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Graduation Ceremony

Graduation Ceremony

Graduation ceremonies are held in the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center located at 505 West Pensacola Street. For further information, please call the Office of the University Registrar at (850) 644-1050 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Panama City (FL) students can find information about the annual Panama City graduation ceremony at:

NOTE: Before degrees are officially granted, your final-semester grades must be recorded and records rechecked for total hours, quality points, and other degree requirements. PARTICIPATION IN GRADUATION EXERCISES IS NOT A GUARANTEE OF GRADUATION.

Graduation Ceremony Procedures and Etiquette

Ceremony Etiquette

  • The commencement ceremony is a most dignified event. Decorum and courtesy are essential.
  • You may not walk around after you find your seat in the arena. Please reference the fall, spring, and summer seating charts for more information.
  • Food and beverages are not permitted in the arena during the ceremony.
  • Improper attire, signs, and insignia will be removed by marshals. Any damage to mortarboards will result in a $45.00 fee for cap replacement. Decorated caps are not permitted! You may not participate in the ceremony with a decorated cap.
  • Security personnel will remove students disrupting the ceremony.
  • The ceremony will last approximately three hours.
  • You may not leave until the ceremony concludes. If you need to use the restroom, you must leave your cap on your chair before you will be permitted to leave the arena.
  • Doors open one hour and fifteen minutes before the ceremony begins.
  • Please arrive no later than fifteen minutes prior to the start of the ceremony
  • Bachelor's, Master's, and Specialist Candidates:
    • Enter the Civic Center from the main entrance on the plaza and take the escalator down to the Exhibit Hall on the lower level. There will be ushers there to assist you.
    • Find the sign identifying your school or college.
    • Pick up your blue card. Your blue card is the key to the commencement ceremony. It serves the following purposes:
      • It assigns your seat.
      • It provides your name to the announcer for individual recognition on the stage.
      • It gives your name and home address to the photographer so you receive proofs of your photos.
    • Leave the Exhibit Hall and enter the main arena floor through the elephant doors.
    • Go to Commencement Schedule by College to find the approximate location of your college in the seating schema.
    • Find your assigned seat using the chalk marks on the floor and take your seat.
  • Master's and Specialist Candidates—Special Information
    • Look for the Master's/Specialist sign in the Exhibit Hall to pick up your blue card. All candidates for master's and specialist degrees from all schools and colleges sit together as a group in a designated master's section.
    • Candidates should be wearing hoods before the ceremony begins. Master's marshals can help with hoods.
  • Doctoral Candidates—Special Information
    • Be sure to make all of the necessary arrangements for your major professor (or proxy) to hood you at the ceremony.
    • Report to Meeting Room A an hour before your ceremony begins. Meeting Room A is located on the lower level of the Civic Center near the escalators. DO NOT GO TO THE MAIN ARENA.
    • Find a doctoral marshal in that area and pick up your blue card.
    • Marshals will supervise the formation of the academic procession according to assigned seating on the blue cards.
    • Major professors will be placed behind the candidates they are hooding.
    • Details of the ceremony procedure are as follows: Doctoral marshals will lead rows of major professors and candidates to the platform. When your name is announced, you will walk onto the stage and stand directly in front of the major professor, hand the hood to the professor, turn to face the audience, and bend your knees keeping your back vertical. After hooding, major professors will proceed to the opposite side of stage and walk behind the podium, while the candidate shakes hands with the Dean of Graduate Studies and the President.

Attire And Regalia

Full academic regalia is required to participate in the ceremony.

Only approved cords denoting academic achievement are allowed to be worn with regalia. No medallions, stoles, etc., will be permitted. Please look for the "Honor Cords" table when you pick up your blue card in the Exhibit Hall at the Civic Center prior to the ceremonies. If you have questions concerning your honor's status, please call the Graduation Office at (850) 644-1050.

  • Bachelor's Candidates: Wear the tassel on right side of the cap until degrees are conferred. Move the tassel to left after the President confers your degree.
  • Master's Candidates: Gowns fasten at the neck, and hoods drape down the back. Wear your tassel on the left.
  • Doctoral Candidates: Students should carry hoods, UNBUTTONED, on the left arm. The tassel is on the left of the cap, as the bachelor's degree was already awarded.
  • Return gowns to the FSU Bookstore table on the concourse of the Civic Center after the ceremony, or you may return them to the FSU Bookstore the following week. For store hours and location visit the FSU Bookstore website at:


You may take posed pictures in the Exhibit Hall. GradImages Photography takes these posed photos, and they also take three pictures of you during the ceremony. Graduates can expect to receive their individual picture proofs by email within 18 to 24 hours of the graduation ceremony. Additionally, paper proofs are mailed through the U.S. Postal Service and can be expected to arrive within three or four days. Direct any questions about your photos to GradImages by calling (800) 261-2576 or by contacting a representative through


  • All Civic Center doors open an hour prior to the start of the ceremony.
  • Enter ONLY on the Concourse Level of the Civic Center.
  • At no time are guests permitted on the arena floor.
  • Seating for the disabled is available on the Concourse Level; approach the Civic Center from the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Madison Street. Civic Center parking is available at that entrance.

Guests should not leave until the ceremony concludes. Leaving causes disruption and noise, which disturbs those families whose graduate has not yet been recognized. Please arrange to meet your families at designated areas outside the civic center (i.e., flagpoles, plaza, gates), not in the arena.


Several parking options are available on days scheduled for commencement ceremonies. Please consult this detailed map for directions and additional instructions.