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Commencement

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Commencement

This document was approved by the Faculty Senate on October 26, 2011.

Application

Students must file an application for graduation by the deadline posted at the Office of Student Records and Academic Information web site. The form is used by college or school personnel for degree clearance and preparation of the annual Commencement programs and diploma presentation. It is the student’s first step toward participation in either the May or December Commencement ceremony.

Undergraduate Graduation

Once requirements have been fulfilled and verified, the Office of Student Records will post the degree and mail the diploma with the established graduation date in May, August or December. The student must complete and the college office must verify all requirements within 45 days of graduation to have the degree posted with the applied-for graduation date. Students who meet the requirements for graduation at a later point in time will have an effective graduation date of the established graduation date in the following May, August or December.

Graduate, Pharmacy and Law Graduation

Once graduate, pharmacy and law students have filed an application for graduation and are certified to meet the requirements of graduation by the College office, the Office of Student Records may post the degree dated the 15th of the following month. (Pharmacy students cannot graduate prior to the established graduation date in May).

Honors at Graduation

Graduating students who have attained academic excellence and high scholastic achievement on the basis of cumulative GPA for 60 or more undergraduate hours at Drake University are recognized in the Commencement program with the following honors:

  • Cum Laude:  cumulative GPA 3.50-3.69
  • Magna Cum Laude: cumulative GPA 3.70-3.89
  • Summa Cum Laude: cumulative GPA 3.90-4.00

Students who do not qualify for the above honors but who have attained a 4.00 average in their last 30 credit hours or a 3.80 average or better in their last 60 hours at Drake are graduated Cum Laude. A transfer student who does not complete 60 hours at Drake is graduated Cum Laude if he or she has attained a 4.00 average in the last 30 hours or a 3.80 grade point average or better in the last 45 to 59 hours.

Departmental honors are awarded to a Cum Laude (or higher) graduate who has 18 or more credit hours in his/her major department(s) with a minimum GPA of 3.80.

The appropriate overall honors designation is recorded on the transcript and diploma of an honors graduate. Departmental honors are recorded on the transcript.

Academic Costume

Principal features of academic dress are the gown, the cap, and the hood. It became necessary for universities to set rules to preserve the dignity and meaning of academic dress. Since the 15th century, both Cambridge and Oxford have made academic dress a matter of university control, even to its minor details, and have repeatedly published revised regulations. American universities agreed on a standardized system in 1895. The current guidelines with minor changes have been in place since 1960.

Drake Attire

Whereas the Commencement ceremony is a formal affair, academic attire is required. For all Drake University degrees, the black gown is appropriate. The bachelor’s gown has pointed, open sleeves with a closed front. The master’s gown has closed sleeves with an open or closed front. The doctoral gown has full bell sleeves with wide cuffs. It should be faced down in front with black velvet and three bars of velvet across the upper sleeve.

The cap is a Cambridge-style cap (resembling a large beret) for all doctoral degrees and a square mortarboard (Oxford style) for all other degrees. The cap should be adorned only with a tassel of the discipline color. The gold metallic tassel is appropriate for all doctoral degrees. The hood is worn by candidates for master’s degrees and higher. The inside silk lining is the Drake blue with a single white chevron. The outside of the master’s or specialist hood is black with velvet trim of the discipline. The outside of the doctoral hood is a wide velvet band in the color of the discipline.

Honor medallions are worn by students graduating with college or university honors. Kente stoles also are approved ornamentation. Additional ornamentation must receive prior approval of the President’s Committee on Commencement.

Ceremony Eligibility

Any student who has earned a degree and has not participated in a previous Drake Commencement ceremony for that degree is encouraged to participate.

Since December 2011, Drake University has held two commencement ceremonies each year; one in December, the other in May.

December Ceremony Participation Eligibility:

Those who expect to complete all degree requirements in December (registered, with appropriate number of hours, adequate GPA, and all requirements met).

Those who completed their requirements the previous August, had have degrees awarded, but chose to participate in the December ceremony rather than the previous May.

December Ceremony Program Eligibility:

Names to be included in the December Commencement program are students who will be participating in that event. Students are expected to meet the stated program preparation deadlines to ensure their name is printed. These dates are published at the commencement web site.

May Ceremony Participation Eligibility:

Those who graduated the previous December but did not participate in the December ceremony.

Those who expect to complete all degree requirements (registered with appropriate number of hours, adequate GPA and all requirements met) in either May or August are encouraged to participate in the May ceremony.

May Ceremony Program Eligibility:

Names to be included in the May Commencement program are students who are expected May or August graduates, previous December graduates who did not participate in the December Ceremony or students who will be participating in that event.

Students are expected to meet the stated program preparation deadlines to ensure their name is printed. These dates are published at the commencement web site.

Appeal

If a student desires to participate in a ceremony for which he or she does not meet the eligibility guidelines, the student may appeal to the Provost. The appeal must be in writing with supporting documentation attached 30 days prior to event. The Provost may consult an ad hoc advisory panel of deans and/or Commencement officials prior to making a final decision.

Appeal Criteria

The following are the criteria for considering ceremony participation on the exception basis for students with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.

The student must meet one of the following:

1. The student has only the student teaching requirement remaining to be completed during the upcoming semester, OR

2. The student can document a serious hardship associated with participation in the commencement ceremony (ie. documented illness, religious observance, sports event, etc.) on the day established.

Complete information about commencement is available at the commencement web site.

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