Virtual Advisor


Commencement Ceremony

What's the difference between graduation and commencement?

College graduation marks the completion of a students' degree requirements, while commencement celebrates those accomplishments and looks toward the future.

The Commencement Ceremony is a special time to celebrate your accomplishments with family, friends, mentors and classmates. We look forward to recognizing your outstanding efforts as you join the ranks of our proud and successful alumni network.

The ceremony will last approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours and includes a welcome address, conferral of degrees, recognition of individual graduates by name and presentation of diploma covers. Doctoral and Master’s candidates will be hooded during the ceremony. Sign language interpreting services will be provided at all PennWest ceremonies.


Commencement Event/Ceremony Questions:

Academic Graduation/Degree Questions:

Please visit this page often for updates and watch for communications from for commencement preparation and ceremony information, and from for academic degree and graduation process information.

PennWest Commencement General Information

2023-2024 Academic Year

Saturday, December 9, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.
All three campuses
Fall and Winter 2023 graduates eligible
Summer 2023 Master’s and Doctoral graduates who did not already walk at commencement in May 2023 are eligible to walk in December 2023 commencement.

Saturday, May 4, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
All three campuses
Time assignment will be based on the academic college of your major
Spring and Summer 2024 graduates eligible
Summer 2024 Master’s and Doctoral graduates can choose to walk at the May 2024 commencement or the December 2024 commencement.

Apply to Graduate!

If you have not yet applied to graduate, please visit our graduation application process page to learn how to apply. Deadline is October 20, 2023.


Graduates will receive a diploma cover during the ceremony which contains information regarding their official diploma. Diplomas will be mailed in January for December commencement and in June for May commencement after grades have been finalized and degrees are conferred. Please note that all financial obligations must be met before the diploma will be mailed.

Latin Honors

Bachelor’s degree-seeking students who have completed a minimum of 30 credits at PennWest (excluding credit by exam) and who have achieved the following cumulative grade-point averages as of the last graded term of their enrollment are eligible for Latin honors.

  • Summa Cum Laude (3.80 - 4.00) – Gold stoles worn at commencement
  • Magna Cum Laude (3.60 - 3.79) –White stoles worn at commencement
  • Cum Laude (3.40 - 3.59) – Red stoles worn at commencement

Please note: Grades from a student's final term of enrollment are not officially posted and recomputed until after graduation, honors cords, or stoles, are awarded based on the cumulative GPA at the end of the previous semester. Honors for the final transcript are based on cumulative grade point average, including grades for the final semester.

Associate Degree Seeking Students

To receive a white honor Associate Degree with Distinction cord, a minimum of 15 credits must be completed at PennWest (excluding credit by exam) and you must have a cumulative GPA of 3.40 or higher.

Honors Program

Graduates meeting the requirements of PennWest’s Honors Program will receive an honors recognition item to wear at commencement.

Graduation Attire

Each graduate must wear an academic robe and matching cap. Caps and gowns must be ordered in advance of the ceremony (see details under campus information).

Doctoral and Master's degree students: You will be hooded during the ceremony.

  • The hood should be draped over your left arm, with the colored trim against your wrist, as you enter the stage
  • Hand the hood to the Dean with colors facing toward the Dean
  • Turn around facing the audience, bend at the knee if needed to allow the Dean to place hood over the cap
  • Dean will tap your shoulder to let you know it is time to proceed to the stage exit

Decorating Caps

We kindly ask that personal modifications to the mortarboards (caps) be limited to those expressing well-wishes and gratitude or affiliation with sanctioned organizations. Students are not permitted to have unacceptable decorations, offensive language or inappropriate images on the mortarboards. Students not following these guidelines will be given a new mortarboard to wear.

Graduation Fairs & Regalia Ordering

Graduation Fair - October 25, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Campus Bookstore, Natali Student Center

California Regalia Ordering:

DEADLINE for ship to home is 11/10/2023

Bachelor’s and Master’s regalia is also sold at the Fair and in the Bookstore or ship to store! Doctoral regalia MUST be purchased online prior to 11/10/23

PennWest California Graduation Products

Graduation Fair - November 1, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Campus Bookstore, 109 Gemmell Student Complex

Clarion Regalia Ordering:

DEADLINE for ship to home is 11/03/2023, also sold at the Fair and in the Bookstore, or ship to store!

PennWest Clarion Graduation Products

Graduation Fair - October 24, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Bookstore, Lower Level, Pogue Student Center

Edinboro Regalia Ordering:

DEADLINE for ship to home is 11/18/2023, also sold at the Fair and in the Bookstore, or ship to store!

Regalia ordering link COMING SOON!

We are working to get our graduating students and their guests the most up to date and helpful information, please check back often for upcoming information on:

  • Complete Graduate Checklist
  • Guest Ticketing & Seating, Disability Seating (no advanced reservations)
  • Livestreaming the ceremony
  • Campus Parking
  • Area Lodging
  • Photos & Videos
  • Venue Ceremony Vendors

Need some assistance before or during the ceremony?  Look for our staff members who are easily identified by their PennWest lanyards.

Come back soon for updates, links and details for each campus!