Undergraduate FAQ

Students Celebrating at Commencement

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we will be celebrating our Commencement ceremonies online. Please visit www.spu.edu/virtualcommencement for more information.


I have family members who live out of town and won’t be able to attend the high ceremonies. Can they watch them online?

Yes! All high ceremonies will be recorded for livestreaming purposes. You can watch livestreams of Ivy Cutting and Undergraduate Commencement on our livestreaming page. The recordings of the ceremonies will also be posted on this page, but may not be available until a week or so after the ceremonies. No other videographers are allowed on the arena floor or in any aisle in the stands.

My guests are coming from out of town. Where should they stay?

There are many hotels in the area, in close proximity to SPU.  

Where should we eat?

You can explore Seattle restaurants by neighborhood and make reservations for your group. University Village, which is very close to Alaska Airlines Arena, offers an array of dining options.

See here for more recommendations on how you can spend your time while visiting Seattle.


Is there ADA seating available in Tiffany Loop, for Ivy Cutting?

If you have a guest in a wheelchair or who needs a seat close to the sidewalk, please contact graduationinfo@spu.edu. We can make arrangements for a few companion seats as well.

Will there be any campus dining and retail options open on Saturday, June 13?

Academic Perks (Student Union Building, behind platform) will be open from 7:30 a.m.–12 p.m.

The SPU Bookstore will also be open 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. on Saturday. 

Ivy Cutting is an outdoor ceremony. What happens if it rains that day?

We have a rain plan in place. It will go into effect if there is a forecast for severe weather, including heavy rain and/or thunder and lightning. Students will receive a notification if the rain plan is put into action. In the registration process through the Marching Order portal, students will have requested up to four guest rain plan tickets. These must be printed before presenting them at the entrance. 

Please refer to the rain plan page for more information.


Why are we having our SPU Commencement at that larger purple-loving university on the shores of Lake Washington?

Until last year, SPU had held its Commencement ceremony at KeyArena. With KeyArena undergoing renovations for the next several years, we are grateful to our across-the-city University of Washington friends for partnering with us in offering up their Alaska Airlines Arena venue for the second year in a row. 

Can my parents request Commencement tickets directly from SPU?

No. Only you, as the student, can request and distribute tickets. You can request to eight electronic tickets for the Commencement ceremony via the Marching Order portal. If you have extra tickets to share, or if you are in need of obtaining additional tickets, please communicate with your fellow graduates. You can do so using the SPU Commencement Facebook page.

Some of my guests are small children. Do they require a ticket?

Children two years old and under can come into the arena without tickets, as long as they share a seat with an adult. We want to mention, however, that the length (two and a half hours) and time (late evening) of this ceremony will not be conducive to the enjoyment of small children.

I don’t want to pay for parking at Alaska Airlines Arena. Is there a link light rail stop close by?

Yes! The University of Washington Station for link light rail is a very short walk from Alaska Airlines Arena.

I have guests who have difficulty with mobility. Where is the best place to drop them off in front of Alaska Airlines Arena?

There is a small ADA parking lot in front of Husky Stadium, on the south side of Alaska Airlines Arena. 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. You will then need to park in the main parking lots, on the north side of the arena.

Is there ADA seating available at Alaska Airlines Arena?

For guests using a wheelchair or walker, or for guests with limited mobility, ADA seating (with one companion seat) is available. Graduates must make requests for accessible guest seating through Marching Order, the online registration portal for Commencement. In addition to registration, ADA and companion seating will require special ADA passes, which students can pick up at Grad Fest on April 14, or thereafter in the Provost's Office (Demaray Hall 210).

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

I have a guest with a hearing impairment. Will there be sign interpretation or captioning?

Yes.There will be sign interpretation at both Ivy Cutting and the Commencement ceremony. If you have a guest that needs to be seated close to an interpreter, please contact graduationinfo@spu.edu. For the ceremony at Alaska Airlines Arena, there will be captioning on the screens, and hearing devices will also be available inside the arena. Please inquire at the kiosk inside the main entrances.

Will the concession stands be open in Alaska Airlines Arena?

Yes. The concession stands will be open before and during the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony. You are also welcome to bring in empty water bottles and snacks. These items will be subject to a security check at the main entrances.

Is there a place to buy flowers or lei?

There will be a flower vendor set up both inside and outside of Alaska Airlines Arena, should you or your family want to buy flowers or lei.

Are balloons allowed in Alaska Airlines Arena?

Unfortunately, no. Balloons and wrapped packages are prohibited. There will be a place to tie balloons outside, but we cannot guarantee they will be there when the ceremony is finished.

What shall I do with my purse or personal belongings during the ceremonies?

There is no place to lock up, secure, or leave personal items and purses during either of the ceremonies. You must either leave items with one of your guests or carry them with you. Cell phones are handy, so you can let your guests know where to find you in the processional.

When can my guests expect to see me walk across the platform?

The full ceremony will last two and half hours. The awarding of degrees typically begins around 8:15 p.m., but this is subject to the length of the preceding speeches. Degrees will be awarded, by school, in the following order (please note students do not walk in alphabetical order):

  • School of Business, Government, and Economics
  • School of Education
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Psychology, Family, and Community
  • School of Theology
  • College of Arts and Sciences

As the largest school, the College of Arts and Sciences will have more than half of all bachelor’s degree candidates.

Will there be a way to purchase official photos of me graduating?

Grad Images is the official photography company for Commencement. They will take a photograph of each graduate receiving his or her diploma, and graduates will receive a proof in the mail shortly after the ceremony. 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.

If I am not scheduled to graduate until Summer or Fall 2020, can I still participate in the Commencement ceremony?

If you will be a 2020 Summer or Fall graduate, have already applied for graduation, and wish to have your name in the Undergraduate Commencement program and/or and participate in the ceremony, you must be registered for the summer credits to complete your degree or clear your plan with your academic counselor by April 15.

When do I receive my actual diploma after I graduate?

Diploma covers, without diplomas, are distributed at Commencement. You will receive your diploma once all requirements are completed, your grades have been posted for your degree, and all financial obligations to the University (i.e. fines) are met. Spring Quarter graduates should receive diplomas by mid-September and summer graduates by mid-December.

Unanswered questions?

If you still can't find your answer there, call the Office of the Provost at 206-281-2125 or email graduationinfo@spu.edu.