Additional information

No tickets are needed for commencement. To help all families enjoy this special day, please keep in mind that if, on average, each graduate has six guests (some will have less and some will have more), Sommer Center will be filled. Seats are first-come, first-served. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Commencement will be live streamed this year for those who can not make the trip to Bluffton.

Facilities are accessible for baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies for all persons. Limited seating is available for guests who have mobility constraints and are unable to manage steps. It is helpful to know in advance if any of your guests require accessible seating. Accessibility-seating reservations must be requested. Having your guest’s name on the accessibility-seating list is the only way we can guarantee them floor seating. Contact Claire Clay at or 419-358-3456 if you have questions.

Graduation caps, gowns and tassels will be available to pick up at the campus bookstore beginning April 20. There is no charge for these items. Make sure you try on your cap and gown before the day of commencement. If it does not fit properly you may exchange it at the bookstore. It is also advisable to take your gown out of the packaging and hang it up a few days before Commencement to remove wrinkles.  They are made of disposable material and do not need to be returned following the ceremonies.  

Adult and graduate students will receive information regarding distribution and return of regalia through normal communication channels.

Be sure to complete or make arrangements for the completion of all requirements, duties, and the payment of all outstanding bills before the end of the semester.  Graduates who have not completed all requirements by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, will receive only a diploma cover at the ceremony.  The diploma will be sent to you after all requirements have been completed and all financial obligations have been met.  If you have questions about the completion of academic requirements, please contact the registrar's office. 

Since 2001, Bluffton University has supported the graduation pledge, a voluntary affirmation of the student's commitment to consider the environmental and social impact of whatever work is chosen.  Each year, interested graduates sign the pledge and wear a green ribbon in recognition of that commitment.
>>> Graduation pledge details

Graduates who are members of Pi Lambda Theta, the Education National Honor Society, will be contacted by the Pi Lambda Theta faculty representative, notifying you if you are eligible to wear the cord. The cord will be provided for you to wear on graduation day. The cords should be returned to the education department following the commencement ceremony.

GRAD IMAGES will photograph each graduate as his/her diploma is presented by President Wood and a posed photo after exiting the stage. Each student will receive a free proof and the opportunity to purchase additional copies. There is no obligation to purchase these pictures.  Preregister  for 20 percent off your order. Graduates can preregister with up to six additional emails for family and friends to receive proofs. Online ordering is available at .  

Graduates meet in Burcky Gym at 1:20 p.m. and line up alphabetically as names appear in the program. Process to Sommer Center with faculty and staff walking first, followed by graduates.  The ceremony will be streamed live online.

During the conferring of degrees:

  • MAEd and MBA degree candidates will be asked to rise. The academic dean will present the class to the president who will confer degrees. Be seated after conferral. You will be dismissed by row to receive first your hood and then your diploma.
  • Bachelor degree candidates will then be asked to rise. The academic dean will present the class to the president who will confer degrees. Be seated after conferral. You will be dismissed by row to receive your diploma.
  • Stand in front of the academic dean until your name is read. Walk to the president to receive your diploma. Accept your diploma with your left hand and shake hands with President Wood with your right. A photo will be taken. Continue down the steps on the far side of the stage. A second professional photo will be taken, then proceed to your seat and sit. Master's graduates will be hooded prior to receiving the diploma.
  • The president will indicate when December 2019 and May 2020 graduates should move their tassels from right to left.

Best wishes as you approach this milestone!