Spring Graduation Frequently Asked Questions

The UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law Spring 2021 Commencement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 15. At this time, we do not know if this ceremony will be live or virtual. Please revisit this page for updates.

How do I get there and where do I park?

The Jack Stephens Center is accessible off 28th Street via Fair Park Boulevard or University Avenue.

Guests are encouraged to park in the Lots 13, 14, and 15. Lot 13 is closest, and there should be plenty of parking. However, all interior campus parking lots will be open during commencement, including the parking deck and Lot 8. For more information on the location of these lots, please refer to the Campus Map.

PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE BEFORE 5:30. The best time for guests to arrive is 6 p.m., as other ceremonies will have concluded. Seating will not be an issue for the law school graduation.

What time do I need to arrive for the ceremony?

Graduates need to arrive at Fisher Court no later than 6 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.

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 UA Little Rock Disability Resource Center.

How do I know if I will graduate with honors?

All students who are entitled to 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 regalia and invitations?

There are three ways to order regalia (caps and gowns):

  • From the bookstore during Grad Fest, which is March 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first floor in front of Career Services.
  • On UA Little Rock’s main campus Grad Fest on the lower concourse of the Donaghey Student Center.
  • Online

Note: You will not be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony without regalia.

Regalia consists of a tam and tassel, a gown, and a hood that you will own. 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.

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. You may also purchase these items online.

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 Office of Career Services. You will get an email when regalia has arrived. The graduate is responsible for bringing the law school regalia to the ceremony.

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 204, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • 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
  • Dean’s Fellow

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 Dean’s office. 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?

6 p.m. Graduates arrive with one hour 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.

6:30 p.m. Group photo

6:45 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 will be there to assist.

7 p.m. The Processional promptly begins.

What happens during the ceremony?

At 7 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 Dean’s Office) at the designated table in Fisher Court during this time. You will keep your regalia.

What happens after the ceremony?

8:30 p.m. Recessional occurs and the ceremony has ended. Cake will be served by the exits of Jack Stephens Center.

*You must return the Dean’s Office 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 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 2019 graduates, May 2020 graduates, and Summer 2020 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.

Additional Information

You and your families are invited to an Alumni BBQ and Open House honoring the Class of 2020 on May 15, from 5 to 7:00 p.m. at the Law School – Student Lounge and Patio. Evening includes burgers and other traditional menu items. RSVP to Ashley Nipp by May 8.


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