Frequently Asked Questions
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Is Commencement the same as Graduation?
No, Commencement is a ceremony recognizing a student’s accomplishments by their families, friends and the college community. Participation in commencement, however, does not guarantee a student’s graduation and official diplomas are not awarded at the ceremony.
Graduation is the actual awarding of degrees. Upon certification of satisfactory completion of all degree requirements, the students’ degrees are awarded and added to their official academic records. Official diplomas are mailed to students following degree conferral and once all financial obligations to the college have been cleared. Participating in commencement does not mean that you have graduated.
If I have not earned all the credits I need to graduate, can I participate in the Commencement ceremony?
To graduate in May 2016, whether or not a student participates in the Commencement activities, each student must complete an “Intent to Graduate” form with the Registrar’s Office. (the form is available on-line). Submission of the Intent to Graduate form will result in an audit of the students’ academic transcript. The audit will highlight any missing credits/courses that must be completed prior to the degree being earned. Each student must state on the Intent to Graduate Form their intended completion date; December 2015, May 2016, August 2016 or December 2016. If the audit of their academic transcript reveals that it is possible for a student to complete all the coursework and credits required of their degree by their stated completion date they are allowed to participate in the May 2016 Commencement activities.
I think I might be eligible for Honors at Commencement, how will I know?
Honors recognition at Commencement is based on your GPA for the semester preceding your final semester, for most graduates that would be the fall 2015 semester. As Commencement is held the day following final exams, faculty have not yet had time to complete their grading and post students final course grades and the Registrar’s Office has not had time to calculate honors based on the spring semesters grades. Graduates with a GPA that reflects Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude honors are eligible to wear a gold tassel, and will be recognized at Commencement as graduating with the honor. Students will receive their gold tassels (along with other regalia) at the Commencement Fair. Students whose GPA after the fall semester does not earn them honors, but their GPA after all spring grades are posted does earn them honors will be designated as such in their transcript and on their diploma.
Students inducted into a discipline Honor Society are eligible to wear the honor cords of that society if they have met all the requirements of the Honor Society. Each Honor Society sets their own requirement for earning the privilege of wearing the societies honor cords at Commencement.
I have been on the Dean’s List. Am I graduating with honors?
A graduating student, who has earned at least 60 graded credits at Keene State College in a bachelor’s degree program, or at least 30 credits at Keene State College in an associate degree program, is eligible to graduate with academic honors. Recognition of honors at the commencement ceremony is based on the student’s cumulative grade point average as of the preceding December.
A student with a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher will earn summa cum laude honors. A student with a cumulative GPA of 3.70-3.89 will earn magna cum laude honors. A student with a cumulative GPA of 3.50-3.69 will earn cum laude honors.
I have a 3.955 GPA but am not graduating with honors, why?
I commend you on what appears to be stellar academic work here at KSC. Unfortunately, policy requires that a student must have earned a minimum of 60 academic credits from Keene State College to graduate with honors. If as of the fall 2015 semester, you have completed less than 60 credits you will not be eligible for Honors recognition at the Commencement ceremony. If after the spring semester grades and credits are posted, your earned credit total is above 60, you are eligible to graduate with honors and it will be designated as such in your transcript and on your diploma.
I am graduating with two degrees, but the Commencement Participation form required me to choose one, why?
Graduates will process to the quad by school and will cross the stage alphabetically by school. Graduates with more than one major must choose which school they want to be recognized with at the Commencement Ceremony. Your diploma and transcript will reflect all the majors that you have earned at KSC.
I am a graduating senior and will not be attending the commencement ceremony. Should I get in contact with someone and let them know?
Yes! We need every graduating student to complete a Commencement Participation Form whether they plan on attending the Commencement Ceremony or not. Seating for graduates is very tight on Fiske Quad and we only set up chairs for students who notify us that they plan on attending the ceremony. You will be contacted weekly by the Commencement Office beginning in April if you have not completed the Commencement Participation Form.
When are students fitted for their cap and gown?
Graduates will be fitted for their gown by Balfour at the Commencement Fair. Gowns are sized by height and circumference and Balfour has years of experience in fitting graduates.
