FAQ's - Divine Mercy University

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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 the DMU graduation website https://divinemercy.edu/student-services/graduation-events/, as well as in the emails sent to you from graduation@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 Reception 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 the every student’s account 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.

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 11:00 A.M. Once the processional starts, access to seating may be limited.

How do I purchase Commencement invitations for my family and friends?

About mid-spring semester, keep an eye out for an email from the registrar’s office to potential graduates with an invitation order form. Please be prepared to respond promptly with the number of invitations you will need.  

Formal invitations are printed for Graduates free of charge (20 max/ 10 max if outside USA). Graduates can make their request for invitations when completing their “Application to Graduate.” Invitations will be printed in March. On-site students will be notified by email when and where to pick up their invitations. Online students, international students, and students on pre-doc will receive their invitations in the mail.

Will there be a Mass and Commencement rehearsal?

Yes, there will be a rehearsal at 9:00 A.M on the day of graduation and Commencement at the location of the graduation and Commencement. Please ensure that you arrive and are ready for rehearsal to being at 9:00 a.m. Further, it is extremely important that you read all emails regarding graduation and Commencement to receive any and all updates.

Day of Graduation: General

When is Commencement?

Divine Mercy University’s 2019 Commencement will be held at 11:00AM., Saturday, May 11th, 2019 inside the Grand Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. The procession will begin promptly at 11:00 a.m. Guests should plan to arrive by 10:30 a.m.  Graduates should note that they must arrive and be ready for rehearsal by 9:00 a.m.

Who participates in the Commencement Ceremony?

Currently enrolled students who will receive degrees in May 2019 or August 2019 are invited to participate in Commencement Exercises. Students not currently enrolled but who received their degrees earlier in the academic year (December 2018) are also invited to participate. It is recommended that those who graduated earlier in the year contact the Registrar’s Office about his/her participation in the May exercises. Graduates from the Psy.D. (Doctorate in Psychology), MS in Clinical Psychology (MPsy), MSC (Masters in Counseling), and MSP (Masters in Psychology) will all be participating in this ceremony. All eligible graduates have received an “Application to Graduate” from the Registrar’s Office informing them of their candidacy and formally inviting them to participate.   

Where can I find help 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.

Where can I find restroom facilities?

There are restroom facilities available in the lower floor of the basilica on either side of the gift shops. Please simply ask any of the DMU volunteers and/or the Basilica staff or security for directions.

How can I order the professional pictures from graduation?

DMU contracts photographers to capture the whole ceremony, including pictures of each graduate receiving his/her diploma and hood. After graduation, the University will make all graduation and Commencement related pictures available for free to all DMU graduate through an external website. Graduates can access and download pictures from this website free of charge.

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 go on the morning of Commencement?

Please rever to the DMU Graduation Website  https://divinemercy.edu/student-services/graduation-events/ to find instructions on where you should be and when you should be at the designated location for the processional. It is important to arrive on time for rehearsal at 9 am and be in place for the processional prior to 11:00 a.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 walk you through the whole ceremony during the graduation 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 9:00 a.m.

Will I be recognized individually?

Each student will be recognized individually during her/his academic school’s diploma ceremony during the Commencement.

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.

Can I view the Commencement Ceremony from somewhere other than the Basilica?

Yes. The main Commencement Ceremony will be broadcast via live stream on the DMU website, also found HERE. Students will be sent a link via their DMU email to share with family and friends in the days just prior to the Ceremony.  The link will also be available on DMU’s graduation website.

Travel and Parking

How can I find directions to Campus?

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

What are the parking options at the Basilica?

The Basilica offers ample free parking to visitors. The Main parking lot can be accessed via Harewood Road, which is on the west side of the Basilica. Handicapped parking is available off the east of the front circle of the Basilica. For more information about parking and accessibility, please see the Basilica website HERE.  At the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the elevator is accessible via the Gift Shop entrance at the south end of the building.

Additionally, guests may choose to travel to Commencement activities and events via Metrorail to the Brookland/CUA stop on the Red Line.  Parking at every Metro station is readily available most weekends. The two stations nearest to the Brookland/CUA stop are Fort Totten and Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood.

Do you have a list of recommended accommodations?

We have compiled a list of group hotel options HERE, with locations near DMU’s current Arlington location, the new DMU campus in Sterling, VA and an option on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

Can I take the Metro to Commencement?

Guests may choose to travel to Commencement activities and events via Metrorail to the Brookland/CUA stop on the Red Line. Check WMATA for schedules and any service interruptions.

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 a Graduation Committee Member.