Portland + Online Graduation Orientation

Graduating? Time to Get Excited!

Graduates cheering.

So you’re ready to graduate, aren’t you?  Congratulations! We hope you take some time to reflect on how hard you’ve worked to reach this moment in your academic career. Life happens between your first semester and your last. You’ve experienced joys and sorrows alike during your time as a Western Seminary student.  You’ve made sacrifices of time, money, and energy. Likewise, your loved ones have also sacrificed with you along this journey.

Some of you have blasted through your program, and others feel as though you’re crawling over the finish line. No matter what pace you went, you should be very proud of all of your hard work and everything it took to get to this point!  We trust that you have been transformed by the gospel and are fully equipped to go out and do the good works God has prepared in advance for you to do.

Here you’ll find all of the information you need to know in order to be prepared for the graduation weekend.

Graduation Banquet

When: Friday, April 24, 2020 — 7 pm to 9 pm
Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland
1000 NE Multnomah St, Portland, OR 97232
Tickets: Tickets to go on sale in early 2020.
Notes: Doors open at 6:30 pm. Dinner starts at 7 pm. Come for a special evening of celebration. 

Commencement Ceremony

When: Saturday, April 25, 2020 — 11 am to 1 pm
Where: Athey Creek Christian Fellowship
2700 SW Ek Rd, West Linn, OR 97068
Tickets: No tickets are needed to attend commencement. All are welcome to celebrate with us!
Notes: Graduates must arrive at 8:45 am and be dressed and ready for a class photo at 9 am; doors to the auditorium open for guests at 10:30 am. You and your guests are warmly invited to enjoy a reception following the ceremony.
Hotel Option:

Embassy Suites Portland Airport
7900 NE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97220

We have reserved a block of ten rooms for both Friday and Saturday nights, at a rate of $149/night.
Book online or via phone (800.774.1500) by April 3 to reserve your spot, using the group block code: WSE.

 

Graduation Fee and Absentia

Graduation Fee

By now, you should have already submitted your application to graduate through your S.I.S. account and see that a $250 graduation fee was posted to your student ledger. This is the indicator that Western has received your application to graduate.

What Does the Graduation Fee Cover?

  • Professionally printed diploma and cover
  • Graduation audit expenses
  • 2 Banquet tickets
  • Regalia
  • Facility expenses
  • Much more

Do you have to pay the fee even if you’re graduating in absentia?
Yes. The majority of the costs for graduation is covered by Western, as it costs much more than this for each student who graduates. The fee is due at the time it is charged to your student account.


Graduates smiling while anticipating walking to front for diploma.

Is Participating in Graduation Weekend Mandatory?

  • Commencement: Yes.
  • Banquet: No.

Commencement is mandatory, except for the following degree programs:

  • Graduate Studies Certificate (GSC) graduates do not participate.
  • Graduate Studies Diploma (GSD) graduates have the option to participate if they so desire.

If you wish to graduate “in absentia” (not attend commencement), you should have indicated that in your application to graduate, followed by submitting an academic petition in S.I.S., explaining the reasons for your request. Typically acceptable reasons are moving/living out of state, unreasonable traveling costs, serious illness, etc. “I don’t really want to participate” is not considered an acceptable reason.

We hope that you’ll look forward to commencement as a way to celebrate and commemorate all of the hard work you’ve done to complete your program. Think of commencement as an Ebenezer of sorts in your educational and spiritual journey.

The banquet, while not mandatory, is highly encouraged. It is a special, joyful evening, meant to celebrate and reflect on your accomplishment with your classmates, family, and greatest supporters.

The Graduation Banquet

Graduation Banquet Hall
When: Friday, April 24, 2020
Time: 7 PM
Location: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland
1000 NE Multnomah Street
Portland, OR 97232
Note: Doors open at 6:30 PM. We anticipate the program will end around 9 PM.

Tickets

You will receive two free tickets to the banquet: one for you, and one for your spouse/guest. You may also purchase up to two additional tickets for $40 each if desired.

Registration for the banquet will be posted within the first few weeks of the Spring semester.

All seating is assigned to ensure groups get to sit together. If you prefer to sit with another party, please indicate your desire in the allotted field on the registration form.

Who Should I Invite?

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Major supporters in your educational journey
  • Children 10+ (nursing infants, of course, are welcome as well, though we ask that you make arrangements for young children, as they may have a difficult time sitting quietly during some aspects of the program)

What Should I Wear?

