Commencement Protocol

Southern University System
Protocol for Commencement

1. Letters of invitation to Board members two weeks prior to commencement date with one week RSVP date. Invitation should include date and time of commencement as well as designated time and place of assembling prior to ceremony.

2. All official documents must contain the Board of Supervisors' most current roster (i.e. program).

3. Must follow the official program format:

  • PROCESSIONAL Begins at (time) with official party, followed by faculty (lead by mace bearer) and graduates.
    • Dais Participants
    • Faculty/Staff
    • Graduates

*See Attached Commencement Line-up

*Sample/Illustrative Commencement Line-Up


1. Chancellor 17. Member, Board of Supervisors
2. Guest Speaker 18. Member, Board of Supervisors
3. President (SUS) 19. Vice President for Administration
4. Chairman, Board of Supervisors 20. Vice President for Finance
5. Vice Chairman, Board of Supervisors 21. Vice President for Administration
6. Member, Board of Supervisors 22. Minister
7. Member, Board of Supervisors 23. V/Chancellor for Academic Affairs
8. Member, Board of Supervisors 24. V/Chancellor for Student Affairs
9. Member, Board of Supervisors 25. Vice Chancellor for Administration
10. Member, Board of Supervisors 26. Alumni Director
11. Member, Board of Supervisors 27. Assistant to the Chancellor
12. Member, Board of Supervisors 28. Registrar
13. Member, Board of Supervisors 29. Deans
14. Member, Board of Supervisors 30. Faculty/Staff
15. Member, Board of Supervisors 31. Graduates
16. Member, Board of Supervisors  

Commencement Program Format

1. Opening Statement by the Chancellor

2. Invocation

3. Musical Selection

4. Introduction of Speaker

5. Commencement Address

6. Conferring of Honorary Degree (If one is given)

  • Chancellor reads the Degree Citation
  • The Hooding (Board Chair and Vice Chair will hood degree recipient)

7. Chancellor (SUBR, SULC, SUNO, SUSH)

  • Ask the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs to present the Degree Candidates

8. Vice Chancellor: (SUBR, SULC, SUNO, SUSH)

  • Takes his/her speaking position on the stage.
  • Vice Chancellor salutes Chancellor by touching tassel.
  • Chancellor acknowledges
  • Vice Chancellor states to Chancellor: “We have reached the climatic moment of this commencement convocation, the awarding of earned degrees. I am delighted to present to you the candidates from the respective colleges and schools.”
  • Vice Chancellor presents Candidates to Chancellor.
  • Vice Chancellor delivers statement to Chancellor for Conferral of Degrees.

9. Chancellor (SUBR, SULC, SUNO, SUSH):

  • “Upon the authority vested in me by the President and Board of Supervisors, I confer upon each of you the appropriate degree with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto”
  • “Congratulations. You may now turn your tassels." (Tassels are turned).

10. Chancellor (SUBR, SULC, SUNO, SUSH): “Messr, or Madam Vice Chancellor are your prepared to introduce the Chief Student Marshal for this class?”

11. Vice Chancellor (Presentation of Chief Student Marshal): “Yes Mr. Or Madam Chancellor, our Chief Student Marshal for the (Semester) Class of (Year) is__________________________."

12. Chancellor (SUBR, SUNO, SUSH): “Will the Chief Student Marshal please come to the platform to receive your degree.”

13. Vice Chancellor (SUBR, SUNO, SUSH): “_______________________ is the Chief Students Marshall of the (Semester) (Year) Graduating Class__________________”

14. Chancellor (SUBR, SUNO, SUSH): “The candidates on my right may be seated. Graduates will you please come forward as your names are called”

15. Vice Chancellor: “Mr. Chancellor, for the purpose of calling the recipients of degrees, I now have the high privilege to present (Caller of Degree and Bachelor Degrees please come forward to receive your diplomas?”

  • Presents graduates from the respective colleges and schools
  • Presents Caller of Degree Recipients

16. (Caller of Degree Recipients): “Will the recipients of the Associate Degrees and Bachelor Degrees please come forward to receive your diplomas?”

  • Ask the candidates from each college to be seated after they have received their diplomas. When the last college on the left has finished, ask the candidates on the right to stand.

