Graduation is the official acknowledgment of degree conferral. Students apply for graduation at the beginning of their final semester of study. Commencement is the official ceremony acknowledging graduation and the bestowing of the baccalaureate degree.
The Smeal College of Business conducts its own commencement ceremony each May in the Bryce Jordan Center. The ceremony includes greetings by University and Smeal officials, a commencement speaker, the conferring of degrees, and individual recognition as each graduate is called by name to be congratulated on stage. Information regarding recommended arrival times and other details related to the ceremony are mailed to graduating seniors approximately one month prior to commencement.
Commencement dates for the Smeal College are:
- Spring 2016- Sunday, May 8, 2016, 9:00 AM in the Bryce Jordan Center
- Summer 2016- Saturday, August 13, 2016
- Fall 2016- Saturday, December 17, 2016
For friends and family attending commencement, tickets are not required. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The ceremony lasts approximately two hours. For Spring 2016 Commencement the doors will open at 7:30 AM for guests. Students may enter the event floor at 8:00 AM.
Key Issues Regarding Commencement
- Commencement Participation - Participation in commencement is for graduating students.
- Academic Regalia - Academic regalia or military uniform is required. Candidates for the baccalaureate degree wear the tassel of the cap on the right front edge. Caps and gowns are purchased from the bookstore.
- Diploma Distribution - Diplomas are mailed to home addresses within several weeks of the ceremony.
- Commencement Program - A commencement program book listing the names of graduates is available at ceremony for students who have activated their intent to graduate prior to the filing deadline.
Additional Information can be found at the Penn State Commencement Ceremonies website.
To graduate, satisfy all University, college, and major requirements in effect at the time you enter your major. Filing your intent to graduate is done through the eLion "Graduating this Semester" module. Filing dates are:
- Spring 2016- January 2, 2016 through January 25, 2016
Students who miss the filing period must visit the Smeal Undergraduate Education Records Office in 202 Business Building to file your intent. A copy of a current degree audit is needed.
“Get Ready to Graduate!” Students must pickup their nomenclator card, which serves as their “pass” to the event floor, on April 5, 6, 7 or 11 in the atrium of the Business Building from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Duplicates will be available prior to the ceremony at the BJC, if necessary. Students must bring a photo I.D.!
Key issues regarding graduation and completing final degree requirements:
- Home Mailing Address - Commencement information is sent to home mailing addresses so keep this information current.
- Study Abroad and Graduation - Most study abroad programs do not follow the Penn State calendar. Students who study abroad their last semester often need to postpone graduation to the following semester.
- Transfer Credits - In order to be included on the Smeal College graduation list and program, all credits from courses taken at institutions other than Penn State (transfer credits) must be taken prior to the semester of graduation. In addition, the credits must appear on the student’s Penn State record prior to the 1st day of the month preceding the month of graduation. For Spring graduation, transfer credits must post to the student’s record by no later than April 1st. The deadline is July 1st for summer graduation and November 1st for Fall graduation. Note that many courses transfer in to Penn State as “general credits” and require additional approval to be counted towards a student’s non-major field degree requirements. It is important for students who plan to fulfill degree requirements using transfer credits to meet with their academic adviser well in advance of graduation to discuss their plans.
- Graduation Verification - At the close of the graduation filing period, students are reviewed for graduation eligibility. Those with one or more outstanding degree requirements are notified to take action and/or are removed from graduation. Reviewing a degree audit prior to the close of the Course Add/Drop Period can avoid problems later in the semester.
- Name Changes can be processed through the Registrar's website by submitting a Name Change Form.
Parking and Traffic Advisory for Bryce Jordan Center Commencement Ceremonies
Parking for Penn State commencement ceremonies being held at the Bryce Jordan Center will be available at Lot 44, Stadium West and Porter North.
To manage the significant congestion expected around the Bryce Jordan Center, Medlar Field, Beaver Stadium, and University Drive, traffic and parking will be managed by filling alternating lots for each commencement ceremony. Drivers will be directed to the appropriate lot by University Police and event parking staff based on the traffic and parking conditions at the time of their arrival. Please use caution while traveling through this area of campus and allow extra time to reach your destination.
Commencement parking for all ceremonies will be available at no charge, courtesy of Penn State Transportation Services.
If there are any questions, please contact the University Parking Office by phone at (814) 865-1436 or by email at email@example.com.
Seating for Guests with Disabilities at the Bryce Jordan Center
Inside the Founders Lounge entrance, ushers will be available to assist in taking individuals via elevator to the appropriate seating located on the concourse level. Due to space limitations, only one person may accompany the guest with disability in the accessible seating area. The chairs in the accessible seating area are plastic, and are armless portable chairs to allow movement for wheelchairs. Other family members may sit in the regular seating located throughout the arena.
Related Events and Information
Sapphire Pinning Ceremony: Thursday, May 5, Nittany Lion Inn, 5:00 pm.
Smeal Schreyer Scholars Dinner: Monday, April 5, Nittany Lion Inn
Schreyer Medals Ceremony: Friday, May 6, Eisenhower Auditorium, 5:00 pm.
MAcc Recognition: Sunday, May 8, Beaver Stadium Mount Nittany Club, approximately 12:00 pm.