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Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

Inclement Weather Plan |Graduates and Guests With Disabilities |Commencement Ceremony ScheduleCommencement SpeakerClearance for Graduation and Confirmation of Attendance | Academic Honors | Caps and Gowns | Hood Color by Division | Senior Activities | Diplomas | Parking | Photographs & DVDs | Campus Buildings and Services | Important Contact Information

Inclement Weather Plan

Due to the strong chance of rain and unseasonably cold temperatures forecasted for this Saturday, we have implemented the inclement weather plan.

The Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony will be held indoors at the Athletics and Recreation Center.

Please note that graduates must reserve tickets for their guests (maximum of 2 tickets per graduate).

For additional, non-ticketed guests, remote-viewing locations will also be available on campus at: Hammond Hall (Falcon Hub, Main Event Lounge, Ellis White Lecture Hall), Kent Recital Hall, Science Lecture Hall, and Weston Auditorium. Food and refreshments will be provided at each of these locations.

For your convenience, a campus map that highlights all viewing locations can be accessed here.

For those who wish to stay home, the ceremony will also be streamed on FATV.

Please note there will not be a reception following the ceremony.

Important – For graduates who have not already reserved their guest tickets, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Navigate to the Fitchburg State University Undergraduate Commencement guest ticketing website.
  2. On the web page, click on "Enter Access Code" link under "Ticket Information."
  3. Your access code is the last seven digits of your Student ID. For example, if your student ID is @00123456 enter 0123456 and click the "Apply Code" button.
  4. Select the “Quantity” of tickets you would like to reserve then click "Checkout."
  5. Enter “Your Information” and the first and last name of each of your guests.  If you choose to add their email they will be emailed the e-ticket automatically. Then click “Complete Registration.”
  6. Have your guest(s) bring their e-ticket or paper ticket to commencement.

Failure to follow these steps may result in being denied admission to the Athletics and Recreation Center and your guest(s) will be instructed to view the ceremony at one of our many remote-viewing locations on campus. 

Any questions regarding this process, please email or call 978.665.4100.

Graduates and Guests with Disabilities

All guests are required to have a ticket with a maximum of two per graduate. Graduates and any guests who have a disability can request accommodations through the Disability Services office. To request accommodations, please click here to complete the online form by May 4, or contact the Disability Services office by phone 978.665.4020 or email

All requests will be reviewed, and seating and/or parking passes will be mailed to the address provided. The ceremony will be ASL interpreted for hearing impaired guests. Please contact Disability Services to discuss seating near the ASL interpreter. The captions are also broadcast live for anyone not in view of the interpreter. Large print and Braille copies of the commencement program are available with advance notice.

Please make note of the drop-off area indicated on the parking map.

North 1:

  • Accessibility Parking for Ticketed Guests
  • Accessibility Parking for Remote Viewing (in the Falcon Hub)

Miller Turnaround (Drop Off):

  • Accessibility Drop Off for Remote Viewing (in the Main Lounge) - vehicle drops off and then finds general parking (Highland will be general parking)

Commencement Ceremony Schedule 

Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 in the Athletics & Recreation Center. There is no commencement rehearsal. The processional will begin promptly at 9:50 am. Please arrive no later than 9 am and report to the second floor lobby of the Athletics & Recreation Center to pick up your name card and honors medallions. Graduate entrance is on the righthand side of the building, clearly marked "Graduate Entrance." Please note, there will be staff on hand to guide you. Guests will not be allowed to enter this area. There is no designated area for robing, so please arrive in cap, gown, and hood. The ceremony will be approximately three hours long.

Seating areas for guests will open at 8:00 am. Commencement can also be viewed streaming online courtesy of FATV.

For additional, non-ticketed guests, remote-viewing locations will also be available on campus at: Hammond Hall (Falcon Hub, Main Event Lounge, Ellis White Lecture Hall), Kent Recital Hall, Science Lecture Hall, and Weston Auditorium. Food and refreshments will be provided at each of these locations.

For your convenience, a campus map that highlights all viewing locations can be accessed here.

Graduates will be lined up alphabetically within their division and major. All undergraduate students who are eligible for honors will receive honors medallions to wear with their commencement robes. You will be given an index card on which your name has been typed. If you have a name that is difficult to pronounce, please provide the phonetic spelling. When you approach the platform, this card will be handed to the reader. The chair of your program will lead their graduates onstage and present you to the president and division dean. Your name will be read as you cross the stage to receive your diploma cover from President Richard S. Lapidus. Please return to your seat promptly upon exiting the stage.

Commencement Speaker

Brig. Gen. Frederick A. Henry, U.S. Army, retired, will deliver this year's commencement address.

Gen. Henry graduated from Fitchburg State in 1984 with a degree in industrial technology. The Boston native currently serves as Vice President for Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Programs and Department of Defense (DoD) Agencies for Unisys, a global information technology (IT) company that builds high-performance, security-centric solutions for some of the most digitally demanding businesses and governments around the globe.

Before joining Unisys in 2015, he served as the Chief Operating Officer for TapLink, a tech startup company. He also founded Barrow and Associates, LLC, an IT consultancy company.

