Graduation and Commencement

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Steps to Graduation

A student planning to graduate should follow these steps:

  • Meet with their academic advisor
  • Check for 2.0 or higher GPA on all institutional college level courses
  • Complete the online Intent to Graduate Application through the My.Southwest portal:
      • Log in
      • Click on the "Registration/Online Services" icon
      • Click on the "Graduation Application" link
      • Complete the application
  • Schedule missing course requirements to be completed during the perceived final semester
  • Schedule and complete any required graduate exit exam(s)

Application Deadline Dates

Submit the Intent to Graduate Application for each semester by the dates below:
  • Summer Semester - July 1
  • Fall Semester - November 1
  • Spring Semester - April 1

If you have questions about the Application for Graduation, email the Records Office at

Pick Up Admission Tickets and Pronouncer Card

All graduates should make plans to attend ONE of the following drive-through events to pick up admission tickets and pronouncer card. 

  • April 26, 2021:   9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Union Avenue Campus in the parking lot on Myrtle
  • April 28, 2021:   3 p.m. – 6 p.m. at Macon Cove Campus in the Farris Building parking lot

Graduates must complete the online health assessment to gain entry to campus and show identification (ID) to receive items.

Graduates should be sure to bring the pronouncer card to Commencement.

For more information about commencement, email

Regalia Order


The Southwest Office of Records will email graduates a link to order regalia (cap/gown). Once ordered, regalia will be mailed to the graduate’s home address. 

We have one Commencement each year in May. The 2021 Commencement is Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The rain date is Sunday, May 2. Students should ensure all of their contact information is current in their Southwest portal. For more information, contact Records at 901-333-4594 5924 or

Guidelines for Commencement

Procedures and Etiquette


Ceremony Etiquette

The Commencement Ceremony is a most dignified event, whose traditions and regalia date from the thirteenth century. All participants are expected to exhibit courteous behavior and to observe the decorum merited by the occasion. Thank you for familiarizing yourself with the following notes on etiquette.

Arrival. Doors open one hour before the ceremony begins. Please arrive no later than forty-five minutes before the ceremony begins. All graduates must bring their pronouncer’s card that will be provided at the Ticket Distribution/Curbside Event.

Seating. This year, we will not line up by disciplines, due to limited capacity within the North Tunnel of the stadium. You will be assisted by Southwest faculty and staff with lining up on the day of Commencement. Please be cooperative and attentive to ensure you hear all directions.

Leaving. You may not leave until the ceremony concludes. The ceremony will last approximately two hours. It is important that you respect all of your fellow graduates and the importance of the ceremony.

Masks will be required of all attendees – students and guests. All individuals attending must wear a face covering upon entry and throughout the duration of the entire ceremony.

  • Seating areas for attendees will be clearly marked in order to maintain safe physical distancing. Guests may sit together in groups of no more than eight, according to new CDC guidelines. Students will now be provided 8 tickets, with this change. There will not be overflow for additional guests to watch the ceremony. Everyone must have a ticket, including babies and children.
  • Southwest will provide limited commencement programs. A link to a digital commencement program will be shared via email, after the ceremony. Attendees will receive ONE (1) printed program at the stadium. Graduates will have a printed program in their seats on the field.
  • Ceremony will be conducted at the Liberty Bowl Stadium on the football field. The following are NOT permitted on the field:
    • High heels of any height (It can damage the field and be difficult and dangerous for the graduate on turf.)
    • Gum
    • Food or beverages
    • Cell phones and other electronic equipment should be left with family and/or turned off.
    • Personal items cannot be stored. Therefore, please leave them with family/loved ones.
  • The following requirements must be strictly adhered to for any guests of the Liberty Bowl Stadium, including graduates:
    • Strict adherence to the clear bag policy of the venue.
    • No Air horns or any other artificial noise makers
    • No Animals (excluding service animals)
    • No Fireworks or other explosives
    • No Balloons, confetti, glitter, objectionable banners or device that may interfere with and/or distract any sports or event participant or stadium guest
    • No Alcohol or Controlled Substances.
  • Due to social distancing guidelines and layout of the stadium, graduates will walk a greater distance than normal, including up and down ramps. We highly suggest wearing comfortable shoes. Graduates and faculty/staff with mobility concerns should contact the Center for Access at (901)-333-4223 or by email at . Sign language interpreters will be provided.
  • All attendees are discouraged from congregating in groups outside the arena before or after the ceremony.
  • We encourage graduates to decorate their mortarboards. However, no obscene, profane, or improper decorations will be allowed. If done, you will be asked to remove your mortarboard.

Parking at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium

Event Parking

  • All vehicles need to enter property at S. Hollywood and Skinner Street (Access 4). Parking staff will direct patrons where to go, and all parking lots are available.


  • Need to walk through the main exterior/Halo gates from the parking lots and proceed to the north tunnel. Event staff will be at each gate to help direct graduates to the north tunnel, and patrons to the appropriate entry gate
  • Reminder that the field is turf and pointed heels are not allowed on the field surface.


  • Need to walk through the main exterior/Halo gates from the parking lots and proceed to either Gate 1 or Gate 3 based on their ticket location. Event staff will be at each gate to help assist where each entry gate is located.

General Building Policies

  • Attached is our Clear Bag Policy and Prohibited Items List,
  • All persons must wear facial coverings at all times.
  • Only the bags listed on the Clear Bag Policy are permitted to enter the venue.
  • Social Distancing must be practiced at all times, and frequent hand washing/sanitizing is strongly encouraged.
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