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Frequently Asked Questions - Spring Commencement


The date for Commencement is Friday, May 10, 2018, in Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium at Western Kentucky University. The ceremony should last for approximately one hour and will include conferral of degrees by WKU President Timothy C. Caboni.   

Before the ceremony, graduates will participate in the Topper Walk. Graduates will gather in front of the Kentucky Museum by 5:15 p.m. to participate.  Families and guests are welcome to watch the Topper Walk, then may proceed to find their seats inside the arena in the designated visitor sections.

Tickets are not required to attend Commencement.

Graduates’ names will not be read and diplomas will not be presented at the ceremony. Individual colleges will hold recognition ceremonies on Saturday, May 11. Learn more about the various commencement activities and celebrations.

Graduates should plan to attend BOTH ceremonies on Friday and Saturday.

All graduates are encouraged to attend the official university commencement ceremony that will be held on Friday at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. The ceremony  begin with the Topper Walk procession of graduates that will start at the Kentucky Museum.  Graduates should meet at the Kentucky Museum at 5:15 pm.  Families and friends should go ahead and find their seats inside the stadium during this time, or they may find a spot along College Heights Blvd. to view the Topper Walk, then find their seats inside the stadium.

All graduates should ALSO attend their college's individual ceremony that will take place on Saturday in Diddle Arena. See times here. Families and friends are welcome to attend as well.  This is where you will "walk the line," and be individually recognized.

Some academic departments will hold separate special events as well in addition to the two main ceremonies.  As we are made aware of special events, we will list them on the special celebrations web page.  If you are unsure if your department is holding an event, please contact them directly.

“Graduation” is the term for completing your course of study at the university and fulfilling the requirements for your degree.

“Commencement” refers to the university-wide ceremony celebrating those who are receiving their degrees from Western Kentucky University. At WKU, the annual Commencement Ceremony is held in May.

“Recognition Ceremonies” refers to the individual ceremonies held by each college to recognize graduates of the various programs they house. At WKU, Regognition Ceremonies are hosted by the colleges each May and December.

Recognition Ceremonies and other special celebrations are organized separately by the individual colleges. These will occur on Saturday, May 11 in E.A. Diddle Arena at the following times:

  • Gordon Ford College of Business: 8:00 am
  • Potter College of Arts and Letters: 10:30 am
  • Ogden College of Science and Engineering: 1:00 pm
  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: 3:30 pm
  • College of Health and Human Services: 6:00 pm

If you have questions about your college's Saturday ceremony, please contact them directly.

We are happy to offer special accommodations for guests and graduates. Please refer to the Accessibility page for this information.
WKU PBS will live broadcast commencement and recognition ceremonies. These ceremonies will also be live streamed via the WKU Facebook Page and the WKU YouTube Channel. Afterward, these broadcasts will be archived on the YouTube Channel for later viewing.
When you line up for your special ceremony on Saturday, you will be given a slip of paper (or you might have already been given one if you attended the Grad Fair).  We recommend writing your name phonetically on the slip of paper so the person reading the names will pronounce your name correctly.  Names will NOT be read at the Friday ceremony.  Students will "walk the line" and be individually recognized at the College special ceremonies only on Saturday. 
Academic regalia can be picked up at annual Grad Fair events or by visiting the WKU Store on campus.
For Friday's ceremony, please plan to arrive at the Kentucky Museum by 5:00 pm to prepare for Topper Walk. Refer to information from your college for recognition ceremonies held on Saturday.
Yes! There will be a tent set up at the Big Red Bash following the Friday Commencement ceremony where you may have your photo taken by GradImages.  GradImages staff will also be available throughout the weekend at various events.  We request that guests remain in their seats during all ceremonies.
The Friday Commencement Ceremony will take place rain or shine at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.  Guests are encouraged to bring rain coats or ponchos if there is a chance of rain in the forecast.  Guests are asked to refrain from bringing umbrellas so that you will not obstruct the view of other guests in the stadium during the ceremony.

Your diploma will be mailed to you at the address listed on your Application for Graduation; however, if the address to which the diploma is to be mailed has changed since filing the graduation application, update the diploma address on TopNet immediately by selecting the Personal Information tab, View/Update Address(es) and Phone(s), click the down arrow for Type of Address to insert, select diploma address, then select submit. If there are any problems updating your address, please contact Leslie Vanderpool at (270) 745-5411. Diplomas for undergraduates will be mailed approximately 3-6 weeks following commencement.  Graduate diplomas will be mailed 6-8 weeks following commencement.

Please make certain all obligations such as the return of books to the library, arrangements for repayment of loans, parking tickets, etc., have been fulfilled prior to leaving campus. Final transcripts and diplomas will not be issued to students with outstanding obligations.


If you have additional questions, please email registrar@wku.edu or call (270) 745-3351


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 Last Modified 1/16/19