This is it. The moment you stand up and celebrate your success. We’re here to help with everything you need for the big day — from schedules and checklists to guest and faculty info and FAQs. Read on to learn more.
Regalia and Attire
- Doctoral: Gowns are black, have full, bell-shaped sleeves, each with three velvet bands matching the velvet facing of the gown opening. Tams are made from velvet, and are “poofed” at the top of the head instead of flat.
- Masters: Gowns are black, have long, closed sleeves with slits at the arms at the elbows. Caps are flat, black, have 4 sides and have a tassel with a single button at the top. Hoods are black and lined with University colors. The border of the hood color indicates the academic discipline in which the degree was earned.
- Bachelors: Gowns are black, have long, pointed sleeves and are worn closed. Caps are flat, black, have 4 sides and have a tassel with a single button at the top. Hoods are black and lined with University colors. The border of the hood color indicates the academic discipline in which the degree was earned.
- Associates: Gowns are black, have long, pointed sleeves and are worn closed. Caps are flat, black, have four sides and have a tassel with a single button at the top.Hood: The Associate’s hood displays the University colors on the lining and lays flat on the back.
The border of the Bachelor or Master hood is trimmed with colors indicative of the earned degree and lined with royal blue and yellow gold satin, the official University colors of SNHU. The shield-style Associate hood displays the University colors on the lining.
- White: Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts
- Golden Yellow: Bachelor of Science, Master of Science
- Drab: Master of Business Administration
- Light Blue: Master of Education
- Brown: Master of Fine Arts
- Salmon Pink: Master of Public Health
- Royal Blue/White: Associate in Arts
- Royal Blue/Yellow: Associate in Science
Undergraduate learners who are eligible for Ceremonial or Latin honors will receive honors cords shipped to them as part of the regalia package. If your academic record has been updated since receiving regalia, you can either receive honors cords at the ceremony, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. A copy of the Ceremonial or Latin honors policy can be found in the academic catalog.
Current and former servicemembers are eligible for military honors cords. You will receive them when you check in with the Registrar at the Arena on the day of Commencement. If you cannot attend the ceremony, they will be shipped to you with your regalia.
Honor Society Regalia:
If you have received an honor society cord and/or stole mailed to you from a nationally recognized honor society, you will be allowed to wear them at your ceremony. If you are an inducted member of a SNHU-affiliated honor society, you can purchase the items individually from the National Office and have it mailed to you prior to Commencement weekend. No online program honor society items can be purchased at Commencement or through the SNHU Bookstore. SNHU-Affiliated Honor Society regalia questions should be sent to AcadHonorSociety@snhu.edu.
If you have been issued an international stole from a SNHU study abroad program or from a previous institution, you may wear it over your regalia at the ceremony. International stoles must be purchased from a reputable regalia provider to be permitted to be worn at Commencement (i.e. Oak Hall, Vision Wear, etc.). No stoles will be available for purchase at the Arena. University Campus students only: Please contact email@example.com with questions.
SNHU has coordinated discount pricing for graduates interested in purchasing First Generation, LGBTQA+, Serape or Kente stoles during the regalia ordering process. Graduates are encouraged to wear these stoles on Commencement day.
- Submit your Petition to Graduate before March 1 to be considered eligible for the Spring ceremony and October 1 to be considered eligible for the Fall ceremony. Additional details are in the Policies and Etiquette tab below.
- The spring ceremony is for graduates completing program requirements between Dec. 1 and April 30. The fall ceremony is for graduates completing program requirements between May 1 and Nov. 30. The Registrar will share your ceremony assignment in your graduation survey upon completion of your petition to graduate audit.
- Please check your SNHU email for the invitation to your ceremony. Register to attend and reserve your guest tickets. Registration deadlines are clearly specified in your email invitation.
- Order your regalia.
- Plan your Commencement Weekend. Tell your guests to visit our Commencement page for important information.
- Send announcements and order your class ring at the Jostens Online Store.
- #SNHUCelebrate - Share your good news and follow Commencement Weekend happenings on social media: SNHU Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Confirm your alumni profile. Update your information and get involved with the Office of Alumni Engagement.
- Accessibility Services - If you need accessibility support, please see the Accessibility Support tab below for more information.
1. Graduates, you will receive your guest tickets in an email one week before the event. Please have your guest bring a printed or digital copy with them to the event; graduates do not need a ticket to enter. Bring your SNHU issued cap, gown, tassel and hood with you, and any SNHU affiliated honor society regalia you have ordered in advance.
2. Please arrive at SNHU Arena at 555 Elm Street, Manchester, NH, one hour before your ceremony. Graduates, please enter through the loading dock area off of Cedar Street or Auburn Street side. Guest doors open 90 minutes before the ceremony.
3. Masks are optional while indoors. For guests, Section 120 on the lower level will be a mask-required section and the upper level of the arena will accommodate guests who prefer extra space to socially distance. For graduates, the front of the arena will be mask-optional and the back of the arena will be mask-required.
4. When you arrive at the SNHU Arena:
- Every graduate and guest will be subject to a bag check at the entrance.
- Please leave your personal items (including coats and purses) with your family and friends. There is no storage provided for belongings.
- Go through security. Safety is our number one concern.
