Commencement Information: College of Arts and Sciences

Congratulations! Your graduation from Siena Heights University is within sight! We look forward to celebrating with you at Commencement 2017. This page includes important commencement information for graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences (Adrian campus undergraduate program). Please read carefully, and don’t overlook the “Commencement Final Exam” farther down the page: For this test, you ask the questions, and Siena Heights provides the answers!

Commencement is Sunday, May 7, at 2:00 p.m. in the Fieldhouse on the SHU main campus in Adrian, MI. This ceremony will recognize all Undergraduate Degree Candidates from the Adrian campus and Graduate Degree Candidates from SHU's Education program only.

Tickets are required for all guests attending the commencement ceremony. Every guest must have a ticket. Up to ten (10) guest tickets are available for each participating graduate.

Advanced tickets will not be available any other way. You must fill out the ticket registration form in order to reserve guest tickets. A single ticket specifically for graduates walking in the ceremony will be available when you check in for Commencement on May 7. All other guest tickets will be available for pickup the week of April 24 in Sacred Heart Hall, room 202 (President’s Office). Tickets are free, but you must order your tickets before April 17.

The commencement ceremony will be streamed live online beginning at 1:45 p.m. on May 7. 
Click here to access the live stream.


  • March 2Order commencement regalia from the SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Online orders can be placed here.

  • March 16—SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore open late until 8:30 p.m. for students with evening classes.

  • March 17Adrian Campus Grad Fair, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore.
  • April 17Deadline for commencement ticket ordering, Kente ceremony reservations, commencement handicapped seating arrangements, and professional photo reservations.

  • April 28Honors Convocation, 2 p.m., St. Dominic Chapel, Adrian campus.

  • April 28Torch Night ceremony, 8 p.m., St. Dominic Chapel, Adrian campus.

  • May 5Pinning Ceremony for nursing students graduating from SHU, 7:00 p.m., St. Dominic Chapel, Adrian campus. Reception immediately following at the Nursing Building.
  • May 6—Kente Ceremony for SHU African American graduates, 

    11:00 a.m., St. Dominic Chapel, Adrian campus.

  • May 7Commencement Day in Adrian:

    • SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore open, 10:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m.
    • Baccalaureate Mass, 10:30 a.m., St. Dominic Chapel.
    • Brunch, 10:30 a.m.—1:00 p.m., McLaughlin University Center Dining Hall.
    • Line-up for academic procession, 1:00 p.m. in front of Sage Union.
    • Commencement narration begins at 1:50 p.m. in the Fieldhouse; Academic procession begins at 2:00 p.m.
    • Reception to follow on the Fieldhouse lawn for all graduates.

  • May 5–12Diplomas mailed to graduates by Registrar’s Office.

  1. Order your tickets for the Adrian campus Commencement before April 17! This is how you let the University know you plan to participate (walk) in the commencement ceremony. Remember, every guest must have a ticket. And, we must also hear from you no later than April 17 for you to receive a proof of your graduation photo.

  2. Read about Torch Night (below);  contact Campus Ministry if you decide to participate.

  3. Read about the Kente ceremony (below); contact Sharese Mathis, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, if you wish to participate
    or register online here.

  4. Purchase your cap and gown and any other graduation items you would like from the SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore. 
    Online orders can be placed here.

  5. Make sure the Siena Heights University Registrar’s Office has your correct and current mailing address. This is VERY important, as this address is where your diploma will be mailed (instructions below).

Will you be well-prepared for your Siena Heights Commencement?

How do I get tickets?
RegisterOrder your tickets for the Adrian campus Commencement before April 17! 
Up to ten (10) guest tickets are available for each graduate participating in the Adrian Commencement. Every guest (even babies) will need a ticket to enter the Fieldhouse; please order only the number of tickets you need for your guests. A single ticket specifically for graduates walking in the ceremony will be available when you check in for Commencement on May 7. All other guest tickets will be available for pick-up the week of April 24 in Sacred Heart Hall, room 202 (President’s Office). Bring any unused tickets to the Alumni Welcome Tent on Commencement Day so we can share them with others who need them. Extra tickets that are returned will be available at the Welcome Tent in front of the Fieldhouse. However, there is no guarantee that extra tickets will be available as they are given out on a first come, first served basis.

