All graduating seniors are expected to attend commencement. There are two Winter commencements for all graduates, one at 10:30 AM for Undergraduates and another for Graduate student at 2:30 PM at Branscomb Auditorium, on the Lakeland campus. There is one Spring Commencement for all spring graduates on at 1:30 PM off-campus at The RP Funding Center.
For the December commencement, graduating undergraduate students should arrive in caps and gowns at the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel at 9:15 AM and graduating masters and doctoral students should arrive at APC at 1:15 PM.
For the May Commencement, graduates should arrive in caps and gowns at The RP Funding Center at 12:00 PM. Graduates will assemble at a designated location at the RP Funding Center prior to the commencement ceremony.
There is no rehearsal for either commencement.
These designated faculty members provide the graduates with instruction and guidance for their participation in the ceremony. Graduates receive name cards for use by the announcer during the ceremony.
Graduates remain standing for the entire processional, the invocation, and the national anthem. Men remove their caps during the invocation and anthem and then replace them. Women leave their caps on throughout the ceremony. Bachelor’s degree candidates wear their tassels over their right temples. Graduates are seated as a group when the anthem is completed.
Presentation of Degrees
Graduates rise in a group to be presented for their degrees. The faculty marshals direct the movement to the platform. When graduates advance toward the stage, the announcer reads their names. Graduates walk across the platform to receive their diplomas from the president of the College.
Graduates rise for the alma mater. Women leave their caps on, but men remove theirs for the alma mater and benediction. At the conclusion of the ceremony, faculty marshals direct each to join the recessional. Platform occupants recess first; then, the faculty members. Finally, the graduates exit, beginning with the front rows. Graduates are asked to meet their family/guests at a pre-determined location.
Academic honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) noted in the commencement program are based on final cumulative grade point averages and are explained in the current academic catalog. To be eligible for these honors within the graduating class, students must have earned 62 or more hours at Florida Southern College. CLEP, AP, transfer, transient, and other non-Florida Southern credit do not meet this requirement.
Honor Cords, Stoles and Mortar Board Decorations
Honor cords representing specific honor societies are given to graduates by a representative of that organization. Their cost is not included in the graduation fee. Each organization is responsible for ordering the cords through the Campus Bookstore. Only authorized and registered honor societies may provide honor cords. Graduates may wear unlimited academic cords or medallions and one additional non-academic cord. In addition, the college reserves the right to prohibit decorations on mortar boards that it deems overly elaborate or inappropriate.
Dress Code for Graduates
Men are asked to wear dark trousers, dark shoes and neckties. Women are asked to wear dark clothing and dark shoes. Men are not required to wear suit coats under their robes.
Photography at Commencement
Professional photographers from GradImages will record each graduate receiving his or her degree. Proofs are provided to the graduate electronically shortly after commencement, and several online opportunities are provided for purchase. For more information, call 800.261.2576 or email www.gradimages.com. During the ceremony, guests are permitted to take photographs from their seats and the aisles to each side of the graduates. They are not permitted access to the stage at any time and must keep the aisles open for graduates walking to and from the platform. Following the ceremony, guests are welcome to use the platform and surrounding area as a backdrop for photos.
Due to changes mandated by the Lakeland Fire Department, the RP Funding Center no longer allows for general admission seating. Therefore, beginning with the 2019 ceremony, tickets will be required for admission into the RP Funding Center for the commencement ceremony. Each student will be allotted 9 tickets for family and friends (graduates do not need a ticket). Tickets are distributed through the College ticket box office next to Branscomb Auditorium.
You may pick up your nine (9) tickets at the Branscomb auditorium box office beginning on Monday, February 25. Box office hours are Monday through Friday 2:00 to 6:00 PM. All tickets must be picked up by 6:00 PM on Thursday, May 2. The box office is located behind the Imperial Symphony Orchestra office, adjacent to Honeyman Pavilion.
You must present a valid form of identification and sign for your tickets. In order to ensure that your tickets do not end up going to someone else, there will be no exceptions to this requirement for identification.
We are unable to reprint any tickets. Be sure to keep track of your tickets. If your tickets are lost, we will NOT be able to replace them.
Those needing additional tickets and those having additional tickets may connect on the following Facebook page. The exchange of tickets is solely the responsibility of the parties involved. https://www.facebook.com/groups/806572669431071/
Children under 2 years old do not require a ticket to attend the commencement.
Graduates do not require a ticket.
The tickets do not have specific assigned seats. Once in the arena, guests may sit wherever they wish. If you have a large family and wish to sit together, you may encourage them to arrive early. Doors to the RP Funding Center will open at 9:00. Doors to the arena (where commencement will be held) will open at 12:00.
There will be specially designated handicapped seating on the floor of the arena. Guests needing handicapped seating will still need a ticket to get into the arena. Because handicapped seating is limited, the Center asks that only one other guest accompany the person requiring the handicapped seating.
Graduates with Physical Disabilities
Graduating seniors with physical disabilities should contact the Office of the Provost at 863.680.4124 as soon as possible so proper accommodations may be made.
Parking for commencement on the Florida Southern campus is free and is on a first-come, first-served basis in any campus parking lot. There is unlimited parking at The RP Funding Center at no charge. Please state you are attending the commencement ceremony when asked by the parking attendant. Handicap parking is readily available at both locations.
Length of Ceremony
The entire commencement ceremony is usually one and a half to two hours, depending upon the number of graduates and the length of the speeches.