How much does my cap and gown cost?
There is no cost to you for your cap, gown and hood. You are eligible to receive them regardless of whether you plan to attend the Commencement Ceremony or not.
I am student teaching and cannot attend the Commencement Fair, how do I get my cap, gown and hood?
If you cannot attend the Commencement Fair you have two options. You can pick up your cap, gown and hood in the KSC Bookstore anytime it is open Monday April 4 until Wednesday May 4. Or you can send a friend with a note requesting that they pick up your cap, gown and hood. The note should include your full name, degree and school, KSC student identification number, and your height.
Dress Code – What should I wear?
Dress for the weekend is typically "business casual." Please remember, Commencement is an outdoor event. Be prepared for all weather conditions (warm coats, sunscreen, etc.) and wear shoes appropriate for damp, uneven, grassy terrain.
Graduates, please honor this dignified occasion (and your family!) by wearing appropriate dress clothing and footwear on Commencement day. Tips: Tassels are worn on the right side of the mortarboard until after the BA/BS/BM/BFA degree is conferred, at which time tassels are moved to the left side. The dye in the gowns may bleed when wet. If it rains you may want to wear rain-gear beneath the gown to protect your clothing. The College provides ponchos at line-up that can be used for this purpose. * Please do not throw your cap!
Is there a rehearsal for graduates?
There is not a rehearsal for graduates. There is a small army of KSC staff in Spaulding Gym the morning of Commencement to assist graduates in properly wearing their regalia as well as lining up in order.
What handicapped accommodations are available for Commencement?
The KSC Commencement Ceremony is held outdoors on Fiske quad regardless of the weather. There is a small handicapped seating area designated on Fiske Quad. We do not reserve any seats for Commencement including handicapped seats, seating is first come, first seated. The handicapped seating area is available for those guests who have a need and they may have one escort with them. We have no way of knowing in advance how many guests will require handicapped seating and because of that we are very cautious to reserve the seating in the handicapped area for those guests who truly need it. We are unable to provide seating for other family members in the handicapped seating area. There are alternate viewing options in buildings just off Fiske Quad as well as in the Student Center that are handicapped accessible and where the whole family can view the ceremony telecast from the quad if they wish to sit together.
Handicapped parking is available in the Science Center and Fiske lots, both off Winchester Street, for vehicles with state-issued handicapped placards or plates only. The handicapped parking areas are first-come, first-parked and we have no way of knowing how many spaces will be needed or how quickly they will fill up. If the handicapped parking lots are filled when you arrive, you may drop you your guest off in the Fiske parking lot for the short walk to the Quad and someone else may park the vehicle in another location on-campus.
How many tickets does each graduate receive?
The KSC Commencement Ceremony is held outdoors on Fiske quad regardless of the weather. There is no limitation on the number of guests who may attend and tickets are not needed. More than 6,400 seats are set up on Fiske Quad for guests. We have indoor viewing options available in buildings on-campus, Morrison Hall adjacent to Fiske Quad and in the Mable Brown Room in the Student Center for those guests not able to be outside. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis and seats may not be reserved by anything other than a person sitting in the seat.
I have requested a large print program, where do I pick it up?
Pre-requested large-print programs will be available at our information table on Fiske Quad.
Lost something? Found something?
Turn in found items or search for lost items during the Commencement Ceremony at the Information Table on Appian Way located on the backside of the quad. If you are searching for a lost item after the Commencement Ceremony has concluded, please contact the Campus Safety office.
How long is the ceremony?
The ceremony begins with the procession at 12:15 p.m. and is anticipated to end by 4:00 p.m. Post-event reservations should be made for no earlier than 5:00 p.m.
I want to take a picture of my graduate as he/she processes. Where should I sit?
For reasons of crowd safety, guests and parents will not be allowed to crowd or block the aisle ways at any time during the ceremony, including the procession. All degree candidates will process up the center aisle on Fiske Quad there is limited access for parents and guests to get close-up photos of their graduate in the procession. Graduates and their families are welcome to take photos in in front of the platform following the ceremony.