Commencement Protocol Policy

Faculty Commencement Practice

Held each semester during final's week (exact date and time announced via email)


Departmental Representation at Commencement

  • Faculty participation in commencement should include 50% of the regular faculty from each department.
  • Academic Affairs will notify departments if the number of faculty participants must be reduced to accommodate large numbers of graduates.



  • Graduation regalia is worn only by commencement participants who are seated on the floor (graduates or faculty) or on the platform.
  • Appropriate regalia for faculty includes cap (with tassel on the left side), gown (appropriate for degree), and hood (appropriate for major and institution).
  • Faculty needing to rent their regalia should watch for a message from the bookstore regarding the dates for placing orders.
  • Faculty wearing regalia purchased by the department should wear the appropriate regalia for their highest earned degree.



All candidates for degrees must wear the traditional black gown appropriate to the degree being awarded and black mortarboard (cap) with black tassel. Master's candidates wear a hood with colors appropriate to their degree. Honor graduates may wear a gold cord. University Scholars may wear the bronze medallion awarded them. Nothing else may be worn on the academic costume, including the mortarboard cap.


Shoes appropriate to the occasion are to be worn. Shoes and other articles of visible apparel worn by graduates should be in dark colors that harmonize with the academic costume. Nothing else should be worn on the academic costume. Caps, gowns, and other graduation apparel may be ordered through the bookstore. Any questions about academic regalia should be directed to the Office of Academic Records in Room 103 of the Hall-Moody Administration Building.


Arrival Times


Faculty need to find their place in the Line of March 30-45 minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to begin.


Platform Participants:

Platform participants need to meet at the Chancellor's suite in the Dunagan Alumni Center one hour before the ceremony. Vans will shuttle these individuals to the Elam Center in time to take their places in the line.


Line of March


Line 1 will form on the northeast side of the first level corridor (signs will be posted by Records).

Line 2 will form on the inside walls of the first level corridor.



Deans need to report to the floor area adjacent to their line of march and locate the appropriate banner as follows (Records will ensure that banners are placed on appropriate side):

  • Agriculture & Applied Sciences - Maize & Gold
  • Business & Global Affairs - Drab & Peacock
  • Education, Health & Behavioral Sciences - Light Blue, Sage & Gold
  • Engineering & Natural Sciences - Orange & Gold
  • Humanities & Fine Arts - Brown & White
  • Graduate Studies - Navy Blue & Orange

The dean should take his/her place in line in front of the first student in the college represented by that dean when that student arrives on the floor area and remain in the appropriate line while proceeding down the main aisle


Other Platform Participants:

Will report to the Southeast floor area.

Will be lined up according to the line of march established by the Office of the Chancellor.




Faculty marshals will follow the Mace Bearer and lead the faculty lines down the center aisle.


As the two lines meet at the center aisle, faculty members should pair and continue down the aisleThe processional will stop when it reaches the end of the aisle, and the "Mace Bearer" turns around to face the graduating line of march as it continues the processional, continuing to hold the mace.


The faculty lines up on both sides of the center aisle then turns to face each other


Graduating students march in two lines up the central aisle through the faculty (symbolic of their association with the faculty during their academic careers). Graduate students walk with graduate students and undergraduate students walk with undergraduate students. The lines will diverge at the end of the aisle in front of where the "Mace Bearer" is standing; go across the front row of seating and down the outside aisle to their seats, as instructed by the marshals assigned by Records. They will stand at their seats until everyone in the procession is standing at their seat


Two lines of platform guests follow the graduates through the faculty, past the "Mace Bearer", and up the ramps to their seats on the platform.


The faculty lines will move to their seats after the platform guests pass the rows in front of the graduates set aside for the faculty and remain standing. The marshals will direct faculty to fill the front row first, then the second, and so on, leaving the aisle seats on the front row for the marshals and mace bearer, these seats will be marked by Records with name and program


With everyone standing at their seat, the "Mace Bearer" places the Mace in its resting place and moves to his or her seat.


Faculty will remain standing at their seats until after the invocation.



Deans should carry the banners so that the bottom fringe of the banner appears slightly above the head.


