Commencement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

The Commencement Planning Committee provides this general information for students, guests and faculty for the May 2024 Commencement Exercises. 🎉 As a reminder, Graduate Commencement will be held on Thursday, May 9 at 5:00 p.m. and Undergraduate Commencement will be held on Friday, May 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make sure I do not miss any information regarding Commencement?

The Commencement webpage is where all current information will be posted, including messages we send to members of the Class of 2024. Please use the Commencement website for up-to-the-minute information on this important day. Students are encouraged to check their WPI email daily for important announcements.  

What is Graduation week?

Graduation Week involves activities for members of the Class of 2024. These are elective activities that students can participate in, and in past years, have included a Boston Harbor Cruise, a trip to the Worcester WooSox Baseball game, a trip to a winery, beer tasting, etc. As students have no academic responsibilities, these trips offered by the Senior Class Board and Graduate Student Government are a way for socialization and fun before their formal graduation! 

When will graduates learn more about Commencement exercises?

We anticipate sending out monthly messages to members of the Class of 2024 beginning in January to students’ WPI e-mail address. These messages will also be posted on the Commencement Webpage to allow friends and family to be aware of what we are sharing with our students. E-mail and the Commencement webpage will serve as our mode of communication. Students will be directed to their HUB account to complete many commencement related tasks.   

What tasks are students required to complete to participate in the 2024 Commencement exercises?

Students will be instructed to access their HUB account between Feb. 15 – April 22 to complete these important tasks below. These tasks must be completed before a student may reserve their Commencment tickets for their guests to enter the DCU Center:  

  • Confirm Attendance at the Commencement Ceremony 
  • Complete the NameCoach pronunciation recording 
  • Complete the CDC Survey 
  • Update future mailing address/e-mail address information 
  • Identify and reserve (up to 8) Commencement Tickets for their guests  
  • Order regalia via the linked OakHall Regalia ordering site (all students participating in Commencement must wear WPI regalia) 
How do guests get Commencement tickets?

Each student will determine who their guests will be at the Commencement Exercises, and they will identify their guests’ names and e-mail addresses via their HUB account. Tickets are required for all guests entering the DCU Center. Each student may receive up to 8 (electronic) tickets to distribute to their guests; these tickets will have a QR Code that will become visible on the day of their ceremony. Please note that each person entering must have a ticket, and seating at the venue is first-come, first-served. If extra tickets are available in late April, we will notify students of a lottery process. Children under 2 years of age do not require a ticket to enter, as long as they will be seated on the lap of a guest.  

Members of the Class of 2024 do not need a ticket to enter.  

Is there a rehearsal for Commencement?

There is no rehearsal for Commencement, and we are confident that our graduates can appropriately navigate line-up and associated movement to and across the stage. We will provide instructions on the Commencement webpage.  

The Commencement Student Speaker (seated on-stage) will be asked to join a pre-Commencement rehearsal. The exact time and place will be communicated to those individuals.  

How is the Student Commencement Speaker chosen?

The Student Commencement Speaker is a graduate or undergraduate student who will deliver a 3–5-minute speech to all those in attendance at their Commencement Ceremony.   

A call for the Student Commencement Speaker for each ceremony has been posted here, and auditions are held in April, with selection soon thereafter. Speaker candidates will audition in front of a group of peers and administrators. In-person auditions are highly recommended, although we will consider Zoom auditions for those candidates who cannot attend in-person. The selected speaker will speak in-person at their ceremony. 

Additional Information: The Student Commencement Speaker is required to participate in pre-Commencement rehearsal and will be seated on the stage during their Commencement. It is recommended that speech auditions have a theme that is broadly relevant and meaningful to their class. Applicants must have excellent written and oral communication skills. 

When picking up regalia, do I need my student ID?

If you pre-ordered your regalia by March 19, it will be at the WPI Bookstore on or after GRADFEST Day (April 19). To pick up your pre-ordered regalia, you will need your ID, so we can make sure you receive the correct sized regalia. If you miss the March 19 ordering deadline, regalia will be available for purchase at the WPI Bookstore on or after April 19th, with an additional $15 surcharge. All students participating in Commencement Exercises must wear WPI regalia. We recommend you take your regalia out of the bag several days before commencement and hang it on a coat hanger to remove the wrinkles….you’ll look better in non-creased regalia!  

For additional questions, please contact the WPI Bookstore at bookstore@wpi.edu or 508-831-5247.  

What are the arrangements for guests with ADA seating needs?

The DCU Center has plenty of ADA designated seating areas available that is on a first-come, first-served basis for guests with ADA and/or mobility impairments. So that we can best accommodate all of our guests with seating accomodations, each guest in the ADA seating areas may have one assistant to be seated together. Wheelchairs are allowed in the venue; however, wheelchairs are not provided by the venue. Upon arriving, seek direction from one of the WPI staff members to the designated areas. If your group would rather stay seated together, the WPI Commencement Team kindly suggests that your group arrive early to find suitable seating near one of the designated seating areas. 

