San Jose + Sacramento Graduation Info

Graduating? Time to Get Excited!

Graduates cheering.

Get Your Graduation and Commencement Weekend info here!

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 and the commencement weekend.

Commencement Reception + Ceremony

Reception: Friday, May 19, 2023  |  4:30-6:00 p.m.

Ceremony: Saturday, May 20, 2023  |  11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Christ Community Church of Milpitas

If you haven't already, please take a look at the San Jose + Sacramento Graduation home page.



Preliminary Info: Graduation, Absentia, and Graduate Questionnaire

Graduates smiling while anticipating walking to front for diploma.

Is Participating in Commencement Weekend Mandatory?

  • Commencement: Yes.

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 SIS 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.


Commencement Reception: The Party

When: Friday, May 19. 2023
Time: 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Location: Christ Community Church of Milpitas

What is the Reception All About?

An informal gathering with appetizers and desserts for you and your family and friends to celebrate. This is a great time to hang out with your fellow graduates, faculty and staff. We will have a short program hearing from a few graduates, administration, and faculty.

Who Should Attend?

You and your family and close supporters! Attendance is not required but highly encouraged since we are celebrating you. We want to have it early enough in the evening for you to be able to go out for dinner but not too ealry so that there is time for those from Sacramento and further away from the Bay Area to get there. However, we also know travel on a Friday afternoon can be difficult and can understand if you are not able to make it. We will send out an RSVP as we get closer to the weekend (tickets will not be necessary).

 2022 Grad Reception

Commencement Ceremony: The Big Event

Commencement Ceremony
When: Saturday, May 20, 2023
Time: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Location: Christ Community Church of Milpitas
Note: This event will be live streamed!

Graduates must arrive by 8:30 a.m. for rehearsal.

What Time Do I Need to be There?

All graduates need to meet in the Western Seminary San Jose classrooms by 8:30 a.m. which you can find on the map. DO NOT BE LATE! Last person to arrive will get a “kick me” sign placed on the back of their regalia. Ok, not really, but don’t be late! You do not want to miss your opportunity to be in the group photo, as there will not be another chance.

Graduating Class of 2018


We will be running through commencement rehearsal as well as taking your official group and individual pictures. During rehearsal, we will line you up in correct order, show you where to sit, how to enter the stage; practice hooding, diploma receiving, and more. Your family and friends are not allowed in the rehearsal, but they can wait at the local coffee shop until doors open at 10:30 a.m.

After rehearsal, you will have just a little “down time” 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 refreshments for you.  Please stay nearby in the Western Seminary classrooms 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 put your personal items in the classrooms. We will let you know which room to use. It will be locked during the ceremony and unlocked immediately after.  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. However, if you are planning to invite more than 20 people, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., so we can anticipate any arrangements that may be necessary.

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

There are NO PHYSICAL TICKETS (or any kind of ticket for that matter) 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’s all about, after all.

Immediately Following the Ceremony

Please exit the Worship Center and plan on meeting your friends and family in the courtyard (outdoor) for pictures and hugs, so as to thin out the crowd.  Remember to go back to the classroom to retrieve your personal belongings. 

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

Commencement: Regalia


Ordering and Distribution

On your graduation application, you should have noticed it asked for height and weight information. This was for your regalia order. Regalia packages will be ordered in advance by our Student Services team and will be available for pick up a few days before commencement.
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! Students find them handy for hiding chapstick, phones, or other items in.

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 a fabric from renewable managed forest. This fabric is scientifically proven to completely biodegrade and is a USDA certified biobase 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 this is a commissioning of students, as much as it is a celebration, we think it is most appropriate for the occasion for us a seminary and graduate institution to 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 Jostens: custom Western Seminary diploma frames, announcements, jewelry, and more. All of our items were updated just this past year and look really sharp. If ordering a diploma frame, the document size 8” x 10”. To view and order these items, click below to visit the Jostens site, and search for Western Seminary- All Locations.

Jostens 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 will be mailed from Jostens to all fall, spring, and summer graduates, and they can take up to two months 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 that is 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 e-mail.

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.


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.

MAC students, we know that you are needing your transcripts ASAP to apply for your Associate number. If you would like to check on the status of your degree conferral, you may direct your email to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.six weeks after the final day of the semester in which you graduate.

Where Do I Order My Transcript?

In your SIS account under the Student Records tab, then click “Transcripts on Demand.”


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


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


We will have two professional photographers to take pictures at the commencement ceremony. This will include a picture of you being hooded and getting your diploma cover. We will aso do some group photos by campus and have an additional outdoor photo taken of eahc of you in your regalia. after the ceremony we will make these available via a link to download or if you like, to order prints to buy in a variety of sizes and media.

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, Andy Peloquin, would love to set up a meeting with you to talk.

Andy Peloquin
Andy Peloquin
Director of Student Development
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Placement Home

MAC Graduates

Have you checked out

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 Financial Aid department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and register for your selected class through your SIS account.

Alumni Audit Opportunity


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.


graduation 9Again, Congratulations!

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

Remember to:
  • Respond to email asking for graduation information!