- Check in at the registrar’s table and receive any eligible honors cords you may not have received in the mail. Graduates may write pronunciations on cards for our name readers or plan on speaking their name in real-time to the announcer.
- Once checked in, proceed inside of the SNHU Arena -- an aisle marshal will direct you to your seat.
- Staff will guide you to the stage at the appropriate time to have your name read and portraits taken. Proceed down the center aisle to the back of the arena for your commencement portrait before you sit down. Staff will direct you back to your seat. (You may not arrive back at the same seat).
- Outside food and beverages are not allowed. Concession stands will be open to purchase food and drink. No alcohol will be served during the event.
5. After the ceremony is finished, please plan to meet your family and friends at the front of the SNHU Arena -- graduates are not allowed in the guest seating area and are not allowed to come back into the arena once you have exited the building.
6. Enjoy - Relax and enjoy your moment! The ceremony will last approximately 2 - 2.5 hours. Out of courtesy to all of our graduates, we ask that you remain for the duration.
7. The event will be livestreamed on the Commencement website and recorded for those unable to attend.
Virtual Ceremony Checklist
- Please check your SNHU email for an invitation to register for the virtual ceremony. You must register by November 6 at 11:59 pm EST to have your name announced at the virtual event.
- Order your regalia.
- You’ll receive instructions after registering that involve two additional steps: 1. Upload your photo and 150-character written message, 2. Verify your content. If you need assistance with audio or visual accessibility components, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- After filling out the personalization form, you’ll receive an email from email@example.com to verify your content. Click the link provided to finalize your submission. Please ensure your content is appropriate and not offensive to others.
- You’ll receive a final notification once we have reviewed and approved your content.
- The deadline to personalize your slide is November 10 at 11:59 pm EST. If your personalized information is not received by the production deadline, your slide will still read your name and conferred degree.
- A direct YouTube link to share with family and friends will be emailed to your SNHU email several days prior to the event. This email will include specific details on creating the best viewing experience on a mobile device, tablet, computer or television.
- Virtual Commencement will be presented in immersive, 360-degree virtual reality format via a YouTube link. You can even experience the event with a virtual reality headset via the YouTube app
- If you plan on watching the 360-degree experience on a television, please review our FAQ and preview our demo video ahead of the ceremony.
- During the graduate recognition portion of the ceremony, your name will be read aloud and appear on screen along with a photo and/or written message that you provide.
- If you’re unable to stream the ceremony live, the recording will be available to view later.
Policies and Etiquette
To be considered for eligibility to participate in a Commencement ceremony, you must first work with your advisor to submit your Petition to Graduate, commonly known as the Petition to Graduate.
- Spring: Submit your Petition to Graduate on or before March 1 and anticipate completing program requirements between Dec. 1 and April 30.
- Fall: Submit your Petition to Graduate on or before October 1 and anticipate completing program requirements between May 1 and Nov. 30 for the fall ceremony
The Spring/Fall policy for participation eligibility is in the catalog for reference.
Academic Honors, Associate and Baccalaureate Degrees
The university acknowledges outstanding academic performance through Ceremonial Honors and Latin Honors. Ceremonial and Latin Honors apply only to associate and bachelor's degrees completed through non-direct assessment programs. Graduate programs are not eligible for academic honors. To be recognized with Ceremonial or Latin Honors, the student must meet the criteria specified in the academic catalog.
Graduates Etiquette for In-Person Ceremonies
- The Commencement ceremonies last approximately 2 - 2.5 hours each. Please plan to stay for the entire ceremony. Leaving the ceremony early is disrespectful to other graduates and their families.
- Graduates are required to wear the SNHU-issued cap, gown, hood and tassel. Graduates may not alter their gowns. Graduates should not add items to the prescribed academic costume. You are permitted to decorate your cap but please refrain from including anything that could be considered offensive or derogatory.
- Graduates should wear appropriate clothing underneath their academic regalia, this includes proper footwear. It is recommended you wear shoes that allow you to stand for periods of time and walk without tripping.
- Cell phones should be placed on “vibrate” or silent mode during the ceremony.
- Graduates will not be allowed to carry small children, pets or personal items across the stage.
- Please leave valuables with family members or guests during the ceremony. There will be no secure location for your belongings.
- Listen to the instructions from the marshals and the commencement team. This helps keep the ceremony running on time.
- Graduates are not allowed in the guest seating area, and must remain on the floor level of the SNHU Arena. Once a graduate leaves the SNHU Arena they are unable to re-enter the Arena. Please plan to meet your guests in the front of the SNHU Arena.
- In accordance with policy, beach balls, fog horns, balloons and other items that might disrupt the ceremony (or others’ ability to view or hear the ceremony) are not allowed. Security reserves the right to confiscate these items.
- Large bags/backpacks, alcohol, and weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited.
Graduates not attending
You must still file the petition to graduate to receive your diploma. Even if you don't participate in the in-person or virtual ceremonies, you're still eligible to order commencement items including your cap, gown and diploma cover at no additional cost.
Graduates will receive a digital proof of the photos taken within a few weeks following the ceremony. Questions may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. After the ceremony orders may be placed online at GradImages or by calling 800.261.2576.
Commencement Memorabilia and Gifts
For other items such as diploma frames and apparel, visit SNHU's Official Bookstore.