Shaw University
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General Information
Commencement Home 
Symbols of Authority
Current Degree Offerings
Important Dates and Deadlines
Parking Instructions
Accommodations and Travel
Ceremony Logistics and Seating
Event Speakers
Frequently Asked Questions
Contact Information
Graduate Information
Graduation Requirements
Graduation Clearance Process
Graduation Application Form (PDF)
Graduation Products
Graduation Honors
Appropriate Attire and Decorum

Our Graduates Believe in Shaw
Watch video of graduates sharing their story about Shaw U and videos from the 2014 Commencement.
2014 Commencement Videos

2014 Commencement Program
Click image to view the online version of the 2014 Commencement Convocation program. 
Commencement Program
Shaw Graduates

Commencement - Frequently Asked Questions 

Below are some answers to typical questions that graduates or visitors may have about Commencement.   

  1. When is Commencement?  
    The 2014 Shaw University Commencement Exercise will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014 (11:00 AM) in the Dorton Arena at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds (1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607). 
  2. What time should graduates arrive?  
    Graduates should arrive at 8:30 AM for the Commencement Exercise. 
  3. What time should my guests arrive? 
    We recommend that you arrive early to allow time for traffic and parking. The lots will open approximately two (2) hours prior to the start of the ceremony and doors to the arena will open at that time as well.   
  4. How do I order my cap and gown? 
    You may order your cap and gown, as well as additional graduation products from the Herff Jones website.  The cost of the cap and gown are included in your graduation fee.  Please remember that the deadline to order all graduation items is March 30, 2014 by 11:59 PM on the Herff Jones website. 
  5. What should I wear under my cap and gown?  
    Appropriate business attire should be worn beneath the regalia and you should wear black shoes that you feel comfortable walking across stage in. Those persons who are not dressed properly will be asked to leave the assembly area and will not be allowed to participate in the ceremony. You will also find more information on appropriate attire and decorum on the commencement website. Note: If you do not have proper academic regalia, you cannot participate in the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies.  If you already have a cap and gown, you must obtain approval by April 25 to wear them from appropriate staff in the Shaw University Bookstore. 
  6. How do I get my honor cord?
    The Registrar will give out honor cords the day of commencement when the graduates come into the Expo Center to register.
  7. Can I wear cords and medallions with my cap and gown? 
    Graduation cords can be worn at Commencement if they represent high academic achievement and not simply membership in a student organization, athletic team, or fraternity/sorority. 
  8. Will there be handicap parking? 
    Handicapped parking for individuals with valid, state-issued handicapped permits/plates will be available in the parking lots surrounding the Dorton Arena.      
  9. Can my family bring signs or noisemakers to cheer for me? 
    No. The Commencement ceremony is a traditional academic ritual. This means: no signs, no fireworks, no bottles, no beach balls, no cans, no noisemakers, etc. 
  10. Who is the University Commencement Speaker? 
    The Office of the President will announce the Commencement speaker in the near future.   
  11. Will a photographer be on hand to take individual pictures as the diploma is received? 
    Yes. A photographer will be on hand taking pictures as graduates walk across the stage.  Additional details for ordering those pictures will be made available on the website.
  12. Will I receive a diploma if I did not apply for graduation?  ALL STUDENTS MUST APPLY TO GRADUATE in order to receive a diploma, regardless of whether you intend to participate in any commencement exercises.
  13. What is the deadline for graduation applications? The deadline for graduation applications for Spring 2014 is November 15, 2013.  You can get a graduation application from the website under Commencement, from the Registrar’s Office, Advisor or Chair.
  14. Should the senior graduation fee be paid by the first week in April?  What is the deadline date? Senior exams begin April 29 thru May 2nd, graduation fee should be paid on or before April 4th.  All balances must be paid.  Seniors with an outstanding balance will not be allowed to take final exams.   For further questions pertaining to senior clearance, seniors should contact the Student Accounts Office at (919) 546-8228.
  15. Should students contact the Cashier’s Office for credit card payments at 919-546-8678 or 919-546-8655?  Yes. Students can also make cash, certified check, money order or on-line payments through the Cashier’s Office.  Office hours for Student Accounts and Cashier’s Office are 8:00am-5:00pm.  Both offices are located in Tyler Hall, 1st floor. 
  16. May I participate in the Commencement Exercise although I have an outstanding account balance at the institution? 
    No. Only students who have completed the Graduation Clearance Process (which includes clearing all outstanding balances) will be allowed to participate in the Commencement Exercise. 
  17. May I participate in the Commencement Exercise if I am scheduled to complete coursework after May 2014? 
    No.  Only students who have completed the Graduation Clearance Process (which includes a final degree audit) will be allowed to participate in the Commencement Exercise. 
  18. Do my guests need a ticket to attend the ceremony? 
    No. The Shaw University Commencement Exercise is not ticketed; however, ample seating is available on a first-come, first-seated basis.  
  19. What should I wear? 
    In order to walk in a commencement ceremony, you must wear a cap and gown designed especially for Shaw University by Herff Jones. Students not wearing the proper regalia will not be permitted to walk in the ceremony. Please click here for cap and gown ordering instructions.  
  20. Where should my guests park for the Commencement ceremony? 
    Guests should enter through Gate 9 at the Dorton Arena for designated parking areas.  Parking will be free for those attending the Commencement ceremony.  
  21. What do I do with my purse during the ceremony? 
    Please leave all personal belongings with your guests or in your vehicle during the ceremony.  
  22. How do I order graduation announcements? 
    You may purchase or order graduation announcements from Herff Jones. Herff Jones has created school-specific personalized announcements for Shaw University and you may order them through their website.  Generic graduation announcements may also be purchased from the Shaw University Bookstore (Willie E. Gary Student Center, 919-546-8225). Remember it takes several weeks for personalized printing so order them well in advance.  
  23. Must I participate in the commencement ceremony to receive my diploma? 
    No. Participation in the commencement ceremony is not mandatory.  If you wish to have your diploma package mailed to you, then you will need to contact the Registrar’s Office (919-546-8415).