of Regina, will be open during the following times:

  • Sunday, May 18, 2014, after the Commencement Ceremony (approximately 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.)

There will also be items for sale at the alumni booth during the Commencement Celebration.

Where should I park for commencement?

Event parking in the two ramps connected to the US Cellular Center will have a $5 per vehicle fee. More information is available here.

Where do I pick up my academic apparel?

Apparel will be shipped to the Campus Store and can be picked up in the Campus Store during regular hours starting on Monday, May 16th, 2016, and should be picked up no later than close of business on Friday, May 20th, 2016.

Do you have a difficult name for the Provost to pronounce at the Commencement Ceremony?

If you’re planning to attend the Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 22nd, and have a difficult name to pronounce, graduates should call 319-286-4414 and leave a voicemail message with the pronunciation of your full name.

Can I borrow a cap & gown from a friend/family member and not pay for a new one?

You will still need to purchase one as you will receive a MMU medallion and a degree specific tassel with the cap and gown purchase. These cannot be purchased separately at this time. This also helps Mount Mercy know who is participating in the Ceremony.

How do I order my Hood if I am a Master’s Graduate?

When you order your cap & gown the hood for your degree is included in that package. You will not get your hood when you pick up your order from the Campus Store as you will be given it during the Hooding Ceremony. If you are not participating in the Hooding Ceremony, but are going to walk in the Commencement Ceremony your Hood will be available at the US Cellular Center on May 17th.

If I am participating in the Hooding Ceremony but not the Commencement Ceremony do I still need to order a cap & gown?

Yes you will need to order a cap & gown for the Hooding Ceremony as graduates will still need to be in their gowns so that they may receive their Hood to complete the attire. Mount Mercy encourages all Master’s graduates to participate in the Hooding & Commencement Ceremonies.