Commencement FAQs

General Commencement Questions

Maybe. Due to capacity limits and other complications created by the pandemic, all slots for in-person ceremonies – both mini and drive-through – are currently full. However, we are gladly accepting requests to be added to our waitlist via our Commencement Waitlist Request Form. If spaces become available, they will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis from the official waitlist.  

All graduates are welcome to take part in the asynchronous virtual celebration, which will launch on the commencement website on Monday, May 10 and can be viewed at your leisure.

No. Graduates are never required to participate in a commencement ceremony.

Yes! Graduates who prefer not to travel to campus or attend in-person events are welcome to enjoy asynchronous celebratory virtual content. That will include an online showcase of all graduates, presented through digital graduate slides, plus recorded videos from student speakers, and more. Graduates can stay connected digitally as they celebrate on their own. Virtual content will launch on Monday, May 10.

In-person ceremony assignments were made available on Friday, April 9

No. Each graduate may choose one in-person ceremony format. 

As information becomes available, it will be posted on the events tab of the commencement website. You may also contact your specific program or department for more information. 

Widener University seeks to ensure that each participant can equally access, and engage in, all commencement festivities.

If you did not request an accommodation during the ceremony RSVP process, you may do so via Marching Order when you reserve your guest tickets. Log-in to your Marching Order account at https://widener.marchingorder.com, click “Step 1 – Review Ceremony Assignment & Reserve Tickets,” and then follow the prompts on the reservation form to indicate your needs and/or the needs of your guest(s). All reasonable requests submitted in this manner on or before Friday, April 30 will be provided to the fullest extent possible. Within 10-business days of receiving your request, a representative from the Accessibilities Office will contact you to confirm plans and convey important details.  

If you miss the April 30 deadline and still require assistance, please contact the Accessibilities Office at disabilities@widener.edu or 610-499-1266. We will make every attempt to meet the needs of late requests as space, time, and availability allow. 

Widener University’s Commonwealth Law School and Delaware Law School will each hold a commencement ceremony separate from the main campus celebrations. Graduates from both schools can find information for their ceremony by visiting the respective school’s website. 

Commonwealth Law School 
Delaware Law School 
 

Ceremony Details

The ceremony details provided below are subject to change at any time.

Mini Ceremony

The mini ceremony is only mini in its capacity and running time. With a maximum of 100 graduates and 200 guests, attendees will enjoy a 45-minute ceremony full of pomp and circumstance. For graduates and families looking for a traditional experience in an outdoor and socially distanced environment, this is your choice!

Arriving to campus 45 minutes before the start of the ceremony, graduates and their guests (2 maximum) will be directed to a parking area specific to their ceremony. They will then proceed to the welcome tent on Memorial Field for check-in, music, candid photos, and more. Approximately 15 minutes prior to the ceremony start time, guests will enter the ceremony tent on Memorial Field while graduates line up to process. When the ceremony begins, graduates will process behind Old Main, under the dome, and into the ceremony tent. Brief opening remarks will be followed by our graduates crossing the stage and having their names and degrees announced while receiving their diplomas.* The ceremony will conclude with closing remarks, followed by an exit processional to the parking lots, first by graduates and then by guests. Attendees will then depart campus to make way for the arrival of the next group. (Total time on campus = 1 hour and 45 minutes.)

Drive-through

The drive-through ceremony is an individualized option that features just one graduate at a time… YOU! For graduates and families looking for an intimate experience that minimizes exposure to the public while expanding your personal guest list, then this is your choice!
 
Each graduate is permitted a maximum of 2 vehicles in their party, which includes the vehicle the graduate rides in. How many family and friends ride in those vehicles is up to you. On the date of the ceremony, graduates and their guests will arrive on campus during an assigned window of time and report to a designated parking lot for check-in and line-up, all while staying safely in their vehicle. Campus Safety officers will then direct each group along a specific route leading to the ceremony area on 14th Street in front of Old Main. Upon arrival to the staged location, the graduate will exit their vehicle and cross the stage to have their name and degree(s) announced while receiving their diploma.* The graduate will return to their vehicle and their party will exit campus to keep traffic flowing. (Total time on campus = 20 minutes; please budget 1 hour in case of delays.)

