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Graduates at Mount St. Mary's University CommencementFor more than 200 years the Mount has been graduating ethical leaders, making the Commencement ceremony one of the most notable moments of your student career. We hope your big day runs smooth and allows you to reflect on everything you have accomplished, which is why we've built this guide to give you all the information you need.

Dates and Timeline

Commencement Weekend 2020

ROTC Commissioning Ceremony

Friday, May 15
Marion Burk Knott Auditorium

Baccalaureate Mass

Friday, May 15
Knott Arena on the Mount's East Campus


Saturday, May 16
Knott Arena on the Mount's East Campus

Live coverage of Commencement will be available from the Livestream link on this page about an hour before the event.

Friday - ROTC Commissioning Ceremony

Student Arrival Time: 9 a.m.
Procession Begins: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Marion Burk Knott Auditorium
Activities: Official party will arrive and the ceremony will begin after the National Anthem. After the invocation, President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., will provide remarks, followed by the guest speaker. Cadets from the Army ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) "Green Terror Battalion" are then commissioned as Army officers with the rank of Second Lieutenant. After the commissioning there is short brick blessing ceremony on Veterans Walkway at approximately 10:30 a.m. A reception for family and friends will follow.

Friday - Rehearsal / Baccalaureate Mass

Commencement Rehearsal – Required

Student Arrival Time: 12:45 p.m.
Rehearsal: 1-2 p.m.
Location: Field House, Knott ARCC.
Activities: Rehearsal and a class picture will be taken by a professional photographer at the rehearsal.
Please dress appropriately.

Community Socials

Time: 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Activities: Each school hosts a social for graduating students and their families for your school social.

  • College of Liberal Arts, Patriot Hall | R.S.V.P. online
  • School of Education, Knott Auditorium lobby | R.S.V.P. online
  • Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business, Knott Academic Center, 3rd Floor | R.S.V.P. online (registration pending)
  • School of Natural Science and Mathematics, location TBD | R.S.V.P. online (registration pending)

Baccalaureate Procession

Student Arrival Time: 4:30 p.m.
(Procession begins 4:50 p.m.)
Location: Field House, Knott ARCC.
Activities: Assemble in the Field House (wear your cap, gown, honor cord(s), honor medal(s), dark shoes; carry your hood.) and shortly thereafter procession begins.

Baccalaureate Liturgy

Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Knott ARCC Arena
Activities: The Celebration of the Mass for all graduates and their families.

Saturday - Commencement

Commencement Procession

Student Arrival Time: 10:15 a.m.
Procession Begins: 10:50 a.m.
Location: Field House, Knott ARCC.
Activities: Student will assemble in the field house for line up and photos; after assembly, the procession will begin in Knott Arena (wear your cap, gown, hood, honor cord(s), honor medal(s), dark shoes).

Commencement Exercises

Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Knott Arena (tickets required).

Commencement Webcast

Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Knott Auditorium - Main Campus.
Activities: Overflow seating with a live webcast of the Commencement Exercises will be held in the Marion Burke Knott Auditorium and online. No tickets are required.

Following Ceremony

Time: approximately 1:30 p.m. We invite graduates and their families to gather outside the Knott ARCC on the lawn immediately following Commencement exercises to meet and greet and have photos taken. In the event of rain, the meet and greet will be held in the field house.

Please contact Conference & Event Services for questions about Commencement.

Conference & Event Services

Commencement Details

Mount St. Mary's awards degrees three times during the academic year: September, December and May. The main Commencement ceremony is held in May. Students who graduate in September or December have the option of participating in the May ceremony.Learn more about Graduation Eligibility from our University Registrar.

Ticket Information

Tickets are required for the main Commencement exercises in the Knott Arena. Any number of additional seats is available in the Knott Auditorium, where the commencement exercises will be live streamed. Tickets for Commencement are distributed to students at the Commencement Fair in April. Every undergraduate and graduate student will receive 6 tickets for Commencement in the Knott Arena. Students may request extra tickets via email, or direct family and friends to the additional viewing location in the Knott Auditorium, more information TBD.

