Wilkes University

Winter Ceremony

Notice: Winter Commencement Cancelled Due to Inclement Weather

Winter Commencement and the Weekend Weather Forecast

Statement Issued Friday, January 18

Forecasters from the National Weather Service and AccuWeather (the University’s contracted weather service) have determined that a major winter storm will blanket Northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday and Sunday. Snow totals by Sunday afternoon may be as high as 12 inches, with the possibility of sleet and ice adding to the mix. In our weather announcement, distributed on Wednesday, we committed to announcing a decision about Sunday’s ceremony as soon as forecasters became more certain about their predictions. With confidence in the forecast, and knowing now that the storm will begin on Saturday afternoon and extend into Sunday afternoon, the University has made the decision to cancel our Winter Commencement ceremony. Road conditions will be treacherous on Sunday, making it unsafe to expect graduates and their families to travel to campus. The Winter Storm Watch issued by the National Weather Service (see below) indicates that travel could be very difficult to impossible.

Graduates are invited and encouraged to participate in our Spring Ceremony on Saturday, May 18. The ceremony for the awarding of graduate degrees will be held at 10 AM and the ceremony for the awarding of bachelor’s degrees will be at 3 PM. Information about these ceremonies and related events will be shared with our January graduates in the weeks to come. The University will mail diplomas and copies of the commencement program to all of our January graduates by the first week in February. If any graduates wish to pick up their diplomas from the Registrar’s Office instead of having them mailed, please dial (570) 408-5015 to make those arrangements.

We very much understand how disruptive and disappointing this outcome is for our graduates and their families. With the opportunity for the University to offer the May ceremony to our January graduates, everyone is afforded the benefit of placing safety first and foremost this weekend. We certainly welcome your questions and encourage you to contact us at (570) 408-4100 if we can be helpful.

To our graduates, we send our congratulations and best wishes. To the families and friends of our graduates, we hope your schedules allow you to plan another trip to campus this spring to enjoy and celebrate this special occasion.

Winter Weather Announcement

Statement Issued Wednesday, January 16

Weather forecasters anticipate a snow event this weekend that could affect Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond. We’ve already had questions about the potential impact a snowstorm could have on our Winter Commencement ceremony on Sunday, January 20. At this point, none of us know for certain how the impending weather will affect travel plans for graduates and their families, and the University’s ability to have the campus prepared based on the timing of the storm.

The University will hold the commencement ceremony unless weather conditions prove too much of an impediment. Should the ceremony be held, and graduates are unable to attend because of travel conditions, we will invite and encourage them to participate in our Annual Spring Commencement on May 18. No one should feel compelled to travel to participate in the Winter Commencement ceremony. The benefit to having three commencement dates each academic year is that it allows us the flexibility for graduates to change the ceremony in which they participate.

The University recognizes that some graduates and their families are traveling from a significant distance. We will make the decision about holding the ceremony as soon as forecasters are confident in their predictions. If weather conditions require cancellation of the ceremony on Sunday, the University will invite all who are scheduled to graduate this January to join us in May for our spring ceremony.

Every commencement ceremony is a special day that graduates and their families long anticipate. And, we recognize that much advance planning is done to arrange travel and accompanying celebrations. Knowing this, the University will endeavor to hold the ceremony as long as we can have confidence that travel conditions are reasonable for all attending the ceremony.

Please monitor your Wilkes email account for updates about this Sunday’s commencement. You may also call (570) 408-SNOW where changes impacting the ceremony will be noted.

Should you have questions in the meantime, please dial the Office of Student Affairs at (570) 408-4100.

On Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. we celebrate the achievements of our graduates when we host our winter commencement.

President Leahy and student at commencement

Winter Commencement at the Arnaud C. Marts Center

The annual winter commencement ceremony will be held at the Arnaud C. Marts Center at 274 South Franklin Street. The ceremony will begin at 1 PM. Doors to the Marts Center will open at 11:45 AM for graduates and their families. Tickets are not required for the ceremony. University staff and ushers will be positioned at information tables in the lobby to answer questions from families and guests. Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages are prohibited inside the Marts Center. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all University parking lots. A reception for graduates and their families will be held on campus immediately following the ceremony. 

Seating for graduates will be reserved. Seating for guests should be adequate, but we encourage guests to arrive early to avoid any disappointment. The ceremony should end by 2:30 PM.

Assembly of Graduates

Graduates will assemble at the lower level of the Arnaud C. Marts Center (274 South Franklin Street) beginning at 11:45 AM. The final line-up of graduates will begin at 12:30 PM. Do not bring valuables to the robing/line-up area as there will be no place to lock them away. Please be on time for the line-up of graduates. Those who are not in line in academic regalia as the procession begins will not be able to march in the parade of graduates with their classmates.

Watch Commencement LIVE online


The Deans for Student Affairs will announce the names of the graduates in alphabetical order by college, honors status, and major. Graduates will be placed in line for the academic procession according to where their names appear in the commencement program. The University makes every attempt to present each graduate with his/her diploma. Should you receive someone else's diploma by mistake, please see the Registrar at the end of the ceremony at the stage. Graduates with outstanding debts to the University will not receive their diploma until the debt is satisfied.


Earl and Sedor Photography will take a photograph of each graduate when the President awards the diploma. Earl and Sedor will provide information to all graduates as to how they can access their proofs on line. No one, except for the professional photographer and the media with appropriate credentials, will be allowed near the stage area for the purpose of taking photographs or videotaping.

Videotaping/Live stream

The commencement ceremony will be videotaped. The video will be archived on the University's website for later viewing. If you are unable to attend Wilkes' Commencement Ceremony, attend virtually! Join us for this momentous occasion as we live stream the ceremony online. Click here to access the live stream.


All University parking lots will be open and available for parking on Commencement day.

Special Assistance Seating

Special seating for guests with mobility impairments is available on the floor and on the first level of the stands at the Marts Center. Because of space constraints one escort may accompany the mobility-impaired individual to the special seating area. Arrangements for disability seating can be made by dialing the Office of Student Affairs at (570) 408-4100 no later than January 15.


Each graduate will receive six announcements. Announcements will be mailed to graduates.

Academic Attire

All graduates participating in the commencement ceremony must wear proper academic attire. The charge for the cap and gown is included in the commencement fee.

Your academic attire will be mailed to you by Oak Hall prior to commencement. If you wish to iron your academic apparel, do so with a cool iron. Do not worry about how to "don" the hood; we will help with that on Commencement Day. We will have safety pins and bobby pins at the Arnaud C. Marts Center on Commencement morning; however, you may want to bring your own to be certain you have what you need.

The academic costume looks best when worn over dark shoes and dark lower garments. The collar of a white shirt or blouse complements the academic robe nicely. Members of the Student Affairs staff will be available at the Arnaud C. Marts Center to help graduates with robing.

Order of Exercises


Fanfare Processional






"Star Spangled Banner"


Greetings from the Faculty


Greetings from a Member of the Graduating Class


Commencement Address


Conferring of Degrees


President's Message


Alma Mater






If you have questions please call the Office of Student Affairs at (570) 408-4100. In case of an emergency on Commencement weekend please call Public Safety at (570) 408-4999.