Countdown To Commencement


Your graduation from Siena Heights University is within sight! We look forward to celebrating with you at Commencement 2014. This page includes important information to help you, and the University, in planning this important celebration. Please read carefully, and don’t over-look the “Commencement Final Exam” farther down the page: For this test, you ask the questions, and Siena Heights provides the answers!

Commencement is Saturday, May 3, at 3 p.m. in the Fieldhouse on the SHU main campus in Adrian, MI. This ceremony will recognize all degree candidates from all Siena Heights locations.

Tickets are required for all guests attending the commencement ceremony. Every guest must have a ticket. Up to five (5) guest tickets are available for each participating graduate.

Advanced tickets will not be available any other way. When filling out the ticket registration form, be sure to include the complete address to which you would like your guest tickets to be mailed. A single ticket specifically for graduates walking in the ceremony will be available when you check in for Commencement on May 3. All other tickets for guests of graduates will be mailed to the address provided on the registration form. Tickets are free but you must order your tickets before April 15.


  • February 26 - Adrian Campus Grad Fair, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

  • March 5 – Metro Detroit Grad Fair, 1:00 – 7:00 p.m., Metro Detroit Center.

  • March 12 – Benton Harbor Grad Fair, 2:00 – 6:30 p.m., Lake Michigan College Bookstore.

  • March 17 – Lansing Grad Fair, 3:00 – 7:00 p.m., Lansing Community College University Center, Room 108.

  • February 15April 15 - Students can order commencement regalia from the SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Order forms can be found here. The form can submitted to the bookstore via email.

  • April 15 – Graduation reception honoring Siena Heights University Benton Harbor graduates. The reception will be held from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at Tosi’s Restaurant in Stevensville, MI. This event is free to SHU Benton Harbor graduates and one guest. Invitations will be sent to qualifying graduates.

  • April 15 – Deadline for commencement ticket ordering, Kente ceremony reservations, brunch reservations, commencement handicapped seating arrangements, and professional photo reservations.
  • April 24 – Graduation reception honoring Siena Heights University Monroe graduates. The reception will be held from 5:30–8 p.m. at the La-Z-Boy Center on the campus of Monroe Community College. This event is free to SHU Monroe graduates and one guest. Invitations will be sent to qualifying graduates.

  • April 25 – Graduation reception honoring Siena Heights University Metro Detroit Center graduates. The reception will be held from 6–8 p.m. at Greek Islands Bar & Grill in Farmington Hills. This event is free to SHU Metro Detroit graduates and one guest. Invitations will be sent to qualifying graduates.

  • April 25 – Honors Convocation, 2 p.m., St. Dominic Chapel, Adrian campus.

  • April 25 – Torch Night ceremony, 8 p.m., St. Dominic Chapel, Adrian campus.

  • May 1 – Graduation reception honoring Siena Heights University Jackson, Lansing, Battle Creek, and Distance Learning (Online) graduates for December 2013, and May and August 2014 graduates. The reception will be held from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at the Bella Notte Restaurant in Jackson. This event is free to SHU graduates and one guest. Invitations will be sent to qualifying graduates.

  • May 2 – Pinning Ceremony for nursing students graduating from SHU, 7:00 p.m., St. Dominic Chapel, Adrian campus. Reception immediately following at the Nursing Building.

  • May 3 – Commencement Day in Adrian:

    • SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore open, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

    • Baccalaureate Mass, 10 a.m., St. Dominic Chapel.

    • Brunch, 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., McLaughlin University Center Dining Hall.

    • Kente Ceremony, 12:30 p.m., St. Dominic Chapel.

    • Commencement narration begins at 2:50 p.m. in the Fieldhouse; academic procession begins at 3 p.m.

    • Reception to follow on the Fieldhouse lawn for all graduates.

    • Welcome Center for all Distance Learning graduates and families, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. in Dominican Hall. This includes all off site centers (Jackson, Monroe, Lansing, Benton Harbor, Battle Creek, Metro Detroit and Online).

  • May 5–16 – Diplomas mailed to graduates by Registrar’s Office.


  1. Order your tickets for the Adrian campus Commencement before April 15! This is how you let the University know you plan to participate (walk) in the May commencement ceremony. Remember, every guest must have a ticket. And we must also hear from you no later than April 15 for you to receive a proof of your graduation photo.

  2. Read about Torch Night (below); contact Campus Ministry if you decide to participate.

  3. Read about the Kente ceremony (below); contact the Alumni Office if you wish to participate.

  4. Reserve tickets for the Commencement Day brunch (below).

  5. Purchase your cap and gown and any other graduation items you would like from the SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

  6. Make sure the Siena Heights University Registrar’s Office has your correct and current mailing address. This is VERY important, as this address is where your diploma will be mailed.


Will you be well-prepared for your Siena Heights Comencement?

