Graduation Frequently Asked Questions

Fall 2014 Graduation Ceremony

The Fall 2014 Graduation Ceremony will be held at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, December 20, 2014, 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 amount of guests that you may invite. Because 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.

Graduation regalia is a requirement to participate in the graduation ceremony. Fall graduates have options to order regalia.

1. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tuesday, October 7, Bowen Law School Bookstore

2. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Wednesday, October 8, and Thursday, October 9, UALR Main Campus Bookstore

3. Bookstore hours, Tuesday, October 7, through Friday, October 17, Bowen Law School Bookstore

Graduates and their families (18 years of age or older) are invited to a luncheon on Friday, December 19th. 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 aejackson1@ualr.edu.

 

Spring 2015 Graduation Ceremony

The UALR William H. Bowen School of Law Spring 2015 Commencement ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16, 2015, in the Wally Allen Ballroom of the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.  A reception honoring the Class of 2015 will follow immediately after the ceremony in the ballroom foyer.

How do I get there and where do I park?

The Statehouse Convention Center is located on the corner of West Markham and Scott Street in downtown Little Rock. Parking is limited in the downtown area; however, there are three parking decks in close proximity to the Convention Center:

  • A 550-space underground public parking deck at Robinson Center that provides guests with well-lighted, weather-protected parking
  • A 650-space public parking deck located only one block from the Statehouse Convention Center
  • A 600-space public parking deck located at 2nd and Commerce Streets in the River Market District

View a map of available parking areas in downtown Little Rock

Directions to the Statehouse Convention Center

From Conway, AR:

Take I-40 East to I-30 South (cross the Arkansas River).
Exit 141-A – Convention Center. Follow the signs that say Convention Center (traveling west on 2nd Street, 2 blocks to Main Street and turn left for the parking deck at 2nd and Main, or go to the SHCC and turn right on Main which runs into Markham). The Statehouse Convention Center is located at the corner of Main & Markham (connected to the right of the Peabody Hotel).

From Searcy, AR:

Take Hwy 67 South to I-30 South (cross the Arkansas River).
Exit 141-A – Convention Center. Follow the signs that say Convention Center (traveling west on 2nd Street, 2 blocks to Main Street and turn left for the parking deck at 2nd and Main, or go to the SHCC and turn right on Main which runs into Markham). The Statehouse Convention Center is located at the corner of Main & Markham (connected to the right of the Peabody Hotel).

From Benton, AR:

Take I-30 North.
Exit 141-A – Convention Center. Follow the signs that say Convention Center (traveling west on 2nd Street, 2 blocks to Main Street and turn left for the parking deck at 2nd and Main, or go to the SHCC and turn right on Main which runs into Markham). The Statehouse Convention Center is located at the corner of Main & Markham (connected to the right of the Peabody Hotel).

From Pine Bluff, AR:

Take Hwy 65 North to I-30 North.
Exit 141-A – Convention Center. Follow the signs that say Convention Center (traveling west on 2nd Street, 2 blocks to Main Street and turn left for the parking deck at 2nd and Main, or go to the SHCC and turn right on Main which runs into Markham). The Statehouse Convention Center is located at the corner of Main & Markham (connected to the right of the Peabody Hotel).

From West Little Rock:

Take I-630 East.
Exit Main Street. Turn left on Main Street, traveling north. Go 6 blocks to 3rd Street and go through the light at 3rd. The parking deck is on the right between 3rd Street and 2nd Street (continue straight on Main to the intersection of Main & Markham to go to the SHCC). The Statehouse Convention Center is located at the corner of Main & Markham (connected to the right of the Peabody Hotel).

From Memphis, TN:

Take I-40 West to I-30 South (cross the Arkansas River).
Exit 141-A – Convention Center. Follow the signs that say Convention Center (traveling west on 2nd Street, 2 blocks to Main Street and turn left for the parking deck at 2nd and Main, or go to the SHCC and turn right on Main which runs into Markham). The Statehouse Convention Center is located at the corner of Main & Markham (connected to the right of the Peabody Hotel).

What time do I need to arrive for the ceremony?

Graduates need to arrive at the Wally Allen Ballroom no later than 11 a.m.

