The University of Iowa

Graduate Doctoral Commencement Ceremony

Friday, December 15, 2023 - 9:00am Hancher Auditorium
Graduate College Stage and Crowd
Friday, December 15, 2023 - 9:00am
141 Park Road
Iowa City, IA 52242

Doors open one hour prior to the start of the ceremony. The ceremony will be livestreamed with captions enabled.

UI President Barbara Wilson and Amanda Thein, associate provost for graduate education and dean, will deliver messages to students. The alumna speaker will be Kate Lechtenberg (PhD ’20). Graduate Khaliunaa Bayanbold from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, will give the student address.

Order of Events

Katie Bottorff

Ceremony Information

The Graduate College is seeking nominations for a student speaker for the doctoral commencement ceremony. While graduating students can nominate themselves, as well as fellow graduating students, nominations can be submitted by faculty or staff. The nomination form, found here, is now open and must include a resume/CV, a video speech sample, and a letter of support from a faculty or staff member explaining why they feel the nominee would be a positive and compelling commencement speaker and outstanding representative of their class. Incomplete applications will not be considered. The nomination deadline is Friday, October 20th, at 5pm. A speaker will be selected no later than October 25th to allow sufficient time for speech writing. Completed speeches must be submitted to the Graduate College Commencement Team ( by 5pm on Monday, November 27th.

To be eligible to participate in Fall 2023 commencement, you must be a Summer or Fall 2023 degree applicant who submitted an RSVP in MyUI prior to the deadline (November 12, 2023). The Graduate College typically does not allow students to participate in commencement ceremonies at times when they are not eligible except in rare circumstances. Approval by the Associate Dean of Administrative Affairs in the Graduate College is required to participate in a commencement ceremony other than the ceremony students are eligible for based on their degree application. Reasons for an exception could include:

  • A significant health issue (themselves or immediate family members)
  • Student has left for employment in another country before their assigned ceremony takes place
  • A required clinical rotation (or similar requirement) outside of the state coinciding with the assigned commencement ceremony, such as Clinical or Counseling Psychology, Music Therapy, or MSTP students engaged in medical residency

In the vast majority of approved exception requests, students would be permitted to participate in a ceremony immediately following the assigned ceremony. For example, Fall degree applicants would be permitted to participate in the ceremony held the following spring. Early participation is very rarely approved. 

Exception forms should be submitted by the student. Submissions need to include a letter of support from the Director of Graduate Studies or the Associate Dean for Graduate Education, as well as a description from the student of the reasons for the exception request. The request form can be found here. Please direct any questions to Forms should be submitted to the Graduate College at least one month before the ceremony, if at all possible, to allow time for a decision to be made.

At this time, tickets are not required for Fall 2023 Graduate College ceremonies. This is subject to change.

Complimentary parking is available in Hancher Lot 55 for commencement attendees. Parking for persons with disabilities is available near the building entrance with the appropriate hang tag or license plate.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If graduates or guests are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please reach out to Accommodation requests must be emailed before December 11, 2023. 

Please plan to arrive to Hancher Auditorium no later than 8:30 AM and proceed to Strauss Hall, where graduates will be lining up for the ceremony. Please be sure to bring or wear your regalia for the ceremony. If you need to rent or purchase regalia, please see the Faculty Regalia tab on this page. It is recommended to make advanced arrangements with your graduate(s) for where you plan to meet that morning in Hancher Auditorium, as cell phone reception may be impacted in the venue. In Strauss Hall, you will line up with your graduate(s) as directed by Graduate College volunteers.

Graduates should plan to arrive no later than 8:15 AM to Hancher Auditorium with their tam, hood, and gown. Graduates will enter through Hancher's main entrance and make their way toward Strauss Hall. Outside Strauss Hall, graduates will need to stop at the card table to pick up their name card. This is used by both the name reader and Flash Photography during the ceremony. Please check the card for accuracy and make any necessary changes/corrections - Graduate College volunteers will be on hand to assist. Graduates should tehn proceed into Strauss Hall, where Graduate College volunteers will assist them with lining up in the appropriate order.

At 8:55 AM, graduates and hooders will be led by a faculty marshal to the auditorium entrance.

At 9:00 AM, guests will view the "Celebrating Iowa" video.

Following the viewing of the video, graduates and hooders will process to their seats on the auditorium stage, as directed by the faculty marshal and Graduate College staff. Graduates and hooders should remain standing at their seats, if able, as the academic procession, led by President Barbara J. Wilson, makes their way to their seats on stage. 

There will be a brief welcome by Associate Provost and Dean Amanda Thein.

Doctoral degrees will be conferred by President Barbara J. Wilson and Associate Provost and Dean Amanda Thein.

Graduates will be invited row by row to come forward and be hooded. Graduates must take their hood and name card with them as they come forward. As graduates come forward, they will first have their name card scanned and will then hand it to the reader at the podium before proceeding to center stage to be hooded and then congratulated by the Dean and the President.

As graduates move from the stage back to their seats, they will have a professional photo taken by Flash Photography.

Once all graduates have been hooded, President Barbara J. Wilson will give closing remarks.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the academic procession will leave the stage first, led by President Barbara J. Wilson. After the academic procession has cleared the stage, graduates will recess following the marshal.

Immediately following the doctoral ceremony, there will be a reception in Hancher Auditorium to honor our graduates until 12:00 PM. Graduates, guests, and faculty hooders are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be provided in both the Smith Lobby and Stanley Café.

In order to provide an environment in which graduates and guests all have an enjoyable experience, the following rules of behavior will be enforced at all times:

  • 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.

Graduate student regalia can be rented or purchased online at The deadline for renting regalia is Wednesday, November 15th, at 10:59 PM Central Time. The deadline for purchasing regalia is Monday, October 23rd, at 10:59 PM Central Time. If you have questions, please contact Herff Jones at or (952) 447-4449. It is your responsibility to return rented regalia to Herff Jones within one week of the ceremony. Regalia cannot be returned at the ceremony and must be shipped directly to Herff Jones using the prepaid shipping label included in your regalia box.

Business attire is suggested but not required. 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 or left in the graduate staging or seating areas, with the exception of medically necessary items. Please plan to not bring these items in or leave them with your guests. 

Decorating caps and gowns is not permitted. Flowers are not to be worn on gowns or carried in hand. 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.

If a faculty hooder does not have a set of academic regalia, regalia can be rented from Herff Jones at before Wednesday, November 15th, at 10:59 PM Central Time. Faculty will not be able to pick up their rented regalia at the ceremony unless otherwise specified by Herff Jones. Please be prepared to provide a shipping address when ordering. Regalia must be returned to Herff Jones within one week of the ceremony using the prepaid shipping label included in the regalia box. Regalia cannot be returned at the ceremony. If you have questions regarding regalia ordering, please contact Herff Jones at or (952) 447-4449.

There is return information included in the regalia box, along with a prepaid return label. If you lost your prepaid label or did not receive one in your package, please use the link below to request a new label. Your confirmation number to request a new label begins with CPA and is found in your confirmation email. You may use any box to ship the regalia back, it does not have to be the box it was shipped to you in.

Watch Live

The ceremony will be livestreamed at the scheduled time with captions enabled. 

If you cannot watch the livestream during the ceremony, the video will be uploaded to the University of Iowa's YouTube channel shortly after the conclusion of the ceremony.