Graduation Information

Due to safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Southern Adventist University has rescheduled the May 10, 2020, graduation ceremony to August 9, 2020. The ceremony will be held in the Iles P.E. Center on Southern's campus.

In order to maintain safe distancing, we will be providing multiple services on August 9 (9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m., with an option for an evening program, if the others fill up). To register for your preferred service click here. For those who cannot make it to campus on August 9, please select the virtual graduation option on the registration webpage. The earlier you register, the more likely you are to be able to choose the service you want. Each service can have up to 96 graduates, and once a service is full, it will be dropped from the “available” list on the registration site. Registration will remain open for changes until July 20.

Doors for each commencement service will be opened one hour prior to the event’s scheduled start time. Detailed instructions for the graduation services will be emailed about two weeks prior to August 9. There will be no practice, so please be sure to watch your Southern email account for instructions and updates.

Each graduate will be able to reserve a section of four seats for guests at the time of registration. In mid-July, all registrants will receive an e-ticket to pass along to at least one of their guests. Guests are requested to enter as a group for their reserved section, and only one of the four will need to show the e-ticket at the doors so that the group can enter. Once inside, guests will be asked to remain at their seats during the program. Graduation programs will be placed in each seating area, so there will be no need to pick any up on the way in.

Guests are required to wear face masks for the full service. Graduates need to bring a mask and wear it in the line-up area and while seated during the service. During the processional, conferring of degrees, and recessional, you may take it off and carry it or leave it at your seat during the conferring of degrees.

Helium balloons are not allowed inside the gym, because if one is accidentally released, it could set off the alarms in the gym, requiring evacuation of the facility. Due to limited space in the lobby and the need for distancing, there will not be a table where balloons can be left. We are asking that families hold all such gifts in their vehicles and give them to their graduates after the service.


Order your cap, gown, tassel, and hood online at before July 20. Orders after that date may bring an extra cost to receive your regalia on time. Since this event is a celebration of your academic achievements, you are not allowed to march with items beyond those provided by the university. If your guests have flowers or wreaths for you, please be sure they give them to you after the service. It can be challenging carrying out the items given to you during commencement without adding these extras to your load. Please also note that Southern’s official dress code still applies.

ID Required for Line-Up Area

In an effort to provide security and safety in the graduate line-up area, we are asking all graduates to please bring a form of photo ID (either Southern ID or Driver’s License) with you, in order to enter the line-up area in the Hulsey Wellness Center. You may want to arrive a little earlier, in case this causes some delay. For those who may not have pockets in which to carry your ID, a lanyard will be provided at the check-in table just inside the doors for your use.

For any who may arrive late, thus missing the processional, please see the usher, who will be stationed at the far left side of the graduate and faculty seating area, to help you past the barriers and to your seat. You will need to show your ID so that you can be checked in. Thank you for your understanding and patience during this entry process.

Honor Cords (Undergraduate degrees only)

Those eligible to receive honor cords should pick them up in the lobby of the Wellness Center on your way to the line-up area.

Noisemakers, etc.

In our pursuit of a commencement service that is honorable, respects all graduates equally, and protects guests with sensitive ears or who wear hearing aids, we ask that there be no use of noise makers or mess-making devices including but not limited to: air horns, silly string, poppers, etc. These items will be respectfully confiscated if found and may be returned after the ceremony. Thank you for abiding by this policy and making family and friends aware of this restriction to ensure a smooth, pain-free service for everyone.


Parking will be available in the side lots next to the Iles P.E. Center, as well as the church parking lots and other lots in the area.


You will be given a 5x7-inch photograph of you receiving your diploma cover. A few days after graduation, you should receive your print in the mail. You may pre-register your email address to receive a message letting you know when you may view additional photos taken of you at graduation and to receive a $5-off coupon for your order. Go to to register.


To view the recording of the Commencement, visit

Web Streamed Services

Please tell family and friends who are unable to attend and have access to the internet that the Commencement services will be streamed live. Go to the day of services for the link. The link will become live just before each event.


A group rate ($109/night) at the Spring Hill Suites in Ooltewah has been arranged, and is valid from August 7 to August 11, 2020. Reservations at this rate can be made until July 11, 2020. To make your reservation click here.

Exit Interview

If you have received a federal loan, government regulations require that you complete an exit interview. Before graduation, go to for instructions on completing the exit interview or call Student Finance at 423.236.2535.


Floral tributes will be available for purchase in the Iles P.E. Center lobby through BLLUUM. To place an order and for custom requests, call 423.541.6767 or email

Congratulations to our graduates! We hope to see you in August!