17. Chancellor (SUBR, SUNO): “Will the candidates for Masters Degrees please stand.”

18. Vice Chancellor presents candidates for Masters Degrees.

19. Presentation of candidates for Masters Degrees.

20. Vice Chancellor (SUBR, SULC, SUNO, SUSH):

  • Delivers statement of certification of candidates to Chancellor.
  • Presents candidates to Chancellor for conferral of their degrees.

21. Chancellor (SUBR, SULC, SUNO, SUSH): “Upon the authority vested in me by the President and Board of Supervisors, I confer upon each of you the appropriate degree with rights and privileges appertaining thereto. Congratulations!”

22. Vice Chancellor (SUBR, SUNO): "Mr. Chancellor, again I present (Caller of Degree Recipients) to present the Masters Degree candidates of the Graduate School.”

23. (Caller of Degree Recipients): “Graduates may be seated.”

24. Presentation of Candidate(s) for Doctoral Degree(s) (SUBR)

25. Chancellor (SUBR): “Will the candidate(s) for the Doctoral Degree please stand.”

26. Vice Chancellor (SUBR):

  • Delivers statement of certification for candidate(s) to Chancellor
  • “____________is the student to receive a doctorate degree from Southern University Baton Rouge in ___________________________”

27. Chancellor (SUBR): “Upon the authority vested in me by the Board of Supervisors, I confer upon you the Doctor of Philosophy Degree with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto."

28. Vice Chancellor presents Doctoral Diplomas to candidate(s) (SUBR)

29. Chancellor gives congratulations to graduates.

30. Vice Chancellor thanks Chancellor.

31. Presentation of Commissions in the United States Army (SUBR)

  • Done by Professor of Military Science

32. Chancellor (SUBR): “Will______________come forward for presentation of Commissions in the U.S. Army?”

33. Professor of Military Science (SUBR):

  • “Will the candidates for commissioning in the United States Army come forward!” (Pause)
  • “Chancellor ________________, these candidates have fulfilled all requirements for a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army and are presented to you for presentation of their commission.”

34. Chancellor (SUBR): “The Secretary of the Army has asked me to inform you that, by the director of the President of the United States, you are appointed as commissioned officers in the United States Army in the grade of second lieutenant. The Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff offer their congratulations and extend to you their best wishes for a full measure of success and a professionally profitable career in the services of our country.” (Pause)

35. Presdient: Remarks

36. Chancellor (SUBR, SULC, SUNO, SUSH):

  • Delivers Closing Remarks and recognizes:
    • Members of the Board of Supervisors
    • Vice Presidents and Vice Chancellors
    • Deans
    • Introduction of Academic Deans
    • Faculty and Staff
    • Parents, Family and Spouses of Graduates
    • First Lady
    • Spouse of Commencement Speaker
    • Other Dignitaries in the Audience

37. Chancellor SUBR, SUNO, SUSH): “I now ask the executive director of the S.U. Alumni Federation..."

  • Delivers Induction into Alumni Federation

39. Chancellor (SUBR, SUNO, SUSH): “Please rise for the singing of the Alma Mater.”

40. Singing of the Alma Mater

41. Chancellor (SUBR, SULC, SUNO, SUSH): “Please remain standing for the benediction which will be given by the Reverend___________. Afterwards please be seated for the recessional.”

  • Thank parents and guardians for entrusting their children to us.

42. Benediction

43. Recessional

Stage Requirements

  • Flower Arrangements (fresh) in front of the podium
  • Greenery, other plants, as appropriate
  • State/US Flag must be displayed
  • The diplomas will be displayed on a table that is clothed and/or skirted, as appropriate

Protocol of Officials

  • Board Members are officials of the University and should be addressed verbally and in writing as Honorable (Example: The Honorable Myron Lawson)
  • Order of acknowledgments:
  • Introduction/entrances at public functions
  • The members of the Southern University Board of Supervisors or The Honorable Myron Lawson, Chairman, Southern University Board of Supervisors
  • Dr. Leon R. Tarver II, President
  • Southern University System Chancellors

NOTE: When former Board Members, Presidents, or Chancellors are present, they should be seated in the VIP or reserved sections, if available. In addition, they should be acknowledged by the highest ranking University Official making remarks or acknowledgments. All persons seated on the dais should be introduced to the audience.

This website uses cookies to ensure site visitors get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies and Privacy Statement. To find out more, please visit Southern University's Privacy Statement.