IMPORTANT TRAFFIC ALERT: I-5 Mercer Street Exit and Mercer Street will be closed on Commencement day. Please plan for extra travel time to account for any travel delays. For detour maps, please click here.
Are caps and gowns required for me to participate in year-end celebrations?
Yes, caps and gowns (and hoods for master's and doctoral students), also known as regalia, are required to participate in Graduate Hooding Ceremony, Ivy Cutting, and Commencement. Regalia is not needed for Baccalaureate.
What color will my gown be?
Caps and gowns, regardless of degree level, are black.
Where do I order and pick up my cap and gown?
How do I order my tassel? What color will it be?
Students order tassels when ordering caps and gowns. Tassel color, standardized by the American Council for Education in the early 20th century, corresponds to the type of degree, as well as the school from which it was earned.
How do I order honor cords?
Graduating students do not pre-order honor cords. Honor cords may be purchased at the SPU Bookstore when caps and gowns are picked up. The Bookstore will have a list of graduating students who are eligible to purchase honor cords.
What if I forgot to pick up my cap and gown from the SPU Bookstore?
The Bookstore will have a table at Key Arena, selling caps and gowns before the Commencement ceremony begins.
On which side should I wear my tassel?
For undergraduate students, tassels on the caps, or mortar boards, should be worn on the right side. Men will remove their caps
for the invocation and leave them off until the conclusion of the Commencement
address. Replace them prior to moving to the platform and remove them again for
the benediction, replacing them for the recessional. Once all degrees are conferred, the President will will instruct all undergraduates to move their tassels from the right to the left side.
Do I really need a ticket to attend Commencement?
Yes! Every individual ó including students, faculty and staff ó needs a ticket to enter the arena. Graduating students can order tickets in Banner when they sign up to walk in the ceremony. Tickets are available on Monday, April 9. Parents: Your student is the only one who can request tickets for you. Faculty, staff, and trustees: You will receive your tickets at the arena.
Do small children need tickets?
Children age 3 and up are required to have a ticket for admittance to Key Arena.
Am I limited in the number of tickets I can have for Commencement? Each student who requests tickets will be issued 10 tickets. If your family needs more, simply have your familyís graduating student request them when they register to walk for Commencement.
Why do you require tickets?
Tickets are required to help ensure the safety of all present, and to ensure that those in the arena are there for the purpose of our Commencement.
My student didnít give me a ticket. Can I get one from your office?
It is the policy of the University to deal only with students regarding tickets. You will need to work with your student to ensure you have tickets for the event.
Will I need a ticket if I leave Key Arena to grab some coffee or go back to the car to get something?
Yes. Please take your ticket with you if you leave the arena and plan to re-enter. †
Why is Commencement not at Safeco Field this year?
Safeco Field was unavailable due to a Seattle Mariners' home game.
How long will Commencement last?
Commencement will start at 2:00 p.m. and it should be finished by 5:00 p.m.
Who is the Commencement speaker this year?
The 2013 Commencement speaker is Richard Stearns, president of World Vision.
What should I do with my purse/personal items during the ceremony?
There is no place to lock up, secure, or leave personal items and purses during the ceremony. You must either leave items with a family member or carry them onto the arena floor with you.
What time will the entrances open for my parents?
The two main entrances to Key Arena (the west entrance on 1st Avenue North. and the east entrance on the International Fountain side) will open for family members and guests at 12:45 p.m. Students must arrive no later than 1:00 p.m. and must enter through Gate 4A on the south side of Key Arena (on Thomas Street).
Will the concession stands be open at Key Arena?
Unfortunately, the concession stands will not be open before, during, or after Commencement. However, bringing in your own water bottles, coffee, and food is allowed (no glass containers, please).
Where should I meet my parents after Commencement?
Family members and guests will not be allowed onto the arena floor. Please plan to meet your guests on the Main Concourse or outside one of the arena's main east or west doors. If your family members and guests have rented a suite, you can join them up in the suite. Please be aware that the suites will be vacated an hour after Commencement is finished.
What should I wear to Commencement? What should my parents wear?
Please dress as you feel comfortable. What you wear to Commencement is a personal decision. People will be dressed in everything from three-piece suits to jeans and sweatshirts. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended for graduates.
Will I get my diploma at Commencement?
Diplomas are not distributed during Commencement. Instead, you will receive yours in the mail once all requirements are completed and your grades have been posted for your degree. During the ceremony, youíll receive a diploma cover.
Spring Quarter graduates should receive diplomas by mid-September; Summer Session graduates by mid-December. Diplomas will be released when all financial obligations to the University ó fines, etc. ó are met.
When can my parents expect to see me walk across the stage?
The awarding of degrees usually begins around 3:30 p.m., BUT this is subject to the length of the preceding speeches. Doctoral degree candidates will have their degrees awarded first followed by masterís degree candidates and then bachelorís degree candidates. Within each degree category, students will walk in alphabetical order, by last name, within their school:
Note: As the largest school, College of Arts and Sciences will have more than half of all bachelorís degree candidates.
