The University of Iowa

Graduate College Doctoral and Masters Commencement Ceremony

Friday, December 20, 2019 - 7:00pm Hancher Auditorium
Graduate College Stage and Crowd
Friday, December 20, 2019 - 7:00pm
141 Park Road
Iowa City, IA 52242

Doors will open to the venue one hour prior to the start of the ceremony.

Kathy Gerling
(319) 335-3492

Ceremony Information

If you are a guest needing special accommodations, arrangements must be made in advance.  

Guests needing special accommodations will enter through the handicapped entrance.  Contact Kathy Klein Gerling ( or 319-335-3492) no later than Monday, December 16, 2019 to arrange accommodations.

Business attire is suggested (not required – suit coats are not necessary). You may want to consider a top/shirt with buttons to help secure the hood.

Flowers are not worn on gowns, nor are they carried in hand. Caps or gowns decorated with inappropriate messages will not be permitted.

Graduates are cautioned regarding their choice of footwear as stairs and floor may be difficult to navigate. Wearing high-heeled footwear is not advised.

Bags or purses may not be carried; plan to leave them with friends or relatives.

Caps are to be worn with the tams or mortar boards horizontal and the tassel on the left. Tams/mortar boards should be worn during the Processional, Recessional, and while degrees are being conferred. However, they may be removed at other times.

Graduates should plan to arrive no later than 6:15 p.m. at Hancher Auditorium.   Graduates will enter Hancher Auditorium's main entrance doors and will need to present a photo ID at the check-in tables located outside of the Strauss Recital Hall.

Doctoral graduates should have their tam, hood and gown with them.

Master’s graduates should have their mortar board, tassel, gown and hood with them.  

Personal items should be left with a family member.  Graduates should not have anything in your hand other than your name card when the processional begins and throughout the ceremony.  

Cell phones should be silenced or turned off during the ceremony.

When arriving at Hancher Auditorium, report to the Strauss Recital Hall (Entrance #3 – signs will be posted).  

Graduate College staff will be on hand to check you in (bring ID), and direct you to the card distribution table in the Strauss Recital Hall.  

This card will be handed to the faculty member who announces your name as you cross the stage.  Please check the card for accuracy and changes/corrections that may be needed. 

At 6:55 p.m., graduates will be led by a faculty marshal to the entrance to Hancher Auditorium.  

At 7:00 p.m., the video “Celebrating Iowa” will be viewed by guests.  

Following the viewing of the video, graduates will process to their seats (on Hancher stage and in the Orchestra seating on main floor) as directed by faculty marshal and graduate college staff.

There will be a brief welcome by Dean John Keller.

Doctoral and masters degree will be conferred by President Bruce Harreld and Associate Provost and Dean John Keller.

Graduating students (doctoral and masters) will be invited row by row to come forward and to be recognized.  

Take your name card with you, hand it to the person reading names at the podium. Proceed across the stage to shake hands with the Dean and the President.

Flash Photography will take your photo when you are on stage and in the wings.  

Prior to getting your photo taken, a staff member from the Graduate College will adjust your apparel as needed for the photo. 

At the conclusion of closing remarks, platform officials will leave the stage first.  After the platform officials have cleared the stage, graduates will recess following marshals.

Herff Jones will be in the Strauss Recital Hall to collect apparel from graduates.  

Graduates should cross their names off the sheet (alphabetical) and then give the apparel to Herff Jones staff.  

If you do not turn it in after the ceremony, your apparel may be returned in the box it was received in using the prepaid mailing label.  

It is your responsibility to be sure it is returned within two weeks of the ceremony. Herff Jones (, 952-447-4449).

Parking is available in the lots adjacent to Hancher. 

There are handicapped parking spots outside of Hancher, however, you must have the appropriate handicapped hangtag or handicapped license plate to use these.

Commencement is the culminating event of University study for students who choose to attend.   An appropriate and dignified academic atmosphere is absolutely expected so that you, your family, and other guests may enjoy this important gathering. 

The following rules of behavior will be enforced at all ceremonies:

  • No alcoholic beverages of any kind
  • Inappropriate dress and costumes worn under gowns will not be allowed
  • Cell phones must be turned off or silenced in the graduate seating area
  • No flowers, purses, gifts, balloons, or bags will be allowed in the student seating area
  • Marshals and security staff will be looking for intoxicated persons.  Inebriated students are not permitted to participate.

With everyone’s cooperation, this occasion will become a proud and happy memory of your academic achievement at the University of Iowa.

Hancher staff has asked that our graduates and guests leave Hancher by 9:00 p.m.

Hancher staff are preparing for another ceremony and need to reset the stage.

You are welcome to take photos in the Hancher lobby but be mindful of the need to secure the building following the ceremony.

Faculty who rented apparel from Herff Jones and did not have it home shipped may pick it up prior to the ceremony.

Herff Jones staff will be in the Strauss Recital Hall to distribute and received returned apparel. 

Securing your hood is easier if you have a garment that has buttons on it to secure the hood.

Herff Jones will be in the Strauss Recital Hall following the ceremony to collect rented apparel.  

Faculty need to cross off their names (alphabetical listing) and hand the apparel to Herff Jones staff. 

Limited parking spots are available for persons with disabilities outside of Hancher for those displaying the appropriate state issued hangtag/license plate for use in these parking stalls.

Hancher staff has asked your cooperation in exiting Hancher by 9:00 p.m.