Additional details, including a map, will be posted in April.

*It is Widener’s policy to hand graduates an empty tube as a symbolic representation of receiving a diploma when walking across the stage. Actual diplomas will be mailed to graduates at the address provided on their petition to graduate, after all degree requirements have been confirmed.

Mini Ceremony

Maximum of 100 graduates per ceremony.

Drive-Through Ceremony

The drive-through ceremony is an individualized option that features just one graduate at a time… YOU!

Mini Ceremony

Graduates and their guests will be on campus for no more than 1 hour and 45 minutes. This allows for parking, check-in, ceremony, and departure. The actual ceremony running time is 45 minutes.


Drive Through Ceremony

Time on campus should be approximately 20 minutes, including check-in, line-up, and ceremony. For planning purposes, we encourage you to budget 1 hour in case of delays. The time allotted for each graduate in the staged ceremony area is 2 minutes.

Mini Ceremony

Yes. Weather permitting, graduates will line up next to the welcome tent to process behind Old Main and under the dome into the ceremony tent.

Drive Through Ceremony

No.

Mini Ceremony

Yes, brief opening and closing remarks will be made by select campus leaders. 

Drive-Through Ceremony

No. 

Yes!  Both the mini and drive-through ceremonies feature graduates walking across the stage as their name and degree(s) are announced.

Yes. Both the mini and drive-through ceremonies will have professional photographers capturing the moment a graduate crosses the stage and is honored for their achievements. 

Yes, there will be a limited number of faculty attending both the mini and drive-through ceremonies. Faculty numbers will be kept small to maintain capacity and social distancing requirements.

No. It is Widener’s policy to hand graduates an empty tube as a symbolic representation of receiving a diploma when walking across the stage. Actual diplomas will be mailed to graduates at the address provided on their petition to graduate, after all degree requirements have been confirmed.

Mini Ceremony

No. We ask all graduates attending a mini ceremony to remain seated after their names and degrees have been called, in order to be respectful of all graduates who follow them, and those graduates’ families who are trying to watch and listen. 

Additionally, to maintain social distancing, we ask all graduates and guests to remain in the tent until the ceremony has concluded, at which time everyone will be instructed on how to process out in an organized fashion. 

Drive-Through Ceremony

Yes. After you walk the stage to have your name and degree called, you and your guests will be directed to exit campus.
 

Yes. Guest tickets are required for both the mini and drive-through ceremonies and are currently available for “pick-up” via your Marching Order account.  Log in to your Marching Order account at https://widener.marchingorder.com, click “Step 1 – Review Ceremony Assignment & Reserve Tickets,” and then follow the prompts on the reservation form to acquire your ticket(s). 

Mini Ceremony

Each graduate will be permitted a maximum of 2 guests. Tickets required.  

Unused tickets cannot be transferred to another graduate.

Drive-Through Ceremony

Each graduate will be permitted a maximum of 2 vehicles in their party; how many family and friends ride in them is up to you. Please note that the maximum number of vehicles INCLUDES the vehicle the graduate rides in, and no one is permitted to ride in the back of a pickup truck. Additionally, only 1 graduate is permitted per party, whether that includes 1 or 2 vehicles. Tickets required.

Unused tickets cannot be transferred to another graduate.

Mini Ceremony

All children age 3 and older require a ticket. Children age 2 and under do not require a ticket, so long as they remain on the lap of an accompanying adult for the duration of the ceremony.

Drive-Through Ceremony

N/A. Drive-through ticketing is managed per vehicle, not per attendee.

Mini Ceremony

Yes.  Any guest age 17 or younger MUST be accompanied by an adult at all times. 

Drive-Through Ceremony

No.

No.

Mini Ceremony

Yes. All mini ceremonies will be webcast live online. Access to the live streams will be available on the commencement website.

