I want to participate in the drive-through Commencement Ceremony. What do I need to do?]
- Register for the drive-through ceremony by completing the Commencement form in your student portal
- You must register by Monday, May 4th. No extensions.
- A cap and gown is optional, but you may use this link to order a cap and gown.
- You will be assigned a day and time to check-in and participate.
- One vehicle only per graduate.
- You may invite family and/or friends to ride with you, in accordance with the prevailing safety guidelines at the time.
- Social distancing and mask requirements must be followed when outside of your vehicle.
What if I need additional accommodations?
Graduates in need of disability-related accommodations in order to participate in the ceremony need to provide details of their needs at the time they register to attend the ceremony.
What is the difference between graduation and Commencement?
Students graduate when they complete the application for graduation, have completed all the academic requirements to earn their degree and pay all their fees. A diploma will be mailed to them. Commencement is the ceremony that acknowledges graduates and those close to completing their degree. Not all students who graduate choose to participate in Commencement and not all students that participate in Commencement graduate. Those that attend commencement will have their names called at the ceremony and they will walk across the stage to receive a diploma cover. Diplomas are mailed after all requirements have been met.
What do the different honors levels mean?
The faculty at WOU recognizes scholarship by conferring honors distinction on undergraduate students who have earned a cumulative WOU grade-point average of 3.50 or higher as follows:
- Cum Laude: 3.50-3.64
- Magna Cum Laude: 3.65-3.79
- Summa Cum Laude: 3.80-4.00
All grade-point averages used for commencement are calculated at the conclusion of the previous winter term. Grade-point averages are recalculated when all coursework is completed and the degree is conferred.
How do I stay in touch with the university after I graduate?
Graduates may join the WOU alumni organization free of charge. Registering as an alumnus or alumna comes with multiple advantages, including updated communications from the university, a subscription to the alumni magazine, Western Edge, and discounts at places such as the WOU Bookstore, among others. To register as an alumni, visit the Alumni Registration page.
Why has this decision been made now instead of waiting until closer to June in case conditions improve?
It takes a significant amount of planning and coordination for a Commencement celebration in any form. There are departments all across campus involved in the planning, and it takes most of spring term to put everything together. Also, with the vaccine timelines we’ve received from the state, the majority of the population will not be fully vaccinated before Commencement.
When will I know exactly what day and time I can participate in the in-person event?
We will collect RSVPs from all 2020 and 2021 grads who want to take part in the in-person celebration. Please look for emails about Commencement with details on how to RSVP (they may come from Marching Order) and reply by the deadline of May 4. Once we know how many people will be participating, we will be able to finalize the celebration schedule. We expect to have that information out to grads by late May, so you can plan accordingly with your family.
What will the in-person celebration include?
While some celebratory elements of the driving part of the ceremony are still being determined, we do know that grads will be directed to park at the end of the route so they (and any loved ones in the car with them) will be able to cross a stage, have their name read and have professional photos taken.
What if I don’t have access to a car to participate in the drive-through ceremony?
We are working on alternative options for those who do not have a car or access to loved ones with a vehicle. We don’t want lack of access to a vehicle to stop you from being able to participate in Commencement.
Can I have more guests than will fit in one car?
No. The in-person celebration is limited to a grad and the loved ones in the car with them.
With the vaccine becoming more available, why won’t we have the usual large in-person celebration?
Governor Brown and the Oregon Health Authority have said that all Oregonians over 16 years old will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as of May 1. They’ve indicated that it will take time for everyone seeking a vaccine to get appointments for their first dose, and they hope all eligible Oregonians will have their first dose by the end of May. It will take longer for the majority of people to get their second dose, if receiving one that requires two doses, and time for the vaccine to go into full effect. When factoring in this information from the state, it would be after Commencement before a significant part of the population is fully vaccinated.
I’m not living near Monmouth currently. How can I participate in Commencement?
We will have a virtual ceremony for all 2021 grads in addition to the in-person event. More details will be available soon.
Can 2020 grads participate in the 2021 virtual ceremony?
The virtual ceremony will be available for anyone to watch, however, only names of 2021 grads will be read.
Will 2020 grads be grouped together or will they be placed with the department/major they graduated with?
The 2020 and 2021 graduates will be grouped together by department/major.