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Graduate Commencement

Date: Thursday, May 16, 2019
Time: 5:30 p.m. Arrival/Line Up, 6:30 p.m. Ceremony
Location: MassMutual Center, 1277 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103

On Thursday, May 16, 2019 the College of Graduate and Continuing Education will host Westfield State University’s Graduate Commencement for students receiving Master’s Degrees.

Those not in attendance wishing to view the ceremony may watch a live streaming of the event online via the Westfield State University home page.

Participation in the ceremony is allowed to those graduate students who will have completed all degree requirements by the date of the May ceremony, and to those students who meet the following criteria:

  1. Students who have completed all requirements in August or December of the previous year, or January of this year, and were not able to participate in last May’s ceremony.
  2. Students who have completed all course requirements and are expected to complete their thesis/capstone over the summer. This would require the approval of their program administrator.
  3. Students who have completed their comprehensive examination/thesis/capstone, and have one unsatisfied course requirement which can be completed by the August 30th immediately following the ceremony date. This must be a course already scheduled to be offered over the summer of the same year as the commencement in which they participate.

There will be no exceptions to commencement participation as indicated above.

The Graduate Commencement is a recognition of academic accomplishment and an opportunity for graduates to celebrate with family, friends, and faculty. As part of the Commencement proceedings, graduate students will have their academic hoods donned from a faculty member. The hood is placed over the graduate’s head, signifying the completion of the graduate program of study. Please note that the ceremony is longer than the attention spans of most small children. All faculty are invited to attend this ceremony. All graduates must wear academic attire, including cap, tassel and gown. A professional photographer will take pictures of each candidate as they are hooded.

Further details will be sent to eligible students. If you do not receive your detailed letter by the end of April and believe you are eligible, please contact Shelly Conrad at (413) 572-8024 or, or Jennifer Haskins at (413) 572-8023 or Students intending to graduate in May, or participate in the May commencement, need to file their graduation application by March 1.

Please nominate a faculty member for the John F. Nevins Outstanding Educator Award, to be given during the ceremony. Nominations may be made online at: Nevins Award Nomination. For more information on this you may contact Denise Browne at

On the evening of commencement, students will adorn attire steeped in ancient tradition. Today’s academic dress has its origins in the clerical attire worn by medieval scholars. The hood at that time was meant as a head covering during bad weather. The hood evolved over the years, becoming a small cape attached to the robe, and finally a draping separated from the robe. It entered this county through King’s College (now Columbia) in colonial New York. The custom grew so rapidly that in 1894, an American Intercollegiate Commission standardized the style and color of robes and hoods. Whereas hooded regalia began as an academic dress for all students, it evolved to distinguish and signify the regalia of graduate students only.

We look forward to witnessing our students formally receive their academic hoods and becoming a part of this distinguished tradition.