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Spring Commencement 2021: Details

Instructions for Graduates on Commencement Day

90 minutes before their college’s ceremony start time, graduates are expected to check-in at the Efroymson Family Gym (EFG) where they will be given a ticketed seat assignment in the Hinkle Fieldhouse east side main arena. Because of social distancing restrictions, there will be no academic student processional so it is imperative that graduates arrive on time for check-in. Further instructions via email will be provided to graduates prior to the ceremony.

Ceremony Procedure

The graduates are asked to stand and ushered to the stage where the President of the University presents the degrees while names and Latin honors (where appropriate) are read. Graduates then cross the stage, receive their diplomas, and return to their seats in the reserved area. Graduates receiving master's and doctoral degrees are hooded on stage as they receive their diploma.

Commencement Eligibility

Candidates for associate's, bachelor's, master's, specialist in education, and doctor of pharmacy degrees are invited to participate in the Commencement exercises.

A degree application must be submitted online at in the Student Center. On the "Other Academics" tab, choose the Apply for Graduation option and click on the Apply for Graduation link. Select the term you will complete all requirements, click on Continue, and then click on Submit Application.

For December 2020 graduates:

If you are not able to attend the Commencement ceremony, your diploma will be mailed to the home address on file in My.Butler. Diplomas for December 2020 graduates will be mailed during the month of January 2021 and should arrive before January 31, 2021.

If you wish to pick up your diploma from Registration and Records (Jordan Hall, Room 180), contact or call 317-940-9203 by no later than January 8, 2021 to let us know you do NOT want your diploma mailed to you. You may then drop by Registration and Record to pick up your diploma beginning January 19, 2021.

Students must complete all Butler University obligations (academic, financial, and otherwise) prior to actually receiving their diploma.

Length of Ceremony

Each college ceremony will last approximately 90 minutes. Main arena doors will be open to ticketed guests 60 minutes before the college ceremony start time.

Order of Degree Conferral

  • Master's degrees
  • Doctoral degrees
  • Associate degrees
  • Bachelor's degrees

Caps, Gowns, Hoods, Announcements, International Sashes

Caps and gowns will be available for purchase and pick-up at the Butler Campus Store in Atherton Union. No pre-order of caps and gowns is needed; all of the necessary elements of your order will be available at the Campus Store during business hours: Monday through Friday, 9:30 AM–4:30 PM and Saturday, 11:00 AM–3:00 PM. Please call the Butler Campus Store for any questions regarding cap and gown orders at 317-940-9228 for any special event hours. Announcements and rings may also be purchased from Jostens at 1-800-854-7464.

The Butler Campus Store accepts cash, check or charge. Students cannot pay with their Student Account.

*Other items can be purchased a la carte; prices available at the Butler Campus Store.

International Sashes

The Office of International Student Services will begin taking international sash orders for May 2021 graduation in February 2021. If you are a graduating international student, study abroad student or just desire to represent your cultural heritage, you are encouraged to order an international sash to wear during your graduation ceremony.

Single and dual country sashes are available; associated costs will be posted in the order form, and can be paid by cash, check, or credit card.

The International Sash Order Form will be available beginning February 2021.

All orders are to be submitted by March 31, 2021. Each sash is handcrafted and therefore, orders must be placed as soon as possible to ensure timely delivery for graduation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Bobbie Gibson at

Please note: This does option does not apply to certificate students, as they are not eligible to walk in the commencement ceremony.

Proper Apparel for Commencement Day

Commencement is a formal occasion. Good academic taste requires the cap be worn straight. The tassel should be on the right side of the cap for candidates who have not received a baccalaureate degree from any college or university. Those who have received such a degree will wear the tassel on the left side. Please dress accordingly.

In selecting apparel:

  • The hem of the gown is approximately 7 inches above the ankles. Dark shoes are preferred. Please note that if a master's gown is to be worn, the arms below the elbows are visible.
  • Corsages and flower lei necklaces are not to be worn with academic attire.

Student academic regalia includes:

  • The university approved mortar board and gown
  • One honor cord from one of Butler's recognized honor societies
  • One honor cord representing magna, summa, or cum laude honors from Butler
  • One pin, no larger than 1"x 1", approved by the Department of Student Involvement and Leadership, Office of Student Activities, representing the student's affiliation to one of Butler's official student organizations
  • One university approved sash:
    • The country of a study abroad experience
    • The country of origin for international students
    • Kente cloth stole
    • Student-Athlete


The Graduate Registration period is open now through April 5. Each eligible candidate received an email invitation on March 5 from, and must complete the registration form by Monday, April 5, regardless of intention to participate in the college ceremony.

Candidates who do not successfully complete the form by the April 5 deadline will not be guaranteed commencement tickets (each graduate receives up to two [2] general admission guest tickets).

How did we determine the number of guest tickets per ceremony, compared to sporting events inside Hinkle Fieldhouse?