Where do I get my cap and gown and other items?
There will be a Grad Fair in Adrian on March 17 for students to order graduation regalia. The SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore is handling all cap and gown orders, as well as other graduation items such as diploma frames, announcements, and class rings. Online orders can be placed here. You can also order by phone by calling the bookstore after March 2 at (517) 264-7911.

How much do these items cost?

  • Cap, Gown, Hood and Tassel packages:
    • Associate/Bachelor’s degree: $84.98
    • Specialist/Master’s degree: $89.98
  • Associate or Bachelor gown only: $43.98
  • Specialist or Master’s gown only: $46.98
  • Undergraduate hood only: $32.98
  • Graduate hood only: $35.98
  • Cap only (one size fits all): $12.98
  • Tassel only: $6.98

What is Torch Night?
The Torch Night ceremony, which takes place one week before Commencement, is a Siena Heights tradition involving a symbolic exchange between a graduate and another SHU student who is not yet ready to graduate. The graduate receives a rose, the Dominican symbol of friendship, and gives the undergraduate (also known as the “torch”) a candle symbolizing the light of truth and the “torch” of learning. Each graduate invites a SHU undergraduate student, usually a close friend, to be his or her “torch.” Graduates wear their caps and gowns for this event. This year’s ceremony is scheduled for Friday, April 28, at 8:00 p.m. in St. Dominic Chapel. Line-up for the ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. Students from all SHU locations are welcome to participate. To participate: Contact Campus Ministry at (517) 264-7192 for your name to appear in the Torch Night program.

What is the Kente Ceremony?
Sponsored by Siena’s African American alumni, the Kente ceremony has become a cherished part of commencement for Siena’s African American graduates. SHU alumni provide a colorful Kente stole for each graduate to wear over his or her graduation robe. Stoles will be presented at a special Kente ceremony in St. Dominic Chapel on Saturday, May 6 at 11:00 a.m. for all graduates participating in Commencement on either Saturday or Sunday. The deadline for reservations is April 17. To participate: Register online here or contact Sharese Mathis, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, at (517) 264-7606. 

What if I – or my guests – need special assistance?
Students or guests who need special seating or assistance because of a handicap or advanced pregnancy should call (517) 264-7600 by April 17 (limited to two per student). Students can be pre-seated if necessary, and/or can use our ADA-approved handicapped ramp. Ask your guests who have arranged handicapped seating to stop at the reception table located at the east Fieldhouse entrance. This entrance is adjacent to the handicapped parking area. Wheelchairs are welcome.

What else happens in Adrian on Commencement Day besides commencement?

  • Baccalaureate Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. in St. Dominic Chapel. People of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome. No tickets needed. For questions call (517) 264-­7198.

  • A Commencement Brunch will be available for all graduates and guests in the McLaughlin University Center Dining Hall from 10:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.  

    A wide variety of breakfast and lunch entrees will be served including: scrambled eggs, pork sausage patties, red skin potatoes, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, multiple pasta choices with meat balls and sliced chicken breasts, garlic bread, carved meat station, mashed potatoes with gravy, fresh green beans, salad bar with assorted options, beverage station with Coke products, juices, coffee, and a dessert bar with assorted fruit pies, cookies, and cake. 

    The cost is $10.25 for adults and $4.50 for children ages 2-12. No reservations are required.  Cash, credit card, and checks will be accepted at the door.

  • The SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore will be open from 10 a.m.­—4 p.m. for last-minute purchases.

Do I get my diploma at Commencement?

No, actual diplomas will be mailed after graduation requirements are complete and obligations to the University have been met. If all requirements and obligations were met prior to commencement, then your diploma will be mailed to you between May 8-12.

To ensure timely delivery of your diploma, be sure to confirm your correct mailing address through your MYSIENA account. Login and click "Personal Info" at the top, then click on the "Biographical Info" tab to verify your name and address. If this information is incorrect, please click on the pencil. This will bring up a correction form for you to fill in and submit. Don’t wait to update your file; do this as soon as possible. (Note: name changes must be documented with the Registrar’s Office.) The Registrar’s Office will not mail documents to an SHU campus mailbox unless it is your legal mailing address. If you live in an apartment that is not your legal address, or if you will be leaving at the end of April, notify the Registrar’s Office at (517) 264-7120 of where to send your diploma.

I expect to graduate with academic honors. Do I receive anything for this?
Siena Heights does not present honor cords at Commencement, although some honors are presented at the Honors Convocation ceremony on April 28. However, if you qualify for academic honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude) and you have completed all requirements for graduation, your honors will be announced at Commencement and listed in the program. (Honors listed in the program and read on stage will be based on grade records as of April 2017 and will not be official until all second semester grades are received.) Note: Information about academic honors will not be available before Commencement.

