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May Graduation Information for Students

The information contained in this guide is important for your participation in Commencement Exercises; it should not be construed as evidence that degree requirements have been met. Please read this information thoroughly and share relevant information with your guests.

In order for a degree to be granted, students must complete the following:

  • Students must pick up a graduation application in the Records Office, located in the Enrollment Services Suite of the Health Education Complex
  • Fill out an Application for Degree with the dean of his/her school/college
  • Dean needs to sign graduation application and it must be returned to the Records Office by January 20 (May Grads) or March 1 (August Grads)
  • Prospective graduates, who are unsure if they have fulfilled all degree requirements for graduation, should contact their dean in their school/college

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Degree candidates are urged to check their Application for Degree or Certificate information available on SSC. 

  • Degree candidates may access SSC to view their Application for Degree or Certificate information.  
  • Please check that your name is spelled correctly and your degree major and minor information is accurate
  • If this information is NOT correct, please contact the Records Office in person.
  • Visually-impaired degree candidates may have someone assist them with accessing SSC or contact Disability Services at (864) 503-5199. 

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USC Upstate will honor our May 2015 graduating class (those graduating in May or August) with commencement exercises on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. outdoors in the quadrangle (located behind the Stockwell Administration Building). 

We expect the convocation to last approximately ninety minutes. USC President Harris Pastides and USC Upstate Chancellor Thomas Moore will preside at convocation.

  • There are no rehearsals prior to graduation.
  • Students should report dressed in academic regalia to the G B Hodge Arena by no later than 4:40 p.m.
  • In the arena, students will find his/her assigned seat, which will include their name card and a program.
  • If a degree candidate anticipates that his/her name may be mispronounced, he/she may write the name phonetically on the top of the name card.
  • Students arriving late may risk not marching in the procession and will be placed at the end of the line, out of their degree order.
  • Please do not bring umbrellas, purses, or any valuables with you, as there will not be a secure place to store them.

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USC Upstate hosts May Commencement outside on the quad and does not regulate the number of guests graduates may invite. However, in the event of severe weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium and tickets will be required. Therefore, graduates MUST pick up tickets in case of inclement weather. 

If the ceremony is moved indoors, the time would remain the same and would begin at 6:00 p.m (the processional would begin at 5:40 p.m.) Graduates would report no later than 4:40 p.m. to the arena of the auditorium. The decision to implement the severe weather plan will be made by 12:00 noon the day of commencement. 

Due to the size of our graduating class, students will receive will three (3) tickets for the auditorium and two (2) tickets to the arena (the lower level of the auditorium). The auditorium tickets provide a live viewing of the ceremony. The arena tickets provide guests a video of the ceremony.

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Inclement weather graduation tickets at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium will all be General Admission seating. Each graduate will be issued a set number of tickets. Lost tickets cannot be replaced. All persons attending must have a ticket.

Spartanburg Campus:  

  • Tickets will be available beginning Monday, April 13, 2015 the HPAC Box Office from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
  • Students will be required to show a picture ID and sign for the tickets.
  • Students MUST pick up their tickets by Friday, May 1, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.
  • If there are any unclaimed or extra tickets, one (1) additional ticket will be available on a first come, first serve basis on Monday, May 4. Students must again show their photo ID and sign for the additional tickets.

Greenville Campus:  

  • Can request tickets through the USC Upstate Office in Greenville Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Friday 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. beginning April 13, 2015.
  • Within one week of making the request, the tickets will be sent from the main campus to the USC Upstate, Greenville Campus office where students can sign for and pick up their tickets.
  • Students will be required to show their photo ID. The last day ticket requests can be made at the Greenville Campus is Wednesday, April 29, 2015. After this date, students must pick up tickets on the main campus as outlined above.

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During the exercises, degree candidates will be asked to stand by row and approach the platform. Marshals will assist the degree candidates during this portion of the event. 

Students will hand their name card to the marshal who will in turn hand the card to the announcer. As the name is read, the candidate will walk across the platform and be greeted by President Pastides, Chancellor Moore and the dean of his/her school/college. All degree candidates will return to their seats and are expected to remain seated until the ceremony is concluded.

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Each degree candidate will find a name card on his/her assigned seat. The announcer will read the degree candidate's name from this name card. The announcer is typically a faculty member. If a degree candidate anticipates that his/her name may be mispronounced, he/she may write the name phonetically on the top of the name card. The degree candidate will carry this name card to the announcer during the degree candidate recognition portion of the commencement exercises.

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May commencement is a time to celebrate your educational efforts; however, in keeping with the idea that this should be a dignified ceremony, we will conduct a formal graduation. Please adhere to the following guidelines.

  • Men, it is recommended that you wear a white dress shirt and ties, dark pants and dark shoes. Jeans, tennis shoes and/or flip flops are not appropriate.
  • Women, it is recommended that you wear a dress and dress shoes. Please make sure that your dress is not longer than your graduation gown. Consider that you will be walking in grass when selecting the height of your heels. Jeans, tennis shoes and/or flip flops are not appropriate.
  • Caps should be worn so that they sit level rather than on the back or to the side of the head.
  • In respect for each graduate and their families, we ask that spectators and degree candidates remain seated.
  • Degree candidates and their guests should not participate in disruptive behavior until the last graduate walks across the stage. Noisemakers, beach balls, balloons and other items that could disrupt the ceremony will not be tolerated.

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Degree candidates will be seated in reserved seating located directly in front of the platform/stage. University faculty will be seated in reserved seating, along with honored dignitaries and special guests. The platform party will be seated on the rose garden terrace in May. All other guests will be able to sit in the unmarked rows behind faculty, students and special guests.

