Commencement 2021 FAQs
Why is Castleton holding a virtual commencement in 2021?
We decided to pivot to a virtual ceremony about a month ago because there is still no indication we will be allowed to hold an in-person event in May. We are working hard to make a virtual event as special and as personal as possible. We have less than eight weeks before commencement to achieve this, so it is important that we make a firm decision to provide the best experience possible.
Why Did Castleton Choose to Go Virtual While Some Other Schools Are Still Exploring In-Person Ceremonies?
Every school has its own set of unique circumstances that will guide its decision-making process. We do not want to risk getting to May, only to find an in-person event is not possible due to Vermont’s COVID restrictions. We are working on what we know to be possible to ensure the best experience that we can for our graduates.
But aren’t things loosening up?
Yes, but we must remain vigilant. Among other things, the State is worried about new variants and about the possibility of spikes as people let down their guard. (We are already seeing this on some campuses.) Yes, all the indicators look good at the moment, but it takes a lot of time (and money) to plan an in-person ceremony, and it takes an equivalent amount of time and money to create a virtual ceremony, so we cannot wait until early May to make the decision. The decision must be made now. Accordingly, the prudent thing is to put all of our efforts into a virtual ceremony.
Do I have to pay the graduation fee if our commencement is virtual or I choose not to participate?
We have seen some recent confusion about our graduation fee.
Castleton charges a graduation fee to all of its graduates. It is not a "commencement" fee, it is a “graduation” fee, and as such it contributes to the cost of a variety of expenses that occur over four years, including degree audits, printing and mailing diplomas, various administrative expenses, and the commencement ceremony. In the event of a virtual ceremony, we are redirecting resources normally devoted to the in-person event to the virtual experience. Every student, regardless if you choose to participate, must pay the graduation fee in order to receive your diploma and/or official transcript.
But every other college is doing an in-person ceremony …
Actually, every institution in the VSCS (Castleton, Vermont Technical College, Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, Northern Vermont University-Johnson, and Community College of Vermont) independently concluded that our duty to protect the public's health compels us to hold virtual ceremonies.
What about the Class of 2020?
We are currently working with representatives from the Class of 2020 on a solution to recognize them. We will provide more information in the near future.
Who will be included in a virtual ceremony?
You must be matriculated.
You must have applied for a degree and received an audit report from the Registrar's Office.
You must have a 2.0 G.P.A. (may be higher for some majors), and a minimum of 122 credits (BA, BM, BS, BSW candidates), 64 credits (AA and AS candidates) and must meet all degree requirements in your catalog (some older catalogs require more credits).
Can I purchase a cap and gown?
Undergraduate regalia is now available at the Castleton Store, in-store or online. The cost is $44 for the cap, gown, and tassel. If pickup is a problem, you may have the item(s) shipped to you (standard shipping rates apply). Note that an early pick-up allows time to verify sizes and hang up your gown to let the wrinkles fall out. If you have other concerns regarding regalia, please call the Castleton Store directly at 802-468-1229.
Master’s regalia can be ordered online or in-store. Please note that the hood is custom and may take up to 6 weeks for delivery. The cost is $80.00 for a complete package (cap, gown, hood & tassel). Parts and pieces can also be purchased individually. For more information please call the Castleton Store at 802-468-1229.
How do I know if I am graduating with honors?
Actual honors will be determined by your final cumulative GPA (as of May 2021) and will be indicated on your diploma. Degrees with distinction are summa cum laude (cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher), magna cum laude (cumulative GPA of 3.7-3.89), and cum laude (3.5-3.69). Cumulative GPA is based on work completed at Castleton; and students must have completed a minimum of at least 50% of the total graded credits required for graduation at the Vermont State Colleges to qualify for degrees with distinction.
What if I am in an honors program or honor society?
Graduating from an honors program does not guarantee that you will be receiving a diploma with academic distinction. If you belong to an Honor Society, contact your advisor about receiving a special cord designating your society.
Diplomas and Transcripts
When do I get my diploma?
Your diploma will be mailed to you in early June to the address on file in the Registrar's Office. If that address is incorrect, please notify the Registrar’s office at (802) 468-1209 immediately.
How do I get my transcript?
One complimentary copy of your official transcript will be sent with your diploma. Additional copies can be ordered online through the Portal or through the Castleton website. Enter Transcript Request in the Search on the website and you will be directed to the transcript ordering page
Is there any reason why I might not graduate?
The most common reasons for students being disappointed at the last minute are:
- Final cumulative average falls below 2.0;
- Transcripts not received from other colleges attended;
- Incomplete grades not submitted;
- Not passing the Writing Portfolio or any other VSC graduation standard;
- Failure to complete degree requirements;
- Disciplinary charges pending.
Can I get formal announcements?
Personalized, formal announcements can be purchased directly from Balfour. Order online at www.balfour.com or call 1-877-BALFOUR (1-877-225-3687)
Can I buy a class ring?
Class rings can be purchased directly from Balfour. Order online at www.balfour.com or call 1-877-BALFOUR (1-877-225-3687)
Where can I buy a diploma frame?
A variety of frames designed specifically for Castleton diplomas are available for purchase in the Castleton Store or go to www.castletonstore.com.
Other Important Information
What if I owe the University money?
Occasionally a few students forget to clear all their accounts with the University. Don't be one of them. If you have an outstanding account with Financial and Registration Services, the Library, Public Safety, Residence Life, or other University department, it must be paid before your diploma and transcript will be sent to you. View your bill online, make your payment online or call 802-468-6070.
I have a student loan. What do I need to do?
If you have borrowed a Federal Student Loan (Direct and/or Perkins Loans) federal regulations require that you complete Loan Exit Counseling if you are graduating. For Direct Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans) this is done online at https://studentaid.gov. Sign in with your FAFSA username and password. This counseling should be done prior to graduation. For students with Federal Perkins Loans you will be emailed a link to the online counseling after graduation. If you have borrowed both types of loans you must do both exit types of exit sessions. If you have any questions you can email Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I join the Alumni Association?
Once you graduate you are automatically a member of the Alumni Association which entitles you to 10% off all Castleton logo items in the Castleton Store and “Buy One-Get One Free” for many Casella Theater performances. You may request an Alumni Association membership card by emailing the Alumnioffice@castleton.edu or by calling Carrie Savage, Alumni Relations Coordinator, at (802) 468-1089.
I live on campus. What do I need to know?
Graduating seniors must make arrangements with their CA to check out of their residence hall room by 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 15. Regular meal service in Huden will end with lunch on Friday, May 15.
Mace Bearer – Brad Hunt, J.D., Professor of Criminal Justice
Faculty Marshal – Dr. Andre Fleche, Professor of History
Class Marshal – Dr. Patricia van der Spuy, Professor of History
Victoria Angis, Chair
Jac Culpo ‘21
Ceil Hunt ‘G11
Cydney Krone ‘21
Toni Lobdell ’71, ‘G86
Abby Mayo ‘21
Heather Morrison ’03, ’G12
Brigette Olson ’05, ‘G18
Matt Patry ‘86
Lori Phillips ’82
Elicia Pinsonault ‘12
Paul Rechberger ‘21
Jake Rick ’10, ‘G17
Courtney Widli ‘13
If you have questions about your eligibility to graduate, please contact Heather Morrison in the Registrar’s Office at Heather.Morrison@castleton.edu
For questions about Senior Class activities, contact one of the officers:
Paul Rechberger, president, at email@example.com
Cydney Krone, vice-president, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Abby Mayo, secretary, at email@example.com
Jac Culpo, treasurer, at firstname.lastname@example.org