The university welcomes family members, friends, and guests to celebrate the achievements of their graduates. This ceremony recognizes undergraduate and graduate degree candidates who completed their programs in 2020. We are incredibly eager to welcome you back to campus to participate in a commencement ceremony just for you!

Commencement Ceremony
Date & Time: 

Commencement ceremonies for the returning class of 2020 graduates will take place on Saturday, October 16 at 5:00 p.m.


Concordia University, The Chapel of Christ Triumphant
12800 N Lake Shore Drive
Mequon, WI 53097

Tickets Required

Cap & Gown

Graduates eligible for commencement are welcome to purchase a cap and gown. Graduates can purchase a cap and gown through Jostens prior to the deadlines indicated below. Be sure to specifically select "Graduation Caps & Gowns."

All Rentals, Ship to School, and Ship to Home Orders:

  • Deadline for ordering a cap and gown package is September 2nd

Doctoral candidates are also welcome to purchase their regalia, but are not required to do so. Doctoral candidates can purchase their regalia by visiting Josten's website and selecting the "Sussex" Package.

Commencement Tickets

Tickets are required for the guests of graduates.

  • Each graduate must register for tickets for their guests
  • Each graduate can request up to a total of 6 guest tickets, which are free
  • Graduates themselves are not required to have a ticket for commencement
  • Children who occupy a seat will need a ticket
  • Individuals without tickets will not be admitted to commencement

Students will receive a direct link to register for tickets for their commencement ceremony in the near future. This link will be sent to student CUW email addresses. 

Students may invite four guests to their ceremony. Students must register for tickets for their guests. Students must use their F00 number to register for tickets. Guests may not register for tickets for themselves. After registering for the event, please share the tickets with your guests. They will be required to show their ticket to enter the Chapel on the day of your commencement ceremony.

Please note that tickets are not transferable and cannot be shared with other students. Request only tickets you will use for you and your guests. If you're interested in more than 6 tickets for your guests, please indicate such on your ticket registration. If additional tickets become available, students will be notified via their CUW email address.

For guests unable to attend, a livestream will be available here on the day of commencement.

Student Speaker Application

Concordia University Wisconsin invites graduating students from the Class of 2020 to apply to be the student commencement speaker. It is an honor to be selected to present the student commencement address and inspire fellow graduates to carry the Concordia mission out into the world. Student speakers are considered from traditional/post-traditional undergraduate and graduate programs on a rotating basis.


Graduating students interested in delivering the commencement address must meet these criteria:

  • Be eligible for graduation.
  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing.
  • Commit to attend and participate fully in the commencement ceremony.
Guidelines for the speech
  • The address should be between 3 – 5 minutes. This translates to approximately 400 – 650 words or 2 – 3 double-spaced, typed pages.
  • Because you will present the speech to fellow students graduating from more than one academic school or modality, it is important to keep the Concordia themes broad. The address should reference experiences common to all Concordia students.
  • Discuss the Concordia mission and educational experience– how it develops a desire to make a change in the world.
  • Include examples from collegiate life such as common coursework (general education classes), dorm life, co-curricular involvement, service, reflection on the mission and values of Concordia.
  • Avoid personal references that are unique to personal experience unless they provide insights into an extraordinary life lesson valuable to your listeners.
  • A variety of emotional content is always welcome in a speech. Humor is useful as well as a serious tone, as well as joy and sorrow. You do not have to include all of these, but emotional monotony can make for a difficult listening experience.
Submission process

Eligible and interested students are required to submit an application. This application must include a copy of the manuscript of your commencement address, as well as your resume. The deadline to submit applications for October 2021 commencement is Friday, September 10, 2021.

Selection process

A selection committee will review entries and select a student speaker. The selection committee will consider the following when making their selection of student speakers:

  • Clarity of ideas
  • Appeal to a broad audience & common experiences of Concordia students
  • Quality of speech content
  • Length of presentation (appropriate word length)
  • Extent to which the speech represents the mission and values of Concordia
  • Taking into account the above criterion the committee will also seek a diverse representation of Concordia students.

The selection committee will announce the selected speakers no later than two weeks after the application deadline. The selection committee will also notify unsuccessful applicants at this time. The selected speakers will work with a coach to refine their speech and delivery.

Commencement staging, etiquette, and COVID-19 procedures

Commencement is an exciting time to celebrate all of God's blessings associated with earning a degree and recognize the significant accomplishments of our graduates. With this in mind, graduating students are required to remain seated until all graduates have been given their well-deserved recognition and the ceremony ends.

Currently, Concordia requires mask wearing regardless of vaccination status and thus, we require them for graduates and guests at the commencement ceremony. Final safety protocol decisions will be made closer to the date and communicated accordingly.

