Commencement Information: Adult Degree Completion, Online, and Graduate College Students

POSTPONED: All commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 2-3 on the Adrian campus have been postponed at this time. All other commencement related events have been cancelled or postponed as well. These include: Honors Convocation, Torch Night, Pinning Ceremony, Kente Ceremony, and Baccalaureate Mass. However, students who complete their work will graduate on schedule. More information will be forthcoming on any rescheduling of 2020 commencement exercises.

Congratulations! Your graduation from Siena Heights University is within sight! We look forward to celebrating with you at Commencement 2020. This page includes important information for graduates from our Adult Degree Completion Center locations including Distance Learning (online), as well as master's degree candidates from all Siena Heights locations.


  • February 18—Begin ordering regalia:
  • February–AprilALL GRAD FAIR EVENTs CANCELLED. Grad fairs happening at respective campuses around Michigan. See below for specific dates and details. Please note: Only cash or checks will be accepted at the Grad fairs in Jackson, Southfield and Lansing. Credit cards are accepted at the bookstore in Adrian or online.
  • April 12—Deadline for commencement ticket ordering, regalia ordering, Kente ceremony reservations, and handicapped seating arrangements.
  • May 2—POSTPONED. Commencement 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.
    • EVENT CANCELLED. 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 2:00 p.m., Fieldhouse.
  • May 3—EVENT CANCELLED. Baccalaureate Mass, 10:30 a.m., St. Dominic Chapel. All are welcome!
  • May 4–29—Diplomas mailed to graduates by Registrar’s Office.


Commencement is Saturday, May 2, 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), as well as master's degree candidates from all Siena Heights locations. Eligible graduates (undergraduate and graduate) are those who graduated in August and December 2019; May 2020 graduates; and those who anticipate graduating in August 2020.

Line formation will begin at 1:00 p.m. in in Benincasa Hall. 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 or hairpin in case of emergency. Commencement narration begins at 1:50 p.m. in the Fieldhouse and 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 graduates and walk up to the platform after the last group.

Doors for guests will open at 1:00 p.m. 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.


Tickets are free but you must order your tickets before April 12. Up to ten (10) guest tickets are available for each participating graduate. A single ticket specifically for graduates walking in the ceremony will be available when you check in for Commencement on May 2.

You must fill out the ticket registration form before April 12 in order to reserve guest tickets, walk in the commencement ceremony, and have your name printed in the commencement program.

Every guest (even babies) must have a ticket to attend the Commencement ceremony. 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. All tickets for guests of graduates will be mailed after ticket orders have closed on April 12 to the address provided on the registration form. If you have any questions regarding tickets, please contact Sue Bissa at (248) 799-5490, ext. 7221, or


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 main campus in Adrian to order your cap and gown. 
  • Order your cap and gown by calling the bookstore at (517) 264­-7911. 
  • Place online orders here.
  • Please note: Only cash or checks will be accepted at the Grad fairs in Jackson, Southfield and Lansing.


  • February 18 – Adrian Campus Grad Fair, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Benincasa Hall.
  • March 18 – EVENT CANCELLED. Adrian Campus Grad Fair 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Benincasa Hall.
  • March 25 – EVENT CANCELLED. Jackson Grad Fair, 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., Jackson College Center.
  • April 2 – EVENT CANCELLED. Southfield Grad Fair, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Southfield Center.
  • April 8 – EVENT CANCELLED. Lansing Grad Fair, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Lansing Community College University Center.

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 a.m. – 4 p.m., on Saturday, May 2.

It is important that you know your degree and major when placing your cap and gown order. Your hood color is based on the degree you will be receiving. If you have questions regarding your degree, please contact your advisor for clarification.


  • AA – Black with school colors
  • AAS – Black with school colors
  • BA – White
  • BAS – Gold/Bright yellow
  • BBA – Drab
  • BFA – Dark Brown
  • BS – Gold/Bright Yellow
  • BSN – Apricot/Orange
  • BSW – Citron
  • MA – White

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


You will receive only the diploma cover when crossing the platform. The Office of Records and Registration will mail diplomas after graduation requirements are complete and obligations to the University have been met. Once all requirements and obligations are met, diplomas will be mailed between May 4–29.

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. Also note: Master of Arts diplomas do not specify the program area in which they are earned. Students completing a second concentration or major at the graduate level may participate in commencement if they choose; however, a second diploma will not be issued.


A live stream of the commencement ceremony will be available at 1:30 p.m. on May 2.


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 2020 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 taking pictures at the time diplomas are presented, a professional photographer from Graduation Foto will be taking a picture of each graduate receiving their diploma. A registration card will be given to each graduate to fill out and turn in at the ceremony. Graduates will receive proofs a few days after Commencement with purchase information and pricing.

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 and Sunday, May 2-3, 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 2 at 11:00 a.m. for all graduates participating in Commencement on either Saturday or Sunday. The deadline for reservations is April 12. To participate: Register online here or contact Sharese Mathis at 517-264-7606.


In the Catholic Dominican tradition, we invite all graduating students and their families to join us for a Baccalaureate Mass on Sunday, May 3 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Dominic Chapel. All graduates who attend receive a special blessing and cross to wear from our University President Sister Peg Albert, OP, and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Sister Sharon Weber, OP, as a reminder that the God who loves us all is with them as the students go onto the next step of their life journey, wherever it may lead.


Students or guests who require special seating or assistance because of a handicap or advanced pregnancy should call the Student Life Office at (517) 264-7600 to arrange for special seating. All requests must be submitted by April 12, 2020.

Guests with walker or wheelchair: Handicap seating is reserved for guests with walkers or wheelchairs and up to four people accompanying them. Guests who have arranged handicapped seating should enter the Fieldhouse at the east entrance and stop by the table there. This entrance is adjacent to the handicapped parking area.

Guests without walker or wheelchair: If needed, a helper with a wheelchair will be available at the east entrance to the Fieldhouse to transport your guest to any seat in the Fieldhouse before the ceremony—and then out to a chair on the lawn after the ceremony.

Graduates: Graduates who need assistance can be pre-seated if necessary, and/or use our ADA-approved handicapped ramp to receive their diploma. Please call or visit the Campus Nurse for details at 517-264-7190, or in Ledwidge 180.

Parking: For those with a state issued handicap-parking tag, there is parking on the east side of the Fieldhouse. Be prepared to show plate or tag to officers at intersections and lot entrances. Others may ride the golf cart shuttles to the Fieldhouse.



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 tent outside of the Fieldhouse.


The Siena Heights address is: 1247 E. Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan 49221. An Adrian campus map can be found here. A 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.


  1. Register for your tickets to the Adrian campus Commencement before April 12! This is how you let the University know you plan to participate (walk) in the commencement ceremony. Remember, every guest must have a ticket.
  2. Read about the Kente ceremony (above); Register online here or contact Sharese Mathis at 517-264-7606 for more information.
  3. Purchase your cap and gown and any other graduation items you would like from the SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Place online orders 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).


What time should my guests arrive at the Fieldhouse? 
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.

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.

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, check out the Visit Lenawee 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
  • Financial Aid Office: 517-264-7130
  • Kente Information: 517-264-7606
  • Public Safety Office: 517-264-7194
  • Tickets: 248-799-5490, ext. 7221

Consider being a part of leaving a legacy for the Class of 2020.
If you would like to designate your donation to support a legacy gift for the Class of 2020, please click here.