WSU Tri-Cities

Instructions and What to Expect


Inviting Guests

Please invite your family and friends as there is no seating limit per graduate. Guest seating is in sections P through Z on the main concourse. Guests will be prohibited from the Toyota Center floor and the staging area.

Disability Access

Seating for disabled guests is located in sections A, B and R and Toyota Center staff will be available to assist guests to the designated areas.  Students who will need accommodations during commencement need to contact the Disability Coordinator at 509-372-7351 by May 5.

General Information for the Ceremony

You will complete an information card when you line up. You will hand this card to an announcer who will be read it as you cross the stage to receive your diploma jacket. Keep this card with you until you reach the announcer. Do not take a commencement program with you during the processional as one will be waiting for you on your seat. Remember to leave purses, cameras and other valuables with your guests. If you have any questions while at the event, please look for one of the commencement assistants.

Eat lunch before commencement and travel light. There is not a secure area to store personal items.

When to be Where

 Toyota Center 7000 W Grandridge Blvd, Kennewick, WA

Undergraduates: Be in your cap and gown and report by 12:00 p.m. to the south side of the lower level at the Public Skating area. Commencement assistants will be available to direct you to the correct location. Your tassel should be on the right side of your cap. Signs with individual disciplines will be posted along the lower level hallway. Find your degree title on the sign (i.e., Business, Education, etc.) and stay there for further instructions. You will be seated according to discipline, but you may march and sit by anyone within your degree unit.

Graduate Students: Be in your cap and gown and report by 12:00 p.m. on the north side of the lower level at the Public Skating area. Commencement assistants will be available to direct you to the correct location. Your tassel will be on the left side of your cap. You will be marching according to discipline. Find the appropriate sign for your degree and stay there for further instructions. You will be given verbal instructions for the hooding ceremony on stage



A professional photographer will take a photo of each graduate receiving his or her diploma cover. Photographs will be available later by mail on an optional basis at reasonable cost.

Guests: An area will be designated in sections A and N to allow guests to take photos during the ceremony. Please remind your guests that once they have taken the picture, they are to return to their original seats.

The March

The academic procession begins promptly at 1:00 p.m. Again, please don’t bring anything with you except your information card—no purses, cameras, etc. The graduate students will lead the procession, followed by the undergraduate students and then the University administrators, faculty and dignitaries. Everyone will proceed single file. Students will be directed, by ushers, to the appropriate seating in front of the stage. When you reach the seating section, remember to move all the way over into the row of chairs so that your entire row of chairs is full. Everyone will remain standing until after the National Anthem has been sung (men should remove their caps during the Anthem).

The Ceremony

After the commencement address, each row of students will be directed to the platform by an usher. Do not take anything with you except your information card. You will give their information card to the assistant at the edge of the stage and your name will be announced as you walk across the stage. You will stop in front of the University leader on the stage, extend your left hand to receive your diploma cover, and shake hands with your right hand. (Graduate students will be hooded prior to receiving a diploma cover.) Next you will shake hands with other dignitaries. Once everyone in your row has reached his or her original seat, then your row will be seated all at once. The ceremony will last about two hours.

After the Ceremony

During the recessional, administrators, dignitaries, faculty and graduates, by row, will be ushered out single file back through the Public Skating area and up the stairs to the main concourse level. After the recessional has concluded, you may greet your guests on the main concourse level.

Returning your Regalia

You must return your regalia to the Bookie or be charged full purchase price. You may do so at the Toyota Center after the event.