Commencement process, procedures, protocol

Author: Marketing and Communications
Posted: Wednesday, May 6, 2015 5:36 PM
Categories: Honors/Awards | Faculty/Staff

Macon, GA

This posting contains tips with information for graduation candidates, their families and their friends about the commencement ceremonies scheduled for Thursday, May 14, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Macon Coliseum. Additional information about graduation can be found here.

TIP 1: Don't be late – One of the most impressive sights in any graduation ceremony is the colorful procession of the candidates and the faculty in full regalia as everyone marches in to the playing of Pomp and Circumstance. Don’t miss it! That procession begins precisely at 10 a.m. for the morning ceremony and at 2 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony. Don’t be late because you are caught in a traffic jam getting to the Macon Coliseum. The traffic WILL BE heavy along Interstate 16 and Coliseum Drive. The candidates for graduation are supposed to arrive early enough to avoid most traffic, but family members often come later when the traffic gets heavy. We cannot predict the traffic flow but to be safe plan to arrive in the Coliseum parking lot no less than 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. If you cut it closer than that, traffic may prevent you from getting to your seat on time. You won’t regret being early!

TIP 2: Read your program – There will be plenty of commencement programs available in the lobby area where you enter the Coliseum. Not every person graduating will “walk” and participate in the ceremony, but those who do will be with others in their school or field of study, and they are supposed to stay in alphabetical order by their last name. Thus, you’ll be able to get a good idea of when your candidate is walking across the stage by finding him/her in the program and following along as those names are called out on the microphone. And by the way, if you arrive early you’ll also have time to visit the display of graduation-related items available from the Campus Bookstore. The store will have tables set up in the lobby area after you enter the front doors of the Coliseum. The commencement programs will be available just outside the doors to the arena where the ceremony is held.

TIP 3: Best seats – As you enter the arena, the platform where all of the ceremonies take place will be at the far end of the room. During the ceremony, each candidate for graduation will walk across the platform, lining up on the right side and walking across the platform to the left to receive his/her diploma cover and to shake hands with several college officers. The seats directly to the left of the podium may offer the best vantage point for friends/family wishing to see the faces of their candidate as they walk across the platform. However, the people who arrive early fill those seats quickly. But no matter -- the Coliseum offers thousands of other seats with a clear, unobstructed view of the platform as well.

TIP 4: Find candidate in line – Find out from your graduate what “School” or “College” they are graduating from. At the 10 a.m. ceremony, candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Information Technology, and the GAMES program will be graduating. At the 2 p.m. ceremony, candidates from the School of Aviation, the School of Business and the School of Health Sciences will graduate. As they are led onto the arena floor during the processional, the candidates follow a banner that lists the name of their school. Your candidate will be in the line following the banner of their school, and the candidates are supposed to be marching in alphabetical order by last name.

TIP 5: A place to meet – Participants in the proceedings line up for the processional in the Monument Room on the ground floor of the building. That area is only accessible to those individuals participating in the ceremony or its planning and operations. It is not available to friends and family prior to -- or after -- the ceremony. The candidates, faculty and platform party will enter and leave the arena from doors at the end of the room opposite the platform. Although the room is mostly dark, participants in the processional and recessional will be lit as they enter and leave the room. After the ceremony, candidates will exit the building through one of several doors. Family members should pre-arrange a place where they can meet their graduate in the lobby or outside of the Coliseum after the ceremony.

TIP 6: Video screens – To the right and left of the podium will be large video screens where live images of the speakers and platform party will be shown. These make it easy for those seated in the back of the arena to see the speakers even though they are seated some distance away.

TIP 7: Wi-fi service spotty -- During the commencement ceremonies, Wi-fi service inside the Macon Coliseum is not expected to be good for individuals seeking to connect to the Internet. The Wi-fi service that is available in the building is being reserved for official use by the college's Registrar, the Communications office, the Bookstore and for live streaming. It is possible that some individuals will be able to connect to the internet via their cell phone service provider, but our past experience has shown that internet reception inside the building is spotty, especially during the ceremony. Please plan to post photos of graduation celebrations AFTER the ceremony using our Facebook page or via Twitter, using the hashtag #MGA2015.

TIP 8: Live streaming available -- Live streaming of both graduation ceremonies (10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.) will be available for viewing over the Internet from any location in the world where internet service is available. This is an excellent viewing option for family and friends of graduates who are unable to attend graduation. Streaming will begin 10-15 minutes before the beginning of the ceremony. The broadcast will be available at

TIP 9: Band to play Alma Mater – The Middle Georgia State College Brass Band, under the direction of Dr. N. Alan Clark, will entertain the audience prior to the beginning of the ceremony. The band also will accompany Dr. Rebecca Lanning during her singing of The Star-Spangled Banner. The college’s new Alma Mater will be played for the first time at a commencement, and that will happen near the end of the ceremony, just prior to the recessional.

TIP 10: Send your pictures – After the ceremony, graduates meet with their family members outside of the Coliseum. Hundreds of family photographs will be taken. We hope some of those photographs will be posted to our Facebook page or to a Twitter account using the hashtag #MGA2015.

TIP 11: Traffic after ceremony – Due to the large crowds that commencement ceremonies generate, getting out of the Coliseum parking lot after the ceremony is sometimes a slow process. Due to the traffic flow along Coliseum Drive, the parking lot gate nearest to Interstate 16 remains closed – all traffic is routed out of the parking area through the main entrance gates near the hospital. Families who stop to gather and visit outside the Coliseum and do not leave the parking lot area immediately after the ceremony may have a long wait in traffic, but law enforcement officers will be present and will move traffic along as quickly and safely as possible.