Graduation Ceremony

Below you will find information about the graduation ceremony, to be held Saturday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the at NIU Convocation Center.

  • 6:30 p.m.: Doors open to the NIU Convocation Center
  • 7:00 p.m.: Seniors line up in designated areas located in auxiliary gym
  • 7:30 p.m.: Ceremony begins (the ceremony will last approximately 2 hours)

Tickets | Accessibility | Attire | Photos
Video | Flowers | Parking
What Not to Bring | Row Assignments


All graduates will be given 9 tickets at graduation practice.  Tickets are transferable, and can be exchanged among families. Without a ticket, you are not able to enter the NIU Convocation Center. If you need additional tickets, your student can request them at Graduation practice.  Additional tickets are not guaranteed, however, they have been available in past years.



There is ample seating for relatives of the graduates who may need handicapped accessible seating.  There are no reservations required.  The NIU Convocation staff will be available on the day of graduation to direct families to those areas.

Note to Families: Seating in the Convocation Center is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and the Convocation Center has plenty of seating to accommodate all guests.  Reserving seats is strictly prohibited and will be monitored by Convocation Center security staff.  To ensure parties are able to sit together, guests must arrive and take their seats at the same time.  Multiple ADA seating decks are available for those needing wheelchair access; no reservations are required.


There will be no locked areas for graduates to leave personal items such as purses, cameras, cell phones, etc.  It is HIGHLY recommended that all items of value be left at home or with a parent/guardian.  No items, including phones, purses, etc. can be brought in with you during the ceremony.

After the ceremony, graduates will be directed up to the main lobby of the Convocation Center.  Graduates are encouraged to meet your friends and family at a prearranged area of the lobby, or outside of the building.  Those that choose to stay inside the Convocation Center must stay in the lobby and will not have access to any other areas of the facility.  Event staff will notify graduates and family members when they must exit the facility; we ask that you be respectful and exit when instructed to do so.

Student Attire

Graduation is a formal event, dress to impress! Students are encouraged to dress nicely (collared shirts, tie, dress slacks, dresses, skirts, etc.).


Commencement Pictures

Central Valley Studios will take every graduate’s photograph twice, once as they approach, and then again as they receive their diploma cover.  Graduates will receive a color proof in the mail within 5-10 days.  Students can pre-register up to 7 email addresses at and get a 10% discount code for orders over $30.00.  Guests will not be permitted to leave the seating area of the arena to take pictures during the ceremony.

Commencement Video

A DVD of the full ceremony that also includes footage taken before and after the ceremony will be available for purchase from Encore Video Productions.  An order form will be sent home with the students at graduation practice.

Online Ordering Link:
Password: HHS1525


Rose bouquets will be made available for convenient purchase on-site at the graduation ceremony. Online pre-orders are also available. To purchase flowers before they sell out, please visit The Commencement Group at


  • To keep traffic flowing as you arrive for your ceremony, please follow the red lines and arrows on the included map.
  • Traffic coming from Lincoln Highway will be directed to President’s Blvd to access lots C1 & C3.
  • Traffic heading south on Annie Glidden Road should use Lucinda Avenue.
  • Guests needing ADA parking should access lot C4 via C3.
  • Faculty & Staff should proceed to Lot C3.
  • Guests and Graduates may park in either lot. Entrances 2, 3, 4, & 5 will be open for your ceremony.
  • Once the previous graduation ceremony has cleared out, C2 will be available for parking for guests and graduates using Lincoln Highway.

NIU Parking Map

What Not to Bring

  • PROHIBITED Items: Helium Balloons, Golf Umbrellas, tripods, monopods, or selfie sticks. Strollers are allowed in the lobby, but are not allowed in the arena, as we do not have anywhere to store them.
  • Guests are allowed to bring in 1 unopened, 20 oz or smaller bottle of water. All other outside food & beverage (including coffee) are not allowed in the facility.
  • 30 minutes after the ceremony, we will ask graduates and families to exit the building, and ask that they respectfully follow our staff’s instructions.
  • If graduates are wearing their gowns as they enter the facility, they should have their gowns unzipped so we can make sure no one is carrying in anything prohibited.

Row Assignments

The row list will be available the week before graduation.

Before graduation practice, please find your name on the row list.
Remember: Row Number and RIGHT or LEFT side (facing the stage).
It is also helpful to remember the name of the faculty member leading your row.