FAQ and Guest FAQ

Dozens of graduates seated during a commencement ceremony.

Frequently Asked Questions by McNichols Campus Guests

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    How long is Commencement?

    The actual commencement ceremony takes about two hours, one hour for speeches and conferring of degrees and one hour for degree presentation. It is not an event that most young children find interesting. With respect for the Ceremony and those graduating, you are expected to stay in place for the entire event.

    What if my candidate has some existing commencement concerns?

    Commencement Day is not the time to address pre-existing concerns. These matters should be immediately brought to the attention of your candidate’s college/school office or academic advisor.

    How many tickets are available?

    Tickets are not required.

    Where do I park?

    Parking is limited. Allow extra time to park and, if possible, car pool. For parking locations, see the map provided to your candidate or visit the Commencement website. Disabled parking, in front of Calihan Hall or in Lot E, is restricted to those with valid handicapped stickers or license plateParking is also on a first come, first served basis.

    When and where are the commencement events?

    Please visit the Graduation Day page for a day-of timetable for the ceremony

    Baccalaureate Mass

    This Mass is an integral part of the Commencement activities and candidates and guests of all faiths are invited to join this religious service thanking God for His blessings and praying for our future. Mass is at St. Ignatius Chapel located inside the Commerce & Finance building 


    Commencement is located at Calihan Hall, which is not an air-conditioned facility. If it is a warm day please dress accordingly.


    Will the commencement ceremony be televised?

    Family and friends unable to attend the commencement ceremony may watch online. For information, see the Watch Commencement page. The link will be available the day of the Commencement ceremony.

    How can I get a good seat?

    Calihan Hall doors open at 8:15 a.m. for the ceremony. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Please do not arrive at Calihan Hall before the doors open.

    Is there special seating for a physically disabled guest?

    There is limited Calihan Hall main floor seating for disabled guests accompanied by one able bodied companion. Calihan Hall has no elevators and balcony seating can only be accessed by steep steps.

    Does Calihan Hall have accessible restrooms?

    Restrooms are located around the main floor hallways. Accessible restrooms are located in the north corridor near the main entrance of the building and near the south corridor.

    Can the Ceremony be videotaped/photographed?

    Videotaping/photographing is permitted by guests from the balcony only. A professional photographer will take three shots of your graduate on the floor during the degree presentation. Guests, other than those seated in the physically disabled section, are not permitted on the main floor.

    What happens if it rains?

    Candidates are to report to their assembly areas regardless of the weather. If rain is predicted, If the rain plan is put into effect, i.e., colleges/schools will come directly to the northwest doors of Calihan Hall from their assembly areas rather than organizing a formal procession at Sacred Heart Square. Implementing the rain plan will not affect the Procession within Calihan Hall.

    What can’t I bring into Calihan Hall?

    Commencement is a formal academic ceremony, not an athletic event. Balloons, noise makers, air/bull horns, beach balls, signs, etc. are not permitted inside Calihan Hall.

    What is appropriate guest behavior?

    Since Commencement is a formal academic ceremony, guests are asked to please show proper respect for both the ceremony and the other guests by:

    • Not interfering with the Procession.
    • Turning off all cell phones.
    • Remaining quiet and dignified during the ceremony.
    • Refraining from shouting graduate names from the balcony during the Ceremony. This type of behavior is disrespectful and disruptive. Guests who choose not to respect the rights of others will be asked to be quiet and then, if the behavior continues, asked to leave.
    • Conferring of Degrees — This is the most important and solemn part of the Ceremony. Although quiet should be maintained while the President confers the degrees, expressions of joy are appropriate after the conferring of degrees.
    • Presentation of Degrees — A joyous expression is also appropriate when your graduate’s name is read. The celebrations should be very brief so that the next graduate’s name can be heard.

    What are the decorations that some graduates wear?

    Graduates’ gowns should not contain adornments such as jewelry, flowers, signs, emblems, etc. Gown decoration is strictly limited to university, college and school honor regalia such as cord, sashes, stoles, pins and medallions. There are approved items which normally involve membership or nomination into an academic honor society. Candidates with caps that are decorated or contain messages are unacceptableFraternity and sorority apparel that has not gone through the approval process is not appropriate. Faculty and University Marshals will ask graduates to remove any unauthorized items being worn. Candidates will not be permitted to march in the procession with unapproved items.

    Where may I get information on the Academic Procession, Order of Exercises, Academic Regalia and the Degree Recipients?

    This information appears in the Commencement Program available at the Ceremony.

    How is the right name called when the graduates are presented their degree?

    At the Candidate Assembly, each candidate receives an identification card that contains his/her name and seat number. This card is presented to the Announcer when the graduate shakes hands with the president and is presented with diploma cover. 

    Why are the names read at such a rapid rate?

    Detroit Mercy personalizes its Commencement by having each participating graduate’s name read. In order not to extend the Ceremony, the graduates’ names are read rapidly. One additional second per name would lengthen the event by 15 minutes.

    Where do I meet my graduate after Commencement?

    After the commencement ceremony is complete, the graduates will recess out of Calihan Hall and march to the Sacred Heart Square. Do not wait in the hallways of Calihan Hall. Since campus will be very crowded, to locate your graduate you may wish to pre-determine a meeting location or use your cell phone after Commencement is over.

    What social media hashtag should I use?

    Detroit Mercy is promoting the use of #DetroitMercy2023 to use on social media so people can find shared comments and photos online through services such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

    Where can I get more information about Commencement?

    Check with your graduate, visit the Commencement website or call the Office of the Registrar at 313-993-3313.