Chicago State University

Faculty Marshal Instructions

The Faculty Marshal role is an esteemed privilege. Your role in Commencement is not just to lead our graduates into the ceremony, but to also set the tone and decorum for our graduates on the day of the Commencement.

Commencement Rehearsal
Tuesday, May 7th, 2019- 2:00 p.m.
Jones Convocation Center - Arena Floor

Commencement rehearsal is your opportunity to familiarize yourself with the Processional order and protocol. This is also your opportunity ask questions regarding the order of the ceremony and expectations of your role as a Marshal.

364th Commencement Ceremony
Thursday, May 9, 2019

  • Faculty Marshals arrive at 9:00 a.m.
  • Graduates arrive at 9:30 a.m.
  • Doors open to the public at 10:00 a.m.
  • Processional begins at 10:45 a.m.
  • Commencement Ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m.

On Commencement Day faculty members are encouraged to wear their personal regalia as this is a proud statement of your significant academic accomplishments and an encouragement to our graduates to continue their personal education journey. However, you may receive loaned CSU regalia if you do not have your own. Faculty regalia may be secured by submitting a request for regalia to Ms. Serita Robinson (  (See Faculty regalia reservation instructions).

Faculty Marshal Check-In Procedures

Upon arrival on Commencement Day please check-in at the Command Center located in room 1101 on the lower level of the Convocation Center.

For your convenience two suites have been designated as faculty changing rooms.

  • Female Faculty Members                  Suite 1410
  • Male Faculty Members                      Suite 1114

Once you are robed you are to position yourself at your lineup station to greet your graduates as they arrive. College line-up posters will be posted in the corridor.   It is critical that the designated college-flag carrier is staged in the line-up area prior to the graduates arriving.

To assist you on the day of the Ceremony, we will have greeters stationed at strategic locations throughout the Jones Convocation Center to direct the graduates.

We will announce 15 minutes before the processional is to begin so that everyone is properly prepared to march.

Please be reminded that all Commencement flags are to be returned to the Commencement Command Center after the recessional.

Faculty Marshal Duties

  • Assist graduates with putting on their regalia.
  • Verify that the graduates are lined up in pairs and according to the number on their lineup card.
  • Facilitate the expectations of the Commencement decorum.
  • Please be prepared to answer the following questions for our graduates:
    •   a. Where do I line up? Note the postings on the walls/ College flag
    •   b. What is the order of the Graduate line up? Graduates should be directed to line up in pairs within their respective college.  
    •   c. A Graduate forgot their line-up card what do I do? Faculty Marshals should direct graduates to the check-in desk located in the lobby for a replacement line up card.  
  • Escort Graduates to the New Alumni Reception at the end of the Ceremony.

Suggested Graduate Attire

Please note the following recommendations for commencement day attire.

For Women For Men
  • Dark dress or pants, cool fabric
  • Dark low heel or flat shoes
  • No high collars or bows at the neck
  • No sandals
  • No corsages or jewelry on the robe
  • No white tennis shoes
  • No high heels
  • Dark trousers, white shirts, tie is optional
  • Dark shoes and socks
  • No white tennis shoes
  • No boutonnières or jewelry on the robe
  • No White tennis shoes

NOTE: All Graduates should have their regalia prior to Commencement. Graduates that require replacement regalia may be directed to purchase these items at the Follett Bookstore kiosk located in the lobby of the Convocation Center.

Please direct graduates to use the designated bathroom facilities if needed.   We have also designated suites 1115 and 1312 for graduates to use as needed. Personal items should not be left in these spaces.

Commencement Etiquette

Students who arrive after the Commencement processional has concluded must sit behind the seated graduates. These graduates should stand when their college is called and join at the end of the line as it proceeds to the dais. After crossing the stage these graduates should return to their original seats so that they avoid disruption. 

We are counting on our Commencement Marshals to strictly reinforce the expectation that all graduates are expected to remain for the entire ceremony, and to participate in both the processional and recessional. 

Commencement is both a joyful occasion and a solemn event. Graduates are requested to advise their family and friends to express their excitement in ways that will not prevent others from hearing the speaker, and enjoying the ceremony. Graduates are not to display inappropriate or exaggerated behavior as participants in the ceremony.

