Commencement FAQs

Caps & Gowns

Do I have to wear a cap and gown?

Yes. To participate in Commencement, you must wear a black cap and gown. No three-dimensional objects will be allowed on tops of caps. It is expected that all graduates will dress appropriately for the occasion. In the words of Renée Beaupre White, Director of Career Services, "Dress as if you were going to an important job interview."

When do I get my cap and gown?


Undergraduate regalia will be available to be picked up in the Castleton Store starting April 15, 2019. Please come into the store to pick up your regalia. The cost is $43 for 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 University Store directly at (802) 468-1229.


Master’s regalia MUST be ordered at the Castleton Store by April 19, 2019. After April 19, 2019, there will be a $20 late fee applied to all master’s orders. The cost is $79 for a complete package (cap, gown, hood & tassel). For more information please call the Castleton Store at (802) 468-1229.

Commencement Who, What, When, and Where

When is commencement?

Day and Date:   Saturday, May 18, 2019
Time:                   11 am
Place:                   Castleton Pavilion

When do I have to be there?

Department gatherings will be held from 9 am to 10 am in various locations around campus. You will be expected to line up for the ceremony, in your cap and gown, by 10:30 am on Saturday in or near Hoff Hall. Specific locations will be announced prior to rehearsal.

Who gets to participate in the 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 (B.A., B.M., B.S., B.S.W. candidates), 64 credits (A.A. and A.S. candidates) and must meet all degree requirements in your catalog (some older catalogs require more credits).


You must be wearing black academic regalia in order to process.


You must behave in a manner appropriate to the dignity of the occasion.

Remember, alcohol is not allowed.

Please note: If your attendance plans have changed since you applied for a degree, please notify the Registrar's Office immediately at (802) 468-1274.

How long is the ceremony?

It depends on how many students are graduating; however, the ceremony usually lasts between two and two and a half hours.

How do I take the exit survey?

You will receive an email with a link to the survey on or before April 16. All seniors who complete the survey are eligible to win a Castleton University diploma frame.

Commencement Merchandise

Can I get formal announcements?

Personalized, formal announcements can be purchased directly from Balfour. Order online 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 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 University Store.

Department Gatherings

What is a department gathering?

This is your chance to introduce your family and guests to the faculty in your department and to spend some time with your fellow majors. Gatherings are held in various academic buildings on campus (locations to be announced) on Saturday, May 18 from 9 am to 10 am. Honors tassels will be presented at each department gathering at approximately 9:30 am.

Diplomas & 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. If you are an international student and would like your diploma sent to your home country using a registered mail service, please contact the International Student Office.

How do I get my transcript?

Copies of your transcript can be ordered online through the Portal or through the Castleton website. The cost of $6.50 for an electronic transcript or $7.50 plus shipping for a paper transcript.

Is there any reason why I might not graduate?

The most common reasons for students being disappointed at the last minute are:

  1. Final cumulative average falls below 2.0;
  2. Transcripts not received from other colleges attended;
  3. Incomplete grades;
  4. Not passing the Writing Portfolio or any other VSC graduation standard;
  5. Failure to complete degree requirements;
  6. Disciplinary charges pending.

Nursing Pinning Ceremony

What is the Nursing Pinning Ceremony?

This symbolic ceremony has a long tradition for the Castleton Nursing Department. It will be held in the Casella Theater on Friday, May 17 at 6 pm and is open to the public. There will be a reception following. It is a capstone experience for nursing graduates at which awards are given for outstanding performance. Candles are lit and a pledge is recited by the graduates following the presentation of their Castleton nursing pins. The Pinning Ceremony is not meant to replace the Commencement ceremony itself. Nursing students who will be graduating with University honors will receive their white tassels at the Pinning Ceremony. The ceremony will be photographed.

Other Important Commencement Information

How do I tell the Deans how to pronounce my name at Commencement?

To let the Deans know how to pronounce your name at Commencement, please follow these steps:

1. Call x31496 from a campus phone, or (802) 468-1496 from a cell phone or off-campus phone. 
2. You will get a message that says, "Express messaging to mailbox." Enter 2320# and wait for the voice.
3. Listen for the instructions and then speak.

What if I owe the University some 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 & 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. There will be an in-person session held on April 18 from 12:30 - 2 pm in Herrick Auditorium. Emails will be sent out to potential May graduates with a reminder. If you are unable to attend this in-person session, the counseling sessions can also be completed online, directions are on the Financial Aid website. For students with both Perkins and Direct loans, separate online sessions must be done for each loan type. If you have questions, contact Financial & Registration Services at (802) 468-6070.

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 Alumni Office or by calling Courtney Widli, Director of Alumni and University Relations, at (802) 468-1241.

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 pm on Saturday, May 18. Regular meal service in Huden will end with lunch on Friday, May 17.


What does "Graduating with Honors" mean?

Degrees with distinction (AKA “Honors”) 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.

How do I know if I am graduating with honors?

Actual honors will be determined by your final cumulative GPA (as of May 2019) and will be indicated on your diploma. If you have achieved the GPA required for distinction as of December 2018, you will be allowed to wear a white tassel on your cap instead of a green tassel. You will receive this white tassel at your department reception on Saturday preceding the commencement ceremony. Please note that Nursing graduates will receive their white tassels at the Nursing Pinning Ceremony.

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 wearing a special cord designating your Society.

If you are a member of Phi Eta Sigma, National Honor Society, please contact either Leigh-Ann L. Brown or Kate Spaulding for your black and gold cords. They can be found in the Education department SAC 128 or 123. If you have any questions, please email Leigh-Ann.

Rehearsal & Candlelighting

Why do I have to go to rehearsal?