The live stream will be available to view on the university’s YouTube page when all of the mini ceremonies have concluded.

Drive-Through Ceremony

No. Graduates and their guests are encouraged to take their own videos and photos.

Mini Ceremony

In most cases, mini ceremonies will take place rain or shine. In the event of severe inclement weather that could impact the safety of all involved, plans will be adjusted, up to and including cancellation without the ability to reschedule.

Drive-Through Ceremony

In most cases, drive-through ceremonies will take place rain or shine. In the event of severe inclement weather that could impact the safety of all involved, plans will be adjusted, up to and including cancellation without the ability to reschedule.

No. The mini and drive-through ceremonies will not overlap, allowing graduates, guests, and the university to celebrate your accomplishments to the fullest extent possible. 

Mini Ceremony

No.  Regardless of vaccination status, each graduate will be permitted a maximum of 2 guests.  

Drive-Through 

No. Regardless of vaccination status, each graduate will be permitted a maximum of 2 vehicles in their party; how many family and friends ride in them is up to you.   

No. We will have a packed schedule of back-to-back ceremonies all day long and need to keep groups socially distanced from one another.  To help us safely accommodate each group of graduates and their guests in a timely manner, we ask that all attendees vacate the premises immediately after their ceremony.  This will allow our team to manage traffic and parking, thoroughly disinfect facilities, maintain social distancing, and reset the ceremony spaces for the next groups.  

Regalia

Official Widener-branded academic regalia is required for all in-person ceremonies and is available for purchase through the Widener bookstore online or in person. We also recommend graduates dress for the weather underneath their academic attire, as well as plan for appropriate shoes. All graduates must also wear a mask.

Regalia is available now for purchase online or in person through the Widener bookstore. Click to view store hours and location.

Phone orders are not accepted. You do not need to be measured if you are getting standard regalia. 

Bachelor’s regalia is $38, master’s regalia is $66 and doctoral regalia is $86. The doctoral tam is $40.

In-store purchases can be made by cash, check, and credit card; online purchases can be made by credit card, ApplePay, or PayPal.  We advise you purchase your regalia as early as possible, but final deadlines are outlined in the table below:

  In-Store Purchase Deadline Online Purchase Deadline - Ship to Address Online Purchase Deadline - Pick-Up In Store Email Purchase Deadline
Bachelor & Associate Friday, May 7, 2021 Friday, April 23, 2021 Friday, May 7, 2021 Not available for purchase by email
Master Friday, May 7, 2021 Friday, April 23, 2021 Friday, May 7, 2021 Not available for purchase by email
Doctoral Friday, May 7, 2021 Friday, April 23, 2021 Friday, May 7, 2021 Not available for purchase by email
Custom Doctoral Friday, March 26, 2021 Not available for purchase online Not available for purchase online Friday, March 26, 2021
PDF Order Form

 

Widener’s regalia has not changed since last year. If you purchased a cap and gown for 2020 and intend to be recognized for the same degree level, ie: bachelor, master or doctoral, then you can wear the same regalia. 

You only need to purchase new regalia if you earned a higher degree in 2021.

Marching Order

Marching Order is an online commencement portal that supports various functions in the planning process for in-person and virtual commencement celebrations. Widener uses the Marching Order platform to confirm graduate data and name pronunciation, collect in-person ceremony RSVPs (mini or drive-through), personalize digital graduate slides, manage ticket distribution and ceremony admission, and send graduate communications via text and email.

Visit https://widener.marchingorder.com and enter the email address affiliated with your account, along with your password.  

Forgot your password? Visit the Marching Order password reset page, enter the email address affiliated with your account, and click “Request Password.”

Still need help? Email gradpetitions@widener.edu.

If you are unable to log in, have difficulty completing items in Marching Order, or have not received any communications regarding Marching Order, please email commencement@widener.edu for assistance. 