Dress code: Semi-Formal

Ladies: Nice dress or skirt, dress pants, blouse, etc.

Gentlemen: Button-up shirt, ties, jackets, etc.

Will There be Accommodations for Dietary Restrictions?

As best as we can. When you register for the banquet, please indicate dietary needs/restrictions in the appropriate field.

Graduates and family gathered around a dinner table at banquet.

What Will We Do at the Banquet?

  • Eat delicious food
  • Hear from our President, Dr. Randy Roberts
  • Hear from student speakers
  • Enjoy singing and music
  • Celebrate!

Gradutes smiling around a dinner table at the banquet.

Commencement: The Big Event

Commencement Ceremony
When: Saturday, April 25, 2020
Time: Graduates arrive at 8:45 AM; Ceremony begins at 11 AM
Location: Athey Creek Christian Fellowship
2700 SW Ek Rd
West Linn, OR 97068
Note: No tickets are needed to attend commencement. All are welcome to celebrate with us!

Graduates must arrive by 8:45 AM for rehearsal.

What Time Do I Need to be There?

All graduates need to be ready and dressed, at the venue, by 8:45 AM. Upon arrival at the venue, please follow the signs to head directly to the graduate ready room. Your regalia should be on, cap secured, and ready to go.

Graduating Class of 2018

Rehearsal

We will be running through commencement rehearsal, as well as taking your official pictures. During rehearsal, we will line you up in the correct order, show you where to sit, how to enter the stage; practice hooding, diploma receiving, and more. Family and friends are not allowed in the rehearsal; please plan accordingly.

After rehearsal, you will have just a little “downtime” in order to use the restroom, freshen up, adjust your regalia, take pictures with peers, and grab a snack. We will be providing some light breakfast items and water for you. Please stay nearby the graduate ready room, and do not wander. We don’t want you to miss the queue to line up!


Rehersal Preperation

Where Do I Put My Stuff? Will It Be Safe?

We encourage you to keep your personal items with your family and friends, as much as possible. However, we will have a staff member guarding the graduate ready room during the ceremony.  Please do not leave it unattended at your seat in the Worship Center.

Guest Invitation

The Worship Center is quite spacious and we are confident that it will accommodate all your guests.

There is a cry room available should it be needed for the little ones.

There are NO PHYSICAL TICKETS needed to attend the commencement ceremony.  

We know that reserving groups of seats can be tempting, but please be respectful of other guests who have shown up on time in order to get the seat they want. They’re here to see their loved ones graduate too.

Gospel Highlight

We know that not everyone invited to commencement will be fully committed Christians. Bearing that in mind, we ensure that through our graduation keynote and student speakers, the gospel is highlighted so that you may have an opportunity to witness to and connect with your unbelieving friends and family. Gospel-centered transformation is what Western Seminary is all about, after all.

Immediately Following the Ceremony

Please exit the Worship Center and plan on meeting your friends and family in the lobby for pictures and hugs, so as to thin out the crowd. Light refreshments will be provided (cookies, punch, etc.), though we encourage you to go out and celebrate over lunch together. Remember to retrieve your personal belongings. 

Graduates Celebrating After Ceremony Graduates posing for an image with faculty.

Commencement: Regalia

Regalia

Ordering and Distribution

On your graduation application, you'll notice we requested your height and weight information Using this information, we will order your regalia in advance; you will receive an email regarding regalia pick up in the weeks prior to graduation.  
 
Once you receive the regalia, you are encouraged to try it on to make sure there are no defects, and it fits properly. Do not worry about the funky sleeves! They’re supposed to be that way! 

What’s Included in My Regalia Package?graduate posing in regalia.

  • Master’s gown
  • Master’s hood specific to your field of study
  • Mortarboard cap
  • Year dated tassel specific to your field of study

How Do I Care for My Regalia?

Please plan to hang up and steam your gown prior to coming to commencement. Avoid ironing the regalia--particularly the velvet portion of the hood. Do not wear your regalia in the car on the way over to rehearsal, but rather hang it up on a hanger, and plan on putting it on during rehearsal.

The regalia we purchase uses fabric from a renewable managed forest. This fabric is scientifically proven to completely biodegrade and is a USDA certified biobased product.

I Already Have Regalia; Can I Just Wear That?

No. The Master’s level regalia is different than anything you may have already.

Do I Get to Keep My Regalia after Commencement?

