Ultimate ASU commencement guide

You’ll remember your Arizona State University commencement for the rest of your life. Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of it.

Arizona State University
5 min readApr 26, 2019


You did it, #ASUgrad! All your hard work has paid off, and you’re about to cross that stage, pose in your cap and gown and celebrate earning your degree.

From the best places on each campus to take your senior pics to the practical details that will make your big day run smoothly to the alumni advantages that will serve you for life, here’s a roundup of all things #ASUgrad.

How to wear your cap and gown

Don’t let wardrobe confusion get in the way of your proud day. Check these tips for how to properly wear your bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral regalia.

It’s a Sun Devil tradition to decorate your grad cap! Be sure to share yours on social media using the hashtag #ASUgrad — or send it directly to us via Facebook or Instagram direct message — for a chance to be featured in ASU’s grad cap photo album on Facebook and on ASU’s graduation website.

Best places at ASU to take pictures

Now that your cap and gown are set, get ready to showcase your smile all over your social media accounts. We’ve scoped out the top 10 sites that make the best backdrops for your photos. Every campus has someplace stunning!

On commencement day, you’ll definitely want to pose with the Pitchfork sculpture outside of Sun Devil Stadium and the 2022 sign.

New for 2022: an #ASUgrad sign where you’ll be able to take your pictures, either before or after the ceremonies.

The 2022 sign can be seen in the background. A pink bougainvillea flower can be seen in the foreground.
Two students pose in front of the Pitchfork statue outside of Sun Devil Stadium.

For that special touch to make your photos extra, look for our special #ASUgrad gifs and Snapchat geofilter.

Check ASU News starting anytime during commencement week for photos and stories from the ceremonies!

Commencement and convocation details: when, where, what NOT to bring

Graduate commencement will start at 9 a.m. Monday, May 9 in Desert Financial Arena on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Commencement for undergraduate students will start at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 9 in Sun Devil Stadium on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Our #ASUgrad students will be recognized by name during college, special interest and cultural convocations, so don’t miss them!

GRAD PROFILES: Get to know some of the most outstanding graduates from across the university

Check ASU’s graduation website to find out all the details on commencement and convocation ceremonies, including where to park, accessibility information and what NOT to bring. Please note that the clear-bag policy will be in effect: You don’t want your guests to get turned away!

Be sure to tell everyone that they can watch the ceremonies via livestream or follow live updates on Twitter at @asugraduation if they can’t be here in person.

Still have questions about the ceremony?

You now can have access to ASU Tassel, a chatbot that uses a knowledge base to answer your questions about ASU commencement.

Use this QR code to access and chat with Tassel.

What’s the meaning behind all that pomp, anyway?

“In this very modern ceremony, we have these ancient traditions,” said Melissa Werner, director of university ceremonies and protocol officer. “A lot of the iconography has to do with the Middle Ages period. … As the person who puts on commencement, it’s important I know that history.”

As you sit in the audience during the commencement ceremonies wondering about the meaning behind graduation’s gowns, medals and banners — and that impressive ceremonial mace — here’s a quick guide.

The Ceremonial Mace: A mace is a medieval war weapon, but this one is used to represent the authority of the institution. ASU’s ceremonial mace is 3.5 feet long and weighs over 8 pounds. It is carried in formal university settings by the Grand Marshal. The President’s Chain of Office: This medallion worn by ASU President Michael Crow was created in 1985 to mark ASU’s centennial. It’s a silver rope woven from strands of hand-turned links, holding a medallion that reverses to reveal the ASU seal in gold on one side and silver and turquoise circles on the other.
Robes: The current code of academic dress was first adopted by Columbia University in 1895 and established the cut, style and materials of the gowns as well as the colors representing the different areas of learning. Stripes on the robe sleeves are a simple code. Undergrads get one stripe, grad students get two, doctors get three, and the university president gets four. The Tassel: originally used to repair tears in damaged robes. Turning the tassel is now a ritual within commencement ceremonies that represents one’s degree being conferred. Gonfalons: These are colorful banners that the faculty march behind. Each college has its own unique gonfalon. They were used on the battlefield in medieval times as most of the soldiers couldn’t read.

Must-see campus sites for visitors

Our campuses are beautiful, and you’ll want to show your guests all your favorite spots. You can even download an app to guide you during your visit. For example, did you know that the A. J. Matthews Center was originally the first library on Tempe campus and named for ASU’s first president?

Welcome to the Alumni family!

Once you’ve turned your tassel, you’re an official ASU alum! Welcome to our vibrant, thriving global network of Sun Devils — leaders, doers, shapers, learners. Whether you’re interested in sports, social outings, travel, networking or community service, you’ll find your Sun Devil connection at ASU Alumni.

Be sure to update your contact information after you move, #ASUgrad! You don’t want to miss out on ASU Alumni career resources or continuing education opportunities through Innovation You and ASU CareerCatalyst. With chapters all over the world, your Sun Devil family is never far away.

Congratulations, #ASUgrad! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish next.



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