Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony


Sunday, June 12, 2 – 4:30 p.m., Tacoma Dome


Commencement is a time-honored ceremony that recognizes the scholarship, service, and Christian growth of graduating students. This is the culminating celebratory ceremony of undergraduate students’ academic career, where family members, friends, faculty, staff, and fellow students congratulate graduates on their “new beginning.”


This large venue will allow our graduates to include as many family members and friends as they choose, rather than needing to limit guest tickets. It also affords us the unique opportunity to invite back the Classes of 2020 and 2021 and their families to be properly recognized. Finally, the location provides ample parking (SPU will cover all guest parking costs), as well as hotel and restaurant options for our graduates and their families. 


Guest tickets are required for entrance into the Tacoma Dome. Tickets can only be requested and distributed by the graduating student. Each graduating student will request tickets in the registration process. E-tickets will be sent via email after May 15. Any changes to ticket requests must be made by May 13.


The Tacoma Dome has implemented a clear bag policy for all events. Approved bags include clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC bags that do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12", one-gallon clear resealable plastic storage bags and small clutch bags no larger than 4.5" x 6.5".


The main guest entrance is the Lower NW Door.


Students must present their SPU ID to enter the Tacoma Dome. Students should arrive at 1:00 p.m. See the undergraduate instructions page for more information.


William C. Bell is president and chief executive officer of Casey Family Programs, where he chairs the executive team and is ultimately responsible for the vision, mission, strategies, and objectives of the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care in the United States.

Bell has nearly 40 years’ experience in the human services field, mainly focused on child welfare, and he has served on numerous boards focused on Black achievement, violence reduction, and equitable opportunity. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Delta State University, Hunter College, and City University of New York.

A native Mississippian, Bell was recognized in 2017 by his home state for his life of service to the nation’s children and families. His many awards and honors include the Vincent de Francis Award from the American Humane Association for his vision and commitment to improving child welfare systems on a national level; the Lifetime of Service Award from City Year Seattle/King County; and the International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award from the National Association of Social Workers Foundation for his contribution to advancing public awareness and recognizing the value of professional social work.

The ceremony will be recorded for livestreaming purposes and will be available for viewing on the livestreaming page. The recording of the ceremony will also be posted on this page, but may not be available until a week or so afterward. No other videographers are allowed on the arena floor or in any aisle in the stands.


Grad Images is the official photography company for Commencement. They will take a photograph of each graduate receiving a faux diploma, and graduates will receive a proof in the mail shortly after the ceremony. SPU will be covering the cost of one ordered print. You can contact the company at 1-800-628-4509, or by visiting gradimages.com. No other photographers are allowed on the arena floor or in any aisle in the stands.


For guests using a wheelchair or walker, ADA seating (with one companion seat) is available. Graduates must make requests for accessible guest seating by contacting graduationinfo@spu.edu.

Please ask a staff member for direction upon arrival at Commencement.


Parking lots E and K are for guests with disabilities and are van accessible. If you do not have an issued permit to park in the ADA lot, you can still drop off family members who need to have a shorter walk to the main entrances. All Tacoma Dome lots are wheelchair accessible. Please see Tacoma Dome Guest Accessibility page for more information.   


There will be captioning on the screens during the ceremony. Hearing devices are also available inside the arena. Please inquire at the kiosk inside the main entrances.


All guests entering the arena will be subject to a security check at the main entrances. Balloons and wrapped packages are not allowed inside the arena. There will be a place to tie balloons outside, but we cannot guarantee they will be there when the ceremony is finished.


There is no official flower vendor, but frequently there is someone selling flowers and leis outside of the arena. To be safe, we recommend purchasing flowers in advance, before you come to the arena.


The concession stands will be open before and during the ceremony. You are allowed to bring an empty water bottle, as well as snacks, into the arena. These items will be subject to a security check. Only clear bags can be brought into the Tacoma Dome.


There will be an SPU Bookstore table, available inside the student entrance, with any remaining regalia (caps, gowns, and tassels) available for purchase.


Please refer to the directions and parking page for more information.