Graduation Frequently Asked Questions

Fall 2015 Graduation Ceremony

The Fall 2015 Graduation Ceremony will be held at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, December 19, 2015, at the UALR Jack Stephens Center on main campus. The ceremony will last approximately one and one half hours. Graduates and guests are requested to stay for the entire ceremony.

The UALR Jack Stephens Center will open for your guests at 1 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony. There is no limit to the number of guests that you may invite. Because of the expected traffic congestion, early arrival is suggested, as it will take time to park and find a seat.

All graduates are expected to report to Fisher Court one hour before the ceremony begins. Fisher Court is restricted to graduates only. More information is here on what to expect when you arrive.

Seating areas for guests will be clearly designated. No guests will be allowed on the arena floor. There is a special seating area in the Jack Stephens Center for guests with disabilities. To help these guests and since the number of seats are limited, early arrival is suggested. For more information, please contact the UALR Disability Resource Center.

Grad Fest will be held at the Bowen Bookstore on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. This will be your chance to order your regalia, announcements and graduation rings. Graduation regalia is mandatory to participate in the graduation ceremony.

Graduates and their families (18 years of age or older) are invited to a luncheon on Friday, December 18th. The luncheon is hosted by Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz and will be held from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Little Rock Club. Must RSVP to

Spring 2016 Graduation Ceremony

The UALR William H. Bowen School of Law Spring 2016 Commencement ceremony will take place at 6 p.m., Saturday, May 14, 2016, at the Jack Stephens Center.

How do I get there and where do I park?

Here are directions to park once you arrive at the Jack Stephens Center.

Directions to the Jack Stephens Center 

The Jack Stephens Center is located on the main campus of UALR. The UALR address is 2801 South University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72204. Here is a map of the campus and surrounding area.

What time do I need to arrive for the ceremony?

Graduates need to arrive at Fisher Court no later than 4:30 p.m.

 How many guests may I have at the ceremony?

We do not limit the number of guests per graduate. Seating is first-come, first-served. Seating areas for guests will be clearly designated. No guests will be allowed on the arena floor.

What about wheelchair access?

There is a special seating area in the Jack Stephens Center for guests with disabilities. To help these guests and since the number of seats are limited, early arrival is suggested. For more information, please contact the UALR Disability Resource Center.

How do I know if I will graduate with honors?

    1. All students who matriculated after July 2011 by before fall 2014 shall remain eligible for an honors designation under the standard in this paragraph.
      • Summa Cum Laude – the students ranked in the top 5% of the graduating class.
      • Magna Cum Laude – the students ranked in the top 6% to 15% of the graduating class.
      • Cum Laude – the students ranked in the top 16% to 25% of the graduating class. (Adopted 4/14/2011, Revised 10/4/2013)
    2. All students who are entitled for an honors designation under the standard in the paragraph above are students who matriculate in fall 2014 and thereafter, shall be eligible for an honors designation based on cumulative grade point average as follows:
      • Summa Cum Laude – 3.70 and above
      • Magna Cum Laude – 3.50 to 3.6999
      • Cum Laude – 3.30 to 3.4999 (Adopted 10/4/2013)

A final determination is made once all grades are received for the last semester of school and class rankings are determined. The honors designation will be printed on the diploma and noted on the student’s final transcript. Graduates will wear the appropriate colored stole based on their honor received.

How can I order my tam, gown and invitations?

Your regalia (caps and gowns) will be ordered from the Bowen bookstore during Grad Fest. At this time Grad Fest has not been scheduled for the Spring graduation ceremony. Please check back later for that date.

At Grad Fest, you will receive a tam and tassel that you will own; a gown and a hood, which you will rent. Rental/purchase of these items will cost approximately $111.96. If you wish to purchase your hood, the price is based on the fabric you choose and ranges from $115 to $179.  You MUST order regalia if you are planning to walk in the graduation ceremony. You will not be able to walk without the proper regalia.

Tam Size:  There will be tams for you to try on in the Bowen bookstore, but if you have to order over the phone, measure your own head (tape measure or a string and a ruler) where a hat would sit, above the ears and across the forehead well above the eyebrows.  Here are sizes based on what the tams actually measured last year:  Small 21”; Medium 22”; Large 23.5”; XL 24.25”.

Your invitations/announcements and rings may also be ordered from the bookstore during Grad Fest. The bookstore sells rings and frames for your diploma, etc. as well. Additional details about Grad Fest will follow via email.

Where do I pick up my tam and gown for the ceremony?

Law school regalia – robe, hood, and tam – can be picked up at the Bowen Bookstore starting on May 2 through May 13. The bookstore hours are M-Th 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., F 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m, lunch daily 1 – 2 p.m. The graduate is responsible for bringing the law school regalia to the ceremony and returning the regalia to the Bowen Bookstore no later than Monday, May 16th.

What about additional attire?

Additional regalia worn by some graduates will represent membership in societies, associations, and organizations.  If graduates fall under any of the following categories listed below, they can pick up their graduation cords and/or stoles in Bowen Room 207, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, through Thursday, May 12. Please pick up cords during this time and date frame.

