Program

Stoles & Cords

At commencement, many graduates wear stoles or cords representing an accomplishment or affiliation while at Western Washington University. You can view the different stole and cord pictures and descriptions here. Stoles and Cords at Commencement

The Ceremony

The celebration begins with the Academic Procession beginning 15 minutes prior to the program.

The program begins with the President's greeting. The greeting is followed by the National Anthem, introductions, opening remarks, student address, commencement address, graduate degrees, and baccalaureate degrees.

Process for conferral of degrees:

Master’s Candidates

(Graduate School commencement staff will demonstrate folding and presentation procedures for your hood prior to the ceremony on commencement day.)

  • The marshal at the left will signal an entire row to rise and move to the left.
  • Proceed toward the platform and hand your hood to the graduate faculty member.
  • Turn your back to the faculty member.
  • After the hood is placed over your head, continue to the platform.
  • Hand name card to the Dean who will read your name.
  • Proceed across the platform, shake hands with the President, who will hand you your diploma cover.
  • Leave the platform and walk down the outside aisle to your row and take your seat.

Bachelor’s Candidates

  • The marshal at the left will signal an entire row to rise.  Move to the left and proceed to the platform.
  • Hand name card to the Dean who will read your name.
  • Proceed across the platform, shake hands with the President, who will hand you your diploma cover.
  • Leave the platform and return to your seat at the direction of the marshal.

Memory Walk

Memory Walk has been a commencement tradition since 1912.  Each year, a stone representing the graduating class is laid in the sidewalk that runs parallel to the façade of Old Main, Western’s first building.  Beneath each of these class stones lie time capsules.  The time capsule containing memorabilia for the academic year is buried at the end of summer quarter.  Paving the way to Memory Walk are thousands of individually personalized bricks.  Purchased by Western alumni, families, and friends commemorating their time at Western over the past 100 years, these bricks support Western students and alumni through scholarships and various programs.  Bricks may be ordered through the Western Alumni Association.

Fall & Winter Ceremonies

Graduates participate in an indoor Memory Walk included in the recession after the ceremony. Graduates will proceed to the front of the stage where they deposit their student body cards or other memorabilia into a box which will be buried beneath the stone bearing their class year. 

Spring & Summer Ceremonies

Graduates participate in an outdoor Memory Walk included in the recession after the ceremony. Graduates will proceed to the front of the stage where they deposit their student card or other memorabilia into a box which will be buried beneath the stone bearing their class year.