Yes! All of this is yours to keep.

Can I Decorate My Cap?

Due to the fact commencement is a commissioning of students as much as it is a celebration, please leave gowns and caps in their original condition without any extra adornment.

Other Purchase Options from Jostens

 There are other items available for purchase through Josten's: Custom Western Seminary diploma frames, announcements, jewelry, and more.  If ordering a diploma frame, the document size 8” x 10”. To view and order these items, click below to visit the Josten's site, and search for Western Seminary.

Josten's Website

Diploma Example

This is one example of a diploma frame option. You may choose different options and personalize yours as desired.

After Commencement: Diploma & Transcript

Stack fo diploma covers

Diplomas

Diplomas will be mailed from Josten's to all fall, spring, and summer graduates. They can take up to 8 weeks from the end of the semester for you to receive. It takes 4-6 weeks for the Registrar's Office to confer your degree and submit diploma orders through Jostens. Diplomas are expected to mail out 2-3 weeks after degree conferral.

To expedite processing, please make sure the following conditions have been met:

  • All of your final grades have been submitted by faculty, and your degree has been certified.
  • Your account balance has been cleared to $0 with the Business Office.
  • You have completed the Financial Aid Exit Interview, if you've received federal loans.
  • Your mailing address listed in S.I.S. is current.

Once your degree has been conferred by the Registrar’s office, you will receive an email informing you of such, and asking you to verify that your mailing address is correct. Be on the lookout for this important email.

Using Your Legal Name

Like your transcript, your diploma will be an official document. Therefore, we will be using your full, legal name. If you legally change your name before you graduate, you must submit a Name Change Form prior to the last day of the semester in which your degree will be certified.


Transcripts

Once the aforementioned e-mail has been received from our Registrar, you are welcome to order your official transcript. DO NOT order your transcript until you have received the degree conferral confirmation email from the Registrar’s office. If you order it too early, you may need to reorder your transcript once your degree has been posted officially. Save yourself time and money by being patient. It can take 4-6 weeks for your degree to be conferred.

Counseling students: We know that you are needing your transcripts ASAP to apply for your Associate number and thank you for your patience.

Where Do I Order My Transcript?

In your S.I.S. account under the Student Records tab, then click Transcripts on Demand.

Cost

Official electronic transcripts (highly recommended) are $5.00 each. Print transcripts are $5.00 each, plus the cost of shipping chosen at the time of order. If you request your transcript to be rush processed, it will be an additional $15.00 per recipient.

Ordering Transcript Information

Order Through SIS

Odds & Ends

Honors

Many graduates are curious about whether or not they'll be graduating with honors. Honors are determined by your final grade point average (GPA). Your honors status will be noted in the program.

For fall graduates, this will be from your final term GPA. For spring graduates, GPA will be contingent on when spring grades are posted. For summer grads, this will be noted from your final spring semester GPA. 

RankFinal GPA
+Honors 3.60 - 3.74
++High Honors 3.75 - 3.89
+++Highest Honors 3.90 - 4.0

Photography

Commencement will be professionally photographed. Individual photos will be taken during rehearsal, as well as a photo of you being hooded and shaking hands with President Randy Roberts as you receive your diploma.

All photos will be made available to you for free to download. Prints will also available for purchase. Student Services will upload the link to access the photos in the Graduation section of Western Seminary's website within the month following commencement.

Graduate standing with diploma next to seminary president.

Alumni Relations: Your Transition from Student to Graduate

Job Searching

Looking for a job after graduation? Check out Western’s placement page to browse job listings near and far. Also, our Portland-based Director of Placement, Greg Moon, would love to set up a meeting with you to talk.

Placement Home

Graduate holding a frame that says "Alumni".

Free Alumni Audit

As a Western graduate, you can audit one class, at any of Western's physical campus location, for free per academic year. Now you can take all of those electives you never had the time to do--homework-free! Keep your mind sharpened and be a lifetime learner. Submit the form below to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. department, and register for your selected class through your S.I.S. account.

Alumni Audit Opportunity

Give

Trustworthy. Accessible. How has the gospel affected your life? What possibilities are waiting for someone to come along and make realities? See the ways that you can partner with Western Seminary to bring trustworthy, biblical training to a world in need.

Give

graduation 9Again, Congratulations!

You are now equipped with everything you need to know about the graduation weekend. 

Should you have questions, please review the Graduation Orientation one more time, and if you don't find the answer to your question, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..