 How many guests may I have at the ceremony?

We do not limit the number of guests per graduate. Doors to the Wally Allen Ballroom will open at 11 a.m, and seating is first-come, first-served.

What about wheelchair access?

If a guest or graduate is disabled, there is an elevator in the lobby area that will take him or her to the ballroom on Level 2. If a wheelchair is used, please instruct family members (or ask the law students who are there to greet attendees) to remove two of the chairs (they are easily portable) and clear a place for the wheelchair within the seating area. It is imperative that guests do not sit in the center aisle because they will impede the processional.

How do I know if I will graduate with honors?

Degree With Honors (Students who matriculated before July 1, 2011)

    1. A degree with honors will be conferred on a student who at graduation has earned a cumulative average grade of 3.25.
    2. A degree with high honors will be conferred on a student who at graduation has earned a cumulative average grade of 3.50. (Revised 4/14/2011)

Degree With Honors (Students who matriculated after July 1, 2011)

    1. Summa Cum Laude – the students ranked in the top 5% of the graduating class.
    2. Magna Cum Laude – the students ranked in the top 6% to 15% of the graduating class.
    3. Cum Laude – the students ranked in the top 16% to 25% of the graduating class. (Adopted 4/14/ 2011)

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. The date has yet to be determined; however, it will be held in early March.  At this event, called “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 you purchase your hood, the price is based on the fabric you choose and ranges from $115 to $179.  You MUST order your regalia at Grad Fest  if you are planning to walk in the graduation ceremony. You will not be able to walk without the proper regalia. If you cannot make the Grad Fest date and time period, please contact the bookstore before by the end of February to make other arrangements.

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 in early May. Additional details will follow via email. 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 18th.

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. Monday, May 4, through Thursday, May 14, 2015. Please pick up cords during this time and date frame.

  • Summa Cum Laude
  • Magna Cum Laude
  • Cum Laude
  • High Honors
  • Honors
  • Law Review members
  • Law Review Editorial Board
  • Bowen Scholars
  • Dean’s Certificate of Service
  • Dean’s Certificate of Distinguished Service
  • Trial Team

These cords and stoles are not gifts and may not be kept.  They must be returned Saturday afternoon in the graduates’ robing area after the ceremony.

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 staging area, known as the robing area, 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?

11:00 a.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.

11:40 a.m. Line up alphabetically for group photo

 11:50 a.m. Group photo

 12:10 p.m. Line up in alphabetical order in two lines near the rear door of the Wally Allen Ballroom Hall. There will be a special area outside the ballroom for graduates to get prepared. There are bathrooms and water stations, and staff from the Office of Alumni/Development will be there to assist.

 12:30 p.m. The Processional promptly begins.

What happens during the ceremony?

At 12:30 p.m., the music will begin and graduates will begin the march into the hall down the center aisle following the Faculty Marshals and the student Honor Marshals.  Graduates will proceed to the front of the Ballroom 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 room, following the faculty and student marshals, then join everyone for a reception in the foyer. Please return your regalia and cords at the designated table in the graduate’s robing area during this time.

 What happens after the ceremony?

2 p.m. Recessional occurs and the ceremony has ended.

2-3 p.m. Reception immediately following in the Ballroom Foyer

*You must return the Alumni/Development provided stoles/cords at the designated table in the graduates’ robing area before leaving the Convention 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 Jean Probasco will let graduates know via email (your ualr.edu 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 2014 graduates, May 2015 graduates, and Summer 2015 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. We ask that family and friends refrain from coming to the front of the ballroom to take pictures 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 in the back of the Ballroom after the ceremony where we will have a photographer stationed to take additional photos of graduates with family, friends, faculty, etc.

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 via email or 501.324.9967. 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.

What about after the ceremony?

The Law School is hosting a reception in foyer of the Wally Allen Ballroom.  The reception will offer a selection of hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

Additional Information

You and your families are invited to an Alumni BBQ and Open House honoring the Class of 2015 on Friday, May 15th from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Law School. Evening includes burgers and other traditional menu items. The Student Lounge patio will be tented and provide live entertainment. RSVP to the Alumni/Development office by Friday, May 8th, aejackson1@ualr.edu.

Local Hotel Information