We ask that any graduates and/or guests exhibiting fever, symptoms of respiratory infection, as well as those who have experienced a recent exposure to COVID-19, not attend a commencement ceremony to maintain the safety of all our guests.


  • The graduation ceremonies last approximately one hour each.  Please plan to stay for the entire ceremony.  Leaving the ceremony early is disrespectful to other graduates and their families.
  • Graduates are required to wear the approved cap, gown and tassel. Graduates may not alter their gowns.
  • Graduates should wear appropriate clothing underneath their academic regalia, this includes proper footwear.
  • Cell phones should be placed on vibrate or silent mode during the ceremony.
  • Graduates will not be allowed to carry small children, pets or personal items in the processional or across the stage.
  • Listen to the instructions from the marshals and the commencement team.  This helps keeps the ceremony running on time.
  • Beach balls, fog horns, balloons and other items that might disrupt the ceremony (or others’ ability to view or hear the ceremony) are prohibited.
Student Staging for the Ceremony
  • Enter campus through the Lake Shore Drive entrance. Security will be present to direct you to available designated parking. 
  • Graduates should be appropriately robed at the time of arrival. This means they should have on their cap and gown prior to walking into the building. Faculty, as well as a Jostens representative, will be available to help with any concerns regarding commencement regalia. Graduates are encouraged to leave all valuables in their locked cars or with loved ones attending the ceremony. For a reminder on how to properly wear your cap and gown, check out the Jostens video
  • You are welcome to arrive within the hour prior to your commencement ceremony. Please arrive no earlier than the designated time for your ceremony. 
  • Graduates will enter through the International Center between the chapel and the lake. 
  • Graduates will be provided with a note card that contains his/her name (that he/she wants to be read at the ceremony) and honors (where applicable). If there are errors on the card, students will have the opportunity to have their information corrected prior to the start of the ceremony. Each graduate must keep this note card so that it can be handed to the reader who will announce the graduate as he/she takes the stage. 
  • Faculty and staff will be available to guide students through the International Center to check-in for commencement. Once checked-in, students will be lined up for procession. 
  • Should a student forget his/her cap and gown, Jostens will be available on-site for last minute purchases. 
Student Processional into Ceremony
  • When the check list has been completed, graduates will be led by the Graduation Marshal to the ceremonies. Students will follow the Graduation Marshal in the processional and will walk in two single file lines, two spaces between individuals. 
  • Once graduates arrive at their seats, they should remain standing and be seated at the end of the entrance music.  
Degree Conferral
  • At the appropriate time, graduates will be requested to stand for the certification of graduates and the conferring of degrees and certificates.
  • Graduation Marshals will guide graduates to the stage to receive their diploma cover.
  • The graduate will hand their name card to the reader. Upon hearing his/her name called, will walk across the stage and receive a diploma cover.
  • Emeritus President Ferry will hand the graduate the diploma cover. Photographers will be available to capture the moment the graduate is handed the diploma cover.
  • After leaving the stage, graduates must return to his/her row and sit down.
  • After the platform party have filed off the platform, the Graduation Marshal will approach the first row and signal graduates to file out. Each row will follow the preceding row.
  • Graduates must keep moving so that other students are cleared out. Graduates will recess to the International Center where they originally entered for staging.


  • Cell phones should be place on vibrate or silent mode during the ceremony.
  • If possible, please remain seated throughout the ceremony.  
  • Seats are first come, first serve. Doors open 1 hour prior to the ceremony. 
  • Please do not stand in the aisles. We care about the safety of our guests and it is a fire hazard.
  • No air horns or other loud noisemakers.
  • Professional photographers from Empire Photography will capture the awarding of your student’s diploma from different angles. We encourage you to sit back, enjoy the moment and leave the photos to our professional photographers.
  • Finding graduates following the ceremony can be difficult. Graduates will process out at the end of the ceremony. It is recommended that guests make plans to meet their graduates at a designated location following the ceremony.
  • Please leave extra time to exit the building and to make your way through the post-event traffic.
Arrival/Entrance to Ceremony
  • Enter campus through the Lake Shore Drive entrance. Security will be present to direct you to available designated parking.
  • Guests are welcome to arrive within the hour prior to the commencement ceremony. Please arrive no earlier than the designated time for your ceremony.
  • Guests will enter through the Chapel entrance. Faculty and staff will be there to greet you. Guest tickets will be scanned at the Chapel entrance. Please have your guest ticket printed or available on your phone for scanning.
Degree Conferral

Photographers from Empire Photography will be at Concordia University to capture the milestone of your graduate. If you wish to take photos, you may do so from your seat. Photos from Empire Photography will be available online for viewing following the ceremony.

