Graduation and Commencement

Frequently Asked Questions

Commencement Information

How do I know if I qualify for graduation?
In the summer following the junior year the Registrar’s Office evaluates the record of those students seeking baccalaureate degrees, that have reached senior standing, and students working towards their associates or master’s degrees. The students and their advisors will be notified via email the courses not scheduled but still needed. Students completing degree requirements in December that applied for graduation prior to the end of spring semester will be evaluated for graduation shortly before the fall semester begins. May and summer grads will be evaluated again in the fall and spring semesters. Students who have applied for graduation will receive an email in February or March stating if graduation has been approved, and what is still needed to complete degree requirements (December graduates will receive this email in September or October).

Who qualifies to be a summer graduate?
Only students who are within 9 credits, or two courses totaling no more than 12 credits, of degree completion and registered for those credits during the summer session at Defiance College may be approved as summer graduates.

How do I know if I’ve applied for graduation?
You are welcome to contact the Registrar at or 419-783-2358 if you have questions about applying or your application.

Who receives their diploma at commencement?
All graduates attending commencement will receive a white envelope inserted with a diploma case when they walk across the commencement platform. However, not everyone will receive their diploma at commencement. May graduates will receive their diplomas at commencement, if all degree requirements and financial obligations have been met and Perkins exit loan counseling or other financial aid paperwork is completed.
Students who applied and were approved for December graduation receive their diplomas by mail in December, if all degree requirements and financial obligations are met, and Perkins exit loan counseling or other financial aid paperwork is completed.
Summer graduates will not receive their diplomas at commencement. Diplomas will be mailed when requirements are completed and financial obligations are met, and Perkins exit loan counseling or other financial aid paperwork is completed.

When do I receive my diploma if I don’t receive it at commencement or don’t attend the ceremony?
Students graduating in absentia will be mailed their diplomas the following week after commencement. If you attend the ceremony but did not receive your diploma at the ceremony it will be mailed to you after successful completion of degree requirements and financial obligations are met, and any Perkins or other financial aid paperwork completed. If you would prefer to pick up your diploma, please contact the Registrar at or 419-783-2358.

What are my Financial Aid obligations?
To receive a diploma the student’s financial account must be cleared, all library fines paid and overdue books returned to the Pilgrim Library. Students, who have received loans, are required to complete an exit interview, which can be completed online at or in the DC Financial Aid Office. Contact the Financial Aid office or Great Lakes Higher Education, if you need additional information regarding your Federal Stafford Loans or Private Education Loans. For Perkins loan information and billing account balances, please contact the Bursar at or 419-783-2357. The Bursar’s office is located in the Business Office on the second floor of Defiance Hall.

How do I order a cap and gown?
There are three ways to order your cap and gown. You can order a cap and gown at Senior Success Day, which is held in the fall. You can order them on the graduation application, and your height and weight information will be forwarded to the bookstore. Or you can order directly through the bookstore. Please check the “already ordered” box on the graduation application if you have already ordered your cap and gown.
Graduates - prior to graduation please try on your cap and gown to ensure that the fit is correct and you have a cap, gown and tassel for the ceremony. It is your responsibility as a graduate to have the appropriate attire for commencement. Also, gowns can tend to be wrinkled, removing them from the bag to hang or iron before the ceremony is preferable.

Requirements for Graduation Honors
Graduation honors are open to those earning a baccalaureate degree that have achieved a 3.50 or higher GPA after earning at least 60 hours in residence at DC. To be formerly recognized during the commencement ceremonies, students must qualify for honors by the end of the fall semester prior to the May commencement. However, students who earn the grade point average by the end of their degree programs will also receive the notation on their transcripts and may, upon request, have it noted on their diplomas. Graduation honors are at the following levels:
- Cum Laude – 3.50 – 3.69 cumulative GPA
- Magna Cum Laude – 3.7 – 3.89 cumulative GPA
- Summa Cum Laude – 3.9 – 4.0 cumulative GPA

We do not award honors for Associate or Master’s degrees.

Honor Cords and Gold Medallions
Honor cords are worn by graduating members of Alpha Chi academic honor society, Sigma Beta Delta business honor society, Tau Mu social work honor society, seniors who have been recognized for their leadership and service, and McMaster Scholars. Gold medallions are worn by Carolyn M. Small honor scholars. Cords are distributed by the faculty and staff responsible for these honor societies. Sigma Beta Delta cords are distributed to students at the awards ceremony on Honors Day.

Assistance in Finding a Job, Applying to Graduate Schools, and Writing a Resume
The Office of Career Development can assist you in preparing a resume for employment or graduate school and finding a job. Their office is located in the Pilgrim Library.