Apply to speak at a baccalaureate ceremony

Saturday, December 16

Jack Breslin Student Events Center
534 Birch Road

East Lansing, Michigan

Each ceremony is two hours.
NO admission tickets are required.

DOORS OPEN 1 hour 15 minutes early (at 8:45 a.m. for the morning ceremony and at 12:45 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony).



Graduating Seniors participate in the ceremony in which their college is assigned:

10:00 a.m.
Arts and Humanities(Residential College)
Arts and Letters
Broad College of Business
James Madison
Social Science


2:00 p.m.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Communication Arts and Sciences
Lyman Briggs
Natural Science


Instructions pdf


Please note: Parking is limited in the area. Commencement traffic combined with students leaving for the winter break creates considerable traffic congestion. We encourage all attendees to use the commencement shuttle bus service. The buses are accessible, and there is no charge.


We ask for your cooperation in observing graduation etiquette. Any items visible and worn with your academic gown should be appropriate to the occasion and not detract from the recognition of your fellow graduating seniors. Do not wear flowers or decorative jewelry on your academic gown. Low-heeled shoes are recommended. Please silence cell phones, pagers, or other devices. Please be respectful as names are read, so that each and every graduating senior receives the proper recognition.


Colleges will distribute Name Cards in late-November/early-December. Please bring your name card to the ceremony. Your name will be read as you cross the platform (the ramp in front of the stage). Photo Cards are distributed at assembly (complete the photo card at assembly).



Arrive for assembly 45 minutes before your ceremony begins (at 9:15 a.m. for the 10:00 a.m. ceremony and at 1:15 p.m. for the 2:00 p.m. ceremony). Please bring your Name Card with you. Enter the Breslin Center through the Service Tunnel/Drive on the south side and walk all the way down to the Arena level; or you may enter through any open entrance. Stairs are located near the Gilbert Pavilion Gate. Take the stairs down to the Arena level.

Commencement staff in the Service Tunnel area will provide you with a Photo Card. Follow the directional signs (by college) and line up behind your college sign.

Please have your guests hold coats and other belongings. Coats and any other belongings are not to be left unattended in the assembly area.


TASSELS: Wear tassels on the RIGHT side of your cap. Following the conferral of degrees, the President will ask graduates—en masse—to shift tassels to the left. 

Carry your name card and photo card to the stage.



The processional begins at 9:50 a.m. (morning ceremony) and at 1:50 p.m. (afternoon ceremony). The order of the processional:

  1. University Mace
  2. College Commencement Banner Carriers (graduating seniors selected by their colleges)
  3. BACCALAURATE DEGREE CANDIDATES are lined up by college. Escorts lead candidates into the main arena and to seating in the bleachers
  4. Faculty are escorted to seats on the Arena floor
  5. Members of the Platform Party are escorted to the stage


  1. Processional

  2. President’s Welcome

  3. The Star-Spangled Banner

  4. Moment of Silence

  5. Conferral of Honorary Degrees

  6. Commencement Keynote Address

  7. Special Music

  8. Board of Trustees’ Greetings and Remarks


  10. Senior Class Gift Presentation

  11. Recognition of Members of the Platform Party

  12. Presentation of Degree Candidates

  13. Conferral of Degrees

  14. Student Recognition

      1. Board of Trustees Awards

      2. Honors College

      3. University High Honor or Honor

      4. Study Abroad

  15. Presentation of Diplomas

  16. Congratulate Graduates

  17. President’s Concluding Remarks and Acknowledgment of Faculty and Families and Friends of Graduates

  18. Alma Mater

  19. Recessional


The Senior Class Council will select two graduating seniors to deliver the student speech at the baccalaureate degree commencement ceremonies (one at the morning ceremony and one at the afternoon ceremony). Speeches are to be no longer than 4-5 minutes. If you are interested in representing the Class of 2017, please see the Speakers & Honorary Degrees tab for the application and details. The deadline to submit your speech is Friday, October 20, 2017.


The Dean presents the college’s degree candidates and invites them to rise. Degree candidates remain standing. After all Deans present their degree candidates, the President, joined by members of the MSU Board of Trustees, confers the degrees en masse and instructs degree recipients to shift tassels to the left. Following conferral of degrees and shifting of the tassels, the degree recipients are seated.



The Provost invites the graduates to the platform. Escorts then lead to the platform. Carry both your name card and photo card to the stage. Each graduate’s name is read. The President will present the token diploma to you after your name is read. Professional photographers will provide at least one photo: as the President presents you the token diploma or a posed photo before you return to your seat.



After the singing of the Alma Mater, the recessional proceeds as follows:

  1. Platform Party

  2. Faculty

  3. Graduates


Weather permitting, graduates will exit the Arena through the Service Tunnel/ Drive (south side of the Breslin Center). Weather not permitting, graduates will exit the arena and arrive at the Gilbert Pavilion Gate (southeast), Concourse level.

