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Information for Graduating Students

Event Attendee's Affirmation Policy

Registering for and attending events at William & Mary conveys a shared expectation of abiding by university policy, which is subject to change as conditions warrant. As of September 21, 2021, those requirements include appropriately masking indoors in shared spaces, except when actively eating or drinking. Masks outdoors are optional and encouraged in large gatherings. COVID-19 vaccination is required of all William & Mary students, faculty and staff, and it is strongly encouraged for all external visitors in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. We create these shared expectations of event participants in keeping with William & Mary’s core values of Belonging within this community and Respect for one another as individuals, and in recognition of the risks inherent to gathering amid pandemic.

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Registration & Tickets

Class of 2020 graduates had an opportunity to request tickets during the Commencement registration period (July 1- July 31). If a graduate missed the registration window, they may still contact [[commencement]] to receive a registration link and request guest tickets.

Tickets are electronic and will be emailed to graduates in early October. Graduates may then forward the tickets to their guests to display on their phone, or guests may print out the tickets to be scanned. If using a phone, guests should have the tickets open and ready for scanning when you reach the entry gate. Each ticket scans only once, so electronic tickets may not be duplicated. 

Graduates and guests must wear a mask in order to enter Kaplan Arena. Ushers will not scan tickets of guests who are not wearing a mask.

Ceremony Instructions 
  • What Not to Bring: Alcohol, non-disposable water bottles. Beverage containers will be collected and will not be returned.
  • Walk Across Campus: If you would like to participate in the Walk Across Campus (pdf), gather at the back of the Wren Building (Sunken Garden side) 75 minutes before your ceremony. The walk will cross the Crim Dell bridge and end at Kaplan Arena (line-up location). If the thunder plan is called, the Walk Across Campus will be cancelled; please make sure you are at Kaplan Arena 45 minutes before your scheduled ceremony start time for the line-up. Masks are encouraged during the Walk Across Campus if unable to maintain social distance. 
  • Line up: If you DO NOT plan to participate in the Walk Across Campus, you will need to meet at Kaplan Arena 45 minutes before your scheduled ceremony. Line-up will take place on the sidewalk between Kaplan Arena and the Commons dining hall. View diagram for location (pdf).
  • Seating: Graduates will be  on the arena floor. Doctoral and Masters students will sit by school. Undergraduates will sit together, but are not required to sit with your major. View the Kaplan seating diagram (pdf).
  • Crossing the Stage: Each graduate will have a chance to cross a ramp-accessible stage to have your name read out loud. 
  • Photos: A professional photographer will be there to take your picture after you have crossed the stage. Graduates will receive more information about how to order and purchase their photos.
  • Diplomas: Each graduate will receive a "stage diploma" as you cross the stage.
  • Recessional: At the end of the ceremony, students will recess out of the arena. 
Ordering Your Regalia

Regalia is required if you wish to attend your in-person ceremony. You may purchase your regalia online by September 17, 2021. The W&M Bookstore is your contact for all regalia and graduation merchandise. Please email [[wmcloth]] with any questions.

Regalia Options and Pricing

There has been no change in regalia style or design since 2019.

Undergraduates and Masters Degree Candidates
  • You may purchase your regalia online by September 17, 2021.
  • Regalia is available for purchase only there is no rental option
  • You can purchase regalia by the set (cap, gown, hood and tassel)
  • You may also order individual pieces separately
  • Cap, Gown, Hood and Tassel $98.98 + $11.00 in shipping charges
  • Once purchased on the website, Bachelors and Masters Regalia and shipping fee is non-refundable.
Doctoral Regalia - Rental
  • Order deadline is September 1, 2021
  • Order your Doctoral Regalia online. Pick-up and payment will be at the W&M Bookstore (dates and location TBD)
  • Your Regalia will come with a Gown, Tam (cap) and Tassel. W&M Doctoral Regalia does not have a Degree Hood (the color of your Degree is showcased on the sleeves of the gown).
  • RETURN REGALIA INFO: Dates and location TBD.
  • You may keep the Tam and Tassel as a souvenir. Only return the Gown
  • Rental regalia is not eligible for a refund once the order ships.
  • Contact the W&M Bookstore for additional information.
Doctoral Regalia - Custom Purchase Option 
  • William & Mary custom gown purchase: $779.00 + shipping
  • Measurements are needed for custom regalia and can be done at the W&M Bookstore by appointment.
  • Order deadline: August 20, 2021 to ensure you can receive it in time.
Hood Colors

Arts (White), Business (Drab-Tan), Science (Gold), Education (Light Blue), Public Policy (Peacock Blue) (color is different than Education hood)

Order Questions?

Contact Marissa Risk at [[wmcloth]] or 757-221-1669.

When to Wear Regalia
Walk Across Campus & Commencement Ceremonies
  • Active duty or retired members of the U.S. armed services may have the option to wear a military uniform appropriate for the occasion at commencement ceremonies.
  • Graduates participating in their Commencement ceremony must wear the university approved regalia. Regalia consist of a robe, a cap, a tassel, and a hood with colors indicating the graduate's degree. 
  • The tassel is worn on the right side of the mortar board until the degree is awarded, at which time it is moved to the left.  Mortar boards may not have inappropriate messages attached.
  • Type of dress for underneath the robe is up to the graduating student. However, it should be tasteful and appropriate. We suggest business or business casual attire.
Wear Caps/Gowns Only (no hoods)

Candlelight Ceremony (tassel on the right side of the mortar board)

Bell Ringing

Graduates of the Class of 2020 will  have the opportunity to ring the Wren Bell when they return for Commencement Weekend in October.

  • Thursday, October 7 - 3-6 pm
  • Friday, October 8 - 3-6 pm
  • Saturday, October 9 - 11 am - 3 pm
  • Alumni must wear masks in order to enter the Wren Building
  • Line-up will begin outside the courtyard fence (on the Sunken Garden side of the Wren Building). Volunteers will be there to assist.
  • No food or drink is permitted inside the Wren Building.
  • The entire process should take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, depending on how many students are ringing the bell when you arrive.
Candlelight Ceremony

Friday, October 8, 9:30 p.m. (Wren Building) - Tradition holds that the graduating class select one student, one staff, and a member of the faculty to give brief remarks to graduates. The ceremony provides an opportunity for the Class of 2020 to celebrate and reflect on their time at the university. Class of 2020 graduates wear cap and gown (tassel positioned on right side of mortar board). If going to the dance afterwards, wear your dance clothes underneath your regalia!

This is an outdoor event (masks optional, but encouraged if unable to maintain social distance)

Undergraduate Class of 2020 Dance

Friday, October 9, 10:15 p.m. (Sunken Garden) - Immediately following Candlelight, Class of 2020 undergraduates will have their "Senior Class Dance" in its traditional location in the Sunken Garden. We will have a bag check system so that you can be sure to get your regalia back at the end of the evening.

This is an outdoor tent event (masks optional, but encouraged if unable to maintain social distance)


Graduating students will automatically receive email announcements/instructions beginning in the fall and continuing to the days before Commencement. All emails are sent to the student's W&M account.

Commencement Schedule and General Information

Office of Student Affairs
[[commencement, Commencement Planning Team]]

Regalia and General Graduation Merchandise

W&M Bookstore