Commencement 2017

If you have questions, please contact Mary Asaro at 314-889-4516 or at

Welcome to Commencement 2017!

Thank you for visiting the Commencement website.

We are quite excited that we will continue to have our commencement ceremony at the off campus location of the beautiful Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University. The arena allows for easy access and parking, great site lines, clear audio, and plenty of seating for our graduates’ families.

The following information will hopefully be helpful as you plan to participate in the 2017 Fontbonne University Commencement Activities. Below is listed not only a schedule of events, but links to a variety of Commencement Checklists, which should help graduates and their guests plan and prepare for this special day.

Graduating students should definitely review all the checklists for important information, paying close attention to the required items listed under the Mandatory Items list.

Make a donation to the 2017 Class Gift and receive a special commemorative tassel!

Much of the basic information that you need right now is current, but further details may be added, so please check back again later to look for any updates.
If you cannot find the answer to your question on this website or if you need any added assistance, please call or email the following person:

Mary Asaro
Executive Administrative Assistant
Office of Student Affairs

Live Broadcast

Coverage of the commencement ceremonies on Monday, May 8th will include a live broadcast on the internet via a service called Ustream.   This will allow those who are not able to attend in person an opportunity to view the event from an off-site location while it is occurring.

You can  access the live broadcast here that day.

You can expand the video feed to fill your entire computer screen by clicking on the ‘screen’ icon in the bottom right-hand corner, just below the video image.

A recording of the ceremonies will be available at that same web link, for viewing at a later time, after the ceremony has concluded.

Schedule of Events (RSVP Required)

  • Graduation Celebration Event: A Toast to the Class of 2017

    Graduation Celebration Event:  A Toast to the Class of 2017 

    Thursday, May 4, 2017, 5 – 7 PM

    Griffin Grill, 2nd Floor, Dunham Student Activity Center

    It’s time to celebrate the Class of 2017!

    Join your fellow graduates, alumni, faculty, and staff at a reception to congratulate and welcome the newest alumni of Fontbonne University!  The reception will include beer, wine, and appetizers.  All members of the Class of 2017 will also receive a special gift!

    The event is complimentary, but  pre-registration is required.  Please note, this event is for graduates only.  Please register online at ( rsvp ).

    Questions?  Contact the Office of Alumni Relations at

  • Sending Ceremony: An Interfaith Service Honoring Our Graduates

    Sending Ceremony: An Interfaith Service Honoring Our Graduates 

    Sunday, May 7, 2017

    4:00 PM in the Maybee Gymnasium in the Dunham Student Activity Center on the Fontbonne Campus.

    This event is designed for our graduates and their families. Students from all faith traditions are welcome.  Light refreshments will be served immediately following the Sending Ceremony.  Also, immediately following the ceremony, all graduates are invited to participate in the traditional Ringing of the Bell outside of Ryan Hall in the Golden Meadow.

    If you are planning on attending, please complete the rsvp and let us know.

    History of the Ringing of the Bell

    The women of the Fontbonne graduating class of 1949 donated a bell for the Ryan Hall  Chapel.  For many years, the bell was rung for a variety of occasions, including daily prayers.  It is believed that the bell was also rung at each Commencement, with the number of rings coinciding with the year of the graduating class (60 rings in 1960, 74 rings in 1974, and so on).

    In 2000, a new tradition was started and the bell was rung one time for each graduating student as a way for Fontbonne to celebrate each individual  student’s  effort and success.   Now all graduating students are invited to participate in the bell ringing.  The bell rope will be lowered into the Medaillle Golden Meadow following the Sending Ceremony so that each graduate  can individually ring the bell, marking the end of their student journey at Fontbonne.

    If you are interested in helping to organize or participate in this event, please contact Lori Helfrich, Director of Campus Ministry, at or at 314.719.3663.

    Please note: While not part of the official commencement schedule of events, Fontbonne normally offers Sunday Mass on our campus when classes are in session. If you are in town and would like to attend Mass on campus, Campus Ministry will offer Sunday Mass at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 7th in the Doerr Chapel on the 2nd floor of Ryan Hall.


