2017-2018 Academic Year Commencement
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Undergraduate 9:30 a.m., Graduate 3 p.m.

Q: What is changing?

A: Instead of holding commencement exercises in both December and May, starting with the 2017-2018 academic year the University of South Dakota will hold commencement once a year in May.

Q: Who will be eligible to participate?

A: Any student who has been cleared by the Registrar’s Office or Graduate School as a candidate for degree for Spring 2018, plus any student who received a degree in August 2017 or December 2017.

Q: Why the change?

A: Fewer people are attending the December ceremony, yet the university spends just as much time and money preparing for the winter event as for the much larger spring graduation. The change allows USD to focus on enhancing the once-a-year commencement in the spring.

Q: But won’t the spring ceremony be even more crowded?

A: As part of the plan, USD will hold two ceremonies on graduation day - one for undergraduate candidates and one for graduate candidates.

Q: How is that beneficial?

A: It allows us to make all the logistical plans only once - everything from seating, to parking, to program-printing, to use of the building space, to building the stage and setting up chairs. Having two smaller ceremonies will make more seating available for family and friends, and it should make each ceremony more comfortable for all.

Q: How does this affect me?

A: If you are following a traditional four-year plan, it won’t affect you at all. You will participate in spring graduation just like before. The spring ceremony also will be the option for students who complete their degree requirements in the summer or fall terms.

Q: What if I am really close to finishing but I won’t actually be done by the end of the spring semester?

A: Beginning Spring 2018, the Registrar’s Office will process applications for students who are requesting to participate early. More information will be posted on the registrar’s website after the Spring 2017 commencement is concluded. Please note that students who receive permission to cross the stage early will NOT be listed in the commencement program. Their names will be listed in the next spring commencement program FOLLOWING their completion.

Q: In that case, what is my actual graduation year?

A: Your graduation year has nothing to do with when you attend the ceremony. It is based on the year in which you complete the requirements for your degree and receive your diploma.