Graduating Undergraduate Students

Commencement ceremonies are held for graduating undergraduate students at University Park each spring, summer, and fall. A complete schedule and list of resources is available on the University's commencement website.

Upcoming College of IST Commencement Ceremonies

Summer 2023

Saturday, August 12 at 10:30 a.m.
Bryce Jordan Center

Fall 2023

Saturday, December 16 at 9:00 a.m.
Bryce Jordan Center

Spring 2024

Saturday, May 4 at 9:00 a.m.
Pegula Ice Arena

Preparing for Graduation

Deadline to declare your intent to graduate: January 24, 2022

Students must notify the University of their intent to graduate at the beginning of the semester in which they will meet degree requirements and plan to graduate. Students indicate their intent to graduate by using the Apply for Graduation link on the My Academics page in LionPATH. Visit the Undergraduate Bulletin for more information.

Prior to applying for graduation, students should verify the accuracy of their academic record by viewing academic plans through Update Academics in LionPATH. It is critical to add minor plans that have been completed but are not showing on the student record and to remove minor plans that are no longer being completed from student record. Once students apply for graduation, academic records can no longer be updated.

Students should refer to the Intent to Graduate-Activation Period of the University's Academic Calendar to determine the dates when they can apply for graduation. Once you have applied for graduation, you can check the status of your application as well as review and update your diploma address.

All diplomas are mailed to the diploma address indicated approximately four to six weeks after the ceremony.

The IST Post-Graduation Survey is a confidential and systemized methodology for collecting valuable employment data. This information is highly beneficial for students who are engaging in the job search process and those who are negotiating a starting salary. It is also valuable to the college and to the University as a whole. Every IST student should complete the survey prior to graduation, preferably after they have accepted an offer of employment or entrance to graduate school.

Close to graduation, you will be receiving a request to take the Post-Graduation Survey from the IST Career Solutions team. We would greatly appreciate your cooperation!

If you're still seeking full-time employment, review our job search strategies or schedule an appointment with a career coach for assistance.

General Commencement Details and Instructions for Students

All College of IST students who have satisfied their requirements for graduation will be listed in the commencement program. If for any reason you do not want your name to appear in the program, please inform the associate dean for graduate and undergraduate studies in writing requesting to have your name omitted.

The nomenclator reads the names of graduates as they cross the ceremony stage.

Nomenclator Cards: Students who have indicated their intent to graduate will receive an email from Academic Services with instructions on where and how to pick up your name card for the commencement ceremony. This card provides important information for the nomenclator. Please keep this card in a safe location and bring it with you to the ceremony!

Pronouncing Your Name: Students who have indicated their intent to graduate will receive an email from the University’s commencement management tool Marching Order with details instructions as to confirming the spelling and pronunciation of your name.

  • All graduates will enter Pegula Ice Arena through Gate C.
  • Ceremony check in will open at 7:30 a.m.
  • Students must be checked in and seated no later than 8:30 a.m.

The individual procession of students will begin following the recognition of the College and ROTC Student Marshals. University Marshals will direct students to leave their seats and walk to the right side aisle.

Please wait to stand until the Marshal directs your row to do so. Take your name card with you when you leave your seat and be sure it is handed name side up to the University Marshal assisting the Nomenclator. As your name is read aloud, continue across the walkway where your photo will be taken by GradImages™. Your name and degree information will appear on the event screens for your friends and family to see. Only degrees from the College of IST will be displayed at the ceremony. If you are earning a second degree from another college, it will not appear. If you are earning two degrees from IST, both will be displayed. Options and minors are not displayed.

Follow the Marshal’s directions to return to your row after your photo is taken. Please be quiet at all times.

At the completion of the ceremony, students will stand and recess down the center aisle, following the platform party and faculty. Students will continue down the hallway and exit the arena via Gate C.

