How do seniors find out about all the things they need to do their final semester?

Seniors receive periodic emails throughout the year. The Senior Fair is scheduled for April 9, 2019, and will be held in the Campus Center, McPherson Atrium from 11:30am-1:00pm. Representatives from the Career Development Center, Financial Aid Office, Information Technology Services, Registrar’s Office, cap and gown vendor, Alumni Office, and Senior Week committee will be present to provide information. Students will also receive information from the Student Accounts Office throughout the Spring semester reminding them to clear any balance due on their student account that would prevent them from receiving their diploma at Commencement.

Are tickets required for the ceremony? Do we need to register?

Although there is no formal “ticketing” for Commencement, graduates are encouraged to limit the number of family/friends attending the ceremony to five (5) per student.  This limit will be considered when there is a weather event and the Commencement ceremony is moved indoors to the Fieldhouse, and will not apply when the event is held outdoors on the Great Lawn.

Reservations for the complimentary All College Picnic and purchase of All Campus Brunch tickets can be made through our online store, beginning January 1, 2019.  Online Store.

All Campus Picnic  Register via the online store, beginning January 1, 2019.  This free event is open to everyone on the Friday before Commencement.

All Campus Brunch  Purchase tickets via the online store, beginning January 1, 2019.  Pick up your Brunch tickets at the check-in table located in the Campus Center, McPherson Atrium, on Friday before Commencement between 8:30am-4:30pm or Saturday morning of Commencement from 8:30am-12:30pm.  If you did not pre-purchase Brunch tickets, you will be able to purchase tickets for the Brunch at the Commencement check-in table on Friday or Saturday.

Registration for the actual Commencement ceremony is not necessary. Graduates are encouraged to limit the number of family/friends attending to five (5) per student if the event is moved inside to the Fieldhouse due to a weather event.  Limited seating conditions will not be considered if the event is held outdoors on the Great Lawn.  Accessible seating and special seating requests or accommodations should be requested, by May 8, 2019, via the Accessible/Special Seating Request Form.

Can photographs be taken during the Commencement ceremony?

A professional photographer will take pictures of each graduate as they receive their diploma. Grad Images Photography, will contact you shortly after commencement for an opportunity to order photos.  You may contact the Customer Service Department at (800) 261-2576, online at, or email   Grad Images has a large team of customer care representatives ready to help graduates and family members with anything they may need.  A group photo of the graduating class will be available for download from the Macalester webpage.

How will I know when my graduate will cross the stage and get their diploma?

Graduates do not sit in alphabetical order. A seating chart is available in each Commencement program. Students are seated in front of the stage on both the right and left side of the aisle. Students seated on the right side will cross the stage from left to right and vice versa. There is no specific designated area for photographs as graduates make their way to the stage and accept their diplomas, and we ask all to be respectful of others and keep aisles free for the program.

Will a sign language interpreter be available for Commencement?

Sign language interpreters will be available for both Baccalaureate and Commencement. Complete the Accessible/Special Seating Request Form to request accommodations.

How long does Commencement take?

Depending on the number of graduates receiving their diploma, the Commencement ceremony will last about three hours.

Can Commencement be viewed online?

The ceremony will be streamed live and viewable on the Macalester home page at:

What is the Baccalaureate Service?

Baccalaureate Service is a multi-faith service planned mostly by seniors from all faiths who have been active in the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life during their time at Macalester.  The Baccalaureate Service is open to all and lasts an hour and fifteen minutes.

What is an academic departmental reception?

Each academic department holds a reception for majors, minors and students connected to the department on the Friday before Commencement between 3:00 and 5:00 PM. Reception locations are listed in the Commencement schedule of events available at check-in at the Campus Center, McPherson Atrium, and will be posted on this website the week of Commencement.

How is the Student Speaker selected?

Selection of the student who will speak at the commencement ceremony will take place in March. At the beginning of Spring term, all seniors, as well as faculty and staff, will be invited to nominate a senior to give this address. The Selection Committee consists of two faculty, two students and two staff.

How is the Commencement Speaker chosen?

A list of potential speakers is developed from nominations from the Senior class and a nominating committee. The final selection rests with the College President. Generally, speakers are selected because their work or activities embody Macalester’s core values; they have a record of outstanding achievement or they have a special attachment to the College.

What could prevent a graduate from receiving their diploma?

Any balance due on a graduate’s student account will prevent them from receiving their diploma at Commencement. Graduates who have a balance due may participate in Commencement but will not be allowed to receive their diploma or transcripts until the financial obligation to the college has been met.  Contact the Student Accounts Office if you have any questions at .

Who is eligible to participate in Commencement?

All December and January graduates, May candidates, and other candidates who are within eight credits of completing requirements may participate in Commencement. Questions about eligibility should be directed to the Registrar’s Office at .