2020 Commencement Information

As a result of the Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 guideline that gatherings of more than 50 people should not be held over the next eight (8) weeks, the President’s Council has decided to postpone the May 8 and 9 McNichols Campus, School of Law and School of Dentistry 2020 Commencement Ceremonies. We know this is very disappointing news to our Class of 2020, but the safety of our students, their families and our staff takes precedence in this situation. Over the next couple of months, we will evaluate the possibility of rescheduling the ceremonies to a later date or having an appropriate celebration to honor our graduates.

Students should be reassured that after their degree requirements are completed, their degrees will be conferred and diplomas and transcripts will be available. More information will be coming from the Registrar’s Office.

 Thank you for your understanding and for the most current information on the University’s response to COVID-19, please visit https://www.udmercy.edu/life/health/health-advisory.php.


The Commencement Ceremony

Open All | Close All



    The Commencement Committee asks that you and your guests please show proper respect for the ceremony and the other candidates by adhering to the following:

    • Remain quiet and dignified during the ceremony. Shouting between balcony guests and floor candidates is disrespectful and disruptive.
    • Cellular/mobile phones/pagers should be turned off during the entire ceremony.
    • Bottles, cups or cans will not be allowed in the processional or into the arena.
    • Those with alcoholic beverages are subject to removal from the procession and ceremony.
    • Candidates are expected to remain in their seats and stay for the entire ceremony.
    • Due to risk of injury, caps should not be thrown in the air.

    Although celebration by graduates and guests is appropriate, air horns, balloons, screaming, banners, etc. are not. At the Presentation of Degrees, so that each graduate's name may be heard, please ask your guests to refrain from prolonged expressions of joy when your name is read.

    The ceremony in Calihan is expected to last about one and a half hours. To add dignity to the event, all candidates/graduates are to remain in their position throughout the event. Restroom facilities are located in the hall to the left of the door you used to enter the arena. 



    For program details, review the commencement program which will be on your seat in Calihan Hall.


    Conferring of Degrees

    This is the most important and solemn part of the ceremony. After the doctoral degrees have been conferred, the Grand Marshal will ask, in turn, each college/school candidates to rise. Stand in place. The Dean will then recommend to the President that the degrees be conferred. The President will comply. After all of the degrees have been conferred, the Grand Marshal will then direct all of the graduates at once to change their tassels from the right to the left side of their caps.


    Awarding of Degree

    Follow Marshals' directions. Present your name card to the Dean. When your name is read, proceed to the President. Receive your “mock diploma” with your left hand and shake hands with the President with your right hand. You will be photographed a second time at this point. Proceed down the last aisle to the rear of the arena and then back to your seat via the same aisle used in the processional.



    The Recessional will be orderly and dignified. Follow the Marshal's directions. Graduates will recess out of Calihan Hall to the steps of the Student Center for a photo before disbanding to the Fitness Center for the reception.



    Plan to meet your guests at the Reception in the Fitness Center. Light refreshments will be served. This reception is sponsored by the Alumni Association.



    To expedite campus egress after the Commencement, all vehicles exiting the McNichols Gate will be required to make a right turn. Please advise your guests.

Room Assignments:

Candidates must be present in assigned room no later than 8:30 a.m.
Buildings will be locked during the ceremony.

Location Rain Plan Location
Graduates Ford Life Sciences 113 Ed & Brooks Room, 2nd Floor
Dignitaries Ford Life Sciences 116 SE Staging Area, 1st Floor
Faculty Ford Life Sciences 115 Titan Club, 2nd Floor


8:00 a.m. Calihan Hall Opens
8:30 a.m. Candidates, Dignitaries, and Faculty Report To Designated Areas
8:45 a.m. Line-up Begins
9:05 a.m. Students Process to Calihan Hall
9:10 a.m. Procession Arrives at Calihan Hall
9:30 a.m. Commencement Begins
12:00 p.m. Commencement Ends - Recessional to Student Center Steps for Photo
Alumni Reception/Brunch – Fitness Center

Commencement is a formal event that provides public recognition of your academic achievement. The ceremony will last approximately two hours. Participants are to remain in the hall for the duration of the program.

Open All | Close All


    Cap & Gowns

    Inside your cap there is a "front" designation. Wear your tassel on the right side of your cap. You will be instructed during the ceremony when to change it to the left.  Regarding your hood, please follow the package directions. Consult your Faculty Marshals with any questions.

    IMPORTANT: Seat Assignment and Announcer Card

    Individualized 3x5" index cards will be distributed to each candidate during the processional lineup. Typed on each card are the candidate's name, phonetic pronunciation, and seat number. The sequence follows the seating chart and Commencement Program. Keep this card with you at all times and present to the Dean. If the card is not presented to the Dean, your name will not be read. 

    Processional Lineup

    Follow the specific instruction of your Faculty Marshals. Candidates will form double columns. If your partner is a no show, march alone.


    Candidate Seating

    In Calihan Hall, follow your Marshal's instructions and proceed to your numbered seat and remain standing. Leave seats empty for absent candidates. Seating is arranged alphabetically and serves to help your guests, if they are following the Program, to know when you will be awarded your degree.

