Close Menu

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who is eligible to participate in commencement?

    In order to be eligible to participate in the May commencement ceremony, a student must have applied for graduation and been approved by the registrar's office. In order to be eligible to apply for graduation and therefore participate in the commencement ceremony, a student’s coursework at Whitworth must be completed before the start of the next academic year. For the 2024 commencement ceremony, a student's coursework must be completed before Sept. 1, 2024. Please see the graduation requirements in the Whitworth catalog.

    No new participants may be added to the commencement ceremony after March 1, even if they will complete their degree before the next academic year. 

  • What is the difference between graduation and commencement?

    Graduation is the completion of degree requirements and the official conferral of the degree(s). A student's graduation date is the day their degree requirements are completed, not the date of the commencement ceremony.

    Commencement is the formal event that celebrates the completion of degrees for that academic year at Whitworth. Students do not receive diplomas at the ceremony, and the ceremony date is not their official degree completion date.

    Please see the graduation requirements in the Whitworth catalog.

  • Where and when will the 2024 Whitworth Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony be held?

    The ceremony will be held on Whitworth's campus in the Pine Bowl on Sunday, May 19, at 10 a.m. Tickets will be required to attend. 

  • How many guests can I bring to the undergraduate commencement ceremony? How will a student receive their tickets? Will the ceremony be livestreamed for those who cannot attend?

    Each graduate will be issued six guest tickets. Children two years old and under do not a ticket to attend. Anyone three years old and over will need a ticket. Tickets will be electronic and will be sent to the student's Whitworth email the week of the commencement ceremony.

    Two additional ticket lotteries took place in December 2023 and March 2024 giving students the chance to receive a total of 10 guest tickets. All additional tickets were distributed during these lotteries. There are no additional tickets available at this time.

    The ceremony will be livestreamed for anyone out of town or unable to attend. A link to the ceremony livestream will be posted on the commencement webpage.

  • Will there be an accessible seating at the commencement ceremony?

    There is not a designated accessible section at the ceremony, but there will be approximately 3,000 seats on the field that will not require any stairs for access. Guests who can safely navigate stairs are asked to use the bleacher seating to ensure there is enough space on the field for guests in need of the field seats.

  • Where should I park for commencement?

    On Sunday, May 19, Whitworth's campus parking lots will be restricted to those with a commencement parking pass. Each graduate will be issued two parking passes for Sunday. Graduates and guests are encouraged to carpool or use other means of transportation to get to campus for the ceremony. Those without commencement parking passes should park off campus and walk to campus. See the Commencement Weekend Parking Map.

  • What should guests wear to commencement?

    Commencement will be held outdoors in the Pine Bowl, rain or shine. Please dress appropriately for the weather as there is no cover in the Pine Bowl or the surrounding areas. Guests and graduates will also walk on a variety of surfaces (grass, pavement, gravel, turf) and should choose appropriate footwear. Guests and graduates may not wear high heeled shoes as they can damage the turf field. 

  • What shouldn't I bring to the commencement ceremony?

    Please do not bring the following:

    • Food and drink, besides water: With the exception of water, no food or drink is allowed as it can damage the turf. 
    • Umbrellas: Even if it is raining, umbrellas may not be used in the Pine Bowl as they will obstruct the view for other guests. Please wear weather-appropriate clothing and opt instead for a hood. 
    • Large purses, bags or backpacks: If you must bring a bag, please limit yourself to a small handbag. Larger bags will be subject to inspection. 
    • High heeled shoes: Heels are not allowed on the turf. Please wear flats or wedges instead. 
    • Tripods or large photography/videography equipment: These can obstruct aisles and other guests' sightlines. A professional photographer will be capturing photos of the graduates as they cross the stage, and a video of the ceremony will be available for purchase. 
    • Animals, including emotional support animals, are not allowed at the Commencement Weekend events. Only registered service animals are allowed.
    • Weapons of any kind are not permitted per Whitworth's regular policies.
  • Where should students return their rental regalia? What if a student does not return their rental regalia?

    Students should return their rental regalia to the large bins around campus following the commencement ceremony. Additional information regarding return procedures and locations will be sent to graduates in May. 

    Students will keep their caps and tassels but must return their gowns by the designated time. Students who do not return their regalia will receive a $300 charge.

  • May I wear cords that I ordered or received from a club, student group or honor society that I am a part of?

    No. The only cords permitted at the commencement ceremony are those issued by the registrar's office representing Latin honors.

    Clubs, student groups and honor societies may provide students with approved stoles to wear at commencement, if they choose. 

    Questions about other acceptable and appropriate regalia may be directed to

  • Can I bring water to the commencement ceremony?

    Yes, water is permitted and encouraged, especially with the warm weather.

With additional questions or concerns, please email