Winter Commencement | Fitchburg State University
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Winter Commencement

123rd Winter Commencement Ceremony

Our 2019 Winter Commencement is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Athletics and Recreation Center, 130 North St. We can't wait to celebrate this milestone with you! 

We are anticipating a record-setting crowd for the ceremony. To provide our guests a little extra room, we will be opening satellite viewing stations in Hammond Hall to watch the event. These areas will have live TV feeds of the ceremony and refreshments. The viewing areas will be ideal for guests who may prefer not to be in tight seating.  If we do reach capacity at the Recreation Center, we will direct guests to these viewing areas. Please share this information with your friends and families.

Remember that our commencement ceremony will be streamed live online via Fitchburg Access Television, so family and friends can take part in the celebration in real time from wherever they are. 

Graduate Information | Parent & Visitor Information | Commencement Honorees

Graduate Information

Students at graduation

We want to make sure you're as ready for the ceremony as can be, so we've compiled a set of commencement requirements for your review.

Confirmation of Attendance

First and most importantly, make sure to let us know you're coming! You can confirm your attendance for the ceremony in Web4:

  • Log in, click on Student.
  • Click Student Records.
  • Click View Application to Graduate.
  • Your attendance record is in the Attend Ceremony field.

If you do not plan on attending, please contact the Registrar’s Office by Friday, November 29th at 978.665.4196 or via email.

Academic Honors - Undergraduates

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 upon the student’s cumulative grade point average at the time of program production. Students with honors will wear academic medallions that you will pick up the evening of commencement at the Athletics and Recreation Center.

Final honors status will be determined by the Registrar and will be identified on your final transcript and diploma.

Students completing their graduation requirements in the our Honors Program will have their thesis listed in the commencement program. 

Important Reminders

If you took courses at another university, transcripts must be received in the Registrar's Office by January 3rd.

All unresolved obligations, such as library fines, student loans, unpaid bills, and residence hall damages must be settled before an official transcript can be issued. 

Clearance for Graduation

You may attend the commencement ceremony, but only if you have been cleared for graduation. To check your graduation status, log into Web4

  • Log in, click on Student.
  • Click Student Records.
  • Click View Application to Graduate.
  • You should see your graduation status in the Application Status field.

Caps and Gowns

Caps and gowns will be available for purchase through our bookstore in Hammond Hall beginning November 8th. The bookstore hours for the week of graduation are:

  • Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The entire package is $51 for bachelor’s and $58 for master’s.

The sleeves of the gown indicate the degree the individual has completed. The bachelor’s degree has long, pointed sleeves, while the master’s has oblong sleeves, open at the wrist, with the front part cut in an arc.

The hood distinguishes the institution from which the wearer is graduating and the degree being awarded.

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

Commencement Ceremony Schedule

Commencement is scheduled for Friday, December 20th at 6:30 p.m. There is no rehearsal.

Please arrive at the Athletics and Recreation Center by 5:45 p.m. Volunteers will be available to assist you. The ceremony will be approximately two hours.

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. Medallions will be distributed on commencement evening in the Athletics and Recreation Center. Your name will be read as you cross the stage to receive your diploma cover from President Richard S. Lapidus.

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.

Please do not lose this card! When you approach the platform, this card will be handed to the reader. The chair of your program will lead the graduates on stage and present them to the president and the chairman of the Board of Trustees. Please return to your seat promptly upon exiting the stage.


All diplomas will be mailed to you in January 2020 to be placed in the diploma cover you receive at the ceremony. Your name will be engraved on your diploma as you indicate on your commencement application. Care is taken to accurately produce your diploma. In the event we make a mistake, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 978.665.4196 or via email and a corrected one will be issued.

Parent and Visitor Information

Commencement is a joyous occasion for family and friends, and we want you to appreciate your time on campus as a valued guest. Review this section for accommodations, or refer to the commencement brochure (PDF) for additional information.


Seating will open for guests at 4:30 p.m.


Guests should park in either the Intermodal Center parking garage, which has been reserved for this event, or the North Street or Green Street lots. Shuttle buses will be in operation between the Intermodal Center parking garage and the Recreation Center between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Parking attendants provided by the University will be stationed at the Intermodal Center parking garage to welcome guests.

In addition, student groups will be on hand selling flowers, water and snacks.

Accommodations for Persons With Disabilities

Graduates and guests who have a disability can request accommodations through the Disability Services Office. The ceremony will be ASL interpreted for deaf guests.

To request accommodations, please complete the online form by December 1st, 2019. All requests will be reviewed, and seating and/or parking passes will be mailed to the address provided.

Large print and Braille copies of the commencement program are available with advance notice. Guests with a disability are allowed to have one additional guest seated with them in the accessible seating area.

Photos and Video

Graduation cap decorated to say "Live Love Teach"

Family and friends are encouraged to take photos and video prior to and after the ceremony. Once the ceremony has ended, we welcome you to take pictures on the commencement stage. 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.

FATV will produce DVDs of the ceremony, which include both the undergraduate and graduate commencements. DVDs can be ordered for $16, or Blu-rays for $21, plus shipping. To order, contact FATV at 978.343.0834.

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

Commencement Honorees


Nicholas Charles Powell

Portrait of Nicholas PowellNicholas Powell has demonstrated academic excellence throughout his time at Fitchburg State University. He transferred from Mount Wachusett Community College after completing an associate’s degree in liberal arts. At Fitchburg State he majored in English with a concentration in professional writing, and has published works of poetry and non-fiction and also enjoys writing fiction and critiquing video games online. Beyond his literary interests, he has been building and working with computer servers since childhood.

Powell’s professors praise his gifts as a writer and his willingness to engage other students in classroom discussions. He completes his degree with a near-perfect grade point average.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Powell will continue to explore graduate-level programs in English. He lives in Gardner.

Graduate Student Leadership Award

Eman B. Warraich-Gibson

Portrait of Eman Warraich-GibsonEman Warraich-Gibson is a social worker by trade, and has been working in the substance use field since 2012.

Her educational training includes a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University in her native New Jersey, followed by a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University in 2012. After that degree, Gibson became a licensed clinical social worker.

She joined the clinical staff of the substance use treatment organization Integrity House in New Jersey in 2012. Her duties expanded to include administrative and leadership roles starting in 2013 and she is now involved in strategic planning, oversight, finance, and human resource and development.

Committed to the organizational mission, Gibson sought to improve her own skills to better serve the agency’s clients. Exploring a range of options, she enrolled in Fitchburg State’s accelerated online MBA program earlier this year. She found that coursework was immediately applicable to situations she encountered in her professional life.

Gibson completed her degree in nine months, balancing a heavy courseload with the demands of a full-time profession as well as raising a family. Her instructors cite her ceaseless drive and dedication that allows her to serve as a role model to fellow students and colleagues, as well as an effective leader.

She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two children.