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The University of South Carolina Upstate wants to ensure that all degree candidates may participate in the May commencement exercises. Degree candidates who have special needs, including mobility impairments due to health conditions, or who are unable to walk moderate distances, are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services at (864) 503-5199 no later than April 1 for commencement.

For questions regarding handicap parking and seating, please contact the Office of Disability Services at (864) 503-5199.

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Honors will be based on the final cumulative grade point average on all collegiate work. The following designations indicate a consistently high level of academic achievement through the student's entire academic career. 

  • Summa Cum Laude: A cumulative GPA of 3.95-4.00 
  • Magna Cum Laude: A cumulative GPA of 3.75-3.94 
  • Cum Laude: A cumulative GPA of 3.50-3.74 

Diplomas of those students who achieve honors will be sent to the printer to have the award posted and mailed to the graduate as soon as they are available. Students who have questions about honors must address these concerns with the Records Office prior to the day of the ceremony. Please refer to the USC Upstate catalog for additional information or call the Records Office at (864) 503-5220.

Graduating with Honors  

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Degree candidates are permitted to wear honor cords, stoles, and/or medallions representative of various honor or service societies authorized by the University of South Carolina Upstate. Degree candidates who are eligible to wear honor cords will be contacted by his/her school/college prior to the day of the ceremony.

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Diplomas will not be distributed during the commencement exercises.

  • You must satisfy all of your degree requirements before officially graduating and receiving your diploma.
  • Students who do not satisfy all degree requirements will be sent a letter by their dean and they must re-apply for a subsequent term.
  • Degree candidates may wish to periodically check their academic transcript student portal on the records tab of SSC to see if his/her degree is posted.
  • Diplomas will be mailed to the graduate's permanent address. If there is an address change, please be certain to notify the Office of the University Registrar at (864) 503-5220.
  • May graduates can expect to receive their diploma in August
  • According to University policy, diplomas will be held if all financial obligations to the University of South Carolina Upstate are not properly satisfied. If you think you may have an unsatisfied debt, telephone the Financial Services Office at (864) 503-5326.

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Commencement announcement cards and personalized invitation cards may be purchased in the University Bookstore. Your announcements and/or invitations should be mailed early so your guests will receive them two weeks before your ceremony. For information on how to purchase announcements/invitations cards, you may visit the University Bookstore; telephone them at (864) 503-5167; or visit their Web site.

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Caps, gowns, tassels, and academic hoods may be purchased in the University Bookstore. For information on how to purchase caps, gowns, and tassels, you may visit the University Bookstore; telephone them at (864) 503-5167; or visit their Web site.

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Professional, multi-camera commemorative videos that will include the individual recognition of each degree candidate will be available for purchase through the Office of Media Services. For more information, or to order, you may contact Teresa Truesdale at 864-503-5564, or by email at ttruesdale@uscupstate.edu.

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Professional photographers will photograph each degree candidate as he/she is greeted by Chancellor Moore. Complimentary photograph proofs will be sent to the degree candidate at his/her permanent address approximately 30 working days after the commencement/convocation exercises. Additional photographs may be purchased upon receipt of the proof. No prior arrangements are necessary for this service; all degree candidates will be photographed during the ceremony. There is absolutely no obligation to purchase any photographs. Families and guests will not be permitted on the event floor for photographs during the ceremonies.

There will also be a professional photographer available to take still cap and gown photographs of the degree candidates on this special day. This photographer will be located in the lobby of the G. B. Hodge Center from 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. For more information, contact Grad Images at 1-800-261-2576.

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When the Chancellor closes the commencement exercises following the awarding of the degrees, the audience is asked to rise for the singing of the first verse only of the Alma Mater. The words of the song were penned by Professor George Wauchope of the English Department in 1911 (adopted in 1912) and are printed in the commencement program. The tune is that of "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton." "Here's a health, Carolina!" is a phrase which is repeated in Carolina's Alma Mater. Over the years, the custom has arisen of raising the right hand, with the fingers cupped, when the phrase "Here's a health, Carolina!" occurs, as if offering a toast. The Alma Mater is always sung with heads uncovered.

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Transcript requests must be in writing and signed by the student to whom the record belongs. To obtain an official transcript of your University of South Carolina Upstate academic record, log into SSC under the student portal. There is an $12.00 charge for each copy. Please also be sure to request that we mail your transcript after your degree is posted.

Your academic dean will verify that all graduation requirements have been met and approve your graduation. If you request that your transcript be held until after your degree is posted, it will be mailed as soon as the approval is received (approximately 45 days after ceremony) from your academic dean, your current semester grades are recorded and your degree is posted. According to University policy, transcripts will be held if all financial obligations to the University of South Carolina are not properly satisfied. If you think you may have an unsatisfied debt, telephone the Financial Services Office at (864) 503-5335.

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The University of South Carolina Upstate Alumni Association is a service organization established by the University to promote the interests of the institution and to develop and maintain a close bond between the University and its alumni. As you pursue life and career opportunities, USC Upstate encourages you to be an active member in the USC Upstate Alumni Association. 

Your membership is FREE and offers many campus privileges. As an alumnus, you will have access to career services, alumni directory, the library and a one year membership to the wellness center. You will also receive our Upstate Magazine and invitations to special alumni activities and events. 

At USC Upstate, we make a special effort to reach out to our graduates wherever they are. To be proactive with your future, stay connected with us by updating your contact information through our web site and becoming a member of our Online Community.

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Career Services serves as a comprehensive career information center providing programs to enhance the career development of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. You may wish to telephone Career Services at (864) 503-5392, or visit their web site.

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If you have any questions regarding the commencement exercises, you may wish to telephone the University Registrar's Office at (864) 503-5220, visit the Office of the University Registrar's website, or read the graduation Frequently Asked Questions.

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