Commencement: Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about the UW-Stout commencement ceremonies.
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Empire Photography has been photographing our commencement ceremonies for many years. Each graduate is photographed as they receive their diploma and a solo portrait is also taken after they exit the stage. Proofs will be sent to graduates and their families within 48 hours of the ceremony. Click on the link below to pre-register your email address so you can receive your complimentary proofs quickly. Your commencement is a once-in-a-lifetime moment so don't miss out! If you have any questions, please email Empire Photography at



Ticket Questions:

How, where, and when do students get tickets?

Tickets will be available for pick-up beginning at the Grad Fair held every Fall and Spring term.

For students who are unable to attend the Grad Fair, tickets may be picked up at the Service Center in the Memorial Student Center during their scheduled hours. You must have your student ID to pick-up tickets.

Service Center Hours:
Monday - Thursday | 7:30am - 10:00pm
Friday | 7:30am - 7:00pm
Saturday | 10:00am - 3:00pm
Sunday | 12:00pm - 10:00pm

Tickets may be picked up until the day before the Ceremonies. Tickets WILL NOT be distributed the day of the ceremony.

Each degree candidate will receive five (5) complimentary tickets.

If the student is an online or distance education student or living outside of Menomonie while completing an internship, student teaching, or co-op, we can arrange to send their tickets or cordons by mail. Please fill out this form, to request your tickets.

Tickets will not be mailed after 9:00 a.m. on the Friday prior to the ceremonies. If the student currently lives in Menomonie and is requesting their tickets to be mailed, they need to include a description of the circumstances that prevent them from claiming their tickets in person.

Requests must come from the degree candidate directly. Parents, spouses, or other individuals cannot request tickets on behalf of the degree candidate or another fellow degree candidate. Requests must be received by 9:00 a.m. on Friday one week prior to the ceremonies. Tickets will not be mailed after that date. Tickets not requested and mailed by that date may be picked up onsite the day of the ceremony by request only.

Selling tickets that have no face value is illegal in the state of Wisconsin. Individuals found in violation will be forwarded to the University Police and the Dean of Students.

How many tickets do students get? Can they get more than 5?

Each degree candidate is allocated five (5) complimentary tickets for their guests. 

NO additional tickets will be made available through the Commencement Coordinator. 

A remote viewing area will be made available in the Memorial Student Center, Great Hall. The ceremony is also streamed live from the UW-Stout Commencement website.

Who needs to have Commencement Ceremony tickets? Does an infant or toddler need a ticket?

Guests of all ages are welcome at the ceremonies. Anyone over the age of 3 needs to have a ticket to attend the ceremony in the Johnson Fieldhouse. Degree candidates do not need to have a ticket. Also, guests who choose to watch the ceremony from the remote viewing area in the Memorial Student Center do not need a ticket.

Guests with Disabilities/ADA Request Form

Guests will have access to floor seating (chairs with backs) as well as bleacher seating. There will be a reserved seating area near the stage. Guests requesting/requiring special seating should notify the degree candidate of their need, and the degree candidate should fill out the ADA Request Form. The reserved seating request must be received a minimum of 5 business days prior to the ceremony. Ushers will be available to direct guests to the ADA seating area onsite. Requests for interpreters can be accommodated provided sufficient notice has been given. Interpreter requests should be made a minimum of one month prior to the ceremony.

Ceremony Questions:

What time is my student's Commencement Ceremony?

What ceremony date and time students attend will depend on what term they complete their degree and program requirements, and which college their degree is housed in. The current ceremony schedule can be found here.

What time should my student arrive at the ceremony?

Degree candidates should plan to arrive and assemble in Multi-Purpose Room 50 (the opposite end of the same building as the Johnson Fieldhouse) no later than one hour prior to their scheduled ceremony. Once they arrive they will need to locate their College group, degree program, and name/reader card. The reader card will provide information such as where they should stand in the line-up and what name will be read.

Students should refer to their Access Stout account diploma name settings if they are not sure, or would like to change, how their name will be listed on your diploma.

How do I know they will read my student's name during the ceremony?

If they choose to participate in the ceremony, their name will be read as they cross the stage. Names are NOT read from the printed program. Only those degree candidates who are at the ceremony will have their names read. Names are read from a reader card which they will pick up when they arrive onsite prior to the ceremony. Commencement staff and volunteers will be available to help students locate their reader card.

What does the day consist of?

When candidates arrive before their scheduled ceremony, they are instructed to line up according to colleges. Following the ceremony, graduates, family, and friends are invited to attend a reception in the Multi-Purpose Room 50 in the lower level of the Sports and Fitness Center.

The commencement ceremonies last approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. This can vary depending upon the number of degree candidates participating in each ceremony.

It is expected that the degree candidates and their guests remain in the fieldhouse for the duration of the ceremony.

What kind of seating is available? Are the seats assigned?

There are two types of seating available within the fieldhouse and all are general admission. There are bleacher seats, which do not have a back, and there are floor seats, which do have a back. The reserved ADA seating areas are on each side of the graduate seating areas nearest to the stage and must be requested prior to the ceremony. While the section is reserved, the specific seats are not, so guests should still plan to arrive in sufficient time to get seated prior to the ceremony beginning.

Where do students get their cap and gown? My student has one from high school, can they use that one?

Academic regalia may be purchased in the UW-Stout Bookstore, Stoutfitters or online. The online ordering website closes 4-6 weeks before the ceremony date. After the online site closes, they will need to visit the bookstore in person, to order academic regalia. 

The robes used for UW-Stout are a matte black. You are more than welcome to use a robe from your high school or another previous ceremony. Samples are available at the bookstore if you are unsure if your robe is a matte black color. Please note that the Undergraduate and Graduate degree robes are not the same style. The differences are predominantly in the sleeves and are reflective of the degree being earned. Please see robes available within the bookstore if you are unsure if you would like to purchase a new robe for a graduate degree.

Do both graduate and undergraduate students receive honor cordons?

No. Honor cordons are only distributed to undergraduate students. There is not an honors distinction for graduate-level students.

Hey! My student's name isn't in the printed program! Why not?

First off, we sincerely apologize if your student's name was inadvertently excluded from the Commencement Ceremony printed program. We do our best to be sure as many students as possible are included. If your student's name was not, there may be a few reasons:

  • They did not apply to graduate by the print deadline. This deadline is listed on the commencement website and announced throughout the term. It is usually the Friday before (Spring) or after (Winter) Advisement Day. If they don't apply, we don't know their name is missing. If they apply late, unfortunately, we can't add their name after it has been sent for the proof creation and to the printer.
  • They have FERPA restrictions on their account. If we have not received any correspondence or information that they would like their name listed, we are required to remove their name from the printed list.
  • They are participating in a ceremony out of sequence. Students should plan to participate in the ceremony assigned for the term they actually graduate. If the application has been submitted, names for those completing requirements during Fall and WinTerm are automatically included in the Winter/December ceremony list. Those completing during Spring and Summer are included in the May/Spring ceremony list. If students choose/are granted an exception to participate in a different ceremony (early or late), they should email with their information as their name will need to be manually added to the list.

Remember, if the student's name is in the printed program or not, they can still participate in the ceremony. Names are read from a reader card, not directly from the printed program. Reader cards are provided onsite the day of the ceremony by commencement staff and volunteers.