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Frequently Asked Questions





When do I pick up my cap and gown (regalia)?

Graduates pick up their regalia during the designated dates for the Grad FairStudents unable to attend Grad Fair may pick up their regalia from the WKU Store. 

Will there be a college recognition ceremony separate from Commencement Ceremony this year?

Yes. Spring College Recognition Ceremonies will take place on Friday, May 3, 2024.  View the schedule of ceremonies for details on times.

What is the difference between the Commencement Ceremony and the College Recognition Ceremonies?

The Commencement Ceremony, held on Thursday, is a university-wide event, celebrating all graduates from all colleges across WKU. This is a large celebration and a time for the entire WKU Family to come together at one place for one event.

The evening begins with a (30-minute) Topper Walk down the center of campus, ending at Houchens Industries - L.T. Smith Stadium where the (60-minute) Commencement Ceremony takes place. During this Commencement Ceremony, graduates' degrees are officially conferred, and students hear addresses from President Timothy C. Caboni, the Student Government Association President and the Alumni Association President. The ceremony concludes with the turning of tassels, a graduate red towel wave, the WKU Fight Song and fireworks. Immediately following this extraordinary celebration, the (60-minute) Big Red Bash is held on South Lawn. 

The College Recognition Ceremonies, held on Friday, are individual ceremonies held by each academic college. Participating graduates attend only their college’s ceremony where they proceed into Diddle Arena, hear an address from their college dean and receive individual recognition as their names are called and they walk to the front of the arena to shake hands with President Timothy C. Caboni. The College Recognition Ceremonies vary in length depending on the number of graduates in each college. It’s best to plan on ceremonies lasting between 60-75 minutes. Due to the number of graduates, the College of Health and Human Services’ ceremony runs approximately 90 minutes.

What should I expect at the 2024 Commencement Ceremony? 

For Commencement on May 2, graduates should come dressed in full regalia to the Commencement Ceremony. They will meet with their academic college at a designated time and location ahead of the ceremony for Topper Walk, where they will walk with their college to L.T. Smith Stadium. Once at the stadium, graduates will be seated on Jimmy Feix Field.

Graduates will hear from President Caboni and the SGA president in addition to receiving their degree conferral from the Board of Regents. 

If there is rain in the forecast, will the 2024 Commencement Ceremony take place outside?
Commencement exercises are held rain or shine, so graduates and guests should check weather forecasts and plan accordingly. Umbrellas and ponchos will be allowed in Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.  If severe weather is in the area, WKU will communicate delay information via the Commencement Website, emergency alert text messaging and email.  


What are the Graduation Honors?

Undergraduate students who maintain outstanding academic achievement are recognized at commencement by wearing red and white honor cords. Criteria for graduation honors are described in the undergraduate catalog in the section entitled "Recognition of Academic Achievement." Determination of the honor status is based upon the academic record in existence at the beginning of the final semester of enrollment.

Associate Degree Recognition:

  • With Distinction
  • With High Distinction

Baccalaureate Degree Recognition

  • Cum Laude
  • Magna Cum Laude
  • Summa Cum Laude

Honors College Graduate:
Awarded to students who are graduates of the WKU Mahurin Honors College

Scholar of the College:
Awarded to the student(s) with the highest GPA from each college

Ogden Foundation Scholar Award:

The Ogden Foundation Scholar Award is presented to one graduating baccalaureate degree senior who has demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and outstanding university and civic engagement.

Graduate Student Recognition:
John D. Minton Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Contributions to Western Kentucky University

Tell me about diplomas.

Your diploma is symbolic of the completion of your degree. The WKU diploma lists only the name of the degree and not the specific major.

The diploma will be mailed to you at the address listed on your Application for Graduation; however, if the address to which the diploma is to be mailed has changed since filing the graduation application, update the diploma address on TopNet immediately by selecting the Personal Information tab, View/Update Address(es) and Phone(s), click the down arrow for Type of Address to insert, select diploma address, then select submit. If there are any problems updating your address, please contact Leslie Vanderpool at (270) 745-5411. Diplomas for graduates will be mailed approximately 3-6 weeks following commencement.

Please make certain all obligations such as the return of books to the library, arrangements for repayment of loans, parking tickets,etc., have been fulfilled prior to leaving the campus. Final transcripts and diplomas will not be issued to students with outstanding obligations.

Where do I line up, and when, for the Commencement Ceremony?

Graduates should plan to line up near the Charles Hardcastle Kentucky Building on Thursday, May 2 at 6 p.m. Topper Walk begins at 6:30 p.m. and will end at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium where the Commencement Ceremony will take place. 

Where do I line up, and when, for the Spring College Recognition Ceremony?

Graduates should plan to arrive 1 hour in advance of their ceremony time on Friday, May 3 and gather in Diddle Arena's Auxiliary Gym to line up for the ceremony. 




I need information on accessibility parking and seating for guests. Where can I get that?

We are happy to offer special accommodations for guests and graduates. Please refer to the Accessibility page for this information.

I’m unable to attend the ceremony, or I have family members who cannot attend. Is there any other way I can watch it?

WKU PBS will live broadcast commencement and recognition ceremonies. These ceremonies will also be live streamed via the WKU Facebook Page and the WKU YouTube Channel. Afterward, these broadcasts will be archived on the YouTube Channel for later viewing.

Does WKU have a Clear Bag Policy during the Commencement Ceremony in Houchens Industries- L.T. Smith Stadium and the College Recognition Ceremonies in E.A. Diddle Arena?

No; WKU does not have a Clear Bag Policy for these events.

What is the approximate time duration for the Commencement Ceremony on Thursday evening and the College Recognition Ceremonies on Friday?

Topper Walk (prior to the Commencement Ceremony on Thursday) evening lasts approximately 30 minutes. The Commencement Ceremony that follows Topper Walk on Thursday evening lasts approximately one hour. Big Red Bash follows the Commencement Ceremony and also lasts approximately one hour.

The College Recognition Ceremonies on Friday vary in length depending on the number of graduates in each college. It’s best to plan on ceremonies lasting between 60-75 minutes. Due to the number of graduates, the College of Health and Human Services’ ceremony runs approximately 90 minutes.

If you have additional questions, please email registrar@wku.edu or call (270) 745-3351

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 Last Modified 3/18/24