Guests with ADA needs are asked to enter through Door 13. Please note we'll be using this seating plan, although the stage will be on the opposite end shown (by Sections 125/106). 

What entrance at the DCU Center should we enter through?
  • Graduates – please enter through Doors 1 with regalia in hand; the bus will drop you off at these doors
  • Guests – please enter through Doors 10, 11 & 12 
  • Guests with ADA needs – please enter through Door 13 
  • Faculty – please enter through Door 4A with regalia in hand; the bus will drop you off at this door 

Please note we'll be using this seating plan, although the stage will be on the opposite end shown (by Sections 125/106). 

What parking and/or transit options are available for graduates and guests?

We encourage our students to travel to the DCU Center with their family and friends. For those without transportation, WPI will provide a shuttle bus to and from the Higgins House Lot to the DCU Center. To take the shuttle bus, you must sign-up via your HUB Account. We are currently coordinating this transportation, and will include this in our future monthly student letters. The deadline for a student to reserve a seat on the shuttle is April 22; after this date, shuttle seats will not be available and students will need to find their own way to the DCU Center.

Students will report to the Higgins House (HH) Lot with their regalia to a shuttle to the DCU Center. The shuttle buses are only available for the Class of 2024 students. Guests are expected to travel directly to the DCU Center via their own means. 

There are several conveniently located parking garages and lots in the downtown area and surrounding the DCU Center. For more information please visit: https://www.dcucenter.com/visitor-information/parking/ 

For alternative travel options to the DCU Center from airports or using the MBTA, please visit https://www.dcucenter.com/visitor-information/transportation/  

Does the DCU have a bag policy?

Yes. Small wristlets of a MAXIMUM SIZE of 8 x 10 inches will be permitted. Medical bags & diaper bags will be allowed and will be checked prior to entry. All other bags such as cross body, larger totes, back packs, duffle bags, etc. will NOT be permitted. Please note that Helium Balloons are NOT permitted in the Arena or Exhibit Hall. 

https://www.dcucenter.com/visitor-information/policies/ 

How long is the Commencement Ceremony?

The Commencement Ceremony will be approximately 2 – 3 hours in length, with the majority of time spent as we read each student’s name when they walk across the stage to receive their diploma and have a photo taken with the President.  

Are graduates and faculty required to stay for the entire Commencement?

Out of respect for all of our graduates, we sincerely hope (and expect) that all students and guests will stay for the duration of the ceremony. Once graduates process across the stage, they should return to their seat.  

What do graduates need to do once they arrive?

All graduates will be dropped off at the Exhibit Hall at Door 1, where they will check-in and line up in their row. When it is time to move into the Arena, the line will proceed down a black carpet, past the Gompei Goat statue, and past the WPI seal on their way to their seats. Guests are not permitted in the graduate Exhibit Hall during the check-in process, nor on the Arena floor. 

Where will graduates be seated?

Graduates will be seated on the arena floor in specific order based upon their school, department and alpha order within that department.

When will graduates receive their diploma?

Graduates will receive their actual diploma several weeks after the ceremony from our diploma vendor to the home address on file. Students may update their mailing address when they access their HUB account to complete the Commencement tasks identified earlier. As students cross the stage, they will receive their diploma case from the President.

Can candidates decorate their regalia cap and wear cords/stoles?

WPI graduates have a history of creatively decorating their caps using reasonable decorum. Undergraduate students who earn academic honors may pick up their honor cords at the WPI Bookstore during the week of Commencement. After final grades are awarded (the week of May 6), students will receive an e-mail from the Registrar indicating that they have earned academic Honors or High Honors.  

Can attendees take a video and/or photos at the event?

Guests are able to take photos and video of the event from their seats only. Guest must not block or stand in a location that interferes with any other individuals viewing of the ceremony, and are not permitted on the arena floor. 

If graduates do not attend Commencement, how do graduates get their diplomas?

Students who do not attend the Ceremony will receive their diploma via mail. However, they will not receive a diploma cover, as those are handed out at the actual ceremony.  

Will the Commencement Ceremony be livestreamed and/or recorded?

For family and friends unable to attend our Commencment Ceremonies, we will be livestreaming from the DCU Center. The Commencement Ceremony will also be recorded and shared on the Commencement website a few weeks after Commencement. 

Will the Ceremony be postponed due to the weather?

While the weather is always unpredictable, having our ceremonies in the climate controlled DCU Center in many ways removes (most) weather concerns and we anticipate our event will continue as scheduled and planned. We encourage graduates and guests to prepare accordingly. Any updates regarding the Commencement Ceremony will be communicated to graduates via email and on our website. 

2024 Commencement at the DCU Center: Floor Plan

Commencement DCU Center Floor Plan