Departure/Exiting the Chapel
  • After the platform partyhave filed off the platform, the Graduation Marshal will assist students in the recessional. Graduates will recess to the auditorium where they originally entered for staging.
  • Once the graduates have left the Chapel, guests will be directed, section by section, to leave the Chapel (returning to the parking lot) to meet their graduate.

Commencement speakers

Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, Ph.D.
Retired President of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor

The Rev. Dr. Patrick T. Ferry was elected the eighth President of Concordia University Wisconsin in July 1997. He began his faculty career at Concordia as an Assistant Professor of History in 1991.

Dr. Ferry earned his Ph.D. in European History from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1996; his M.A. in history from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1989; his M.Div. from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN, in 1987; and his B.A. from St. John's College, Winfield, KS, in 1981.

Prior to coming to Concordia Dr. Ferry served as campus pastor at St. Andrew's Lutheran Campus Congregation at the University of Wyoming in Laramie from 1989-1991. He was assistant pastor at Wheat Ridge Lutheran Church in Wheat Ridge, Colorado from 1987-1989.

He has authored numerous articles, reviews and essays on education, religion, and history and most recently, his book, Faith in the Freshman, a story of hoops and hopes. He has also made numerous presentations at meetings, workshops, and conferences and serves as a member on numerous higher education and community boards.

Dr. Ferry is married to Tamara and they have five children - Peter, Hannah, Andrew, Rachel, Stephen, and four grandchildren. They are members of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. In June, Dr. Ferry celebrated his retirement from Concordia University after 30 years of faithful service.

Student Speaker, TBD


Graduation FAQs

Are tickets required for the graduation ceremony?

Tickets are required for guests. Each graduate can request up to a total of 4 tickets, which are free. Children who occupy a seat will need a ticket. Individuals without tickets will not be admitted to commencement. For details regarding how to secure your tickets, please see your CUW email (details will be sent out later this fall to register for tickets). For guests unable to attend, a livestream will be available here on the day of commencement.

Where should we park when we arrive?

Allow plenty of time for parking. Campus Safety Officers will be directing traffic prior to and immediately following commencement. Parking on campus will be open and available to guests at no charge.

Graduates who anticipate having guests with limited mobility or wheelchairs are encouraged to use our handicapped accessible Administration Entrance. Guests can be dropped off adjacent to the door and the vehicle can be parked in lot A or B. Guests would proceed to the Chapel. This will enable our guests to use our dry and protected building for entry and exit. Guests will also avoid the need to maneuver around vehicles when attempting to exit the campus after graduation. Please see the Campus Parking Map for lot and building locations.

How is seating arranged for guests?

Seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Accessible seating is available for guests. Once inside the building, an usher will direct you to the designated seating areas. Please call 262-243-4410 to make reservations for accessible seating for your guests. One family member or friend will be allowed to sit next to each special needs guest.

How long does the commencement ceremony typically last?

 The commencement ceremony will last approximately 1.5 hours.

What if I have family members unable to attend the commencement ceremony?

For guests who are unable to attend commencement, a live stream of the ceremony will be available for online viewing here.

Will the dining hall be open on the day of graduation? We would like to eat on campus between the baccalaureate ceremony and the commencement ceremony.

The cafeteria will be open on the day of graduation. Please see the hours below. Students are welcome to use meal swipes to purchase meals.

Saturday, October 16: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

We have more family members that would like to attend graduation, but I only have 4 tickets.

Seating is limited within our venue; therefore, we require tickets for those attending graduation. If an additional pool of tickets becomes available, students will be notified via their CUW email account. A pool of extra tickets MAY be available 3-4 weeks prior to the ceremony.

Will flowers be available for purchase to gift to our graduate?

Grad Flowers will be selling flowers in the Field House lobby prior to the start of the ceremony. You may give the flowers to your graduate AFTER the ceremony. 

I am graduating with honors, where do I pick up my honor cords?

Honor cords are distributed within some programs; however, the university does not recognize all students with honor cords. Should your program and/or honor society recognize such an accomplishment, you will be able to pick up your cords from your Program Director.

How do I locate graduation photos?

A professional photographer will be present at the commencement ceremony to take a full-length photo of each student as they walk across the stage. Students should receive samples via email within 7 days of the ceremony. Click here to preregister your email address so you can receive your complimentary proofs quickly. You may contact Empire Photography (608-257-2941) for more information.

Do I receive a diploma on graduation day?

Each student will receive a blank diploma cover at the commencement ceremony. Participation in the ceremony does not guarantee graduation from a program. Graduation from a program will be processed once all program requirements have been met.