Frequently Asked Graduation Questions

Southern New Hampshire University 2015 Commencement Ceremonies are being held in the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH.

To accommodate all of our graduates and their guests, three ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 9th; one ceremony for our University College Undergraduate Students & Doctoral Students; one ceremony for all Graduate Students - Master’s Degree Candidates; and one for COCE Undergraduate Students, including Advantage and College for America Students. 

The times for each ceremony are as follows:

  • University College Student Ceremony - This ceremony will start promptly at 9 a.m.
    • Including Undergraduate, Masters (M.Ed. Field Based Education, MS Community Mental Health, and MS Teaching English as a Foreign Language) & Doctoral Students
  • College of Online & Continuing Education Graduate Student Ceremony - This ceremony will start promptly at 1 p.m.
    • Master’s Degree Candidates
  • College of Online & Continuing Education Undergraduate Student Ceremony - This ceremony will start promptly at 5 p.m.
    • Including Advantage & College for America

Important Commencement Information

Accessibility Support:

  • Is there special seating for those with disabilities?
    Yes, when guests of the graduates enter the main doors for the Verizon Wireless Arena, there will be a table with Disability Services Staff who will assist with accommodations.  Space is limited, so we ask that guests contact our Disability Services Office prior to the ceremony by emailing Mr. Dennis Green, or call 603-644-3118 to confirm available services.

Cap & Gown:

  • Is a cap and gown (regalia) required to participate in Graduation?
    To participate in the ceremony all participants are required to wear a cap and gown.
  • How do graduates get their cap and gown?
    The SNHU Bookstore will distribute caps and gowns starting in the beginning of April.  They will hold two in-store distribution nights for students able to participate.  More details will be communicated to all eligible students through their SNHU email account.  Any student unable to attend these events will have their regalia mailed to the address listed on the Petition to Graduate Form they submitted to the Registrar.
  • Can graduates decorate their cap?
    Yes. Often students will decorate their caps. This practice is acceptable as long as it is done in a respectful manner.
  • How do graduates wear their cap and gown?
    This video can help graduates understand how to put on their cap and gown, otherwise known as regalia. 

Commencement Ceremony:

  • Is there a graduation practice before the ceremony?
    There is no practice prior to the ceremony.  Once graduates arrive to line up they will be given instructions.
  • Where should graduates go and when should they get there?
    Graduates should enter by the side doors (Cedar/Auburn Street). If they happen to enter by the front doors, they should make their way to the backstage part of the arena to prepare for the ceremony. They should plan on arriving 60 minutes before the start of the commencement ceremony.
  • When do the ceremonies begin?
    The ceremonies begin promptly in the following order:
    • 9:00 a.m. - University College Undergraduate Students & Doctoral Students
    • 1:00 p.m. – COCE Graduate Students (Master’s Degree Candidates)
    • 5:00 p.m. - COCE Undergraduate Students, including Advantage Students and College for America
  • Are there any elevators?
    Yes. Elevators are located to the right in the front lobby of the Verizon Wireless Arena.
  • How long is the ceremony?
    Typically, the ceremonies will last approximately 2 to 3 hours. This depends on the number of graduates participating in the ceremony.  Concession stands are open with refreshments.
  • What cannot be brought into the Verizon Wireless Arena?
    Balloons and outside food and beverages are not allowed to be brought into the arena. There will be refreshment stations available in the facility where food and beverages can be purchased.  Strollers and backpacks are also not allowed in the arena.
  • How are the graduates lined up?
    When the graduates check-in at the Registrar table in the Verizon Wireless Arena, they will be given instructions how to line-up for the procession.
  • Can graduates leave the ceremony early?
    All graduates are expected to be at the ceremony for its duration.
  • What if guests cannot make it to the arena to see the graduation?
    Southern New Hampshire University's graduation ceremonies are available to view via a live web stream on the front page of the SNHU website. 