Photographers from GradImages ™ will be at the ceremony to take photographs of students as they individually approach, cross and exit the stage. If you’ are interested in being contacted by GradImages ™ with an offer of a free photo and an opportunity to purchase additional photos, please provide your U.S. mailing and email addresses on the reverse side of your nomenclator card.

Academic dress or the uniform of one of the U.S. Armed Forces is required in order to participate in graduation exercises. Students may order and purchase their caps and gowns from the Penn State Bookstore. If you need assistance, please contact the Penn State Bookstore at 814-863-0206.

The cap should be worn flat on your head with the tassel on right, front edge. Due to the formality of this occasion and safety concerns regarding walking on the steps and stage, please wear appropriate footwear; flip flops, clogs, and loose-fitting shoes are not recommended. It is requested that men wear slacks and a dress shirt with a tie. For women, slacks with a blouse or dress are appropriate.

Ornamentation representing honorary societies or nationalities is not approved attire for academic ceremonies. Do not decorate your robe or mortarboard. Students will be checked by staff for correct academic regalia.

All graduating seniors who have earned academic distinction are eligible to receive an academic distinction cord to be worn with their cap and gown during the commencement ceremony. Eligible students will receive notification from the college in advance of the ceremony describing where and when to receive a cord.

Distinction levels used at commencement ceremonies are determined using the previous semester's cumulative GPA and are considered preliminary. For example, a student's cumulative GPA at the end of the fall semester is used to indicate distinction during a spring commencement ceremony. It is possible for a distinction level to increase or decrease once all final grades are submitted. The final level of distinction will be reflected on the student's diploma and official transcript.

  • Students who are graduating Summa Cum Laude will receive a blue and white cord
  • Students who are graduating Magna Cum Laude will receive a blue cord
  • Students who are graduating Cum Laude will receive a white cord

Thresholds for each distinction level are set by the University and can be found on the University Registrar's website.

All graduating students who are military veterans, currently serving on active duty, in the reserve, or National Guard, or who will be granted a commission obtained through Penn State Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) are eligible to receive a red, white, and blue cord to wear with approved academic dress at commencement ceremonies.

Personnel who have already been granted priority registration status are automatically eligible for an honor cord and may visit or contact the Office of Veteran’s Programs to receive it. ROTC personnel may pick up their honor cord from their ROTC representative.

Personnel who have not been granted priority registration, please visit Veteran's Programs website for instructions on required proof of service and where to submit the required documentation.

Students receiving commissions in the armed forces will stand with their classmates when the academic degree is conferred, and also when receiving acknowledgment as a group.

It is the expectation that all students will remain on the floor until the conclusion of the ceremony out of respect for the importance and dignity of this occasion. Early departures are disruptive to other graduates and their families. Remaining to share equally in every graduate’s moment is a true demonstration of the “We Are!” spirit.

Parking is free. Please refer to the parking map for guest parking and ADA lot locations.

As there is another ceremony occurring at the same time in an adjacent location, be sure your driver knows you are in the College of Information Sciences and Technology.

Parking agents on duty will direct guests to park according to college.

  • Friends and families may begin entering the arena at 7:30 a.m.
  • Friends and families of graduates will enter the arena through Gate B.
  • Guests who require special accommodations may enter through Gate A.

Tickets are not required to attend the ceremony.

Guests may sit in any available seat in the general seating area.

Seating is available for guests who require special accommodations. Please contact to coordinate. Note that only one companion is provided adjacent to the requested special accommodation seat. Other family members and guests may sit in the general seating area.

Students and guests will pass through metal detectors prior to being seated. In order to ensure the entrance lines move quickly, the University is enforcing the following policy regarding bags/handheld items in Pegula: Clear Bag Policy.

Guests who arrive with a non-approved item will be asked to return the item to their vehicle before entering the arena.

Allowable items:

  • 12" x 6" x 12" (or smaller) clear tote bag
  • 11" x 11" x 0" resealable one-gallon bag
  • 4" x 6" x 1" small clutch or wristlet

Office of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

411 Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub
State College, PA 16801

(814) 865-8947