May Ceremony

May ceremony

Baccalaureate Service and Rotunda Recessional

Friday, May 10, 2024, at 5 p.m.
McFarlin Auditorium

May Commencement

Saturday, May 11, 2024, at 8:30 a.m.
Moody Coliseum

The Baccalaureate Service is a nondenominational religious ceremony held the Friday evening before May Commencement. This small and intimate service features a special sermon for undergraduate candidates and their guests. The service lasts approximately one hour.

One of the University’s most symbolic traditions is Rotunda Passage, which includes both a processional and a recessional. The processional welcomes new undergraduate students to the University and is held the day before classes start. Students process through the back of Dallas Hall, through the rotunda and onto the Quad as new members of the SMU student body.

This tradition is concluded with the Rotunda Recessional following the Baccalaureate Service during Commencement Weekend. Undergraduate candidates, led by faculty and alumni marshals, march through the front doors of Dallas Hall, through the rotunda and around to the Quad. This is a symbolic departure from campus and serves as a welcome to the newest members of the SMU alumni family.

On Saturday morning, the All-University May Commencement assembles degree candidates from all of SMU’s schools and professional programs. The commencement speaker will offer their congratulations to our newest class of graduates and President Turner will confer degrees. Doctoral students (Ph.D., Ed.D., DE, and DLS) will receive recognition as they cross the stage. All other students receive individual recognition at their school/department ceremonies. At the conclusion of the ceremony, “Varsity” is played and a prayer is said for the new alumni.

Baccalaureate Service
All undergraduate candidates should arrive by 4:30 p.m. in full regalia and take their seats in the auditorium.

An entry ticket is required for all candidates. Each candidate is also allotted two guest tickets. You must declare your intention to participate in the ceremony to request a candidate ticket and guest tickets. Please see ticketing page for more information.

We do not anticipate offering extra tickets for Baccalaureate at this time. If extra tickets become available, they will be distributed on the steps of McFarlin beginning at 4 p.m. on the day of the service.

All-University Commencement
All candidates begin arriving to Moody Coliseum at 7:30 a.m. in full SMU regalia. No other adornments may be worn. Students without regalia or with altered mortarboards will be directed to the SMU bookstore to rent a cap and gown. Arrival and procession line-up information will be communicated closer to the ceremony. Arrive early to avoid graduation day traffic. Late admission will be denied.

An entry ticket is required for all candidates. You must declare your intention to participate to request a candidate ticket to attend the ceremony. Tickets are required for guests in Moody Coliseum. Please see ticketing page for more information.

Leave bags, purses, coats and other personal belongings at home or in your car. There will be nowhere to store these items during the ceremony, and items will not be accessible after the event. Please silence cell phones.

Baccalaureate Ceremony
The ceremony is simulcast in the Hughes-Trigg Theater and a livestream will be available for those who can’t attend in person.

Alumni who are parents of graduating seniors are welcome to participate as marshals for Baccalaureate. Please contact Amy Thompson

May breakfast
Prior to the ceremony, there will be a faculty breakfast beginning at 7:15 a.m. in Moody’s Miller Event Center, during which the Thomas W. Tunks Distinguished University Citizen Award will be presented. If you want to attend the breakfast, please RSVP by Friday, May 5, at 4 p.m. A plated breakfast is served. If a vegetarian option is preferred, please make this request when you email your RSVP.

All-University Commencement
Faculty planning to attend commencement are required to RSVP.

Participating faculty assemble in academic dress no later than 8 a.m. in the Miller Event Center in Moody Coliseum. The faculty entrance is located on the north side of the building on Binkley Avenue. You will pass through security. There will be signs and event staff on hand to direct you. At 8:50 a.m., the faculty marshal will line you up and lead you to the Moody floor for the procession. The procession will begin moving following the chief marshal’s signal to start the faculty march. You will make your way to your seats in the bleachers on the north side of the floor. Faculty remain standing until President Turner is seated. With respect to the removal of mortarboards, follow the lead of President Turner.

At the end of the ceremony, the Platform Party recesses first. Once President Turner has left the stage, the faculty recessional will begin. The faculty marshal will lead the faculty out through the northeast portal of the coliseum.

Degree Recognition Ceremonies

The academic school or departmental ceremony is an opportunity for each program to celebrate as a cohort group and honor each graduate as they walk across the stage. Contact your particular school or department for more information.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development

Counseling, Dispute Resolution, Doctor of Liberal Studies, Master of Liberal Studies, Master of Science in Health Promotion Management, GR Sport Management, and UG APSM

9 a.m. at McFarlin Auditorium | Tickets are required.

Ph.D., Ed.D., Master of Education, Master of Bilingual Education, and UG Education Studies

12 p.m. at McFarlin Auditorium | Tickets are required.


Dedman School of Law

12 p.m. at Moody Coliseum | No tickets required.
Contact: Christine Leatherberry, 214-768-4670,

Cox School of Business

Graduate Ceremony

3 p.m. at Moody Coliseum | No tickets required.
Contacts: Dee Powell, 214-768-3012,; Julie Maass, 214-768-3537,

Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

Doctoral Graduate Recognition Dinner (for a Ph.D., D.E., and Ed.D.)

6–9 p.m. at Moody Hall
Contact: Alan Itkin, 214-768-4202,


Saturday, May 11, 2024

SMU Guildhall

11:30 a.m. at Moody Hall | Tickets are required.
Mallory Trumpfheller, 214-768-5141,; Mary Endsley, 214-768-5130,

Lyle School of Engineering

12 p.m. at Moody Coliseum | No tickets required.
Contacts: Misti Compton, 214-768-3415,; Jim Dees, 214-768-1456,

Master of Science in Data Science

12:30 p.m. at McFarlin Auditorium
Contacts: Jonathan Thompson, 214-768-1426,

Perkins School of Theology

2 p.m. at Highland Park United Methodist Church
Contact: Joe Monroy, 214-768-2152,

Cox School of Business

Undergraduate Ceremony

2:30 p.m. at Moody Coliseum | No tickets required.
Contacts: Dee Powell, 214-768-3012,; Barbara Mohrle, 214-768-4142,

Meadows School of the Arts

4 p.m. at McFarlin Auditorium
Contact: Meadows Operation and Events, 214-768-2713, 214-768-4211

Meadows Recognition Ceremony - Meadows School of the Arts, SMU

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

5:30 p.m. at Moody Coliseum | No tickets required.

Residential Commons Graduation Receptions

Saturday, May 11
All celebrations for graduating seniors, both those residing in the commons or alumni of the commons, are held immediately following the All-University Commencement outside their respective Residential Common. If it rains, celebration items can be picked up from the Residential Commons lobby.

Baccalaureate speaker

The Rev. Lisa Garvin, SMU's chaplain, leads religious and spiritual life on campus, provides ethical leadership to the SMU community, cultivates multi-religious community and mentors students in integrating faith and learning.

Featured speakers

Megha Tolia, president and COO of Shondaland, and Nirav Tolia, CEO of Nextdoor, are global media and internet pioneers and co-founding directors of the William S. Spears Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the Cox School of Business.