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Day of Commencement

Preparation

The University celebrates the commencement ceremonies twice a year in Hattiesburg (December for Summer and Fall candidates; May for Spring candidates) and an additional Spring ceremony on the USM Gulf Coast campus. All candidates who have filed for degree must reserve a seat for Commencement.

Commencement is a dignified occasion honoring important educational accomplishments. Decorum and courtesy are important to you and your family, and to your fellow degree candidates and their families. Students that elect to act offensively, disrespectfully, or in any way that disrupts or delays the ceremony will be reported immediately to the Dean of Students for a review of the students actions. During this review a hold will be placed on the students record preventing the mailing of the diploma or releasing the students transcript. After the review, the hold may be lifted pending completion of any sanctions. Once degree candidates have entered the coliseum and have been seated they are expected to remain seated until the conclusion of the ceremony marked by the recession of the faculty. 

  • Adherence to the University's alcohol policy is expected.
  • Improper attire, signs, and insignia will be removed by the marshals.
  • Cell phones and other electronic equipment should be turned off.
  • Most importantly, when candidates cross the stage to receive their diplomas, they are to do so by walking at a deliberate pace and without any undue actions of celebration.

Dress Code

Commencement is a formal celebration. We encourage candidates to take this into consideration in regards to wardrobe. Comfortable shoes are STRONGLY encouraged since candidates will be walking long distances and standing for long periods of time. Please choose appropriate footwear.

Prohibited Items

In order to be respectful of all guests and graduates, the following items are prohibited in the Coliseum.

  • Air horns or noise makers of any kind
  • Alcohol of any kind
  • Balloons, banners or posters
  • e-Cigarettes or tobacco of any kind
  • Weapons or sharp objects of any kind

All students and guests must follow these guidelines while attending the Fall 2021 commencement ceremonies December 9-10, 2021:

PHYSICAL DISTANCING 

  • Practice physical (social) distancing by staying at least 6 feet from others who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

  • Guests are not allowed on the coliseum floor with students before, during or after the ceremonies.

  • Student seating will be pre-set on the coliseum floor with proper distancing. Once students enter the coliseum, they will be directed where to sit. Students are not allowed to move their chairs.

TICKETS

Our university is still monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Therefore, students will be issued 8 tickets per student to distribute to their guests. Students will be alerted on how their tickets will be distributed later in the semester via their Southern Miss email.

PARKING
All university parking lots, unless otherwise marked, will be open to the public on the day of Commencement. Handicap parking will be on the West side of M. K. Turk Circle and on Kay James Drive. The Southern Miss parking garage (map) adjacent to West Fourth Street will be open for Commencement parking. Please review the Commencement Parking Map for recommended parking areas for graduation candidates and guests.

TRAFFIC CONTROL
To maintain safety for pedestrians, traffic flow is restricted around M.K. Turk Circle 20 minutes prior to each ceremony. All participants and guests should review the Commencement Traffic Flow plan to ensure safety and traffic assistance prior to the ceremony. To accommodate the large volume of traffic after the ceremony, traffic flow will be changed for approximately 45 minutes immediately following each ceremony.

  • M. K. Turk Circle will be closed to vehicular traffic.
  • All traffic exiting the Payne Center parking lot via the East exit will be required to turn right onto Golden Eagle Avenue southbound, in order not to conflict with traffic exiting the parking garage.
  • All traffic exiting the parking garage will be required to turn right onto Golden Eagle Avenue northbound, towards West 4th Street, in order not to conflict with traffic exiting the Payne Center lot.
  • All traffic exiting Golden Eagle Avenue and the Physical Plant lot onto West 4th Street will be required to turn eastbound on West 4th Street.
  • All traffic exiting Pete Taylor Park and M. K. Turk Circle onto West Fourth Street will be required to turn westbound on West 4th Street.
  • Traffic that is already on West Fourth Street, either eastbound or westbound, will be allowed to continue in that direction.

     

Disabilities or special needs’ parking accommodations

Special parking lots will be reserved for persons with disabilities or special needs that meet ADA guidelines

Seating cards will be distributed at check in on the day of their commencement ceremony. These seating cards will denote the students’ row and seat numbers in the coliseum.

We encourage graduates and their families to arrive early enough to take photos at various landmarks across campus prior to checking in at the Payne Center. Family and friends will also be able to take photos from their seats. 

Please help the Physical Plant maintain the beauty of our campuses when taking pictures at various landmarks by doing the following:

  • If you use confetti, please choose one that is biodegradable and water-soluble.
  • Do not put confetti or any other items in the water fountains.
  • Do not release balloons. 

For questions, call the Hattiesburg Physical Plant at 601-266-4414.

Grad Images Photography

A commencement photographer from Grad Images Photography will be available to take photos of the candidates as they cross the stage and receive their diploma covers.

Grad Images will reach out to students after commencement to provide info on how to purchase their pictures. They can be reached at 850.907.2740 (Everywhere), 800.261.2576 (United States), 800.372.3686 (Canada) or by using their Contact Us link to email them. 

