FAQ's - Divine Mercy University

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Graduation Frequently Asked Questions

Preparing for Graduation: Graduates

How will I receive information regarding Graduation Events and Commencement?

You will receive information regarding graduation events Commencement through your DMU email. It is important to make sure you are regularly checking your inbox to make sure you receive this information. Comprehensive information will be available on both Student Services section of the DMU website, as well as in the emails sent to you from graduation@divinemercy.edu and registrar@divinemercy.edu.

Where can I purchase my cap and gown?

Regalia (i.e., your cap and gown) is rented and provided by the University to students before the ceremony. Please note that students may not keep their regalia; all pieces must be returned to the Registrar by the end of the Graduation Ceremony on the day of the graduation and Commencement ceremony.  A regalia return station will be set up in the reception area for easy return of your regalia as you depart the reception.

What does my graduation fee cover?

Our Academic Catalog states that “the Graduation Fee covers all aspects of the degree completion process and will be applied to all student accounts of degree candidates, regardless of participation in the Commencement ceremony,” (Graduation Requirements Policy). More specifically, the fee covers the cost such expenses as diplomas, diploma covers, academic regalia, invitations, printing costs, and similar. The Graduation Fee is a one-time fee of $75. It is applied to every student’s account of the last semester the student is enrolled prior to graduation, regardless of whether or not they attend the ceremony.

Participation in the University and/or school exercises is afforded at no additional cost to graduates and their guests.

How many guests may I bring? 

Given the space limitation, the high number of graduates invited to attend, and the local social distancing guidelines, we ask that each graduate bring a maximum of 4 guests with them.

Keep in mind that this number could increase as we get closer to the event date, either due to a smaller number of graduates actually attending or increased capacity for gatherings.  Please use careful judgement in bringing guests who have health concerns.

Do my guests need tickets for the Mass and Commencement Ceremony?

You do not need tickets for your guests. Seating is first come, first served so make sure your guests arrive early for the best seats! All guests should be seated prior to the beginning of the processional at 2:00 P.M. Once the processional starts, access to seating may be limited.

Will there be a rehearsal?

Yes, there will be a mandatory rehearsal at 1:00 P.M on the day of graduation. Please ensure that you arrive and are ready for rehearsal to begin at 1:00 P.M in the parish hall (Atonement Hall). Further, it is extremely important that you read all emails regarding graduation and Commencement to receive any and all updates.

When do I have to RSVP by? 

All graduates are required to RSVP to the Registrar’s Office by March 26th.  Students graduating in the current academic year will submit their RSVPs on the Application to Graduate. Students who graduated last year (2019-2020) have been sent an RSVP form. If you have not received the RSVP form, please contact the Registrar’s office directly.

What safety measures are being taken?

Following state, local and church guidelines, participants will be expected to wear a mask and abide by social distancing guidelines.


Day of Graduation: General

When is Commencement?

Divine Mercy University’s 2021 Mass & Commencement Exercises will be held on Friday, May 7, 2021 at 2:00 P.M. at Christ the Redeemer Parish. The parish is about a 12-minute drive from campus. Please plan your transportation accordingly.

Guests should plan to arrive no earlier than 1:00 P.M

Who participates in the Commencement Ceremony?

Students who have earned or will earn their degrees in the following conferral dates: December 2020, March 2021, May 2021, August 2021 and September 2021.

Students who graduated during the 2019-2020 academic year are also invited to participate. This includes Dec 2019, May 2020, August 2020 and September 2020 graduates.

Faculty from all degree programs are invited and encouraged to take part in the commencement ceremony.

Where can I find help on the day of Commencement?

Look for the people wearing name tags that say “volunteer” for help at any point during the commencement activities.  You may also email Graduation@divinemercy.edu with any questions prior to graduation day.

Can I bring my dog if it’s on a leash?

Except for service aids, pets are not allowed.

How long does the Commencement Ceremony last?

The length of the ceremony is approximately 2 hours, with Mass being about an hour, and the actual commencement taking approximately another hour.

Day of Graduation: Graduates

Where do I go on the morning of Commencement?

Please refer to the DMU Website  to find instructions on where you should be. It is important to arrive on time for rehearsal at 1:00 P.M and be in place for the processional lineup at 1:45P.M.

On which side of the cap does the tassel go?

Before graduating, tassels should be on your right. After graduating, tassels should be moved to your left.

What do I do during the actual graduation ceremony?

We will briefly walk you through the ceremony and what to expect during rehearsal. The most important thing for you to do is to be on time for the rehearsal with all your graduation materials (cap, gown, hood, etc.) all neatly pressed and ready for wear at 1:00 P.M. Each student will be recognized individually during her/his academic school’s diploma ceremony during the Commencement. Graduates in attendance will receive their diploma.

I’m not coming to Graduation. When will I receive my diploma? 

If you are not attending Graduation in May, your diploma will be mailed to you by the end of June. The Registrars’ office will send an email with the tracking number when your diploma has been placed in the mail.

International students: please take note that there is significant delay in overseas mail. If we are unable to mail your diploma due to current mailing restrictions, we will notify you immediately.


Day of Graduation: Friends and Family

Can friends and family attend the Commencement Mass if they are not Roman Catholic?

Absolutely!  The ceremony is open to all graduates, and their friends and families. However, please note that only practicing Catholics in a state of grace should receive the Eucharist during the time of Communion at the Mass.

Will guests be able to take pictures during the ceremony?

Photography is allowed during the Commencement events. However, guests may not disrupt the Mass or ceremony or block the views of other guests.

What is the appropriate dress for the weekend’s events?

Family members and guests are encouraged to dress nicely and comfortably for the weekend, taking the weather conditions into account. Most guests tend to dress up more (what might be worn to a religious service, for example) for the Mass and the Commencement Exercises, but there is still a wide range of attire at those events. There are no formal expectations for what guests should wear during the weekend.

Will you live-stream the event?

YES! We will live stream the Graduation Mass and Commencement Exercises. This is a great option for graduates who are unable to attend graduation themselves and it is also a great way for family and friends to join from afar.

The link to the live-stream will be on our website and will be emailed the week of Graduation.


Travel and Parking

How can I find directions to campus?

For directions to DMU’s campus in Sterling, click HERE. This link will direct you to DMU’s building location on Google Maps. Simply enter your point of departure to receive directions to the school.


Additional Questions

What if I have additional questions?

Please contact us by emailing Graduation@divinemercy.edu. If your question is time-sensitive, please call the University at (703) 416-1441 and ask to speak to the Registrar’s Office.