  • Summa Cum Laude
  • Magna Cum Laude
  • Cum Laude
  • Law Review members
  • Law Review Editorial Board
  • Bowen Scholars
  • Dean’s Certificate of Service
  • Dean’s Certificate of Distinguished Service
  • Advocacy (Moot Court and Trial Team)
  • Military Veteran
  • Law School Clinic

These cords and stoles are not gifts and may not be kept.  They must be returned Saturday evening in the graduates’ robing area after the ceremony. All other student organization cords and stoles will need to come from the student organization’s president.

What are some tips for dressing comfortably on commencement day?

It is okay for men not to wear a jacket. The tie and shirt collar will show, but the robe covers a jacket. For women, an unbuttoned collar can be unruly, so a skirt or slacks with a T-shirt/ sweater/shell may be more comfortable.  Low-heeled shoes are recommended so graduates can easily climb the stairs and walk across the stage. The procession will be moving briskly.

Where do graduates go before the ceremony?

Graduates will report to the Derek Fisher Court where graduates will be greeted by staff from the Office of Alumni and Development. Graduates will confirm an index card containing their full name, phonetic spelling and contact information. Graduates will then line up alphabetically.

What happens before the ceremony?

4:30 p.m. Graduates arrive with one and a half hours to be robed and to fill out the index card that will be given to the announcer when you walk to the stage. He or she will announce your name. Graduates will then learn how to drape a hood over their arm, so there will be no fumbling on stage.

5:10 p.m. Line up alphabetically for group photo

5:20 p.m. Group photo

5:45 p.m. Line up in alphabetical order in two lines near the front door of Fisher Court. There are bathrooms and water stations, and staff from the Office of Alumni/Development will be there to assist.

6:00 p.m. The Processional promptly begins.

What happens during the ceremony?

At 6 p.m., the music will begin and graduates will begin the march into the Jack Stephens Center arena down the center aisle following the Faculty Marshals and the student Honor Marshals.  Graduates will proceed to the front of the arena to take their seats. Graduates will march and sit in alphabetical order.

Graduates will hear brief remarks from the Chancellor, the Dean, SBA president, then from the commencement speaker.

Graduates will then stand, one, alphabetized row at a time, starting in alphabetical order, and proceed quickly to the podium to hand their card to the Announcer (right in front of you, to the right of the stage).  Graduates will then climb the ramp, where they will have the hood removed from their arm and draped over their head by the faculty hooders. Graduates will then be handed their “diploma” (actually the diploma cover) and will shake hands with the Dean.  Graduates will then stop briefly to get their pictures taken, then depart the stage on the left (opposite from where they entered) and proceed back to their seat.

A photographer will be taking photos for graduates during the ceremony as they are hooded and accepting their diplomas.

After each graduate has received their diploma, the Alumni Board President will make a few remarks. Graduates will then stand and proceed out of the arena, following the faculty and student marshals. Please return your cords (borrowed from the Alumni/Development office) at the designated table in Fisher Court during this time. Regalia is to be returned to the Bowen Bookstore on Monday, May 16, 2015.

 What happens after the ceremony?

7:30 p.m. Recessional occurs and the ceremony has ended.

*You must return the Alumni/Development provided stoles/cords at the designated table in Fisher Court before leaving the Jack Stephens Center.

Will I receive my diploma at the ceremony?

No. Final grades will not be in before the commencement exercises. Graduates will, however, receive a leather diploma cover. Registrar Lisa Layman will let graduates know via email (your email address) when the diplomas have been delivered. In the email, graduates will be given the choice to pick-up their diploma at the Bowen Registrar’s Office or have the diploma mailed to them. The diplomas are expected to be ready the first week of August.

What about the graduation program?

The official program will list everyone who graduates, including the December 2015 graduates, May 2016 graduates, and Summer 2016 graduates. This list is prepared by the Bowen Registrar’s Office.

What about photographs?

A professional photographer will take the graduate picture during the actual hooding and when graduates shake the Dean’s hand. Family and friends are not allowed on the arena floor before of during the ceremony.

  • Graduates will be given an index card when they arrive to be completely filled out. This card will be used to announce each graduate’s name during the ceremony.
  • This card will be given to the photography company in order to contact graduates about photos.
  • Photo proofs and ordering information will follow from the photography company if graduates provide their email on the card.
  • There will also be a designated area to the left of the stage in the arena where a photographer will be stationed to take additional photos of graduates with family, friends, faculty, etc, after the ceremony.

What if I want a DVD of the graduation ceremony?

The Bowen Alumni/Development Office will be offering DVDs of the graduation ceremony for purchase. The cost per DVD will be $10.  Orders can be placed with the Bowen Alumni/Development Office in Room 207.  Orders will also be taken outside the Wally Allen Ballroom before and after the graduation ceremony. DVDs will be mailed to purchasers in early July. Cash or check only please.

Additional Information

You and your families are invited to an Alumni BBQ and Open House honoring the Class of 2016 on Friday, May 13th from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Law School – Student Lounge and Patio. Evening includes burgers and other traditional menu items. RSVP to the Alumni/Development office by Friday, May 6th, to

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