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Commencement FAQ

A graduate in a cap, gown and stole waves to a crowd at SLU midyear 22 commencement

Find answers to frequently asked questions about commencement and precommencement ceremonies at Saint Louis University.

General FAQ

When should I arrive for Commencement?

Doors open one hour before the ceremony. Students should assemble in the practice gym and faculty should meet in the loading dock area at that time.

Is commencement the same as graduating from SLU or having my degree conferred?

Commencement is the ceremony that marks graduation from Saint Louis University.  To learn more about the requirements for graduation, degree conferral, from SLU, visit the Office of the University Registrar.

What can I expect at SLU's graduation events? 

Ceremonies typically last between one and a half hours and two hours.

  • Spring/May Precommencement: At the precommencement ceremony, each student will be recognized individually and receive their diploma cover.
  • Commencement: The main commencement ceremony recognizes graduates from SLU’s schools and colleges as a whole and features speeches from keynote speakers, including University President Fred Pestello, Ph.D.
When is SLU's next commencement ceremony?

Dates for midyear/December and spring/May commencement ceremonies can be found on SLU's academic calendar.

Where are Saint Louis University's commencement ceremonies held?

Saint Louis University's commencement ceremonies are held in Chaifetz Arena. Most precommencements are also held in the arena, though some may take place in Saint Francis Xavier College Church.

Where can I view recorded ceremonies online?

You may see past Saint Louis University commencement events on SLU's YouTube channel.

How do students find information about precommencement, commencement and other events?

Students and guests can find more information at or by emailing Saint Louis University Event Services at

Spring/May Precommencement Ceremonies

What is precommencement?

There are no precommencement ceremonies during the Fall/Midyear.

Spring/May precommencement ceremonies are held for each individual school. At this ceremony, each student's name will be called, and they will cross the stage. Each pre-commencement ceremony is planned and executed by SLU’s individual colleges and schools. Graduates will receive detailed communications directly from their schools and colleges about those ceremonies.

Should I attend both precommencement and commencement?

Students and their families are welcome to attend both ceremonies. Neither ceremony is required.

If a graduate is earning degrees from two different schools, which precommencement ceremony should they attend?

Graduates are welcome to attend both precommencement ceremonies if they are earning a dual degree. If the student does not want to attend both ceremonies, they are welcome to choose which ceremony they would like to participate in.

When are graduates' names read aloud?

Graduate names are only read aloud during the precommencement ceremonies. Names will not be read at the main commencement ceremony.

Event Attendance

Are tickets required for commencement?
No tickets are required for SLU precommencement or commencement ceremonies.
Is there a limit to how many attendees graduates can invite?
There is no limit to the number of guests SLU students can invite to precommencement or commencement ceremonies.
What can guests bring into Chaifetz Arena?

Guests can find a list of prohibited items and the clear bag policy on Chaifetz Arena's website:

Where is parking for SLU's precommencement and commencement ceremonies?
Parking is available in the Olive/Compton and Laclede garages at no cost during precommencement and commencement ceremonies. Learn more about parking on campus.
Is accessible parking available?

Accessible parking is available in Saint Louis University’s Olive/Compton and Laclede Garages. If you or your guest cannot make it safely from the garage to the arena, a drop-off/pick-up lane is available on Compton Boulevard outside Gate C of Chaifetz Arena. You may drop off your guest before parking or pick them up from this area following the ceremony. Parking is not permitted in the drop-off lane.

Are there assigned seats at SLU's precommencement or commencement ceremonies?

Outside of rows reserved for graduates and faculty, Saint Louis University does not assign seats for any of the commencement ceremonies.

Is accessible seating available?

Accessible seating is available for all commencement events. Please ask an usher or other arena employee for assistance once you have gone through security.

Where can guests stay during their visit for commencement?

From luxury hotels to small B&Bs, St. Louis offers a variety of places to stay during your visit. For information on options close to campus, visit SLU’s Where to Stay page.

When should students arrive for the precommencement or commencement ceremony?

Students should report to the event location one hour prior to the start of their ceremony unless told otherwise by their college or school.

What are other events held to celebrate graduates?

Some of SLU’s schools and colleges choose to hold award programs or other recognition ceremonies around commencement. Those schools that choose to host these additional events will communicate directly with their graduates regarding the details. In addition to those events, during May, SLU also holds a Baccalaureate Mass and a Toast to the Class. A full schedule of events can be found at

Caps, Gowns, Diplomas and More

What is the process and deadlines for ordering a cap and gown?

Cap and gowns can be ordered on the Herff Jones website. Please note:

  • The deadline to order for an in-store pickup for spring 2023 commencement is March 10. You can begin picking up your regalia during the graduation fair on April 13, 2023.
  • The deadline for home shipping is April 17, 2023. Orders can be accepted later for home shipping, but there is a late fee. The final deadline for all orders is April 26.
  • Cap and gown styles vary by the type of degree earned. For 2023, prices are:
    • Bachelor’s: $55.98
    • Master’s $112.98
    • Ph.D., Ed.D. and M.D.: $109.88 with a mortarboard (standard cap) or $133.98 with a tam.
    • J.D. and D.P.T. doctorate bundles: $134.98 with a mortarboard or and $158.98 for a tam.
Can I reuse a cap and gown from a previous ceremony?

Gowns used during commencement ceremonies at SLU are black. However, the style of the gowns themselves changes depending on your degree (master's, bachelor's, and doctorate). If you would like to reuse a gown, please stop by the bookstore before the deadline to confirm it is acceptable for your degree.

Where do graduates pick up caps and gowns?

Students can choose to pick up their cap and gown from the bookstore or have it shipped to their residence.

How are tassels, honors stoles and cords awarded?

Tassels, honors stoles and cords are awarded by each school. Please check with your dean's office for specific information. For those provided by student organizations or other campus organizations, please contact those groups directly.

Are diplomas handed out at the commencement ceremonies?

Diplomas will be mailed to the diploma mailing address you specify on your application to graduate. Learn more about diplomas and graduation at SLU.

When will I get my diploma cover?

Midyear graduates will receive their diploma covers at the ceremony. May graduates will find their diploma covers on their seats at the in-person precommencement ceremonies.

How can I order diploma frames and announcements?

Announcements can be specially ordered through the Herff Jones Website, We suggest giving yourself plenty of lead time when ordering customized announcements. Recently, it has taken vendors close to six weeks to deliver these announcements..

The bookstore carries a variety of diploma frames in-store or online at

Additional Information

Is there a commencement press release template for my hometown newspaper?

Saint Louis University provides you with a news release template to send to your hometown newspaper or newspapers. Simply fill in the blanks and submit the form through email, fax or mail. Please note that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch does not run individual graduation announcements. Check with your local paper regarding their graduation announcement guidelines.

Download the Commencement News Release Template (PDF)

If you need additional information about your graduation or the events surrounding commencement, call 314-977-6338.