Undergraduate Commencement

Learn more about our commencement honorees.
Students posting at May 2023 undergraduate commencement

Fitchburg State University will hold its undergraduate commencement ceremony on the main quadrangle at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18. The processional will begin promptly at 9:50 a.m. Please arrive no later than 9 a.m.

Because the ceremony has been confirmed to be held outdoors, tickets will not be required for guests to enter. We recommend visitors dress appropriately for the slight chance of inclement weather, but please be advised that use of umbrellas is prohibited during the event.

The ceremony will also be streaming live on FATV. The livestream will be shared at the following indoor locations on campus:

  • Hammond Hall, 160 Pearl St.
    • Falcon Hub
    • Ellis White Lecture Hall
  • Conlon Fine Arts Building, 367 North St.
    • Kent Recital Hall

Following the ceremony, there will be a reception on the Hammond Promenade (between Hammond Hall and Thompson Hall).

Action Items for Graduation

Undergraduate Commencement Booklet (PDF)

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>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 classes 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, May 3 at 978.665.4196 or registrar@fitchburgstate.edu.

Transcripts and Important Information

If you took courses at another university, transcripts must be received by June 2. 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.

Caps and Gowns

Caps and gowns can be purchased through the bookstore in Hammond Hall or through the bookstore’s website. The Bachelor's package is $60. 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 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Tuesday - Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday, 8 - 11 a.m. Please contact the bookstore directly with any questions concerning academic regalia at 978.665.4026.

Senior Activities

Any questions you may have regarding senior class activities should be directed to Senior Class Committee Co-Chairs and SGA Advisor who are responsible for coordination of these events. They can be reached at 978.665.3163.


At graduation, you will receive a diploma cover with a certificate enclosed. All diplomas will be mailed to graduates by early July. Your name will be engraved on your diploma as you indicated on your graduation application.

Ceremony Information 

Commencement Ceremony Schedule

Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m. on the main quadrangle of the Fitchburg State campus. There is no commencement rehearsal. The processional will begin promptly at 9:50 a.m. Please arrive no later than 9 a.m. and report to the area near the flagpoles at Highland Plaza on Highland Avenue on the street side of the Anthony Building. Guests will not be allowed to enter this area. There is no designated area for robing, so please arrive at Highland Avenue in cap, gown, and hood. The ceremony will be approximately three hours long.

Seating areas for guests will open at 8:30 a.m. Please note that there are no tents to shade the sun or ward off raindrops, so plan accordingly. Commencement can also be viewed streaming online at FATV (and digital downloads of the ceremony will be posted later at fatv.org/fsu).

Graduates will be lined up alphabetically within their school 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 school 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 Ceremony Decorum

Commencement is a true milestone for each and every student. We welcome your excitement and enthusiasm as we celebrate this grand occasion. We also ask that our graduates and their guests respect the importance and dignity of the proceedings by staying for the entire ceremony. Guest who leave early may distract from the event, which would be disrespectful to the other graduates and their families.


Directions to the campus and parking lots can be found on our maps and directions page. Shuttle buses will be in operation to and from the Civic Center between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Graduates and Guests with Disabilities

Graduates and any guests who have a disability can request accommodations through Disability Services. To request accommodations, please complete the disability accommodations form by May 2 or contact Disability Services by phone 978.665.4020 or email aernst2@fitchburgstate.edu. All requests will be reviewed, and seating and/or parking passes will be mailed to the address provided.

The ceremony will be ASL interpreted. Please contact Disability Services to discuss seating near the ASL interpreter. Large print and Braille copies of the commencement program are available with advance notice. The event will be captioned live online at fitchburgstate.edu/captioning. Guests requesting accommodations are allowed to have one additional guest seated with them.


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 digital download will be sent to your university email address courtesy of the Fitchburg State University Alumni Association.

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. Snacks and water will also be available for purchase.

Commencement Honorees

Commencement Speaker and President's Medal Recipient - Yla Eason '71

Portrait of Yla Eason Commencement Speaker May 2024

Yla Eason ‘71 is an accomplished marketing professional based in the Greater New York City area. She currently serves as an assistant professor of professional practice at the Rutgers University Business School in New Jersey, where her focus is business communications and marketing.

She is the founder of Olmec Toys, a multiracial toy company dedicated to fighting the racial imbalance in toys and superheroes. The company has gone on to reach over $5 million in sales, and is nationally recognized for pioneering a new market in the toy industry while also promoting racial diversity. Her achievement earned her an honorary Ph.D. from Bloomfield College, she was awarded The Business Enterprise Trust Award from President Clinton in 1996, and her story is even used as a case study in business schools to teach multiracial marketing.

After studying under Dutch-based executives, Eason became a Lego Serious Play (LSP) facilitator, promoting the philosophy that playing and building with Lego bricks can be used to foster creativity and learn how to solve problems. Eason is also a member of Women in Technology, the American Marketing Association, and a partner with the Newark Board of Education. She specializes in developing digital advertising curricula for professionals.

In addition to her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fitchburg State, Eason received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

President's Medal - Reinaldo Lopez

Portrait of Rey Lopez

Reinaldo “Rey” Lopez is the founder of Resource Management Inc., one of the nation’s largest Hispanic-owned businesses.

Born in Puerto Rico, he migrated to the mainland United States with his mother in 1962 and soon joined her working in the tobacco fields to help support the family. His mother’s tireless work ethic and commitment to family proved a solid foundation upon which Lopez would build for the rest of his career.

He worked multiple jobs before owning a janitorial service followed by work as an account executive with an employee leasing firm. Unfortunately, the company he worked for failed to make the necessary payments on behalf of its customers, and many business owners were left hanging. When he left the firm, however, he wanted to make things right for his former clients. To do so, he did something unusual. He cashed in his own life insurance policy to pay whatever was owed in taxes and workers’ compensation. His former clients, touched by the act of generosity, became the first clients of his new business, Resource Management Inc., in 1995.

Lopez wanted to keep the business in the family. His daughter, Rachel, started learning the business as a teenager. Later, she was hired to process payroll, and she learned other elements of the operation. She later took over the operations as president and CEO, and her brother, Alex, is vice president. The company has clients in 38 states.

While the company now operates as part of a global firm, Lopez has made sure to keep its strong ties to Fitchburg, including a local headquarters on Main Street. Guided by a belief in the importance of building community, Lopez has helped mentor countless entrepreneurs and fostered cultural institutions through generous financial support.

Valedictorian - Jyy Rose Liang

Portrait of May 2024 valedictorian Jyy Rose Liang

Jyy Rose Liang has been a standout student since beginning her studies at Fitchburg State in the fall of 2020. She enrolled in the university’s Honors Program where she excelled academically in a challenging curriculum.

An educational studies major, Liang has performed at the highest level in interdisciplinary coursework that will prepare her for careers in a variety of formal and informal teaching settings. She employed those skills in her final semester during an internship at the Fitchburg Art Museum, where she taught in its afterschool program, created reference materials for training guides, assisted in gallery installations, and assisted in outreach for its art appreciation programs.

Liang is also an accomplished artist, with her work displayed in the university art gallery after being selected for inclusion in the juried ARTeries exhibit. Her exemplary academic transcript includes highest marks in her studio art minor.

Liang is exploring career options after graduation. She lives in Lunenburg.

Important Contact Information

University Police

University Police provides services to promote campus-wide safety and is available to assist the campus community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
University Police Station
32 Clinton St
(across from the Recreation Center)