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2020 Spring Virtual Commencement

More event information

Watch a livestream of the virtual watch party

Download a PDF of the Commencement program

Although the May 9, 2020 commencement ceremony was originally rescheduled for Saturday, August 1, President Cottrell and TLU administration have decided to hold a virtual watch party event instead. The safety of our campus and our graduates' families are our highest priority as we continue to see COVID-19 cases drastically rising in our area. More details about the event and livestream will be available soon.

Dr. Cottrell's Message to May 2020 Graduates:

With much disappointment, I am writing to tell you that we have, as of today, made the decision to hold your August 1 Commencement as a virtual, rather than in-person, event. We have been monitoring this latest COVID surge across Texas for the past few weeks, and were hopeful we could still proceed with honoring you on campus.

However, after consulting with local officials, we have been advised that an in-person event of this size is not recommended and could jeopardize your safety, as well as the safety of our larger community. Though there is much hope that things will improve in the coming weeks, we cannot plan on enough improvement by August 1 to proceed. I deeply regret this and was so hopeful to see you all in-person on August 1.

  • But, as promised, we will now shift to provide the best and most meaningful commencement ceremony possible for you and your family. Here is what you can expect in conjunction with the August 1 virtual event:
  • You and your guests may view the Commencement Ceremony at a Watch Party on Saturday, August 1 at 8 p.m. I will join you and welcome you to the event. A link will be sent to the ceremony, which you can feel free to share this link with your guests.
  • We ask that you send a photo, preferably in your cap and gown, to by July 24 to be included in the livestream ceremony. Please include your name in the email with the photo.
  • The ceremony will include an invocation from a member of the graduating class, a welcome from me, the presentation of each candidate and reading of the name by Dr. Sarah Ferguson (our new vice president for academic affairs), the TLU Alma Mater, and a closing prayer from a member of the class.
  • You will receive copies of the printed commencement program in the mail before August 1. If you are receiving TLU Honors (Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Cum Laude), you will receive your TLU honor cord in the package with the programs. This package will be mailed to the same address to which we mailed your diploma.
  • Any questions about your commencement ceremony can be directed to Susan Rinn.

Each of you have accomplished so much in earning your degree from TLU, and you are all deserving of a ceremony that recognizes and celebrates that. We will make your virtual event very special, knowing the outstanding work you have done and the very unique spring semester you experienced.

Thank you,

President Cottrell

Schedule of Events

10 a.m. Nursing Pinning Ceremony Jackson Auditorium

3 p.m. Athletics Award Ceremony Jackson Auditorium

7 p.m. Line Up Jackson Park/SAC

8 p.m. Commencement Bulldog Stadium

Note: Master’s Degree Hooding will be incorporated into the Commencement Ceremony

Commencement Procedures


Graduates and guests may park in any of the parking lots on campus. But we ask that each set of graduate/guest limit vehicles to two. A parking and seating map will be mailed with tickets.

Handicapped Parking

There will be handicap parking at Jackson Park and the north side of the north apartment lot; handicap drop-off will be at the Fleming Street entrance and the University Street entrance. Due to distancing requirements, there will be no golf carts to assist in transportation from the parking lot to the ceremony. Please use the drop-off locations if necessary.

Graduate Line-Up and Information

Graduates are asked to arrive for line up at 7 p.m. The line-up location will be Jackson Park, directly across from Bulldog Stadium on Fleming Street. Graduates should plan to arrive in their cap and gown, along with any honor cords from honor societies or student organizations.

Shoes & Clothing

Women may not wear spiked heels, as it will damage the turf field. Please know that if you arrive in spiked heels, you will not be able to process. Chunky heels and platforms are fine. We realize that it will be extremely hot, so feel free to wear shorts, sandals or anything comfortable under your robe.


All graduates are required to wear masks, until the procession onto the field begins. At that point, masks may be removed. All guests are required to wear masks upon entry to the stadium, until they are seated.


Caps may be decorated on the top only. Please do not have anything hanging from the cap.


Diploma certificates will be placed on each graduate’s chair. Please take the certificate with you as you cross the stage. Your photograph will be taken with the certificate as you cross.

Master’s Hoods

Those receiving a master’s degree will process in with your hood. As your name is called, you will carry you hood on your right arm to the spot designated in front of the stage. Your program director will present the hood by placing it over your head. Then you will proceed to the stage to cross.

Honor Cords

TLU Honor cords (Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude) will be given out to students at line up. Individual honor society and student organization cords should have been distributed by the group’s advisor.


Each graduate will receive 4 tickets to share with family/guests. Due to social distancing, no additional tickets will be available. Tickets will be mailed in mid-July to the address submitted by each graduate on the RSVP survey.

Guest Seating

The home side bleachers will be divided into two sections.

Black Section: North side of the home bleachers. The entrance for those with black tickets will be the Fleming Street Entrance. Guests with Black Section tickets must use that entrance. You will be asked to leave from the same entrance that you entered.

Gold Section: South side of the home bleachers. The entrance for those with gold tickets will be the University Street entrance (directly across from the North Halls, near the corner of Fleming and University). Guests with Gold Section tickets must use that entrance. You will be asked to leave from the same entrance that you entered.

After the Ceremony

Due to social distancing recommendations, there will be no gathering after the Ceremony ends. Graduates will process out of the stadium and to Jackson Park, where they will exit to their vehicles. Guests will also be asked to exit in an orderly fashion and not to gather within the stadium. Please plan to meet with your families and guests at an off campus location.

Rain Plans

In the event of rain, the Ceremony will take place in Jackson Auditorium for graduates only. Due to distancing guidelines, no guests will be allowed. The determination will be made 24 hours in advance, in order to give guests sufficient warning and the event will be live-streamed.