How do I get tickets?
Up to five (5) guest tickets are available for each graduate participating in the Adrian Commencement. Every guest will need a ticket to enter the Fieldhouse; please order only the number of tickets you need for your guests. A single ticket specifically for graduates walking in the ceremony will be available when you check in for Commencement on May 3. All other tickets for guests of graduates will be mailed to the address provided on the registration form. Bring any unused tickets to the Alumni Welcome Tent on Commencement Day so we can share them with others who need them. Extra tickets that are returned will be available at the Welcome Tent in front of the Fieldhouse. However, there is no guarantee that extra tickets will be available as they are given out on a first come, first served basis.

Where do I get my cap and gown and other items?
Several Grad Fairs are planned in February and March for students to order graduation regalia. The SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore is handling all cap and gown orders, as well as other graduation items such as diploma frames, announcements, and class rings. Order forms can be found online here. The form can be printed and dropped off at the bookstore in Adrian, or submitted to the bookstore via email. You can also order over the phone by calling the bookstore at (517) 264-7911.

How much do these items cost?

  • Cap, Gown, Hood and Tassel packages:
    • Associate/Bachelor’s degree: $79.98

    • Specialist/Master’s degree: $84.98

  • Associate or Bachelor gown only: $38.98

  • Specialist or Master’s gown only: $41.98

  • Undergraduate hood only: $32.98

  • Graduate hood only: $35.98

  • Cap only (one size fits all): $12.98

  • Tassel only: $6.98

What is Torch Night?
The Torch Night ceremony, which takes place one week before Commencement, is a Siena Heights tradition involving a symbolic exchange between a graduate and another SHU student who is not yet ready to graduate. The graduate receives a rose, the Dominican symbol of friendship, and gives the undergraduate (also known as the “torch”) a candle symbolizing the light of truth and the “torch” of learning. Each graduate invites a SHU undergraduate student, usually a close friend, to be his or her “torch.” Graduates wear their caps and gowns for this event. This year’s ceremony is scheduled for Friday, April 25, at 8:00 p.m. in St. Dominic Chapel. Line-up for the ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. Students from all SHU locations are welcome to participate. To participate: Contact Campus Ministry at (517) 264-7192 for your name to appear in the Torch Night program.

What is the Kente Ceremony?
Sponsored by Siena’s African-American alumni, the Kente ceremony has become a cherished part of commencement for Siena’s African-American graduates. SHU alumni provide a colorful Kente stole for each graduate to wear over his or her graduation robe. Stoles are presented at a special ceremony preceding the commencement ceremony. On May 3 in Adrian, the Kente ceremony is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. in St. Dominic Chapel.
To participate: Contact the Alumni Office at (517) 264-7143.

What if I – or my guests – need special assistance?
Students who need special seating or assistance because of a handicap or advanced pregnancy should call the Registrar’s Office at 517-264-7120. Students can be pre-seated if necessary, and/or can use our ADA-approved handicapped ramp. Guests who are handicapped or need special assistance, please call (517) 264-7600 by April 15 to arrange special seating (limited to two per student). Ask your guests who have arranged handicapped seating to stop at the reception table located at the east Fieldhouse entrance. This entrance is adjacent to the handicapped parking area. Wheelchairs are welcome.

What else happens in Adrian on Commencement Day besides commencement?
  • Baccalaureate Mass will be at 10 a.m. in St. Dominic Chapel. People of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome. No tickets needed. For questions call (517) 264-7198.

  • Brunch will be served in the McLaughlin University Center Dining Hall from 10:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Pre-paid tickets are $14.95 for adults and $8.95 for children age 10 and under. For required reservations, due by April 15, call (517) 264-7600 or send checks (made out to Siena Heights University) to: Siena Heights University, Doris Hubbard, 1247 E Siena Heights Dr., Adrian, MI 49221. Brunch also will be available on a walk-in basis if space is available for $17.95 per adult and $8.95 for children age 10 and under.

  • The Kente Ceremony for African-American graduates happens at 12:30 p.m. in St. Dominic Chapel.

  • The SHU Barnes & Noble Bookstore will be open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. for last-minute purchases.

  • Klemm Art Gallery in Studio Angelico will be open from 9 a.m-5 p.m. for visitors. The artwork of senior art student Lorenzo Cristaudo will be on display.

Do I get my diploma at Commencement?
No, actual diplomas will be mailed after graduation requirements are complete and obligations to the University have been met. If all requirements and obligations were met prior to commencement, then your diploma will be mailed to you between May 5-16.

To ensure timely delivery of your diploma, be sure to confirm your correct mailing address through your MYSIENA account. Login and click "Personal Info" at the top, then click on the "Biographical Info" tab to verify your name and address. If this information is incorrect, please click on the pencil. This will bring up a correction form for you to fill in and submit. Don’t wait to update your file; do this as soon as possible. (Note: name changes must be documented with the Registrar’s Office.) The Registrar’s Office will not mail documents to an SHU campus mailbox unless it is your legal mailing address. If you live in an apartment that is not your legal address, or if you will be leaving at the end of April, notify the Registrar’s Office at (517) 264-7120 of where to send your diploma.

