The role of faculty escorts

Commencement is a celebration of the achievements of our graduates, and in this regard the escorts of the candidates are intended to be their major professors who have contributed significantly to their academic growth and success. Degree candidates are responsible for identifying an appropriate professor to serve as a faculty escort, and asking that person to perform the role. Degree candidates will be asked to provide the name of their faculty escort when they complete the “apply to graduate” application. Although the identities of the escorts are not confirmed, we do ask that this practice of major professor escorts be followed whenever possible.

There are instances when a major professor is not able to escort a candidate, and in those circumstances other degree committee members or other departmental faculty fulfill the escort role. When that is not possible, the marshals at commencement are prepared to serve as the escort.


A faculty escort is expected to wear academic attire appropriate to their degree.

Faculty members who cannot afford to rent their academic attire, should contact the Commencement office for information on how to participate in the ceremony as a Marshal and have the costs associated with renting a cap and gown covered.

During the ceremony

The faculty escort for a doctor of philosophy, doctor of musical arts, or master of fine arts candidate sits with the candidate during the Friday, May 10 ceremony and accompanies the candidate across the platform during the march. Please view the graduate seating map for the ceremony.

Faculty escorts always should seat themselves and march on the candidate’s right, allowing the candidate to move ahead as the candidate approaches center stage to receive the diploma folder from the dean of the Graduate School. The candidate and escort then return to their seats.

Faculty escorts with more than one candidate should sit with all of the candidates as close as possible to the front of the PhD/DMA/MFA section. This “group” of graduates and escort will march together to the platform on-ramp. The escort may accompany all of the candidates as a group across the platform or the escort may accompany one candidate at a time across the platform while the remaining candidates wait by the on-ramp until the escort returns and repeats the routine.