  • Monday, May 8th: Commencement Ceremony

    Commencement Ceremony: Bachelors and Masters Candidates
    Fontbonne University’s 2017 Commencement Ceremony is scheduled for Monday, May 8, 2017, 4:00 PM at Chaifetz Arena, located at 1 S. Compton Ave. in St. Louis, MO 63103.

    Please Note:

    Please rsvp for the Commencement Ceremony and indicate how many guests you plan on having attend the event. You must RSVP by April 30, 2017 to be eligible to receive up to 10 guest tickets for the event. Additional tickets may be available upon request, subject to the number of participants and available seating.

    Tickets will be available for pick up on campus from May 1 to May 5 at the Student Affairs Office in Medaille Hall during normal office hours, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

    Doors open for guest arrival one hour prior to the start of the ceremony. Guests may enter any of the main entrances to the Arena. Graduates participating in the ceremony MUST ARRIVE at 2:30 PM, one hour and thirty minutes prior to the start of the ceremony, via the VIP Entrance which is located on the West side of the Chaifetz Arena. Detailed instructions for graduates to follow on the day of commencement are available as part of the “General Information for Participant” section of this website.

    Free parking, courtesy of Fontbonne, will be available for the Chaifetz Arena in the Olive Compton Parking Garage only. This garage is located at the corner of N. Compton Avenue and Olive Street.  You and your guests will simply need to mention that they are there for the Fontbonne University Commencement.

Commencement Checklists

Mandatory Items

These items must be completed by you, the graduating student, in order to receive your degree and to participate in the commencement ceremony. Please fully complete each of these items as soon as possible but certainly by the listed deadlines.

  • Verify that You are Eligible to Graduate

    Meet with your academic advisor and complete a Degree Audit. Confirm that you have met the respective degree and major requirements.

  • Apply for Your Degree

    Submit an application for degree in the Registrar’s office by August 1 for the December conferral of degree, December 1 for May conferral of degree, and May 1 for August conferral of degree.

    The annual commencement ceremony is held in May and confers bachelors’ and masters’ degree at the same ceremony.

    Undergraduate students with nine or fewer hours left to complete their degree AND who have enrolled in those courses necessary to complete the degree by the August conferral date are allowed to participate in the May commencement ceremony preceding their August completion.

    All graduate students who will complete their degree in August AND who have enrolled in the courses required to do so are eligible for participation in the commencement ceremony in the May ceremony preceding their August completion.

    All other students who wish to participate in commencement before completing all requirements  may direct an appeal to walk in the commencement ceremony to the Office of Academic Affairs.  Students may only participate in one commencement ceremony.

    • Application fee is $75.00 and is charged to your student account after your application is processed.
  • Complete Exit Surveys

  • Final Exit Procedures

    Financial Aid Exit Interview here.

    • Note: The financial aid exit interview is only required for students who have borrowed students loans and/or received a TEACH grant.

    Business Office

    • Questions regarding any remaining financial obligations on your account?  Contact the office directly at 314.889.1405.
  • Purchase Your Cap and Gown

    You will be able to purchase your cap and gown at a special event on April 10 and 11, 10:00AM – 5:00PM when Jostens will be on campus.  You will continue to be able to purchase your cap and gown during normal business hours in the bookstore until Friday, April 28, 2017, when the store closes at 2:00PM.  For more information contact the Bookstore .

    All students participating in Commencement are required to wear appropriate academic attire. See the “General Information for Participation” section of this website for more information on purchasing not only your cap and gown, but on class rings, announcements, and related items.

  • RSVP

    Let us know which commencement events you will be attending!