We ask that graduates do not visit with ceremony attendees as they approach or descend from the dais as this is a disruption to the flow of the line, and negatively impacts the experience for their fellow graduates. 

All cellular phones should be turned to silent mode to ensure that all guests can hear and enjoy the commencement ceremony.   Graduates are asked not to use their cell phone once they have marched into the arena.  

Alcohol and other illegal substances are not permitted on the Chicago State University campus. Security will be present to remove anyone that is identified to have alcohol/ illegal substances and will prohibit those from marching that may already be under the influence.

Order of the Commencement Program

Graduates are to line up in pairs with their college. The line-up card is given to the graduate during Commencement Countdown when they receive their cap and gown. The Faculty Marshals will lead the graduates of their respective college into the ceremony as directed by the Grand Marshal.

Commencement begins with the academic procession.  Faculty marshals led by the Grand Marshal will lead the graduates into the arena in pairs.  As the graduates proceed down the center aisle they will separate so that they sit on both sides of the designated row.  The audience will be asked to rise and to remain standing as the procession enters the arena until the platform party has taken its place, the time for reflection has been allowed, and the hymns have been sung.  Male graduates should remove mortar boards during posting of colors and National Anthem. Attendees will be directed to sit at the conclusion of the singing of the hymns.

Graduates will follow the direction of the faculty marshals when their college is called to approach the stage.  The marshals will lead the graduates to ascend the stage from the left or right depending on how they are seated.  The graduates will hand their line up card to the caller that is located at the podium nearest to them.  Once the graduate's  name is called they will proceed to shake the hand and receive their diploma cover from the Provost or President based on their designated position.  They will descend the stairs located at center stage and use the center aisle to return to their seat.  

Commencement closes with the recessional. All graduates are expected to participate in both the processional and the recessional. We have requested they do not make plans that will require them to leave the ceremony before it ends. We make every attempt to keep the commencement ceremony to a reasonable length. However, we recommend any plans for post-ceremony celebrations are made to begin after 3 pm to allow for travel time.

After the singing of the CSU Alma Mater and the closing of the ceremony, the audience will be asked to take their seats and to remain seated for the retrieval of colors and the recessional of the platform party, faculty, and graduates.

The New Alumni Reception will be held at the designated area immediately following the Ceremony.

How to Wear Your Tassel

Traditionally, the moving of the tassel at graduation is called, "turning the tassel" or "the turning of the tassel ceremony." It symbolizes one's transition from candidate to graduate. Standard protocol in the US dictates that the tassel be worn on the right side of one's mortarboard at commencement and then, during the ceremony the tassel is moved or turned to the left side. Teachers and administrators at commencement place their tassels on the left.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where can graduates get line-up cards?
    Graduates that did not bring the lineup card that was provided to them during Commencement Countdown may pick up a replacement lineup card at the graduate check-in desk located in the Convocation Center lobby. 
  2. Where do graduates pick up their honors cords?
     Honors cords were given out during Commencement Countdown.
  3. Where do graduates line up?
    Graduates should be directed to go to the lower level of the Convocation Center. Graduates should look for the sign on the wall designating their College, or for the color of their College flag. The flags are being held by the Faculty Marshals). Faculty Marshals are designated by the ‘gold” colored stoles they are wearing. As a Faculty Marshal you are expected to provide further direction to the graduates throughout the ceremony.
  4. Where do graduates get their cap & gown?
    Graduates that did not pick up their regalia during Countdown may do so at the designated station located at the dock on the lower level of the Convocation Center. Graduates that have not already purchased their regalia may purchase from the Follett kiosk which is located in the lobby of the Convocation Center.  
  5. Where is the graduate coat check?
    If weather warrants we have very limited coat check for graduates on the JCC dock which is located on the east lower corridor. Graduates should note that we will not allow purses or other items of value to be left at the coat check. Graduates should pick up their coats before they leave the Convocation Center. 
  6. Room #s for faculty regalia (male/female).
    Faculty regalia can be picked up in Suite 1101.
  7. Bathroom men/women.
    Bathrooms are located on the south east corner and the east side of the arena lower level.  Suites 1312 and 1115 will also be opened for additional facility access. 
  8. Where do Graduates meet their family after the ceremony?
    All graduates will be immediately escorted to the New Alumni Reception. Family members should be directed to meet the graduates at the reception. No one will be allowed to remain in the Convocation Center.