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2023 Commencement Ceremony

Commencement is quickly approaching! We look forward to celebrating your accomplishment with you and your loved-ones. Cleary University’s 2023 Commencement Ceremony will be held rain or shine:

Saturday, May 6, 2023, 10:00 AM
Lake Trust Stadium (outdoors)

If there’s a STORM, we plan to DELAY the ceremony until 3:00 PM. 
Additional details for the day’s festivities will be shared soon.

RSVP for Commencement

You are in the home stretch, and we are ramping up for your Commencement Ceremony! If you have not RSVP’d, please do so now. While we will not issue event tickets, an accurate count for seating is needed to make sure we accommodate for your guests.

Orders must be placed by
April 11.

Order Cap & Gowns and announcements

Students need to order their caps and gowns by April 11, 2023 to ensure delivery prior to Commencement day. You will only pay for shipping and any additional items that you buy. Bring your cap/gown (hood) to commencement that morning. Caps and gowns will not be available at commencement. Do not order Honor cords and/or Veteran cords – they will be given out at the registration desk upon check in.

Based on the degree you will be receiving, please order the appropriate gown color listed below:

  • ABA/AS (Associate Package) – Black cap and gown
  • BBA/BS (Bachelor Package)– Ruby (Red) cap and gown
  • MBA/MS (Master Package) – Navy (Blue) cap and gown 


Students will receive both an eDiploma and a printed diploma when all degree requirements have been fulfilled and all outstanding financial balances have been paid in full. This process takes approximately 1 month after final semester grades are submitted. 

No. The commencement ceremony is a public recognition of graduates but is not a requirement to graduate. Nor does attendance officially confer the degree. Both the eDiploma and the printed diploma will be mailed to students approximately one month after each semester ends (January for Fall semester, June for Spring Semester, and September for Summer semester).

Students have been charged a graduation fee ($100 – UG, or $125 Grad) for both the FA22 and SP23 semesters.  SU23 Students were notified that they need to pay this and that it has been added to their SU23 tuition bill. 

The graduation fee covers the degree audit and verification from each department along with the Registrar’s Office. The Registar reviews each transcript to ensure that the student passes their required courses. The graduation fee covers the cost of the diploma and cover, program expenses, mailing fees, and other expenses associated with graduation. All graduates are listed in the Commencement Program and all graduates must pay the fee, regardless of attendance at the ceremony.

As a measure of student academic achievement, all graduates at the baccalaureate (BBA) and master’s (MBA) levels are required to complete a standardized test and end of program surveys. The University uses this test to measure and improve curricula as well as to measure how well Cleary students are doing compared to students at other institutions. Although there is no minimum score required, the outcomes are important to the University as a comparison against the national average. The results of this test will be used to determine which students qualify for special honors. Students will receive medallions before our graduation ceremonies based on their percentile scores from their graduating class at Cleary. This percentile may be different than the national percentile shown on the certificate of completion students receive upon completing the online test. The honors medallions are determined as follows:

*Students who score in the top 10% (90th percentile and above) in the graduating class will be awarded a gold medallion;

*Students who score in the top 11% – 20% (80th to 89th percentile) in the graduating class will be awarded a silver medallion;

*Students who score in the top 21% – 30% (70th to 79th percentile) in the graduating class will be awarded a bronze medallion.

Medallion recipients will receive it at the sign-in table on commencement day, and should wear it at the ceremony. Medallions will be mailed to recipients who unable to attend the commencement ceremony.

Undergraduate academic honors printed on the diploma are computed based on all graded academic work completed at Cleary University. A bachelor’s degree (BBA and BS) candidate who maintains a GPA of 3.5 or above is recognized as follows:




cum laude “with distinction”


magna cum laude “with great distinction”


summa cum laude “with the highest distinction”

Students completing an ABA or AAS with a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher graduate ‘With Honors.’ Academic honors are not offered as part of the graduate program.

If you need immediate confirmation of your degree (for example, for a current or potential employer), contact records@cleary.edu to request a confirmation of degree letter.

The ceremony is generally held at the Howell campus on the first Saturday in May. Details are available on the Cleary website and will be updated in the weeks prior to the ceremony. Additionally, students who are graduating and want to attend the ceremony will receive an email with detailed instructions approximately a month prior to the commencement ceremony.

Our main focus at this ceremony is to celebrate students who have completed their degree programs or certificates. We also honor students, faculty and staff with special achievements.

Although we don’t give out actual diplomas until all requirements are met (e.g., completion of summer classes), we will be giving each graduating student a diploma cover.

We also recognize the significance of this ceremony with some pomp and circumstance, plus words of wisdom from honorable guests.

We ask graduates and their guests to arrive no earlier than two hours before their ceremony. Late arrivals will not be able to walk in the procession or sit with their class, so please aim for that two-hours-early arrival time.

The ceremony takes about 90 minutes. At the end of the ceremony, plan for another 30 – 60 minutes to collect your personal items, find your family, take pictures, and exit the campus grounds.

At the start of the ceremony, guests are asked to stand while the Academic Procession including faculty and students enter the area. Everyone remains standing until instructed to be seated.

The Chairperson of the Board opens the ceremony, and the President gives a welcome address.

The Executive Vice President of Institutional Advancement will introduce graduating students in the following order: Associates degrees, Bachelor’s degrees, Graduate Certificates, and Masters degrees. Ceremony marshalls will ask you to move from your seats to the side of the stage, and then onto the stage for presentation. As you approach the stage, have your information card ready for the EVP to properly introduce you. Please wait at the marked spot until your name is presented, and then walk across the stage to the President.

Continue across the stage, down the steps, and return to your seat. After all graduates have been presented, the Chairperson will invite Guest Speakers, including student award winners, to share inspiring words.

After  the Student Award Winner concludes their speech, the Chairperson will ask graduates and guests to stand for the departure of the Academic Procession.

At the very end of the ceremony, you will be instructed to flip your mortarboard tassel to the other side to indicate you have graduated. This is the conclusion of the ceremony, and the Academic Procession, including students, will exit the stadium.

Privacy: Please be aware that we will live-stream the ceremony on our website for the benefit of family members and friends who are unable to attend. Cleary University keeps a permanent recording of this live-stream for archival purposes.

Cleary University will provide a photographer during commencement. Photos will be posted on our website and available FREE for download by Saturday, May 13. Visit Cleary.edu. 

View last year's Commencement video

Last year’s Commencement Ceremony was the largest in Cleary history! Watch the replay here to get an idea of what to expect at your graduation this year. Commencement will take place rain or shine, so it is important to come prepared.