COVID-19

Yes. Widener University’s mask policy will be in effect for everyone, regardless of their vaccination status. The policy requires everyone age 3 and older to wear a mask indoors and outdoors at all times while on campus. 

No.

Yes. The safety of our graduates, guests, faculty, staff and volunteers is our top priority. The latest health and safety guidelines were used throughout the planning process. 

Mini Ceremony Safety Highlights
  • All CDC, state, and local requirements, in addition to Widener University specific policies, will be enforced as required at the time of our celebration. 
  • Graduates, guests, faculty, staff and volunteers will all be required to wear masks.
  • Small ceremony size that will not exceed a capacity of 100 graduates and 200 guests.
  • The ceremony will be under a 100’ x 210’ open-air tent.
  • Graduate seating will be socially distanced 6’ (horizontally and vertically, hip-to-hip) from all other graduates.
  • Guests from the same party will be seated in pairs socially distanced 6’ (horizontally and vertically, hip-to-hip) from all other pairs of guests.
  • Faculty and staff positioned on the stage will remain socially distant from each other and from all graduates as graduates cross to have their names and degrees announced.
  • Thorough cleaning and sanitization of all tent facilities will occur between each ceremony.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the ceremony facilities.
  • The ceremony will use touchless ticketed entry.
  • Dedicated parking areas for each ceremony will keep groups from crossing paths to and from their vehicles. 
Drive-Through Ceremony Safety Highlights 
  • All CDC, state, and local requirements, in addition to Widener University specific policies, will be enforced as required at the time of our celebration. 
  • Graduates, guests, faculty, staff and volunteers will all be required to wear masks.
  • Guests will remain safely socially distanced in their vehicles for the duration of the event.
  • Graduates will remain safely socially distanced in their vehicles except for the 2 minutes when they cross the stage to have their name and degree announced.
  • Faculty and staff positioned on the stage will remain socially distant from each other and from all graduates as graduates cross to have their names and degrees announced.
  • Thorough cleaning and sanitization of the staging area will be repeated multiple times throughout the day.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the ceremony facilities.
  • The ceremony will use touchless ticketed entry.
     

No.

Mini Ceremony

Possibly. As the health and safety of all participants is our top priority, we reserve the right to modify mini ceremony plans, including, but not limited to, a transition to drive-through or virtual-only options.

Drive-Through Ceremony

Possibly. As the health and safety of all participants is our top priority, we reserve the right to modify drive-through ceremony plans, including, but not limited to, reducing the number of vehicles per graduate or transitioning to a virtual-only option.

No.

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the university has taken a number of steps to ensure the health and safety of the campus community and beyond. Please visit the university’s COVID-19 webpage for more information. 

Communications

The commencement website at widener.edu/commencement is always up to date with the latest plans and information. We encourage all graduates and their families to make the website their primary source for current information.  

For graduates

If you are a student who anticipates graduating in May 2021, then you must petition to graduate* in order to receive commencement-related emails.

See the Graduate Checklist for instructions on how to petition.

*All students who graduated in calendar year 2020 have successfully petitioned to graduate and do not need to do so again.  

For families and friends 

You may stay up-to-date on commencement plans and information by signing up here

Use #Widener2020 or #Widener2021, depending on your graduate, as the hashtag. Everyone is encouraged to tag the university in their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram messaging. We enjoy being a part of your celebratory posts!

E-mail gradpetitions@widener.edu with your updated information. You will receive a response once your information is updated.

Graduation & Commencement Basics

Graduation is the successful completion of all major/minor/concentration requirements AND the awarding of a degree. Students who successfully petition can graduate during one of 3 terms per year – May, August, or December. 

Commencement is the voluntary celebration that occurs once a year in May. Participation in a commencement ceremony is not required and does not guarantee the awarding of a degree.

In order to receive commencement related emails, all graduates were required to petition to graduate no later than Monday, Feb. 1.

Log in to myWidener to complete your graduation petition.

*All students who graduated in calendar year 2020 have successfully petitioned to graduate and do not need to do so again.