Please arrange to meet your guests at alternate and less congested entrances (Northeast, Northwest, or Southwest), at the shuttle bus stop, or outside. 



The bachelor’s cap and gown package is $48.00 plus sales tax. Visit the Official On-Campus Provider of Caps and Gowns, the Spartan Spirit Shop, in-store or on-line at: The last day to order online is Sunday, December 3, 2017.

GRAD FEST on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 and Wednesday, October 18, 2017 from 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. There are discounts on cap/gown packages, announcements and other commencement/Alumni related items during this event.

Order ANNOUNCEMENTS at the Spartan Spirit Shop or online at


Spartan Spirit Shop in the MSU Union Building 49 Abbot Road.

With any questions about cap and gown, contact the Spartan Spirit Shop at: or 517-355-5116.

Hours: Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 12:00 noon–5:00 p.m.

In support of our commitment to sustainability, the baccalaureate degree cap and gown is manufactured using recycled materials. After participating in your commencement ceremony and taking photos at your favorite locations—please recycle your gown. You can return your gown to the Spartan Spirit Shop, MSU Union Building, 49 Abbot Road.



Seniors graduating with honor (3.71) or high honor (3.89) will be notified by their colleges in late-November/early-December to pick up a gold honor cord. Wear your honor cord in the ceremony.

Graduation with honor is based on the entire academic performance at Michigan State. However, recognition of graduation with honor in the commencement program booklet is based on grade-point average of all work at MSU completed prior to the opening of the semester of graduation. Transfer students must earn a minimum of 50 semester credits at MSU to be eligible for graduation with honor or with high honor for recognition in the commencement program booklet.




Please contact Heather Bailey at or 517-884-4957 by Monday, November 20, 2017 with requests for accommodations. Requests made after that date will be met when possible.



The Breslin Center is a barrier-free facility. Wheelchair accessible areas are at the Concourse level (the level at which you enter). Persons unable to climb stairs and wheelchair users may be seated in these areas. We ask that one individual in your party be seated with the person requiring wheelchair accessible seating. In order to accommodate all who require seating in the wheelchair accessible areas, we ask that all other members in your party be seated in the general seating areas. Please arrive early so that accommodations may be met. Ushers will direct you to these areas.

There are a very limited number of wheelchairs available. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis at Guest Services, Gilbert Pavilion Gate (southeast), Concourse level. You must leave a valid driver’s license (or other valid picture id) to use a wheelchair. Wheelchairs are for transportation only—from the parking lot into the facility and to the seating areas. Please do not use wheelchairs for seating. Once you have transported your guest to seating, please return the wheelchair to Guest Services for others to use. Following the ceremony, you may use the wheelchair again. You must leave your driver’s license again and return the wheelchair to Guest Services after use.

Assistive Listening Devices (Phonic Ear headsets and receivers) are available at Guest Services, Gilbert Pavilion Gate (southeast), Concourse level. You must leave a valid driver’s license or valid picture id to use the headsets. The Loop System is available in permanent seating areas.

Open captioning is available for the deaf or hard of hearing.

Sign Language Interpreters - Please contact Heather Bailey at or 517-884-4957 no later than Monday, November 20, 2017. Please provide your name, mailing address, the number of guests in your party, and contact information. Reserved seating tickets will be mailed. Please be aware that we may need to limit the number of tickets in order to accommodate all guest requests.

Early arrival is strongly suggested for those who have special accommodation needs and who are seeking barrier-free parking. The DOORS OPEN 1 hour 15 minutes early (at 8:45 a.m. for the morning ceremony and at 12:45 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony).

Barrier-free Parking is in the Breslin Center lot 63 East. Please enter from Shaw Lane. Parking in this area requires a valid State-issued disability plate/placard. The hanging disability placard permits prompter admittance. Please see Breslin Center diagram. If you do not have a State State-issued disability parking placard or plate, you may drop off guests with mobility challenges on the north side of the Breslin Center (Kalamazoo Street). We ask that you do this as quickly as possible. Please see Breslin Center diagram.

Commencement Shuttle Service is strongly recommended. The buses are accessible.



There is NO charge for the Commencement SHUTTLE BUS SERVICE. Commencement shuttle bus service is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for participants and their guests.

The Shuttle Buses are accessible.

Buses run every 15 minutes from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., from the following parking areas:

  • Ramp 5 - Trowbridge Road Access (at the Communication Arts and Sciences Building), stopping at the bus shelter in front of the ramp

  • Lot 79 - South side of Spartan Stadium, stopping on Shaw Lane for passengers

Please see the Maps, Parking &Shuttle tab for more information.  The Maps, Parking & Shuttle page denotes available parking lots and structures.                                                        

Baccalaureate Degree Instruction Maps