The banners should always face forward - do not try to turn the banners toward the audience. Upon reaching the platform, the deans should walk along the side of the platform and pass behind the second row of chairs to the stand marked for his/her banner.


The dean should walk behind the stand and lower the banner into the stand, making sure that the banner is secured in the stand and positioned straight (the stands will be marked by Records to indicate which stand is appropriate for that college).


The dean should then move to the appropriate chair on the platform and stand while the remaining deans and platform guests take their positions in the back row as follows:

Platform Marshal Hum&FA Eng&NS Grad EH&BS Bus&PA Ag&AS Platform Marshal


Front Row (Depending upon guests).



  • The program of exercises begins with everyone standing as the Chancellor introduces the person to deliver the invocation.
  • All male graduates, faculty, and platform participants should remove their caps prior to the invocation.
  • Male graduates should replace their caps following the invocation.
  • Male faculty and platform participants should replace their caps when the recessional begins.
  • After the Invocation is delivered, everyone is seated.


The Program

  • The Chancellor takes the podium and welcomes everyone and does special recognitions.
  • Special Music
  • The speaker is introduced and gives commencement speech.
  • VCSA will award Paul and Martha Meek Leadership Awards.
  • VCAA will recognize Honor's Graduates & University Scholars.


Presentation of Graduates for Degree Conferral

*Each dean will go to the podium to present the graduates in the following order:

  • Agriculture & Applied Sciences
  • Business & Global Affairs
  • Education, Health & Behavioral Sciences
  • Engineering & Natural Sciences
  • Humanities & Fine Arts
  • Graduate Studies


*The statement should be worded in the following or a similar manner:


[Said to the students]: In the college of [Name of College], will the candidates for the [List each degree awarded by the college] please rise.


[Look briefly at Chancellor, then say into the microphone]: Chancellor [Chancellor's Name] and President [President's Name], the candidates before you have met all requirements for their respective degrees, as set by the faculty, and are ready for their degrees to be conferred. Please be seated. [Make sure you include this statement]


Recognition of Graduates

  • As soon as the Chancellor says to the graduates: "You are hereby recognized as University Graduates and Alumni of The University of Tennessee at Martin. Congratulations and you may be seated," the deans leave the stage to recognize their respective members of the graduating class individually as the graduates exit off the stage ramp. The Records Office usher moves to the first line that is to be sent to the stage for recognition and directs them to the platform.
  • An announcer stands at the microphone located at stage left and reads the names from the individual cards received from the student as they reach the top of the ramp.
    • The Records Office will provide a list of names to the announcers to allow them to check the phonetic pronunciation of the names during the week before commencement.
  • After their name is called the graduates will proceed across stage to receive a congratulatory letter from the Chancellor.
    • The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will hand the letters to the Chancellor.
    • The Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs replaces the box containing the letters as needed.


Alma Mater

  • Everyone is standing for the Alma Mater.
  • The Alma Mater is sung before the Mace Bearer retrieves the mace.



  • As the recessional begins, all male faculty and platform participants should replace their caps.
  • Everyone is standing as the Recessional begins. The "Mace Bearer" retrieves the Mace during the last sentence of the Alma Mater and moves to the head of the aisle.
  • The platform guests leave the platform in two lines and move to a position behind the "Mace Bearer." Wait before leading the platform guests to the ramp until the last word of the Alma Mater is sung, then lead them down the ramp.

  • The "Mace Bearer" leads the recessional, followed by the platform guests along the central aisle away from the platform.
  • The faculty follows the platform guests off the main floor beginning with the faculty marshals.
  • The recessional ends when the faculty have left the main aisle. Graduates will not recess.
  • Faculty may wish to congratulate graduates and be available for photos.



  • A reception honoring the graduates will be held at the Skyhawk Fieldhouse immediately following the commencement program.
  • Everyone is invited to attend.


Feb. 24

Mid-term progress report due
8:30 AM

Feb. 28

Last day to drop a class, POT1
All Day

Feb. 29

Spring Break
4:00 PM

Mar. 19

Veteran Early Registration
All Day

Mar. 23

SR 90-97.9 - 2 pm
All Day

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