Request additional tickets

Viewing Locations

  1. Commencement in Knott Arena - Tickets are required for this location. See the Knott Arena Seating Layout for more details regarding seating.
  2. Knott Auditorium (Simulcast) - This auxiliary venue featuring a real-time web cast will be available on the main campus in the Marion Burk Knott Auditorium for guests beyond the six ticket limit. This venue offers a less formal atmosphere, with air conditioning and easy access to restrooms, etc. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, no tickets are required.
  3. Online - Watch Commencement in the comfort of your home via LiveStream. The live Webcast is set to begin shortly after 10 a.m. the day of Commencement.

Special Accommodations

Accommodations for persons unable to do steps, sit in bleachers or with disabilities are available upon request. The reserved special seating section is located directly on the Knott Arena floor behind the graduates. Please indicate how many seats you need reserved, the graduate’s last name and whether or not space is needed for wheelchair access. Seating in the Knott Auditorium on main campus is comfortable and handicapped accessible. Those with young children or mobility issues may wish to view the commencement ceremony live streamed to this location.

Request special accommodations

Additional Tickets

Requests are limited to two extra tickets per graduate, and will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Request additional tickets

Commencement Fair

The Commencement Fair is where graduates, who plan to participate in the Commencement ceremony, will pick up their caps and gowns, honor cords and tickets and will complete the senior survey.

Main Campus

Monday and Tuesday, April 6 and 7 in the Mount Cafe from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Frederick Campus

Wednesday, April 15 at the Frederick campus from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Caps & Gowns

Purchasing your cap and gown

Caps and gowns are exclusive to the University Bookstore. The bookstore will have all graduation attire at the Commencement Fair. All you need to know is your height and your degree! Gowns are sized based on height. Hood color is based on degree.

Caps and gowns can be purchased through Herff Jones online or at the bookstore on Monday, April 6. All online bachelors orders need to be picked up at the Bookstore during the Commencement Fair. Masters orders can be shipped to the graduate's home or picked up at the Bookstore.

Purchase your cap and gown online

Picking up your cap and gown

The Bookstore will have cap and gowns in stock on Monday, April 6 at the Commencement Fair continuing through Commencement day.

Any questions concerning cap and gown orders should be directed to the University Bookstore at 301-447-5271.


  • Complete Set $89.98
  • Hood alone $35.98
  • Cap alone $10.98
  • Tassel alone $6.98
  • Gown alone $37.98


  • Complete Set $99.98
  • Hood alone $40.98
  • Cap alone $10.98
  • Tassel alone $6.98
  • Gown alone $41.98
Honors cords will be available for eligible graduates.

Diploma Frames

Diploma frames are available for purchase at the bookstore in three styles:

  • Windsor-high gloss cherry finish with a gold inner bevel
  • Prestige-satin black finish with beautiful gold accents
  • Classic- rich burnished cherry finish

Dress Code and Decorum

Graduation ceremonies are, by their very nature, festive occasions. The festivity manifests itself in many ways, including the dress of students and faculty adorned in academic regalia, and the warmth, joy and satisfaction of accomplishment.

The ceremonies are also marked by seriousness where the actual conferring of degrees signifies long, hard work on the part of everyone involved: students, faculty, administrators, parents and spouses. As a consequence of the serious nature of the ceremony, students are expected to maintain a measure of decorum consonant with the occasion. Students are expected to return to their seats after receiving their diploma and to remain seated for the rest of the ceremony. No posters, banners, balloons or noisemakers are permitted.