    Once the platform party is in place, the ceremony will begin. Throughout the ceremony, listen to the Grand Marshal's instructions. If your guests are interested in the general area where you will be sitting on the arena floor, have them review the seating diagram posted near the northeast entrance of Calihan Hall.

Details & Logistics

Open All | Close All



    Commencement is a formal academic ceremony. Only approved academic regalia can be worn. Although Calihan Hall is not air-conditioned, fans will be used to circulate the air. Dress accordingly. With 1200+ graduates, faculty, and guests, depending on the weather, it may be warm. Since you will be standing in line and marching both in and out-of-doors for over an hour, comfortable shoes are recommended.

    Gown decoration is strictly limited to university, college and school honor regalia. A listing of the approved items may be obtained from your college/school office or the Office of the Registrar. Caps should not contain adornments or messages. Candidates whose caps and gowns do not comply with the academic standards will not be permitted into the arena. You may not wear a cap and gown from another institution.


    Guest Tickets/Seating

    No tickets are required for the ceremony.  Please remember that seating is on a first come, first served basis, and once Calihan Hall is at capacity, no more guests will be admitted.  

    Seating for Disabled Persons

    Guest seating is on the main floor behind the graduates and overflow will be directed to the upper arena which is accessible only by stairs. A limited number of seats for disabled persons are available on the main floor. Only one family member is permitted to sit with those who require disabled seating. Escorted entry is through the northeast arena door only. Seats are on a first come, first serve basis. Strollers will not be accommodated in the disabled seating area.



    Share a copy of the McNichols Campus Map with your guests so that they may familiarize themselves with the campus, its facilities and parking areas.

    You may also wish to see the Driving Directions page.



    Parking will be crowded, and campus traffic will be heavy. Please allow extra time and car pool.

    Disabled parking, in front of Calihan Hall, is limited and restricted to those with valid disabled stickers or license plates.


    Suggested Detroit Area Hotel Accommodations

    Marriott's Fairfield Inn
    32800 Stephenson Highway
    Madison Heights MI 48071

    Hampton Inn/South Troy
    32420 Stephenson Highway
    Madison Heights MI 48071

    Downtown Detroit Courtyard
    333 East Jefferson
    Detroit MI 48226

    Troy Marriott
    200 W Big Beaver Road
    Troy MI, 48084

    Detroit Marriott - Southfield
    27033 Northwestern Highway
    Southfield MI

    Holiday Inn Express - Southfield
    25100 Northwestern Highway
    Southfield MI 48075

Graduation Mass (Baccalaureate Mass) - 5:00 p.m. Thursday, May 7, 2020

Open All | Close All



    Graduation Mass is celebrated in conjunction with Detroit Mercy graduation and is considered an integral part of the commencement activities. This year, the School of Dentistry and the School of Law will celebrate mass together. Candidates and guests of all faiths are invited to attend. It is a time to thank God for blessings received, and to pray for our future. Rev. Gilbert Sunghera, SJ will preside. No tickets or reservations are required.

    Location & Parking

    The Mass will be held at Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church (601 East Jefferson Avenue, Detroit), which is adjacent to the School of Law. Graduates and guests may park in the Larned parking lot.



    Graduates attending Baccalaureate wear their graduation academic regalia, including their hoods, and gather by 4:30 p.m. at the law school in the first-floor hall opposite the Student Bar Association Office (Room 143).

    Family & Guests

    Go directly into the church, where you will be seated by the ushers. The procession begins at 5:00 p.m., so be sure to arrive prior to this time. No photography is permitted during the Mass.


    You are encouraged to participate. Academic regalia is worn for this occasion. Faculty assemble at 4:30 p.m. at the law school in the first-floor hall opposite the Student Bar Association Office (Room 143).



    Employees are needed to serve as ushers, eucharistic ministers and singers. Please volunteer by contacting University Ministry. Any concerns or questions? Please call 313-993-1560, or stop by the ministry office, located in the Student Center across from the Bookstore.


    The Baccalaureate Mass is a tradition that dates back to 1432. The word Baccalaureate is from the Latin bacca, berries, and lauri, laurel. The word Baccalaureatus was then used to describe the laurel wreath given at commencements. According to tradition, students graduating from Oxford University were required, as their final test, to give a sermon in Latin to graduate. This practice was adopted into Catholic tradition and now the Baccalaureate Mass is a large component of most Catholic graduation ceremonies. Source: www.livingourfaith.net

Contact Information

Graduation Requirements

Please call the School of Dentistry Registrar’s Office 313-494-6616.

Cap & Gown

If you have questions beyond what is covered on this web site, contact the Office of the Dean at 313-494-6620.

Guest Hooders and Pinners

Please call the Office of the Dean at 313-494-6621.

Graduation Day

If you have questions beyond what is covered on this web site, contact the Office of the Dean at 313-494-6621.

Graduation/Baccalaureate Mass

For more information, contact Campus Ministry 313-993-1560.

Interpretation for the Deaf

Please call 313-578-0310.