"We are honored to welcome Gen. Henry back to campus to share his inspiring life story with our graduates and guests," Fitchburg State President Richard S. Lapidus said. "His lifetime of service, professional accomplishment and commitment to community set a remarkable example for the Class of 2018 to follow."

Gen. Henry will also be awarded an honorary degree at the commencement ceremony.

Clearance for Graduation and Confirmation of Attendance

To confirm you have been cleared to participate in graduation as well as to indicate if you will attend, please log in to your Web4 account.

Click on Student, Student Records, then View Graduation Application.

If, while your file is being reviewed for graduation, the Registrar finds that you meet the requirements for participating in the ceremony (two courses or one internship left to take), you will be invited to attend the ceremony.

It is essential that we know the exact number of students attending the ceremony.

If you will not be able to attend, please contact the Registrar’s Office by Friday, April 27 at 978.665.4196 or

Note: If you took courses at another university, transcripts must be received by May 25. In addition, all unresolved obligations such as library fines, student loans, unpaid bills, and residence hall damages must be resolved before an official transcript will be issued.

Academic Honors

Academic honors are awarded to undergraduates based on a minimum of 45 semester hours of courses taken at Fitchburg State University.

  • Cum Laude – 3.2 or higher GPA
  • Magna Cum Laude – 3.5 or higher GPA
  • Summa Cum Laude – 3.8 or higher GPA

​Honors designation in the commencement program will be based on your cumulative grade point average as of April 20. Students with honors will wear academic medallions. Medallions will be distributed by the Registrar at commencement during line-up at the Highland Plaza. Final honors status will be determined by the Registrar and will be identified on your diploma with a seal.

Students completing their graduation requirements in the Fitchburg State University Honors Program will have their theses listed in the commencement program. 

Caps and Gowns

Caps and gowns can be purchased through the bookstore in Hammond Hall beginning April 18. The cost for the entire package is $62. The hood distinguishes the institution from which the wearer is graduating and the degree being awarded.

The bookstore hours for the week of graduation are: Monday through Wednesday, 8:30 am. to 6 pm.; Thursday, 8:30 am to 7 pm; Friday, 8:30 am to 3 pm; and Saturday, 8:30 am to 2 pm.

Please contact the bookstore directly with any questions concerning academic regalia at 978.665.4026.

Hood Color by Division


Communications Media – White
Criminal Justice – White
Economics – Copper
English Studies – White
Game Design – White
History – White
Human Services – White
Interdisciplinary Studies – White
Political Science – Light Gold
Sociology – White


Education – Light Blue


Business Administration – Drab
Computer Information Systems – Golden Yellow
Computer Science – Golden Yellow
Industrial Technology – Golden Yellow
Occupational/Vocational Education – Light Blue
Technology Education – Light Blue


Biology – Golden Yellow
Chemistry – Golden Yellow
Earth Systems Science – Golden Yellow
Exercise & Sports Science – Golden Yellow
Geographic Science & Technology – Golden Yellow 
Mathematics – Golden Yellow
Nursing – Apricot
Psychological Science – Golden Yellow

Senior Activities

Any questions you may have regarding senior class activities should be directed to Senior Class Committee Chair Joshua Rosenthal or Associate Dean of Student Development Hank Parkinson, who are responsible for coordination of these events. They may be reached at 978.665.3160.


All diplomas will be mailed to graduates the week of June 4 to be placed in the diploma cover you receive at the ceremony. Your name will be engraved on your diploma as you indicated on your commencement application. 


All parking lots will be open for graduate and guest parking, except for the lots on Highland Avenue which will be closed to automobile traffic the day of commencement. There are also parking lots at McKay Campus School, lower North Street and the Wallace Civic Center, where shuttles will bring guests to and from the campus. The shuttle buses will be in operation from 8 am to 2 pm.

Photographs/DVD Recording

During the ceremony, access to the stage area for picture taking or videotaping by guests will be prohibited. Please relay this information to your guests.

A professional photograph will be taken as you receive your diploma cover and congratulations from the president, and a free 5x7 print will be mailed to your home address courtesy of the Fitchburg State University Alumni Association.

The contract for graduation photographs has been awarded to Hockmeyer Studios, Inc., P.O. Box 687, Amesbury, MA 01913. The photographer will be contacting you in writing at your home address with specifics on ordering additional photographs and the cost. Any other photography company that telephones you is not sanctioned by the university. 

DVDs and Blu-ray discs of the entire ceremony will be available for purchase through Fitchburg Access Television. Please contact them directly at 978-343-0834 to order a ceremony DVD or Blu-ray disc. The cost is $16 for a DVD or $21 for Blu-ray, plus shipping.

Campus Buildings and Services

All buildings will be open for restroom facilities. Medical services will be located in Hammond Hall. There will be several water stations throughout the quad. In addition, student groups will be on hand selling flowers, water and snacks.

Important Contact Information

Registrar — 978.665.4196
Academic Affairs — 978.665.3168
Graduate and Continuing Education — 978.665.3182
Bookstore — 978.665.4026
Alumni — 978.665.3025
Campus Police — 978.665.3111
Disability Services— 978.665.4020