Information for Graduates

For Questions and Concerns

Any questions or concerns regarding Commencement activities should be directed to: 

Office of Conference Operations and Events 
Grinnell College Grinnell, IA 
(641) 269-3178 
fax (641) 269-4650 
email commencement

Important Dates to Remember

  • Order announcements by April 29
  • Last date for picnic reservations May 1
  • Pick up cap and gown May 4
  • Commencement rehearsal: Mandatory: Darby Gym 10:30 a.m., May 16
  • Commencement: May 18
  • Last date seniors are allowed in dorms: Noon, Tuesday, May 19

Watch your e-mail and campus mail for important Commencement announcements.

Before Commencement

By May 1: Picnic Reservations and Requests for Special Seating

Seniors can enter necessary Commencement information electronically. Enter your name, Commencement Picnic reservation, and any special needs requests on the senior reservation form by May 1. 

Important information regarding Commencement will be forwarded to seniors via email.

By April 29: Announcement Orders

The official Grinnell College graduation announcements are made by CB Announcements. Their quality paper, artistic design, and beautiful, golden, hand-engraved Grinnell College seal reflect your hard-earned achievement.

You may order by phone or online. You will need to know your degree and major. Minors, emphases, concentrations, or honors can also be printed on the announcement. CB Announcements will work with you if you need to create an announcement in another language. Call CB Announcements at +1-800-433-0296 or order your announcements online.

On or After May 4: Caps and Gowns

The Pioneer Bookshop sells the caps, gowns, and tassels for Commencement.

Visit our bookstore anytime after May 7 to pick one up; it stocks enough sizes that pre-ordering is not needed. The price for a set that includes a cap, gown, and tassel is approximately $34. Separate caps and tassels are also available. We sell "green gowns" made from recycled beverage bottles.

On May 16: Rehearsal: Mandatory Attendance

Saturday, May 16, 10:30 a.m. in Darby Gym. Information about the order of procession and seating areas will be provided at rehearsal.

The line-of-march and seating for seniors is organized by division:

  • humanities
  • science
  • social studies
  • independent majors

If you are a double major and your majors cross division lines, you will be seated with the division of the major alphabetically first (unless you indicated otherwise on the Registrar's diploma order form).

A list will be available at the rehearsal so that we can tell you in which division you are seated. If you have questions, please see a staff member after rehearsal.

Phi Beta Kappa

In the spring semester, Grinnell College's Phi Beta Kappa chapter, Beta of Iowa, selects high achieving third-year and senior students who have met the chapter’s requirements for breadth and depth in their course of study. The chapter initiates the consideration of third-year and seniors for membership without action by the students. Students are notified by the chapter if they are to be offered membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

Loan Exit Interviews

Students with a Federal Perkins Loan or Grinnell College loan must complete an exit interview online. The Office of Student Accounts will send an email explaining the procedure. If you fail to complete the interview, you will not have valuable information regarding how to handle these loans after leaving Grinnell College. In addition, you will not be eligible to receive transcripts if you don't complete the exit interview.

In April, the Office of Financial Aid will send packets to Federal Direct Loan borrowers with summaries of indebtedness and instructions on completing the exit interview requirement online or in person.

AV Center Equipment and Recordings

Return all borrowed equipment signed out from the AV Center. Your account will be charged for replacement costs if not returned, which could put a hold on your records.

If you would like copies of previously recorded academic digital works, theatre performances, or music recitals, please bring the original media and one DVD-R to the AV Center for a copy. The original media will be held by the department or may already be at the AV Center. Copies must be requested at least two weeks before the end of the semester due to the high volume of requests.

During Commencement

No tickets are required for either the indoor or the outdoor ceremony.

Location and Weather

Outside: If weather permits, the ceremony will be at the central campus stage. Folding chairs and bleachers will be set up. Bring rain gear in case of light rain.

Inside: If weather forces us inside, the ceremony will be held in the Fieldhouse at the Bear Recreation and Athletic Center. We recommend family arrive early for an indoor Commencement. We we move inside, the College will send students emails and update the website, there will be lots of signs, and there won't be any chairs at the Central Campus stage.

Line-up and Seating

Plan to join the processional line by 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 22. You should know your line-of-march from the rehearsal.


Please respect others attending our ceremony when taking pictures. Keep the area in front of the stage and aisles around the graduates clear for the ceremony.

Lifetouch® is the official photographer for Commencement. Your photos will be available to view and order by visiting the Lifetouch® website. For your own photography, please consult the ushers, who will direct you to the best photography points on the site.

Commencement Online

The livestream begins at 10 a.m. CDT (GMT -05:00).

See Commencement Online for details about social media, livestreaming, and guest Internet access.

After Commencement

Final Transcripts

The registrar will not be able to finalize (the degree, major, and honors) transcripts for graduating seniors until mid-June. If you request transcripts in June, please tell us to hold the request until the degree has been noted on the transcripts; transcripts sent in early June will not show your final degree.

