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Commencement Exercise

The commencement exercise consists of a processional, welcomes, an address by a distinguished speaker, the awarding of honorary, master's, and bachelor's degrees, and a recessional.
Duncan Niederauer speaking at Colgate's commencement in 2013
Because you are presented your diploma in person, it is essential that you process and sit in the precise order in which your name is printed in the commencement program. To help you through this final test of intellectual rigor, you should appear at the cap and gown tent and go to one of eight stations according to the initial letter of your last name: A-B, C-D, E-G, H-K, L-M, N-R, S-T, U-Z. Candidates for the master's degree form a separate line.

Gloria Borger '74, P'10
Please don't be late. A marshal at each station reads the individual names in that group so that you can form a single line in correct alphabetical order. You are also given a card at that time, bearing your name. The lines are then combined into two double columns and the processional begins moving, following the faculty. You are ushered into a special section, four rows at a time. As you enter the row, please be sure to stop directly in front of a chair and leave no chairs vacant. Otherwise, the last student in the row will be without a chair. You should remain standing until the Invocation, at which time caps are removed.

After announcing the honorary degrees, the dean of the faculty will ask candidates for the master of arts degree to present themselves. The president will confer the degree after which recipients will be directed to the graduation platform to accept the President's congratulations and receive their diplomas.

After the master of arts degrees have been awarded, the dean of the college will ask candidates for the bachelor of arts degrees to present themselves. The entire class will rise and the president will confer the degree and ask the class to once again be seated. Marshals will now direct the class, one row at a time, toward the platform. As you mount the platform, present the card bearing your name to the announcer standing at the top of the stairs and, as your name is read, walk across the platform, touch the edge of your cap with your right hand, (the academic salute), receive your diploma in your left hand and shake hands with the president — face forward for picture to be taken by professional photographer. Finally, return to your seat, leaving none vacant, be seated, and remove your cap.