Commencement Information: Adult Degree Completion and Online

Congratulations! Your graduation from Siena Heights University is within sight! We look forward to celebrating with you at Commencement 2017. This page includes important information to help you, and the University, in planning this important celebration.


Commencement is Saturday, May 6, at 2:00 p.m. in the Fieldhouse on the SHU main campus in Adrian, MI. This ceremony will recognize degree candidates from our Adult Degree Completion Center locations including Distance Learning (online), and Leadership and Counseling Graduate Program Students only.

Line Formation will begin at 1:00 p.m. in Benincasa, located in the building behind Sage Union. Signs will be posted throughout the campus to guide you to the line-up location. Coffee, juice, and refreshments will be available for graduates prior to line-up. Your personal items are your responsibility. 

Caps and gowns should be worn to the line­up. 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.

Commencement narration begins at 1:50 p.m. in the Fieldhouse; academic procession begins promptly at 1:50 p.m.

If you arrive after the ceremony has already started, you will be placed in the back row of the graduates and walk up to the platform after the last group.

Doors for guests will open at 1:00. Tickets are required for all guests attending the commencement ceremony. The ceremony should end by approximately 3:30 p.m. No loud bells, horns, whistles etc. will be permitted during the ceremony

The commencement ceremony will be streamed live online beginning at 1:45 p.m. on May 6. Click here to access the live stream.


Several Grad Fairs are planned in February and March for students to order graduation regalia (see below). 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.

Several options are available when ordering your cap and gown:

•  Attend one of the scheduled Grad Fairs to place your order for your cap and gown (see below).
•  Visit the Barnes and Noble Bookstore, on the Siena Heights University main campus in Adrian to order your cap and gown.
•  Order your cap and gown by calling the bookstore at (517) 264­-7911.
•  Order your cap and gown online after March 2. Online orders can be placed here.

When ordering regalia, students can have their items shipped directly to them for an additional fee or pick their items up in the bookstore at SHU’s main campus in Adrian prior to the ceremony. The bookstore will be open from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, on Saturday, May 6.

Costs of Regalia

•  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

 Grad Fairs:

•  March 17 Adrian Campus Grad Fair, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore.
•  March 20-23 – Benton Harbor Campus Grad Fair, 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Lake Michigan College Barnes & Noble Bookstore.
•  March 22 – Lansing Grad Fair, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Lansing Community College University Center.
•  April 5 – Southfield Grad Fair, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Southfield Center.
•  April 12 – Jackson Grad Fair, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., Jackson College Center.


Registerguest (even babies) must have a ticket to attend the Commencement ceremony. Up to six (6) guest tickets are available for each participating  graduate.  Advanced tickets will not be available any other way. When filling out the ticket registration form, be sure to include the complete address to which you would like your guest tickets to be mailed. A single ticket specifically for graduates walking in the ceremony will be available when you check in for Commencement on May 6. All other tickets for guests of graduates will be mailed the week of April 17, to the address provided on the registration form.  Tickets are free but you must order your tickets before April 17.  If you have any questions regarding tickets, please call your SHU site office.


You will receive only the diploma cover when crossing the platform. The Office of Records and Registration will mail the actual diplomas to graduates whose financial accounts are in order and who have final grades recorded. For others, when requirements have been met, The Office of Records and Registration will mail the diploma to the home address on file unless you inform the office or your advisor of a different address. Diplomas are mailed approximately 1-2 weeks following the completion of all degree requirements.

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.)


Siena Heights University will be live streaming our Commencement. For those who are unable to attend, you can join us online. 
Click here to access the live stream.


Siena Heights does not present honor cords at Commencement.  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.


In order to minimize the need for parents and others to take pictures at the time diplomas are presented, arrangements have been made for a professional photographer to take a picture of each graduate receiving their diploma.  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 17. 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 email.

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.


The SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Adrian will be open every day during the week of commencement from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, May 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The bookstore has a wide selection of Siena Heights University memorabilia in stock. Also, for your convenience, the bookstore has diploma frames and class rings available to order.


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.


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 at (517) 264-7606.


Students or guests who require special seating or assistance because of a handicap or advanced pregnancy should call the Commencement Coordinator at (248) 799-5490 ext 7232, to arrange for special seating.  All requests must be submitted by April 17, 2017.   Students can be pre-­seated if necessary, and/or can use our ADA­approved handicapped ramp. Guests who have arranged handicapped seating must stop at the reception table located at the Fieldhouse entrance. This entrance is adjacent to the handicapped parking area. Wheelchairs are welcome.


Assorted flowers will be available for sale at the commencement with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Siena Heights University scholarship fund. Sales will start an hour before the ceremony. Please look for the flower table inside the entrance of the Fieldhouse. Members of Barrett’s Flowers and Siena Heights University are anxious to serve your needs so they can better serve the local community. 


The Siena Heights address is: 1247 E. Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan 49221. An Adrian campus map can be found hereA Google Map for directions to the Adrian campus can be found here.

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.


  • March 17April 12 – Grad fairs happening at respective campuses around Michigan. See above for specific dates and details.

  • March 15 – Students can order commencement regalia from the SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Online ordering will be available here on March 15.

  • April 17 – Deadline for commencement ticket ordering, commencement regalia ordering, Kente ceremony reservations, commencement handicapped seating arrangements, and professional photo reservations.
  • May 6Commencement Day in Adrian:

    • SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore open, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    • Brunch, 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., McLaughlin University Center Dining Hall.
    • Kente Ceremony, 11:00 a.m., St. Dominic Chapel.
    • Line-up for academic procession, 1:00 p.m., Benincasa Dining Hall.
    • Commencement narration begins, 1:50 p.m., Fieldhouse.
    • Academic procession begins at 1:50 p.m., Fieldhouse.
    • Reception to follow on the Fieldhouse lawn for all graduates.

  • May 8–12Diplomas 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 May commencement ceremony. Remember, every guest must have a ticket.

  2. Read about the Kente ceremony (above); contact Sharese Mathis, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, at (517) 264-7606 if you wish to participate 
    or register online here.

  3. Purchase your cap and gown and any other graduation items you would like from the SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore by April 17. 
    Online orders can be placed here.

  4. Make sure the Siena Heights University Registrar’s Office has your correct and current mailing address. If your address has changed since you applied for graduation, it is imperative that you contact your academic advisor and give them your correct address. This is VERY important, as this address is where your diploma will be mailed (instructions below).


How do I get tickets?
Order your tickets by April 17Up to six (6) guest tickets are available for each graduate participating in the Commencement. Every guest 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 6. All other tickets for guests of graduates will be mailed to the address provided on the registration form. Please contact your SHU site office if additional tickets are required. 

What time should I be at the Fieldhouse before the commencement ceremony?
Doors for guests will open at 1:00 p.m. in the Fieldhouse.  Line-up for graduates will begin at 1:00 p.m. in Benincasa.  Kente will begin at 11:00 a.m. 

What should I wear?
Early May weather is usually pleasant, but the Fieldhouse is NOT air conditioned. So please 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?
Use this link for Google Maps to get a map and directions to the Adrian campus. An SHU campus map 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: (248) 799-5490, ext. 7232
•  Student Accounts: (517) 264­-7110
•  Financial Aid Office: (517) 264­-7130
•  Kente Information: (517) 264-­7606
•  Public Safety Office: (517) 264-­7194
•  Extra Tickets: Contact your SHU site office.

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.