Students who have not completed their graduation requirements will receive diploma covers but no diploma at Commencement. Return the cover to us after Commencement and provide an address where we can mail the diploma and cover when requirements are completed and we have finalized your transcript.

If you are unable to attend Commencement, please contact the Office of the Registrar with contact and mailing information.

Residence Life End of Year Checklist

  • Check out of your room by noon on Tuesday, following Commencement.
  • Schedule a time to check out of your room with your RLC. Students who do not check out with their RLC forfeit their opportunity to appeal damage/excessive cleaning charges.
  • Be sure all College-owned furniture is present and set up in your room. 
  • To avoid excessive cleaning and other charges, be sure to:
    • Sweep your floor, but do not sweep debris into the hallway.
    • Bag and remove all garbage from your room, common areas, and hallways.
    • Take all garbage to a dumpster, located outside the residence halls.
    • Take all your belongings, including your bicycle, with you when you leave.
  • To receive credit for your key deposit, your key must be returned to your RLC in a tan key return envelope, labeled with your name and residency assignment. Key return envelopes are available from your RLC.
  • Refer to the flyers posted in your residence hall or campus house for the following important closing information:
    • Date/time items must be claimed from residence hall trunk rooms.
    • Rented loft and microfridge return dates, times, locations.
    • Donate/recycle information and instructions.
  • Donate textbooks and graduation caps and gowns to the Grinnell Textbook Lending Library, located in Read Pit.

Email and Network Access

With the move to Office 365, graduating seniors and ninth semester students will continue to have email for life using your Grinnell College Office 365 email account.

Network access to storage will be available for six-months following commencement. You may modify passwords or check account status. Please make sure you are able to access the server prior to leaving campus.

Contact Information Technology Services with any questions.

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations

Networking and connecting with other alumni is one of the best ways to achieve postgraduate goals. The Office of Development and Alumni Relations offers a number of tools to graduates.

Join us at Grinnell's alumni online community. On this site, you can network with classmates or Grinnellians through directories and discussion boards. You can read about and register for regional events, class, and affinity Reunions, and most importantly, you can update your contact information and submit news about milestones — family, education, and career — so as to stay connected with the Grinnell community after you leave campus. Grinnell activities, from happy hours to professional networking events, are organized in over 30 cities across the country and we'd love to make sure you know how to connect with Grinnell wherever you land next year.

Consider also connecting, sharing, and networking:

Senior Class Gift

Consider making a senior gift to acknowledge the generosity of preceding classes and help future classes. The Alumni Council offers a dollar-for-dollar match for every senior who makes a gift to Grinnell through the Stephen K. Kent ’67 Memorial Senior Class Gift.

Stephen Kent '67, a member of the Alumni Council and a Class Fund Director, started the Senior Class Gift in 1988 to introduce seniors to Grinnell's tradition of generous alumni giving. He initiated the tradition by giving an additional $5 to the annual fund (now the Pioneer Fund) for every graduating senior who participated in the 1988 Senior Class Gift. He also gave an additional $500 to the annual fund because the class of 1988, with 54 percent participation, had surpassed Kent's class in participation. The Senior Class Gift was renamed the Stephen K. Kent '67 Memorial Senior Class Gift after Kent's death in 1989. In the second year of the Gift, more than 50% of seniors gave for a total of over $1,400.

The Stephen K. Kent ’67 Memorial Senior Class Gift initiates a long-term commitment to Grinnell. The Gift allows students to honor their four-year journey, to express the joy and pride they feel toward Grinnell in a tangible way, and begin to build mature philanthropic relationships that will last throughout their lives. Outstanding programs and academics ensure excellent students continue to come to study at Grinnell. Alumni, parents, and friends provide resources ensuring Grinnell excellence is a reality. Participation in the Stephen K. Kent ’67 Memorial Senior Class Gift acknowledges the generosity of preceding classes and the responsibility each member of the class of 2017 has to future classes.

Order a Copy of the Cyclone

The Cyclone is the College yearbook, funded by the Student Publications & Radio Committee (SPARC) and put together by the Student Alumni Council (SAC).

Though content varies year to year, it generally covers major campus events, student organizations, athletics, theatre/dance, and other campus traditions. Additionally, all seniors are invited to submit a personal photo and quote for inclusion in the senior section.

Through SPARC’s generosity, copies of the yearbook are available for purchase at $10 (actual cost of the book is $38). There is a shipping fee of $11.

Place your order for the 2017 Cyclone online. Questions? Email The Cyclone for more information.

Campus Phone Numbers

  • Bookstore 641-269-3424
  • Campus Switchboard 641-269-4000
  • Office of Student Accounts 641-269-4100
  • Center for Careers, Life, and Service 641-269-4940
  • Development and Alumni Relations 641-269-1846
  • Conference Operations and Events 641-269-3235
  • Dining Services 641-269-3661
  • Financial Aid 641-269-3250
  • Information Technology Services 641-269-4400
  • Mail Services 641-269-3421
  • Registrar 641-269-3450
  • Security 641-269-4600
  • Student Affairs 641-269-3700

Congratulations on Your Graduation!

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