Commencement Ceremonies

The Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2023.   Commencement begins at 11:00 a.m. in the Karl H. Weaner Community Center.    

Practice is mandatory for undergraduate students and highly encouraged for graduate students. Practice begins at 2:00 pm on Thursday, May 11th in the Weaner Center, 1100 Webster Street. Graduate students that cannot make the practice, please see Dawn Buchholz or Dawn Ferris Saturday at 10:00 am in the Weaner Center when you pick up your regalia. Please arrive no later than 10:30 at the McMaster Center next door in your cap and gown.

Information for the Ceremony 
You are free to invite as many people as you wish, but please keep in mind that seating is limited in the Weaner Center and on a first-come basis.  

  • There will be reserved seats for guests who are elderly or disabled but, again, the space in the Weaner Center is limited.  For guests to be admitted to these reserved sections, please contact the Office of Academic Affairs at or 419-783-2586. 
  • Handicap parking is available for those with a parking placard/license plate in the United Church of Christ parking lot near the south end of the Weaner Center. 
  • The College has engaged the services of a sign language interpreter for those who are deaf or hearing impaired.  The interpreter will be located on the far right of the platform at Commencement.  Please advise anyone needing this assistance of the location of the interpreter and encourage them to sit on the right side facing the platform. 

All campus lots will be open with reserved parking at the Weaner Center for those with a handicap license plate or hangtag. The campus map will show you available lots. Limited street parking is also available on Webster Street. No parking is permitted in the St. John United Church of Christ lots.

Bruce L. Heflin Photography will be taking portraits as each graduate receives his or her diploma, and cap and gown portraits at the bottom of the stage. Proofs of these pictures will be mailed to you within 7 days of the ceremony or you may view and order your pictures online at Pictures will be online within 48 hours after the ceremony. No one is under any obligation to purchase.

Graduation Announcements and Class Rings
Announcements, specialty diploma frames and class rings are available for purchase from Herff Jones.

Reception and Refreshments
Following the Commencement ceremony, a light reception will be held for graduates and their guests on the east side of the Weaner Center.  

Cap and Gown (Academic Regalia) and Attire for Graduating Students
Graduates will be notified when the cap and gown are available for pickup from the Registrar’s Office in Serrick 204. Regalia is ordered for students based on the degree that they will earn and the height/weight that was listed on the graduation application. Graduating students have paid for their cap and gown (and hood for master’s graduates) through the graduation application fee – this fee was charged to the student’s account when the graduation application was submitted. Thus, no money will need to be brought to the Registrar’s Office to pick up regalia.

Full academic regalia is required to participate in the ceremony. Only approved cords, medallions and stoles will be accepted to wear with regalia. We suggest the following attire:

  • Tassel placement: Candidates for bachelor’s degrees will place the tassel on the right side of the mortar board. Following the awarding of the degree, the President will instruct the graduates to move the tassel to the left side. Candidates for graduate degrees will place the tassel on the left side of the mortar board.
  • Mortar board: wear it squarely on the top of the head, board parallel to the floor, and not slanted toward the sides, forward or back.
  • Master’s degree hoods: master’s degree graduates will be hooded during the ceremony. All hoods will be on stage awaiting the calling of your name.
  • Honor Cords: All cords will be distributed to students will be distributed at Honors Convocation. Students who are unable to attend Honors Convocation will receive their cords at Regalia pickup. The cords should be draped around the neck with the tassels hanging as evenly as possible in the front.
  • Miscellaneous: at Commencement, please wear items that are celebratory and dignified (cap, gown, cords, medallions, stoles) so that Commencement is uninhibited for everyone attending.

Prior to the Commencement ceremony, please try on your cap and gown to ensure that the fit is correct and that you have a cap, gown, and tassel for the ceremony. It is your responsibility as a graduate to have the appropriate attire. Gowns tend to be wrinkled so removing them from the bag to hang or iron before the ceremony is highly recommended.

Graduation Honors
Graduation honors are open to those earning a baccalaureate degree that have achieved a 3.50 or higher cumulative GPA after earning at least 60 hours in residence at Defiance College. To be formerly recognized during Commencement, 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

Graduate honors are not awarded for associate or master’s degrees.


Graduates attending Commencement will receive a diploma case when they walk across the presenting stage during the Commencement program. Not all cases will contain a diploma, only those of May graduates who have fulfilled their academic and financial responsibilities will receive their diplomas.

Students who applied and were approved for December or August graduation have already or will receive their diplomas by mail if and when all academic and financial obligations are met.

If you attend the ceremony but do not receive a diploma, it will be mailed after all academic and financial obligations are completed. Notification of any missing requirements will be sent via email.

Students graduating in absentia (not attending Commencement) will be mailed their diploma and case after the Commencement ceremony.

May graduates have the option of having their diploma mailed to them at the address of their choosing, after all obligations have been met.

If you would prefer to pick up your diploma instead of it being mailed, please contact the Registrar’s Office.


Graduate Students
This information is specific to graduate students attending commencement on May 13. Practice is highly encouraged but not mandatory, you can attend May 11 at 11:00 am in the Weaner Center and arrive no later than 10:30 at the McMaster Center next door in your cap and gown. If you cannot pick up your cap & gown before the commencement, it will be waiting for you upon check at the Weaner Center.


Community Information
Please visit the Defiance Area Chamber of Commerce for extended information regarding the city of Defiance, OH.

Frequently Asked Questions

2022 Commencement Photo Gallery


Defiance Hall 106
Phone: 419-783-2586
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Serrick Center 204
Phone: 419-783-2375
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.