John Carroll University conducts formal commencement exercises once each year in May. Commencement is both a celebration of students’ John Carroll University experiences as well as a symbolic rite of scholarly accomplishment. Participation in the Commencement ceremony does not equate to degree completion. Students must complete all graduation requirements in order to have their degree conferred. Attendance at Commencement exercises is optional, but those participating must wear academic cap and gown. Students may only attend one Commencement ceremony per degree earned. Participation in the May Commencement is only open to students who graduated in the previous fall semester or are anticipated to graduate in the current spring or upcoming summer semester. 

Diplomas are issued in the weeks following the ceremony only to those who have completed graduation requirements (i.e. spring graduation), as described in the Graduation Policy (Undergraduate Policy; Graduate Policy). Diplomas are also issued in August (i.e. summer graduation) and December (i.e. fall graduation).

To be eligible to participate in May Commencement, students must be in Good Academic Standing (Undergraduate Policy; Graduate Policy) at the conclusion of the fall semester preceding the Commencement ceremony and have submitted a graduation application for that fall or the following spring or summer graduation dates. The Registrar’s Office will review the graduation application to confirm eligibility for graduation in the indicated term. Students who graduate at the end of the fall semester are eligible to participate in the following May Commencement.

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony participants will have their Graduation Honors (i.e. cum laude, etc.) listed in the Commencement program according to their overall grade point average at the end of fall semester. Graduate students are not issued Graduation Honors. It is important to note that honors listed on the diploma are based on the undergraduate student's cumulative GPA at the time of degree conferral and so may be different from the honors noted in the Commencement program.

Commencement RSVP

Students must reserve their spot in the ceremony by submitting an RSVP by March 1 of the spring semester in which they would like to attend the ceremony. Students may not RSVP for Commencement without submitting a graduation application. If, upon RSVPing for the ceremony, it is determined that a student is ineligible to participate, they will be contacted promptly and their reservation removed.

In their RSVP, students will order their regalia and indicate the number of guests they believe they will be bringing to the ceremony. It is important to note that if the ceremony is moved indoors due to weather, each student may be limited in the number of guests they can bring as direct spectators.


If a student is ineligible to participate in Commencement according to this policy, they may submit an academic petition which will be decided by the Dean of their college or as a collaboration between the Deans, if the student has majors in more than one college. The deadline for submitting this appeal is April 1, but students are encouraged to do so as soon as possible so that, if granted, they can be included in the Commencement program.

Ultimately, the Dean has the full discretion to determine whether the appeal may be granted. If the appeal is denied, the student will be eligible to participate in the next Commencement ceremony after they have completed all degree requirements.