I expect to graduate with academic honors. Do I receive anything for this?
Siena Heights does not present honor cords at Commencement, although some honors are presented at the Honors Convocation ceremony on April 25. However, if you qualify for academic honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude) and you have completed all requirements for graduation, your honors will be announced at Commencement and listed in the program. (Honors listed in the program and read on stage will be based on grade records as of April 2014 and will not be official until all second semester grades are received.) Note: Information about academic honors will not be available before Commencement.

My family wants a picture of me during the ceremony. Will there be a photographer?
Yes, a professional photographer will take student pictures at the Adrian ceremony. Students will receive proofs a few days after Commencement with purchase information and pricing. NOTE: All information for those students walking in the ceremony is sent to the photographer on April 15. If you inform the Registrar or the bookstore that you are coming to the ceremony after this date, you will not receive your sample photograph via e-mail.

Can family members/friends take pictures or video during the ceremony?
Family and friends may take pictures and video from their seats. (Note: Tripods are NOT permitted.) We ask that guests do NOT approach the stage from any direction to take pictures during the ceremony. Graduates and their guests may return to the stage after the ceremony for additional pictures. Make sure batteries and power packs are charged ahead of time.

Where do I and my guests park?
To assist our students and guests with entering and exiting the Adrian campus efficiently, traffic heading east on Siena Heights Drive will be directed to the following parking lots: West Fieldhouse, Dominican & Performing Arts, and Addison Street Fairgrounds. Traffic heading west on Siena Heights Drive will be directed to the following parking lots: Adrian Dominican Motherhouse and the Siena Heights Drive Fairground entrance. Shuttles will be available for transportation to and from the Fieldhouse. Adjacent parking fills up quickly, so please allow plenty of time. All exiting traffic will be directed out the same direction as it entered. Handicapped parking will be available in the parking lot east of the Fieldhouse. A state issued handicapped permit is required to enter, and should be displayed to the officer directing traffic. For any special assistance with parking, please contact Cindy Birdwell at (517) 264-7194.

What time should I be at the Fieldhouse before the commencement ceremony?
Students should arrive no later than 2:15 p.m. at the check-in tables in front of Sage Union to make sure they are in proper order in the marching line. Students will receive call cards and a photograph information card. Call cards are color coded and list the name, degree type and line up assignment. Please keep the call cards on you at all times. Caps and gowns should also be worn to the line-up. Hoods should be carried over students’ left arms and tassels on the left side of caps. Bring a safety pin/hairpin in case of emergency. Once you enter the line up, we ask that you remain in line. Marshals will be on site to assist with line up assignments.

What time should my guests arrive at the Fieldhouse?
Guests will be admitted to the Fieldhouse at 2 p.m. Allow 20-30 minutes for parking and walking. Every guest (even babies!) must have a ticket to enter the Fieldhouse. No loud bells, horns, whistles etc. will be permitted during the ceremony.

What should I wear?
Early May weather is usually pleasant, but the Fieldhouse is NOT air conditioned, so dress for the weather. You may need to walk or stand a great deal, so comfortable shoes probably are a better idea than high heels and boots.

Where can I find directions to campus?
An Adrian campus map can be found here. Click these links for Google Maps or Yahoo Maps to get a map and directions to the Adrian campus.

Is food allowed in the Fieldhouse?
Beverages and snacks will be available for purchase at the Fieldhouse snack bar prior to the ceremony.

What about smoking?
Siena Heights University is a Smoke Free Campus. Smoking is not allowed in any Siena Heights building or on the SHU campus grounds.

After the ceremony, are there places to eat in the area?
Yes! For a complete list of dining options, please visit the Lenawee County Conference & Visitors Bureau website.

Who do I call—about anything?

If you have more questions, try one of these numbers for help:

  • Registrar’s Office: (517) 264-7120

  • Barnes and Noble Bookstore: (517) 264-7911

  • Handicap Guest/Seating: (517) 264-7600

  • Business Office: (517) 264-7110

  • Brunch reservations: (517) 264-7600

  • Torch Night reservations: (517) 264-7192

  • Financial Aid Office: (517) 264-7130

  • Kente reservations: (517) 264-7143

  • Public Safety Office: (517) 264-7194

  • Tickets: (517) 264-7104

Consider a gift to the Senior Class Gift Campaign
Each year, graduating seniors have the opportunity to leave behind a lasting legacy of their time spent at Siena Heights University. Since 1919, SHU's graduating senior class has raised money through The University's Annual Giving Fund in support of special campus projects or a designated area of need. This longstanding tradition unites seniors to give back in support of SHU’s mission; to assist people to become more competent, purposeful, and ethical through a teaching and learning environment which respects the dignity of all.

This year it is suggested that gifts received will aid the SHU Scholarship Fund. We are suggesting a gift of $20.14 to commemorate our class.  But a donation of any size can help make a difference in the lives and experiences of Saints for generations to come.

Click here to make your Senior Class Gift.
Contact Us at (800) 521-0009

Siena Heights University Main Campus
1247 E. Siena Heights Dr.
Adrian, MI 49221