Sporting events like men’s basketball seat spectators in pods of greater size to reach large audience sizes. This allows us to accommodate more spectators while adhering to social distancing guidelines, but limits the number of pods available. However, with commencement, we have to make a decision based on the number of graduates so that each can have an equal-sized pod, while also adhering to social distancing guidelines. It would be unfair to allow some students to have two guests and others to have more. With the number of graduates who are expected to participate in each ceremony, allowing each graduate to have greater than two guests each would violate capacity and social distancing guidelines. Thus, we can only allow each graduate to invite two guests. We hope you understand and appreciate your cooperation. For those who are unable to attend in person, we will livestream the commencement ceremony allowing them to watch on televisions, computers, smartphones, and other personal devices.


For questions, please contact

Information for Faculty

More information to follow.

Directions to Campus

Accessibility Services

To request disability-related accommodations or inquire about accessibility visit the Disability-Related Accommodations for Butler Events webpage to learn more. Please allow two weeks' advanced notice in order to allow adequate time to make arrangements. Although attempts will be made to honor accommodation requests with less notice, it cannot be guaranteed that without two weeks' notice a reasonable accommodation can be provided.

Accessible Parking

A state-issued disability placard or Butler issued accessible parking permit is required for special parking considerations in the Hinkle Fieldhouse parking lot (graduates must note this request at time of registration for the ceremony). Any vehicle may use the 49th street bus pull-out in front of the Health and Recreation Center adjacent to Hinkle Fieldhouse to drop off guests who are not able to walk long distances. The bus pull-out is also used by the city's IndyGo bus system. Please be time-conscious in this area and use it only for immediate pick-up or drop-off.

All other parking is available in the Sunset Avenue Parking Garage.

Wheelchair Accessibility

Wheelchair access is available throughout Hinkle Fieldhouse by entering Gates 1, 2, 3, and 4. Ushers will refer guests to the wheelchair accessible seating areas. One companion will be permitted to sit with the wheelchair user. 

Auditory Assistance

Accommodations for those who are hearing impaired will be provided in the form of an American Sign Language interpreter. We can provide reserved seating for individual and a companion.Graduates may note this need on the Spring Commencement registration form. Then graduates will receive a separate communication from the University vender, Marching Order, with these instructions. 

Phonic Ear Sound Enhancement is also available to amplify stage dialogue. Guests may pick up their individual receiver at the Information Desk located inside Hinkle Fieldhouse in the South Concourse. A photo ID or credit card will be held as collateral while receiver is in use. 24 receivers will be available on a first come, first served basis. Guests may be seated anywhere in Hinkle Fieldhouse to use the phonic ear sound enhancement receivers.

Email with any questions.

Late Arrival and Emergencies

On Commencement Day, if an emergency causes a graduating student to be late, please call the Commencement Information Desk at 317-940-9697 to notify Registration and Records. Upon arrival at Hinkle Fieldhouse, please report to the Commencement Information Desk located in the main south concourse of Hinkle Fieldhouse.


Should an emergency arise to prevent you from attending Commencement, please call the Office of Registration and Records, Monday through Friday at 317-940-9203. On Commencement Day, please call the Commencement Information desk at 317-940-9697.

Emergency Medical Technicians will be located in the Fischer Sports Medicine Office the day of Commencement.

Area Hotels

Commencement Photography

Personal cameras and video cameras will be allowed for the Commencement exercise, but guests will not be allowed in the area where the graduates are seated. Please be sensitive to other guests when taking photographs. There is a reserved (short term) photo area that is in the northwest corner of the guest seating area where photos can be taken of graduates as they cross the stage. 


Butler University contracts with GradImages to photograph each graduate. GradImages is the most experienced company in the graduation photography industry and has provided this service as a specialty for over 3 decades. 

Photos are taken:

  • when graduates shake the Butler University President's hand and receive their diploma
  • with graduates in front of a Butler banner
  • with graduates in front of a solid background

Graduates can pre-register their email and GradImages will contact them as their photos are available for online viewing and ordering. Up to six family members' contact information may be added as well to help share the good news and the photos!

GradImages will notify individuals when your proofs are available online, typically within 48 hours of the ceremony.

Any graduate that uses the Pre-Registration link will save 20% off of orders of $50 or more for your participation.

In order to notify you when your images are available, GradImages sends emails and mails paper proofs, along with optional text message notifications. Your information is never shared and privacy is guaranteed. The graduates and their families then have the option to order whatever additional photo package they would like. There is no prepayment or obligation to do so.

If a graduate wishes to order, it can be done by mail, phone, fax, or the GradImages website. Forms of payment include cash, check, Money Order, Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card, or American Express. GradImages mails to all countries throughout the world. Finished photographs are mailed to the customer within five to seven days of receipt of an order, which to our knowledge is the fastest turnaround time in the industry.

If questions or additional needs should arise, the Customer Service Department can be reached at 1-800-261-2576.

Ceremony Reflection Speakers

Each 2021 College Ceremony will host a speaker or speakers unique to its college.

There will not be a student reflection speaker for the Class of 2020 Ceremony.