Mail (in the United States)
Grad Images
3490 Martin Hurst Rd.
Tallahassee, FL 32312
 
Mail (in Canada)
Grad Images Canada
2384 Yonge St.
P.O. Box 1341 Toronto K
Toronto, ON M4P 3J4

Video

The Commencement ceremonies will be webcast live via the USM website. Southern Miss videos of Commencement are available for viewing at a later time via the Southern Miss YouTube channel.

In the event of rain, umbrellas can be used to walk from the check-in location to the coliseum and left in the tunnel until the recessional. If weather is severe enough (heavy rain, thunderstorms, tornado watch/warning) to necessitate a delay in the start of the ceremony, instructions will be announced on-site to students and guests. If the forecast indicates no change in the severity of the weather, cancellation of the ceremony will be announced.

If the ceremony is underway but is interrupted by severe weather, students and guests should follow instructions as announced. It is advised that you prearrange a meeting place with your family and guests in case the ceremony is canceled. Instructions and updates will be provided via the USM Website and through local media outlets.

In the event of rain, umbrellas can be used to walk from the check-in location to the coliseum and left in the tunnel until the recessional. If weather is severe enough (heavy rain, thunderstorms, tornado watch/warning) to necessitate a delay in the start of the ceremony, instructions will be announced on-site to students and guests. If the forecast indicates no change in the severity of the weather, cancellation of the ceremony will be announced.

If the ceremony is underway but is interrupted by severe weather, students and guests should follow instructions as announced. It is advised that you prearrange a meeting place with your family and guests in case the ceremony is canceled. Instructions and updates will be provided via the USM Website and through local media outlets.

 

HANDICAP PARKING
Available on the west side of M.K. Turk Circle and on Kay James Drive. It can be accessed from West 4th Street. Kay James Drive can be accessed from M.K. Turk Circle or Montague Boulevard. See commencent parking map. If you have difficulty finding handicap parking, please ask for assistance.

ACCESSIBLE GUEST SEATING
Guests needing accessible seating are encouraged to arrive at least 90 minutes early. Persons with disabilities should bring their own assistive personal devices (scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, etc.) so they can move independently in the coliseum.

GRADUATES REQUIRING SPECIAL ASSISTANCE
Students with disabilities requiring special assistance should contact the Office for Disability Accommodations at (601) 266-5024 or email the Office%20for%20Disability%20Accommodations one week ahead of time to make arrangements. The Office for Disability Accommodations will coordinate with the Office of the University Registrar to ensure that all students requiring special assistance are provided with the assistance needed.

SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETING
This service will be available. For those who use sign language, seating can be reserved in the coliseum to get a better viewing angle. Please contact the Office for Disability Accommodations at (601) 266-5024 or email the Office%20for%20Disability%20Accommodations one week ahead of time to make arrangements.

HEARING IMPAIRMENTS
Individuals with Hearing Impairments: May use the Mississippi Relay Service at 1-800-582-2233 to contact any campus office.

OTHER QUESTIONS OR INFORMATION
If you have special needs that are not addressed by the above information, please contact the Office for Disability Accommodations at (601) 266-5024 or email the Office%20for%20Disability%20Accommodations one week ahead of time to make arrangements.

GULF COAST COMMENCEMENT ACCOMMODATIONS
If you have special needs for attending or participating in the Gulf Coast Commencement ceremonies, please email the Gulf%20Park%20Department%20of%20Student%20Services or call at (228) 865-4565.

 

Hooding Professors
Information for faculty who will be hooding doctoral candidates will be provided by the Graduate School.

 

Hooding Professors
Information for faculty who will be hooding doctoral candidates will be provided by the Graduate School.

 

HATTIESBURG CAMPUS COMMENCEMENT VOLUNTEERS
Commencement is a special occasion for our institution and we want the University community to celebrate with the graduates and their guests.  The Commencement Team is asking for volunteers to take part in this memorable event on Commencement Day on the Hattiesburg campus.

Volunteers can sign up using our Commencement Volunteer Site to assist commencement staff the week of commencement or on commencement day. Volunteer staff and Floor Marshals are asked to wear solid white shirts and black bottoms along with their Southern Miss nametag (if applicable) to aid students and guests in identifying assistants. 

Faculty, staff and students in need of community service hours are encouraged to volunteer. Questions regarding volunteering can be directed to Dana%20Berry or our Graduation%20Listserv

 

Dana Berry, Assistant Registrar for Degree Audits and Commencement
E-Mail: Dana.BerryFREEMississippi | Phone: (601) 266-6175

Robin Johnson, Director of Student Services & Assistant Registrar for Gulf Park
E-Mail: Robin.JohnsonFREEMississippi | Phone: (228) 214-3432

Elizabeth Cobbins, Senior Degree Auditor
Email: Elizabeth.CobbinsFREEMississippi | Phone (601) 266-6813

Micki Posey, Degree Auditor
Email: Micki.PoseyFREEMississippi | Phone (601) 266-4808


Undergraduate%20Degree%20Progress%20Specialists%20%28DPS%29

College of Arts & Sciences
Twillia Morgan, Senior Degree Progress Specialist 
E-Mail: Twillia.MorganFREEMississippi | Phone: (601) 266-5616

