Commencement Information

Baccalaureate & Commencement Ceremony

Friday, August 14, 7:00 p.m.
Vaccaro Field, weather pending (alternate location: Finnegan Fieldhouse)
Graduate-only event.

Academic garb is required.  Graduates are encouraged to wear shoes suitable to the occasion and the outdoor field setting.

Featured Honorees

Most Reverend Robert Barron (celebrant and homilist), Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Sherry A. Weddell (speaker), co-founder and Executive Director of the Catherine of Siena Institute

Watch Live Online

All events will be streamed live here.

#Franciscan2020 on Social Media

Bishop Robert Barron and Sherry Weddell
Most Rev. Robert Barron, and Sherry Weddell
Check in in the J.C. Williams Center

Thursday, August 13

  • 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Friday, August 14

  • 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  • 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

Graduates will receive a welcome packet, commencement information, and a gift from alumni. Temperatures will be taken at check-in. Graduates with a fever are regretfully unable to participate in commencement.

COVID-19 Safety Precautions

Franciscan University continues to assess plans for Commencement on August 14 in light of COVID-19 and guidelines set forth by the Responsible RestartOhio plan for Higher Education.  Regretfully, we have cancelled the Academic Awards ceremony and all social events previously scheduled for graduation weekend including:  Dancing Under the Stars formal, lawn games, party at Franciscan Square, Graduate Fest, and the closing Mass with Fr. Dave Pivonka.  Additionally, we have combined ceremonies to one outdoor evening Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Ceremony on Friday, August 14.  The Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Ceremony will be limited to graduates and participating faculty and staff only.  Families, faculty, staff, and additional guests are invited to participate via livestream.  All plans remain subject to change.

The following safety measures will be taken:

  • Six-foot physical distancing will be maintained in the line-up and seating of graduates during the ceremony
  • Masks and regular handwashing of university employees is required
  • Hand sanitizer and surface sanitizing supplies will be available in high-contact locations
  • Disinfection of high-contact areas, such as restrooms, will occur at regular intervals throughout the event.
  • One-way entrance and exits will be maintained at Vaccaro Field.

Graduates are asked to:

  • Maintain six-foot physical distancing;
  • Wear face masks while on campus, a black commemorative mask with the University seal will be provided upon check-in;
  • Wash hands regularly;
  • Perform regular health self-assessments including temperature check and monitoring of symptoms (More Information);
  • Stay home if sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19;

Jefferson County, Ohio, is currently at an orange level 2 Ohio rating for COVID-19 with increased exposure and spread (More Information).  Several states, including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have a mandatory self-quarantine for people traveling to those locations from Ohio.   Please contact if your plans to attend commencement change.

Attendance & Guest Tickets


All graduates of the class of 2020 (including May 2020, December and August 2019) and August 2020 graduate candidates are invited to participate in commencement.  Please contact to reserve your seat or to change your previous confirmation.

Guest Tickets

We are regretfully unable to offer guest tickets to attend commencement.  All family, friends, faculty, staff, and other guests are invited to participate in commencement via livestream.

Overflow and Guest Seating

There is not at present any plan to have specially designated areas on campus for guests to watch the Mass and ceremony on monitors.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Students requiring accommodations for disabilities should contact Mr. Dave Fatula at (

Caps and Gowns

Caps and gowns were to be purchased on the Bookstore website before July 1, 2020.  Students may borrow academic garb from previous graduates of the same height and degree.  Gowns for graduate degrees (i.e. MA, MBA, MSE, MSA, MSN) have a different style, with a longer sleeve, than the undergraduate gown.  Each degree has a different color hood (see chart below).  Academic garb consists of a cap, gown, tassel and hood.

  • Associate of Arts and Associate of Science:  No Hood
  • Bachelor of Arts: White
  • Bachelor of Science: Gold
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Apricot
  • Master of Arts: White
  • Master of Business Administration: Drab
  • Master of Education and Master of Educational Administration: Light Blue
  • Master of Nursing: Apricot
Honor Cords

Students earning a 3.5 overall GPA or higher may be eligible for academic honors (cum laude: 3.50-3.69, magna cum laude: 3.70-3.89, or summa cum laude: 3.90-4.00). Transfer students must have earned at least 62 credit hours at Franciscan University to be eligible for honors. Students receiving academic honors will wear a gold honor cord for commencement. The cords will be handed out at check-in.

Academic Awards and Recognition

Students receiving academic department awards and those in academic honor societies will be recognized during commencement when crossing the stage.  Students may wear Alpha Chi pins, previously sent via mail) on their gown.  Students who have completed the honors program will receive green cords to wear under their hood.


Graduates who have previously requested on-campus housing may check-in for their housing arrangement during regular check-in in the JC Williams Center.  Check-out is on Saturday, August 15 by 11:00 a.m.

Photos & Videos


A photographer from Graduation Foto will be taking photographs at commencement of each graduate receiving his or her diploma from Fr. President Dave Pivonka, TOR and in front of a green screen.  You will receive wallet-sized proofs of these photos after commencement.  Orders may be made online at or by calling 800-482-0321.  Questions may be emailed to Graduates may preregister at


Graduation videos covering the Baccalaureate Mass homily and Commencement exercises will be available on DVD for $24.95, plus shipping and handling. To order a copy, please call the Franciscan University Bookstore at 1-888-333-0381, or visit them online. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Bookstore & Cafe Hours

University Bookstore Hours

  • Thursday: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Cupertino’s Café Hours
This is the only on-campus food service available
NOTE: Card Only, No Cash Accepted At This Time

  • Thursday: 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Alumni Survey

Please take a few minutes to let us know what your plans are after graduation!