Keeping in mind the definitions of graduation and commencement provided earlier in this section, the one-time graduation petition fee covers all expenses associated with your graduation, including diploma printing and shipping, transcript review, and more. All students are required to pay the fee regardless of participating in a commencement ceremony.   

Aside from purchasing your regalia, there are no other fees associated with commencement.  

Diplomas will be mailed to graduates at the address provided on their petition to graduate after all degree requirements have been confirmed.  We anticipate all May 2021 graduates will receive their diplomas no later than July 2021. (All 2020 graduates should have received their diplomas by this time. If not, please contact gradpetitions@widener.edu.)

Transcripts can be ordered at www.getmytranscript.com. Please be sure to choose “hold for degree notation” when ordering your transcript if you would like your degree noted. These transcript orders will be processed once degrees are conferred. 

View the Graduation Checklist for a complete list.

Academic honors for undergraduate students will be announced during commencement.  These honors will be announced based on your Fall 2020 cumulative grade point average.  Your diploma will reflect your final academic honors based on your Spring 2021 cumulative grade point average.  Please consult the undergraduate catalog for additional information including academic honors requirements for transfer or reentry students.

Miscellaneous

No, but all information that would have been shared at an in-person Grad Fair is available online, including information on how to petition to graduate, how to purchase academic regalia, and how to participate in our annual graduate portrait and class ring sessions. 

No. At this time, all graduates of the 2020 – and 2021 who were unable to make the on-campus dates – are able to schedule their graduate portrait session at a local studio managed by Prestige Portraits. Please bring your own regalia with you, as the studio will not guarantee regalia is available on site. 

To find a local studio location and appointment availability, please visit https://lifetouch.com/contact-us/

Both are available for purchase through Jostens.com

Email us at commencement@widener.edu and we will be happy to assist you.

Mini ceremony

No food and beverage will be available for purchase.  A bottle of water will be pre-placed on the seat of each graduate under the ceremony tent.  No other food or beverage will be provided. We ask that all graduates and their guests refrain from consuming any food or beverage unless medically necessary to minimize the need to remove ones mask. 

Drive-through

No food or beverage will be available for purchase, but guests are welcome to bring their own non-alcoholic beverages and snacks to consume in their vehicle. 

Mini ceremony

Restroom facilities will be available Founders Hall*, Freedom Hall, and Alumni Auditorium.  

Drive-through

Restroom facilities will only be available in the Pride Recreation Center*. 

*Includes gender neutral facilities. 
 

Widener University has partnered with The Commencement Group to provide a variety of flowers, class t-shirts and sweatshirts, and teddy bears. Items are available for advance purchase (recommended) and can be picked up after check-in*. Day-of sales will also be available, but inventory may be limited.

Additional Widener memorabilia can be purchased and shipped through the Widener Bookstore.

*For mini ceremony - Pre-ordered gifts can be picked up under the welcome tent after check-in

*For drive-through – Pre-ordered gifts can be picked up in the ACN Parking Lot along the check-in route.

LifeTouch will take photos of all graduates as they receive their degrees. Those shots are available for purchase through Events.Lifetouch.com. Search for Widener graduation under “find your event.”  

The university will share initial photos over social media and in the university Flickr account at flickr.com/photos/widener. We encourage graduates and their families to use the hashtag #Widener2020 and #Widener2021 when they post on social media.

It depends on the type of honors!

Widener recognizes Latin Honors in the printed program (which is going digital this year), as well as verbally during the ceremony as the graduate crosses the stage.  

Honor societies recognize their membership with cords.  If you are a member of any honor society, you should be hearing from them regarding distribution of your cords or how to purchase them.

If you would like to take pictures on campus, we ask you to do so prior to May 5 or after May 17, observe social distancing, and follow the university’s requirement that masks be worn indoors and outdoors at all times. We thank you in advance for not taking your photos the day of your ceremony to help us manage traffic and parking, disinfect facilities, maintain social distancing, and reset spaces for the additional graduates we are celebrating throughout the day!