Graduation is a formal academic occasion and should be viewed as such in dress and demeanor. The recommended dress is similar to what you would wear to a formal interview. Thus, you should be mindful of the following considerations:

  • Dress clothing, preferably black or navy.
  • Black dress shoes (or some other dark color).
  • The gown should be mid-calf.
  • No jewelry on or over the gown. (Some students may have honor cords or medals.)
  • No flowers on the academic robe and no flowers are to be carried.
  • The mortarboard (academic hat) is to be worn with the front point over the forehead below the front hairline, so the flat board is parallel to the floor. (Not worn on the back of the head with the board pointing upward.) No decoration of any kind is to be placed on the mortarboard!
  • Honors students will have honor cords given at the same time as the cap/gown pickup.
  • Candidates should come into the auditorium with the tassel on the right, hanging near the right eye. After the degrees are conferred, the tassel is shifted to the left side. The signal for shifting the tassel will be given by the President (and/or your faculty marshal).

Graduation Decorum

In order to protect the dignity of the ceremony, please respect the following:

  • Posters, banners and balloons are not permitted inside the Knott Arena during commencement.
  • Air horns or other noisemaking devices are not permitted by graduates or guests and will be confiscated.
  • Guests will not be permitted close to the stage for pictures and photography is allowed from the seat only. A professional photographer will take a picture of each senior receiving a diploma. Proofs of these pictures will be sent to each senior in June.
  • Candidates are not permitted to carry cell phones or cameras.
  • Candidates should not have personal belongings in their possession during the commencement ceremony. Please leave valuables with family or friends.
  • Candidates should not chew gum.

Visitor Parking, Directions and More

Visitor parking is available in all lots on campus. Public Safety will direct traffic at the PNC Sports Complex. Note that if you are traveling southbound on Route 15 the main entrance to the PNC Sports Complex will be blocked to move traffic more efficiently; all traffic will be directed to the next turn-around.

Overflow Parking

Overflow, and easy access parking will be available on the main, west-end of campus, across Route 15 in parking lots 8 and 10. Visitors using these lots may access the athletic, east-end of campus via the pedestrian underpass.

Handicapped Parking

Handicapped parking is available. Public Safety will direct cars with handicapped parking signs as space allows. Please note that all guests attending the Commencement Ceremony will be directed to enter the building from the main, west entrance to the Knott ARCC. The back, east entrance is for handicapped drop-off only. Public Safety will direct cars to the back entrance to allow guests with mobility issues to be dropped-off. Cars will then be directed to park in one of the lots. For any persons entering the back, east entrance, a ticket is required for entry.

Directions and Area Information

Commencement Flowers

Family members may pre-order flowers for graduates online through Commencement Flowers. All online orders will be available for pickup on site commencement day. To retrieve your order, please stop by the booth located conveniently at the entrance to commencement before the ceremony begins.

Class Rings

A class ring representative will be on campus the first week of May or rings can be ordered from the link below. Several weeks lead time is required to a class ring so if you would like it before graduation, please order early.

Graduation Announcements

Students may purchase graduation announcements from Herff Jones online. Announcements are shipped within two to three weeks.

Senior Surveys

Completing the Senior Surveys has been a part of Mount St. Mary's graduation process for many years. Various offices within the University use the information from the surveys to improve student life, career center services, and the overall college experience. Completing the surveys entitles the senior to enter into a drawing to win one of several prizes.

Tips From Past Graduates

  • Get to Mass and ceremony early to reserve seats and obtain parking. Parking lots fill up quickly! Campus map (.pdf) >
  • Students should gradually start to pack and clean rooms over the last couple weeks prior to Commencement rather than waiting until the last moment.
  • Make sure at least a week before Commencement that you have all items for your cap and gown (including tassel, honor cords, medals, etc.)
  • Make sure you have the correct number of tickets for those attending the ceremony.
  • Make accommodations for elderly attendees. Knott Arena can get very hot and could be dangerous for those who are sensitive to heat.
  • Pick a designated place for your family and friends to meet after the graduation ceremony. Finding them can be chaotic.

If you're graduating be sure you've completed the requirements and appropriate paperwork

See Graduation Policies