Doctoral Sponsors

Faculty sponsors of graduating Doctoral degree candidates have additional procedures that they are required to follow regarding attendance and participation in the University Commencement ceremony at PNC Arena.

Pre-Ceremony Communication

The Graduate School will email all faculty sponsors approximately one month prior to the Commencement ceremony to confirm their participation and attendance. Ceremony planning is unavoidably abbreviated by end-of-semester deadlines, so a timely response to this email is crucial.

Sponsor Rules

Faculty members can sponsor more than one student, as long as the students are all of the same degree type; a faculty member cannot sponsor both a PhD and EdD student. However, it is ideal for faculty to sponsor only one student, to maintain balanced ceremony procedures. Though faculty members may sponsor more than one student, students are only permitted to have one sponsor. If faculty sponsors are unable to attend the Commencement ceremony, for whatever reason, they should work with their department to provide their student with a new sponsor.

Ceremony Procedure

On the morning of the University Commencement ceremony, sponsors will receive a sticker that includes their name and walk-order number, and will be asked to line up accordingly beside the students they are sponsoring. Approximately one week prior to the ceremony, the Graduate School will send an email to all sponsors with more specific instructions and details about day-of procedures.

Non-sponsor faculty may attend the ceremony and sit in the faculty section in full regalia, but are not permitted to walk in and sit with graduates during the ceremony.


For more information about Commencement protocol, including assembly times, locations, and general information, see the Faculty Protocol page.

For more information regarding doctoral sponsor procedures, contact the Graduate School.