Info for Graduates

Congratulations from the Grand Marshal!

As the Andrews University Grand Marshal, my job is to see that the commencement weekend events go smoothly. I want these events to honor you as our graduate. I want these events, which are naturally filled with pomp and tradition, to bring you honor and to make good and pleasant memories for you and your family. When you clearly understand your important role in weekend activities and when you play that role well, the weekend can be an extremely pleasant high point in your educational journey. On the other hand, for graduates who show up late, who wear their regalia improperly, or who don't understand where to walk or what to do, the weekend can cause great stress, disappointment, or embarrassment. This website is to help you, the Andrews University graduate have a wonderful and pleasant weekend.

Weekend Schedule of Activities:
The first rule of success is "First - You Have to Show Up" Know where you need to be, when you ned to be there, and what you are supposed to be wearing. These details are slightly different for every graduation weekend. Another thing to remember is to eat breakfast to avoid feeling faint or ill during the services.

How to Wear Regalia

Regalia is the name given to the academic cap, gown, and hood. For men, the regalia is always worn over a dress shirt and tie with dark trousers and shoes. For women, the regalia is always worn over a dark semi-formal attire with dark shoes

The Mortar Board or Cap:
If you have the standard flat mortar board type graduation cap, check inside the cap to see what part is marked front. Though it may look like there is no difference, it fits best and looks best when worn properly. It is surprising to see how many graduates wear their caps backwards. If you have the softer doctoral cap, it too has a front and back that you should identify so that you can wear it properly. Always hang the tassel off of the front left corner of you cap.

The Robe or Graduation Gown:
If your graduation gown is wrinkled from being packed in a box, it is best to hang it up and steam it lightly. Be very careful if you try to iron the wrinkles out. Use low heat because some gowns are made from flimsy material that melt quite easily. 

The Hood:
Academic regalia includes a hood worn over the gown. The hood goes over your head and hangs down the back of your robe. Notice that the hood has a velvet strip along the part of the hood that touches your neck. The hood is oriented properly when the velvet is closest to your chin and the border of black material and colored trim (if present) are below the velvet. During the graduation lineup, you will have help arranging the material that hangs down the back to properly display the university colors of blue and gold. With the exception of doctoral candidates, the hood is worn for all three main services of the graduation weekend i.e. the Consecration Service on Friday night, the Baccalaureate Service on Sabbath morning, and the Commencement Service on Sunday morning. Doctoral candidates will carry their robe over their left arm as they march in the commencement service processional. When their name is called, they will present their hood to their major professor who will do the hooding (see the videos)

Other additions:
Note this well that medallions (such as Phi Kappa Phi) and honors cords issued by Andrews University academic entities are the only permissible additions to the academic regalia. Medallions or cords issued by clubs are not allowed. Medallions or cords issued by online honors societies are not allowed. No other ornamentation is allowed. Flowers are not to be worn or carried in the academic procession. This is an Andrews University graduation celebration with academic regalia and not a time to promote or recognize non-academic causes or events. Your sincere and enthusiastic cooperation is expected and greatly appreciated. Don't be offended if you are asked to remove non-academic additions to regalia.


To find your place in line, show up at least 20 or 30 minutes before the start of each event. Arrive late and you may not be allowed to march in. This is especially important for the commencement or graduation service because your place in line is critical (see "Finding Your Place in Line" below). For all other services, the order of march is less important. Marshal assistants will help you and tell you when to enter. When you begin your walk down the aisle, note the distance to the graduates in front of you and try to maintain that same distance as you follow at a normal pace.

Order of March:
For both the Consecration and Baccalaureate service, graduates march in first, always led by the Assistant Marshal (a faculty member carrying the university mace) who will indicate which row you are to sit in. The platform party follows the graduates. For the Commencement or Graduation service on Sunday, faculty in full regalia march in first followed by graduates followed by the platform party.

Marching Order Placard:
Finding Your Place in Line For the first two of the three main graduation services (consecration and baccalaureate), you may march in to the sanctuary in any order that you wish. If you want to sit with someone, you should be with them in the same file (just in front or just behind them). The person you march in beside will be directed to the other side of the church.

For the commencement service on Sunday morning, the lineup is highly regulated. In order for you to receive the right degree–the one for which you have worked, you must find a very specific place in line. Your place in line is posted in a big plastic placard at both corners of the mall closest to PMC. First find your name and your position in line. That position is designated something like B8 or A2. Each flag pole on the North and South sides of the flag walk is labeled with a small placard. Side A is the Seminary (South) side. Side B is the Administration Building (North) side. Go to the A or B side. Then find the flag pole with your row number and you should see your name. It will look something like the Row 16 picture at right.

See who is marching in front of you and/or behind you. The names on each flag pole placard show who will be sitting in that row and in what order. The first person on the list is the row leader. Organize yourselves in the correct order shown on that flag pole placard and get ready to march toward PMC when directed to do so.

Assuming now that you are lined up correctly, as you approach PMC, you will be given a card with your  name on it. Make sure it is your card because this is the name that will be read when you walk across the stage to receive your diploma. Hang on to it tightly. Give it only to the person standing at the foot of the podium before you walk up to get your diploma.

From here on, everything should flow rather smoothly. Enjoy the service. March in when directed by the Marshal's Assistants.

Keep your graduation cap on. Men should remove their cap for prayer following the lead of the platform party.

During the graduation ceremony, Marshal's Assistants will get you to the right place at the right time. Just follow their instructions. The chart below depicts the proper way to approach the platform and return to your seat.

Official photographers will take excellent pictures of your graduation. Ask your parents and friends to stay in their seats so as not to block the view of others.


Rows of graduates march out following the Assistant Marshal. After exiting PMC keep walking away from the entrance to let the others out too.

Mostly have fun. This is your high day. We wish to honor you the graduate. Following the conferral of degrees by the president, you are now a proud alum of Andrews University.

Congratulations and may God bless you as you use your skills to serve others.

Grand Marshall
David Nowack