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Ceremony Instructions

Baccalaureate Service, McFarlin Auditorium

 (undergraduate candidates only)

  Friday, May 15, 2015; 8:00 p.m.
McFarlin Auditorium (7:20 p.m. - Student line up begins in front of McFarlin. See below for more information.)
6405 Boaz Lane
Dallas, Texas 75205

The Baccalaureate Service is a religious ceremony held the Friday evening before May Commencement Convocation in McFarlin Auditorium. This is a small and intimate service that features a special sermon for undergraduate candidates and their guests. The service will last approximately one hour.

Wearing full regalia, candidates process into McFarlin Auditorium and are seated together. Weather permitting, students are lined up on the Historic Main Quadrangle in the order of their arrival. In the event of rain, candidates will be seated directly upon arrival. Additionally, seating in McFarlin Auditorium is very limited; therefore, candidates are entitled to two guest tickets only. Extra tickets that are not picked up for Baccalaureate will be distributed on the stairs in front of McFarlin Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. The ceremony is simulcast in the Hughes-Trigg Theater.

Full academic regalia includes mortarboard with tassel, robe, and the red stole of gratitude. No other adornments may be worn. Undergraduate students begin forming three columns at 7:20 p.m. on the walks in the quadrangle in front of McFarlin. It does not matter in which column you choose to march, although you may be asked to change columns so that participants are equally distributed. The candidates, lined up two abreast, begin moving to the auditorium at 7:58 p.m.

In the line of march, keep a distance of four feet between pairs. Upon reaching your seat, remain standing until the President of the University is seated.

For more information regarding the proper attire, please see Academic Regalia.

Go to Baccalaureate Service Tickets for details regarding the guest ticketing process.

Rotunda Recessional

 (undergraduate candidates only)

  Friday, May 15, 2015; following Baccalaureate Service
Historic Main Quadrangle
In front of McFarlin Auditorium and Dallas Hall

The Rotunda Recessional will follow the Baccalaureate Service. Undergraduate candidates, led by faculty and alumni marshals, will march through the front doors of Dallas Hall, through the Rotunda and around to the quadrangle. This tradition welcomes graduates into their new phase of membership in the SMU community - their life as alumni.

After the singing of "Varsity," the Platform Party will lead graduating students from McFarlin, across the quadrangle and through the Rotunda of Dallas Hall. Alumni Marshals will assist in this passage. Guests will then be dismissed and invited to follow the candidates down the walk to Dallas Hall.

One of the University's most symbolic traditions, Rotunda Passage includes both a processional and a recessional. The processional occurs before Opening Convocation, held the day before their first day of classes as a first-year. Students process through the back of Dallas Hall, through the Rotunda and onto the quad as a new member of the SMU student body. This tradition is concluded with the Rotunda Recessional following the Baccalaureate Service during Commencement Weekend. Rotunda Recessional is a symbolic departure from campus.

In case of rain, there will be no formal recessional, but Dallas Hall will be open for an informal walk of remembrance.

Alumni who are parents of graduating seniors are welcome to participate as marshals for Baccalaureate. Please contact Mindy Rowland at 214-768-4741 for more information.

Commencement Convocation

 (all graduating students)

  Saturday, May 16, 2015; 9:00 a.m.
Moody Coliseum (7:30 a.m. - Student line up begins in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. See below for more information.)
6024 Airline Rd.
Dallas, Texas 75205

On Saturday morning, the all-University May Commencement Convocation assembles degree candidates from all of SMU's schools and professional programs. The ceremony takes place in Moody Coliseum, which is transformed by the pageantry. Students and faculty, dressed in academic regalia, march to the ceremony to grand, processional music.

Doctoral candidates and honorary degree recipients are hooded, Commencement speakers impart knowledge unto our newest class of candidates and President Turner confers degrees. At the conclusion of the ceremony a prayer is said for the recently appointed alumni and "Varsity" is played.

The ceremony lasts approximately 90 minutes. The simulcast locations for overflow guests are in the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, Crum Auditorium (located on the first floor of the Collins Executive Building), or on Mustang Plaza outside of the Coliseum. For guests who are unable to attend, the ceremony is streamed at

All participating candidates must wear SMU custom academic regalia. No honor cords, decorations or adornments are worn to the morning ceremony. This includes stoles provided to you by your school or student group as well as pins, sashes, leis, etc. Students without regalia or with altered mortar boards will be directed to the SMU bookstore to rent a cap and gown. For more information regarding the proper attire, please see Academic Regalia. Student line-up begins at 7:30 a.m. in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. Flash Photography will begin taking formal portraits at 7:30 a.m. You should arrive early to avoid graduation day traffic.

Assemble with your degree group. Signs will be posted and faculty marshals will be on duty. The student procession will begin moving at 8:50 a.m. Faculty marshals will direct you to your seat; please follow the marshal's directions. Remain standing until invited to sit.

    Please leave bags, purses, coats, and other personal belongings with one of your guests, as there will be nowhere to store these items during the ceremony. We can not secure anything left behind. The building will be not accessible after the event.

Guests, for more information please go to Guest Information. 

Diploma Presentation Ceremonies

 (all graduating students)

Saturday, May 16, 2015
The Guildhall at SMU and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development have their diploma ceremonies on Friday, May 15. See Full Schedule

Wearing full academic regalia, graduates are individually recognized in school or departmental ceremonies. Honor ribbons, stoles and other decorations may be worn for the afternoon diploma presentation ceremonies.

Contact information for the Diploma Presentation Ceremonies is listed on the Events Schedule page.