Can I purchase a DVD of the Commencement ceremony?
Commencement DVDs will be available for purchase for $13 each. To order a DVD, send a check, payable to SPU, to:
Seattle Pacific University
Attn: Office of Academic Affairs
3307 Third Ave. W., Suite 102
Seattle, WA 98119
Be sure to include your name, address, and the number of DVDs you wish to purchase. DVDs will be mailed out in July. For more information, contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 206-281-2125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What about lost and found?
If you have lost an item at an on-campus event, please contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 206-281-2125 or email@example.com. If you have lost an item at Commencement while in Key Arena, go to the visit the Information Booths on the main concourse at aisles 103 and 125. After the conclusion of Commencement, if the lost item is not retrieved, guests may contact Seattle Center Lost and Found at (206) 684-7192. Further inquiries can be made by contacting the Office of Academic Affairs at 206-281-2125 or firstname.lastname@example.org
COMMENCEMENT WEEKEND TRAFFIC REVISION:
The I-5 ramps at Mercer Street will be closed beginning at 11:00 p.m. on Friday, June 7th through 5:00 a.m. on Monday, June 10. During this time, Mercer Street will be closed between Westlake Avenue N and I-5. During the closure, we recommend that travelers on southbound I-5 use the Stewart Street exit to access Denny Way and travelers on northbound I-5 to use the Olive Way exit. Click here for additional detour routes.
How do I get to Key Arena?
Where is parking for graduation?
Parking is available in several areas around and on campus for the on-campus events (e.g. Graduate Hooding, Ivy Cutting, Baccalaureate).
Key Arena has several parking garages in close proximity. Fees vary by location.
1st Avenue North Garage: between John and Thomas Street (located 1/2 block south of Key Arena; closest walk of the three garage options)
Mercer Garage: Third Avenue N. & Roy Street (located two blocks northeast of Key Arena)
5th Avenue North Garage: Fifth Avenue North & Republican Street (located 2-3 blocks east of Key Arena, across Seattle Center, next to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
Key Arena Parking Lot Map
Can my family rent one of Key Arena's private suites from which to watch the ceremony?
Yes. The suites are available for rental for TBD on the day of Commencement. The cost includes a private suite (with seating for 16 people), a private bathroom, and parking passes for two vehicles in the 1st Avenue North Garage. The suites must be reserved and paid for by May 18. If you would like to order food and beverages*, your catering order needs to be submitted and paid for by June 6 (there will be no way in which to add more food or beverages after this date).
* No outside food or beverages are allowed in the suites. An exception to this rule is made for allowing graduation cakes to be brought in.
If you would like more information on renting a suite, please call 206-281-2125 or email email@example.com. Suites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Are the concession stands open during the ceremony?
No. The concession stands will be not be open in the arena. However, bringing in your own water bottles, coffee, and food is allowed (no glass containers, please).
Are we allowed to bring balloons or wrapped packages into the stadium?
Due to security concerns, balloons or wrapped packages are not allowed in the arena. If you bring balloons or wrapped packages, you will be asked to return them to your car. †
One of my family members has difficulty walking long distances. Where is the best place to park?
Designated parking is available for guests with disabilities in all Seattle Center parking garages. These spaces, include van-accessible spaces, are designated for vehicles displaying a current state-issued disability placard or license plate. Disabled spaces are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so please plan accordingly.
Vehicles displaying state-issued disabled parking permits will be allowed to drop-off and pick-up passenger at the following ADA drop-off points:
Please note that these are no parking zones. Drivers must stay with the vehicle, as unattended vehicles may be ticketed and towed away. Please limit your use of this zone to five minutes so others can also use it.
A family member is in a wheelchair. What is the best way to enter Key Arena?
When entering either of the main entrances, east (the fountain side) or west (the street side), there are wheelchair ramps that circumvent the stairways, marked with signs, to provide a gentle slope down to the Key Arena doors.
Where are elevators the located?
Key Arena has elevators throughout the facility for wheelchair access. When entering through the east entrance (the fountain side), turn left for the elevators. When entering through the west (the street side) entrance, turn right. Arena staff will be on hand to direct you.
What kind of ADA seating is available?
Key Arena has ample ADA and companion seating available on the main level and in higher sections, accessible via elevator. Sections 114 and 127 are Key Arena's permanent ADA seating areas. There will, most likely, be additional sections added for wheelchair seating. Upon arriving, please check with Key Arena staff, who will be on hand to direct you to the appropriate seating areas.
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There are numerous options for lodging near the Seattle Pacific campus and Key Arena, or SEATAC airport. Several local hotels have offered special rates for commencement weekend.
For lodging close to the SPU campus:
For lodging close to SEATAC airport:
For an economical option:
Hotel Nexus Seattle - Reserve a room by clicking on this link and entering the Promo Code SPU373, or call 1-800-435-0754 and ask for the Seattle Pacific University rate ($95.00 per night plus tax).
Hotel amenities include a complimentary shuttle to SPU or Key Arena for Commencement events.
Numerous lodging and dining options are near both the Seattle Pacific campus and Key Arena.