Anita Hobgood, Degree Progress Specialist
E-Mail: Anita.HobgoodFREEMississippi | Phone: (601) 266-4963

Brittney Hawkins Degree Progress Specialist
E-Mail: Brittney.M.HawkinsFREEMississippi | Phone: (601) 266-5118

College of Business & Economic Development
Michelle Templeton, Degree Progress Specialist
E-Mail: Deborah.TempletonFREEMississippi | Phone: (601) 266-4174

College of Education & Human Services
Denise Crozier, Degree Progress Specialist
E-Mail: Denise.CrozierFREEMississippi | Phone: (601) 266-6095

College of Nursing & Health Professions
Michelle Templeton, Degree Progress Specialist
E-Mail: Deborah.TempletonFREEMississippi | Phone: (601) 266-4174


Graduation%20Staff%20%28Graduate%20School%29

Sue Fayard, Graduate Degree Auditor
E-Mail: Sue.FayardFREEMississippi | Phone: (601) 266-5136

Michael Howell, Graduate Degree Auditor
E-Mail: Michael.HowellFREEMississippi | Phone: (601) 266-4372

President Bennet with student walking across dais

Schedules

Fall 2021 Commencement ceremonies have tentatively been scheduled for the following dates. Please note these plans are subject to change, pending future public health guidance as COVID-19 circumstances continue to evolve.

Thursday, December 9, 2021 
Bernard Reed Green Coliseum | 6:00 p.m.
Graduate School
All Doctoral, Specialists and Master's Students

Friday, December 10, 2021
Bernard Reed Green Coliseum | 9:00 a.m.
All Undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences

Friday, December 10, 2021
Bernard Reed Green Coliseum | 2:00 p.m.
All Undergraduate students in the College of Business & Economic Development, Education & Human Sciences and Nursing & Health Professions

 

WATCH OUR CEREMONIES LIVE HERE!

Degree candidates should check in at the appropriate location and time listed below. Please do not be late.

Fall 2021 – Graduate School

STUDENTS LOCATION CHECK-IN
Doctoral and Master of Fine Arts Payne Center Gym 5:00 p.m.
Doctoral & MFA  Hooding Professors Payne Center Gym 5:00 p.m.
Specialists & Masters Payne Center Gym 5:00 p.m.

 

Fall 2021 – Undergraduates in the College of Arts & Sciences

STUDENTS LOCATION CHECK-IN
Baccalaureate Candidates Payne Center Gym 8:00 a.m.

 

Fall 2021 - Undergraduates in the College of Business & Economic Development, Education & Human Sciences and Nursing & Health Professions

STUDENTS LOCATION CHECK-IN
Baccalaureate Candidates Payne Center Gym 1:00 p.m.

 

BACCALAUREATE
Candidates should check in with their caps and gowns. Name cards will be issued by the commencement staff at the Payne Center during check-in.

MASTERS/SPECIALISTS
Candidates should check in with their caps, gowns, hoods. Name cards will be issued by the commencement staff at the Payne Center during check-in.

DOCTORAL
Candidates should check in with their doctoral regalia (cap and gown); hoods and name cards will be issued by the Graduate School at the Payne Center during check-in.

BACCALAUREATE
Candidates should check in with their caps and gowns. Name cards will be issued by the commencement staff at the Payne Center during check-in.

MASTERS/SPECIALISTS
Candidates should check in with their caps, gowns, hoods. Name cards will be issued by the commencement staff at the Payne Center during check-in.

DOCTORAL
Candidates should check in with their doctoral regalia (cap and gown); hoods and name cards will be issued by the Graduate School at the Payne Center during check-in.

Seating Name Cards & Pronunciation

Seating name cards will be distributed at check-in. If you are concerned about accurate pronunciation of your name at Commencement, you can phonetically spell your name at the top of your seating name card for the Ceremony reader to review. You will also have a brief moment before you cross the stage to whisper the pronunciation to the reader.

 

To begin the Hattiesburg ceremonies, students will be seated on the coliseum floor prior to the start of the ceremony.  Students and guests will be asked to stand for the platform processional.

To begin the Gulf Coast ceremony, doctoral candidates followed by specialist's and master's candidates will lead the baccalaureate candidates in a processional from the West tunnel. Afterward, the students and guests will be asked to stand for the platform processional.

Following both ceremonies, the platform party will lead the students in a recessional exiting through the East and West tunnels.

 

Diplomas are sent out after the degree clearance process has concluded for the current semester. Find out more on our After Graduation page.

Contact Us

Office of the Registrar
Kennard-Washington Hall (KWH) Room 110
118 College Drive, #5006
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Hattiesburg Campus

Campus Map

Email
registrarFREEMississippi

Phone
601.266.5006

Contact Us

Student Services One Stop
Hardy Hall, First Floor
730 East Beach Boulevard
Long Beach, MS 39560

Gulf Park Campus

Campus Map

Email
OneStop_GPFREEMississippi

Phone
228.214.3370