In order to have a ceremony that will be memorable for you and your family, rehearsal is essential. In addition to finding out exactly where you will sit and where your spot is in the procession, a class photo will be taken. Rehearsal takes place at 7 pm on Thursday, May 16 in the Pavilion.

What is candlelighting?

Candlelighting is a traditional ceremony which has been held for many years at Castleton. Students and alumni light candles at the front steps of Woodruff and process through the Alumni Gates to the Old Chapel. It is short and sweet. Candlelighting will be held on the steps of Woodruff on Thursday, May 16 immediately following rehearsal.

What if I am a December graduate? Do I have to go to rehearsal and candlelighting?

If you are a December graduate, it may be difficult for you to make the rehearsal, but this does not reduce its importance. If you do not attend rehearsal, you should plan to arrive at your designated assembly location a little earlier on Saturday, and report to the administrator in charge.


Will the ceremony be recorded or live-streamed?

The Northeast Sports Network (NSN) will be providing streaming services for both the Nurses’ Pinning Ceremony from Casella Theater on Friday at 6 pm and Commencement from the Pavilion on Saturday at 11 am

Both ceremonies can be watched live.

DVDs of the ceremonies are available for purchase. 

In addition, Saturday’s ceremony will be simulcast in Jeffords Auditorium. No tickets are required for this venue. Seating is on a first come-first served basis. Please keep in mind that simulcasting is contingent upon a successful technical transmission of NSN feed and cannot be guaranteed.

What about photographs?

Island Photography will take pictures of each graduate as they cross the stage. If you would like to receive a direct link to the photos, you can register on Island Photography's website. You may register several emails to allow all of your friends and family to receive a direct link to this event. Images will be posted within 72 hours of the ceremony. All inquiries should be made to Island Photography at (800) 869-0908. Purchase is optional. More information on Island Photography.

My parents want to record the ceremony. What do I need to know?

Guests taking photographs or taping are asked to refrain from blocking the aisles or interfering with other guests’ views of the ceremony. Please be respectful of all graduates and guests and comply with ushers’ requests.

Parking, Pets, Flowers, and Hotels

Where do I tell my guests to park?

Since most students will no longer be on campus, there should be sufficient parking for all visitors. Public Safety officials will be on campus all day to direct guests to available parking areas. Shuttle service will be available from the parking lots to the pavilion. Access to Hoff Hall lot will be restricted.

More information is available on parking and traffic flow for the day of Commencement.

Can I bring my pet?

Please leave your pet at home. Do not leave your pet in your vehicle. The only pets allowed at the Commencement ceremony are service animals.

Will flowers be available?

Flowers will be sold on Commencement day by the Women’s Rugby Team.

When should I make hotel reservations?

If you are an out-of-town guest who will need to stay in the Castleton area, we suggest you make hotel reservations immediately. A list of area motels, hotels, and bed & breakfasts can be found on the Castleton website.

Where do I get an ID card?

Public Safety
Hope House
(802) 468-1399

More information on Commencement parking

We strive to make parking for Commencement as convenient as possible for all graduates and their families. Parking prior to the Commencement ceremony is rarely an issue. After Commencement, however, struggles with traffic congestion can be problematic. With the proper information and a little pre-planning, your exit will be as hassle-free as possible.

More information is available on parking and traffic flow for the day of Commencement.

Tickets & Seating

What if I cannot travel to campus to pick up my tickets?

You may request that your tickets be mailed to you by emailing Victoria Angis. Requests must be received by May 3.

What about tickets?

Your guests will need tickets in order to gain entrance to the Pavilion/Tent. Seats are not reserved, but tickets are required. Please note that tickets are only given to students who have indicated that they are attending Commencement. Commencement tickets cannot be sold. Any violation will result in disciplinary action.

How many tickets do I get?

Each student participating in the Commencement ceremony will have 3 tickets reserved in his or her name until May 3.  These tickets will be available on April 15 and will be reserved until May 3. Students who complete the on-line exit survey by April 26 are eligible for up to 3 additional tickets. These extra tickets will be available on April 29 and must be picked up by May 3. All tickets must be picked up by May 3. If there are any extra tickets remaining, a lottery will be held on May 6. Anyone added to the commencement list after May 3 is not guaranteed tickets.

How do I get my tickets?

Starting April 15, your initial allotment of tickets can be picked up at the Castleton Store, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Tickets earned by completing the exit survey can be picked up in the Castleton Store between April 29 and May 3.

You must have a valid ID with you when picking up tickets.

You must be cleared to graduate by the Registrar before tickets will be released to you.  If you are cleared to graduate after May 3, tickets are not guaranteed.

What if I need extra tickets?

If you require more tickets for your guests, you may enter the lottery for extra tickets when you pick up or request your tickets. If, after May 6, there any additional seats, lottery tickets will be drawn.  There is no guarantee that extra tickets will be available.

Does a ticket mean a reserved seat?

Tickets are for seats in the Pavilion or under the attached tent. Seating is not reserved, however; it is on a first-come, first-served basis. Your guests may access the Pavilion/tent approximately one hour before the ceremony.

Is there special seating available?

There will be a designated special seating area for guests who use a wheelchair, have difficulty walking from the parking lots to the ceremony, have vision problems or other such disabilities. Seating is limited to your disabled guest(s) and one other guest. Please contact Shelby Phillips via email or via phone at (802) 468-1283. She will make arrangements for your guests to receive the proper assistance. Please let us know your guests' needs well in advance of Commencement day. Special seating may not be available on Commencement day unless prior arrangements have been made. Each "special seat" is included in, not in addition to, your original ticket allocation.


Is there handicapped parking available?

Handicapped parking near the Pavilion is limited, so make your reservation early by contacting Shelby Phillips via email or via phone at (802) 468-1283.

More information on parking and traffic flow for the day of Commencement is available.