Updated Message on April 1, 2020
Dear members of the Wilkes community,
This weekend, national health officials extended guidelines for social distancing until at least April 30. Though we anticipated the need to maintain physical distance until COVID- 19 peaked in our area, this new timeframe provides unfortunate clarity about just how long this period of separation could extend.
It is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot hold commencement on May 16. This is not what any of us wanted, but it is the best option to continue to keep our campus community healthy and safe.
Throughout this situation, we have pledged to recognize our graduates at a commencement ceremony and our commitment remains steadfast. Therefore, we will work to identify an appropriate date that will allow us to celebrate with graduates and their families, on campus and in person, when we can safely do so. Unfortunately, we can’t name a date until we have more clarity regarding COVID-19, but we are considering a variety of options. Please know that your caps and gowns will be mailed to your home address.
Though our spring commencement ceremony will be delayed, the date in which degrees are conferred, May 16, goes unchanged, as long as students’ academic requirements are met.
To the class of 2020, our hearts are with you. There is no greater joy for me and my colleagues than seeing graduates cross the stage to receive hard-earned degrees. The sense of loss that this postponement will inevitably create is real and we experience it along with you. This is an unfortunate sacrifice we are all being forced to accept, but in so doing we are acting to save lives. Commencement and the events leading up to it mean so much to you and your families, to our faculty and staff, and to me personally. That is why we are absolutely committed to holding a ceremony – with all of the fanfare to which Wilkes students are accustomed – when it is safe to do so.
The Office of Student Affairs manages Commencement and its related activities and
events. Questions regarding Commencement should be directed to the Office of Student
Affairs at Passan Hall (570) 408-4100.
This website will be updated with the latest information about this year’s commencement as it becomes available.
Senior Salute, the first of the official graduation activities, will be held on April 22 and April 23. It will take place in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Henry Student Center, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on April 22 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 23.
Senior Salute allows all graduating students to complete the required Senior Checkout in one stop. The process is simple: register at the door and take the checkout sheet you are given to each table. Stay as long as you like or visit a second time.
In addition, caps and gowns will be ready for distribution at that time. Graduation announcements and tickets to the Senior Dinner Dance will also be available. A representative from Balfour will be on campus with information on how to purchase a class ring. We look forward to seeing all graduating students at Senior Salute.
Senior activities will begin April 16th. Click here for details.
Each graduate will receive six announcements. Announcements can be picked up at Senior Salute on April 22 and 23 at the Henry Student Center. Graduating students unable to attend Senior Salute can pick up their announcements at the Office of Student Affairs located on the second floor of Passan Hall (267 South Franklin Street).
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.
Caps and gowns are ordered from Oak Hall. Orders can be placed online at wilkes.shopoakhalli.com.
For Bachelors degree graduates, caps and gowns will be distributed at Senior Salute on April 22 and 23 at the Henry Student Center. Students unable to attend Senior Salute will be able to pick up their academic regalia at the Office of Student Affairs located on the second floor of Passan Hall (267 South Franklin Street) from May 1 through May 14. Pick up times are Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. All caps, gowns and hoods will be transferred from Passan Hall the afternoon of May 15. Those graduates who are unable to pick up their academic regalia prior to May 15 should expect to obtain it at the robing site at the Arnaud C. Marts Center.
Caps and gowns for graduate students will be mailed to the address provided on the order form.
If you pick up your academic apparel and wish to iron it, do so with a cool iron. Do not worry about how to "don" the hood - we will help with that on Commencement Day.
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.
For graduates and their families will be held Friday, May 15 at 4:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church ( 97 South Franklin Street). This is a non-denominational service led by our graduating seniors and should be about 1 hour in duration.
Commencement at the University Center on Main (UCOM)
The 73rd Annual Spring Commencement ceremonies will be held at the McHale Athletic Center (MAC) in the University Center on Main (UCOM) at 169 South Main Street. The ceremony for graduate students will begin at 10 a.m. The Bachelor's degree ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. Doors to the MAC will open at 9 a.m. for the 10 a.m. ceremony and 2 p.m. for the 3 p.m. ceremony. The MAC will close between ceremonies for cleaning and preparations.
Admission to the 3 p.m. ceremony (Bachelors) will be by ticket only. Each graduate will be issued seven (7) tickets for the MAC. Auxiliary viewing areas in UCOM will provide guests without tickets the opportunity to watch the ceremony on a livestream broadcast. Tickets are not required for the alternate viewing sites. Should a graduate wish to have a few more tickets, the University will try to fulfill that request. These requests won't be filled until Senior Week.
Tickets will not be required for the 10 a.m. graduate student ceremony.
University staff and ushers will be positioned at information tables in the lobby to answer questions from families and guests.
At the conclusion of both ceremonies, the graduates will recess to the East Campus Gateway.
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 each ceremony.
Those attending commencement, and its related activities should note that Wilkes University restricts support animals from public events on campus, with the exception of service animals. Students and visitors accompanied by their service animal shall be accommodated in all commencement venues. Students and visitors must adhere to University guidelines regarding the use of a service animal while on campus.
Assembly of Graduates
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.
Masters and Doctoral students will assemble at the Arnaud C. Marts Center (274 South Franklin Street) beginning at 8:30 a.m. The final line-up of graduates will begin at 9:15 a.m. Graduates will leave from the Arnaud C. Marts Center to process to the University Center on Main (UCOM) at 9:45 a.m. Do not bring valuables to the Arnaud C. Marts Center as there will be no place to lock them away.
Bachelors Degree graduates will assemble at the Arnaud C. Marts Center (274 South Franklin Street) beginning at 1:30 p.m. The final line-up of graduates will begin at 2:15 p.m. Graduates will leave from the Arnaud C. Marts Center to process to the University Center on Main (UCOM) at 2:45 p.m. Do not bring valuables to the Arnaud C. Marts Center as there will be no place to lock them away.
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 online. 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.
The commencement ceremony will be videotaped. The video will be archived on the University's website for later viewing.
All University parking lots will be open and available for parking on Commencement day. The University will operate its shuttles prior to and after the ceremonies to assist guests moving from the parking lots to the University Center on Main (UCOM) and back. Parking for persons with disabilities is available at the parking lot for the Karambelas Media and Communication Center (141 South Main Street).
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 May 14, 2020.
Faculty should arrive at the Karambelas Media and Communication Center (141 South Main Street) by 9 a.m. for the Graduate ceremony and 2 p.m. for the Bachelors ceremony. Faculty will proceed to the lower level and follow directions to the Faculty Robing Area.
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