  • When will graduates get their diploma?
    Diplomas are not distributed at the Commencement Ceremony.  As long as the graduates have completed their course work, are in good academic standing, do not have any outstanding financial obligations, and have completed the Financial Aid exit counseling, their diploma will be mailed to the address  they provided on their Petition to Graduate Form within 10 business days after the ceremony.
  • All students will be presented with their diploma cover and their names will be announced during the ceremony as long as they Petition to Graduate before April 1st.

Guest Tickets:

  • How do guests get their tickets?
    All graduates will receive 8 tickets for their guests with their cap and gown.  Graduates do not need a ticket to get in the Verizon.
  • Additional Guest Tickets?
    Graduates wishing to request more than the number of tickets distributed with their cap and gown can submit a request to  Reasonable requests will be honored while ticket supplies last.
  • Are children required to have a ticket to attend the ceremony?
    Generally, children 3 years old and under are not required to have a ticket, unless they are going to use a seat.


  • What are announcements?
    Announcements are used to notify guests and others about the graduation ceremony.  They are not used as guest tickets to attend the ceremony.  Graduates traditionally would send an announcement to a friend or family member to inform them about the graduate’s accomplishment.  Tradition dictates that announcements can be mailed out two weeks before to two weeks after graduation. You may write “No gifts, please” at the bottom if you wish.
  • Where can I get announcements?
    Announcements can be purchased through Jostens, and can be ordered here.


  • Where can I park?
    Information regarding parking and directions are located at the City of Manchester website.
  • The City of Manchester has 3,500 metered parking spaces in the downtown area. Most of the meters are Pay & Display parking kiosks. The center of downtown has a 2 hour parking limit and parking is $.75 per hour on Saturdays - 10am-8pm on Elm St. between Granite and Bridge.  After 5pm you can park at any meter for any length of time as long as you pay to park.

Pictures & Graduation Video:

  • Do graduates need to pre-register for graduation pictures?
    We recommend that graduates pre-register with their permanent email address with our photographer by visiting and selecting Pre-Event Registration. This way graduates will know who to contact after the ceremony.  Our contracted photographer is Chappell Studio who uses the Grad Images service. You may add contact information for up to 6 additional relatives and/or friends.
  • May guests approach the stage to take a picture?
    Please do not approach the stage.   For safety concerns, guests of the graduates are not allowed on the floor during the ceremony.  However, while space permits, families sitting towards the front of the arena will have a better opportunity of being able to take pictures without leaving their seats.
  • Can graduates/guests stay in the arena to take pictures after the ceremony?
    Unfortunately, no.  There will be ample opportunity to take pictures at the reception, which will be held at the Dining Center on the main campus immediately after the ceremony.  Also, pictures can be taken outside the main entrance of the arena with no restrictions.
  • How do graduates get their pictures that were taken during the ceremony?
    Graduates will receive a digital proof of the photos taken within a few weeks following the ceremony. Questions may be emailed to  After the ceremony orders may be placed online at or by calling 800.261.2576.
  • Can we purchase a DVD of Graduation Ceremony?
    Yes. The SNHU Media Services Department is pleased to offer a professional quality DVD of the ceremonies.  The price is $10 for the DVD, which includes shipping and handling.

Post-Commencement Reception:

  • Is there a reception after the ceremony?
    Yes, there will be a reception immediately following each ceremony, and it will be held on campus at the SNHU Dining Center.  SNHU welcomes everyone to stop by for great refreshments and conversation. (Directions)
  • Where can graduates and guests park on campus?
    The best place to park on campus is parking lot 26-C, which is behind the Dining Center (Building 21) where the reception is being held. (Directions)
Contact Us

Questions about Commencement tickets should be directed to
the Office of Student Affairs
Phone: 603.645.9608

Graduation information and phone contacts are available by calling
the graduation hotline
Phone: ext. 3040 from on campus or
603.626.9100 ext. 3040 from off campus