My family wants a picture of me during the ceremony. Will there be a photographer?
Yes, a professional photographer will take student pictures at the Adrian ceremony. Students will receive proofs a few days after Commencement with purchase information and pricing. NOTE: All information for those students walking in the ceremony is sent to the photographer on April 15. If you inform the Registrar or the bookstore that you are coming to the ceremony after this date, you will not receive your sample photograph via e-mail.

Can family members/friends take pictures or video during the ceremony?
Family and friends may take pictures and video from their seats. (Note: Tripods are NOT permitted.) We ask that guests do NOT approach the stage from any direction to take pictures during the ceremony. Graduates and their guests may return to the stage after the ceremony for additional pictures. Make sure batteries and power packs are charged ahead of time.

Where do I and my guests park?
To assist our students and guests with entering and exiting the Adrian campus efficiently, traffic heading east on Siena Heights Drive will be directed to the following parking lots: West Fieldhouse, Dominican & Performing Arts, and Addison Street Fairgrounds. Traffic heading west on Siena Heights Drive will be directed to the following parking lots: Adrian Dominican Motherhouse and the Siena Heights Drive Fairground entrance. Shuttles will be available for transportation to and from the Fieldhouse. Adjacent parking fills up quickly, so please allow plenty of time. All exiting traffic will be directed out the same direction as it entered. Handicapped parking will be available in the parking lot east of the Fieldhouse. A state issued handicapped permit is required to enter, and should be displayed to the officer directing traffic. For any special assistance with parking, please contact Cindy Birdwell at (517) 264-7194.

What time should I be at the Fieldhouse before the commencement ceremony?
Students should arrive no later than 1:00 p.m. at the check-in tables in front of Sage Union to make sure they are in proper order in the procession line. Students will receive call cards and a photograph information card. Call cards are color coded and list the name, degree type and line up assignment. Please keep the call cards on you at all times. Caps and gowns should also be worn to the line-up. Hoods should be carried over students’ left arms and tassels on the left side of caps. Bring a safety pin/hairpin in case of emergency. Once you enter the line up, we ask that you remain in line. Marshals will be on site to assist with line up assignments.

What time should my guests arrive at the Fieldhouse?
Guests will be admitted to the Fieldhouse at 1:00 p.m. Allow 20-30 minutes for parking and walking. Every guest (even babies!) must have a ticket to enter the Fieldhouse. No loud bells, horns, whistles etc. will be permitted during the ceremony.

What should I wear?
Early May weather is usually pleasant, but the Fieldhouse is NOT air conditioned, so dress for the weather. You may need to walk or stand a great deal, so comfortable shoes probably are a better idea than high heels and boots.

Where can I find directions to campus?
An Adrian campus map can be found here.  A Google Map for directions to the Adrian campus can be found here.

Is food allowed in the Fieldhouse?
Beverages and snacks will be available for purchase at the Fieldhouse snack bar prior to the ceremony.

What about smoking?
Siena Heights University is a Smoke Free Campus. Smoking is not allowed in any Siena Heights building or on the SHU campus grounds.

After the ceremony, are there places to eat in the area?
Yes! For a complete list of dining options, please visit the Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce website.

Whom do I call—about anything?
If you have more questions, try one of these numbers for help:

  • Registrar’s Office: (517) 264-7120
  • Barnes and Noble Bookstore: (517) 264-7911
  • Handicap Guest/Seating: (517) 264-7600
  • Student Accounts: (517) 264-7110
  • Torch Night reservations: (517) 264-7192
  • Financial Aid Office: (517) 264-7130
  • Kente Information: (517) 264-7606
  • Public Safety Office: (517) 264-7194
  • Tickets: (517) 264-7103

Consider a gift to the Graduating Class of 2017 Gift Campaign
Each year, graduates have the opportunity to leave behind a lasting legacy of their time spent at Siena Heights University. Pledge to donate $20.17 a year for the next 3 years and you will receive a beautiful clip-on SHU seal to wear on your gown at graduation. Your pledge will support the SHU Scholarship Fund. If you donate to honor a special person in your life, such as a professor, classmate or family member, that person will be notified. Show your Saints Pride and Pay it Forward! For more information click here.

If you would like to donate by leaving a different legacy for your graduating class, please click here.