General Information for Participants

  • Caps, Gowns, Class Rings and Announcements

    • Purchase your cap and gown from Fontbonne Bookstore in Ryan Hall beginning April 10. Caps and gowns may be purchased until April 28th at 2:00 PM. All students participating in Commencement are required to wear appropriate academic attire.
      • Bookstore Hours: Monday – Thursday, 9AM – 6 PM
        Friday 9AM – 2PM
        Closed Saturday and Sunday
    • There will be Senior Salute Event on April 10 and 11th, 2017,    10:00AM – 5:00 PM in the Bookstore where you have an opportunity to purchase rings and announcements as well.
    • The cap and gown will continue to be available for purchase through the Fontbonne Bookstore until April 28th. Generic announcements will also be available for purchase from the Fontbonne Bookstore.
    • You may order personalized announcements, class rings and other commencement products from Jostens directly. Please note that custom announcements require at least 3 weeks for delivery. Class rings and generic announcements may be ordered at any time from Jostens directly.
    • Undergraduate tassels are to be worn on the right side of the cap until the announcement is made at the ceremony to formally move the tassels to the left side. Graduate tassels are worn on the left side at all times.
    • Graduate and Undergraduate candidates are invited to wear the stole and pins that they have received at the Convocation Ceremonies held throughout their years at Fontbonne University.
    • A representative from the Bookstore will be on site at Chaifetz Arena for last minute emergencies and to purchase Fontbonne momentos.
  • Honors

    • Those undergraduate students that qualify and are receiving academic honors will be notified by the Academic Affairs Office. To calculate Latin honors, Fontbonne uses the grades for all courses taken at other colleges and universities, as well as all courses taken at Fontbonne. The final coursework (minimum of 12 credits) is not included in the calculation.
    • Latin Honors are as follows:
      • Cum Laude: 3.7 to 3.79 cumulative grade point average
      • Magna Cum Laude: 3.8 to 3.89 cumulative grade point average
      • Summa Cum Laude: 3.9 or above cumulative grade point average
    • If you are graduating with Latin Honors, you will be presented your gold honors cords by the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Honors Convocation on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 3:00PM in Mabee Gymnasium, in the Dunham Student Activity Center  . If you are unable to attend Honors Convocation, you may pick up your cords in the Registrar’s Office, Ryan 205, the following week. Master degree candidates do not wear honor cords.
  • Diplomas

    • Diplomas are not given at the commencement ceremony. Students participating in the ceremony will only receive a diploma cover as they process across the stage.
    • Diplomas for students graduating in the spring 2017 semester will be mailed out the week of June 5, 2017. Please be sure your address is updated with the Registrar’s Office by emailing us with an address change at
    • Students graduating in summer 2017 can expect to have their diplomas mailed 2-3 weeks after the degree conferral is completed.
    • December 15, 2017 graduates’ diplomas will have the DECEMBER 15, 2017 conferral date on them and these diplomas will be mailed out the week of January 8, 2018, barring any holds on the graduate’s account..  Please be sure your address is updated with the Registrar’s Office by emailing us with an address change at
    • A commencement fee of $75, which includes the cost of your diploma, is required of all graduating students, even those choosing not to participate in the actual ceremony. This fee, along with any outstanding balances, must be paid in the Business Office before diplomas or transcripts will be issued.
  • Commencement Day Instructions for Participants

    • The graduates must assemble in the lower level of Chaifetz Arena at 2:30PM via the VIP Entrance which is located on the West side of the Chaifetz Arena.  This entrance is for Graduates only!
    • Check in, robing, name card distribution, processional and recessional instructions will occur at this time.  ONLY GRADUATES will be allowed on this lower level. Please leave all personal belonging with family/friends. The University cannot assume responsibility for the safety of your belongings.
    • Once gowned, you will be lined up according to the degree that you will be receiving, your program and then alphabetically.
    • You will hand your name card to the Academic Dean at the first podium as you walk across the stage.

    Below is an idea of what to expect during the ceremony. There is no rehearsal for commencement:

    • Once in line, please remain in alphabetical order within your program and degree. It is imperative to remain in the designated order to keep the line in correct order.
    • Once you begin walking, you will be greeted and given additional directions.  Follow the instructions and begin to process into the arena.  Follow the person in front of you. Additional instructions will be given from the stage when necessary.
    • Upon entering the rows, please remain standing until invocation is given and announcement is made to be seated.
    • After the commencement speech is delivered, candidates will be asked to stand as a group for the President to declare degree approval. After his remarks, only the first row of Graduates will remain standing. Everyone else sits down until your row is called to the stage.
    • After receiving diploma cover, return to your chair and be seated. Ushers will be placed to assist you as you return to your seats.
    • As the last bachelor candidate receives his/her degree (cover), they will stop mid stage and the announcement will be made that now is the time for the Bachelor recipients to move their tassels to the left.
    • Out of respect for your fellow graduates, please hold conversations to a minimum while the other candidates receive their degrees.
    • For leaving, the ushers will release your row when the time is appropriate. All graduates will file out, row by row, starting at the front, after the Platform Party and the faculty have processed out.
    • All graduates will be lead back to the dressing area and then will be instructed to leave via the VIP entrance to meet your family and friends who will be exiting the front of the Chaifetz Arena (north side of building) from the Concourse Level.


  • Graduation Photos

    • Grad Images/GradTrak will be taking individual professional photographs of students in the dressing area prior to the ceremony, as you are receiving your diploma cover on stage, and a final photo after you have descended from the stage. GradImages will be contacting you directly and all purchases are made directly through them.
    • Their toll free number is 800.261.2576, or they can be reached at Their website can be found at
    • Your photos will be available to view and order by visiting their website at following the ceremony in May, 2017.
      • At that time, you may simply enter your Last Name, your School Name: Fontbonne University and select 2017 from the drop down menu.
      • Once you see your name, click on the link to view your photos
    • If you need additional help to locate your photos, call their customer service department at 800-261-2576 or email them at

Guest Information

Commencement is a day of joyful celebration for graduates, families, friends and members of the Fontbonne Community.

Please visit the sections below for specific details on making the event as easy and pleasant as possible.  Check back as additional details may be added.

  • Ticket and Seating Information

    All guests (except children under 1 year old) must have tickets in order to gain access to the Chaifetz Arena. Ticketed guests for the commencement ceremony are expected to arrive in time adequate to park and enter the Chaifetz Arena and find a seat prior to the start of the ceremony at 4:00PM.

    Please allow time to walk from the Olive Compton Garage (free parking is provided courtesy of Fontbonne).  There will be a few golf cart shuttles that will be running from the garage to Chaifetz Arena before and after the event for those that need assistance.  Your guests can also walk on the path that goes between the sports fields or along Compton Avenue if they prefer.

    A drop off location for those needing ADA access is located on Compton Avenue and Laclede Avenue on the north side of the street.  From this location golf carts can provide transport to the main entrance (Gate A) before and after the ceremony.  This service is offered back to the drop off location only.

    Your guests will be able to gain access at Gates A, B or C prior to the event.  ADA access is available at the Main entrance at Gate A.  If additional assistance is needed, please inform the usher at the gate and they will find someone to take you to available seating.

    SECURITY AND FORBIDDEN ITEMS: Security for the event is provided by the Chaifetz Arena.  Bags will be checked as you enter the arena.  Noisemakers, balloons, weapons of any kind, food and drink are not permitted to be brought into the area.  The security at Chaifetz retains, at their discretion, the final decision as to who or what possessions may enter the arena grounds.  Please report any security concerns to the Chaifetz security personnel.

    Fontbonne Bookstore will provide an opportunity to purchase items and a concession stands will be open before and during the ceremony.

    Students must have submitted the online RSVP by April 30, 2017, to be able to participate in the ceremony and receive guest tickets. Tickets will be available May1 – May 5, 2017. All guest tickets will be available on campus in the Student Affairs Office, Medaille Hall, 1st Floor.

    Tickets need to be picked up by Friday, May 5, 2017, at 4:30PM. All graduates that have submitted the online RSVP will be able to receive 10 guest tickets.  Tickets will not be mailed.

    If additional tickets are desired, the graduate may request additional tickets when picking up their original guest tickets. All reasonable requests will be honored for additional tickets at the discretion of the Student Affairs Office Staff.

    Chaifetz Arena provides ample accessible seating for guests with special needs. Please ask an usher for assistance upon entering.  Should any of your guests require hearing interpretation for the ceremony, please contact Mary Asaro at or at 314-889-4516 to make arrangements prior to May 1st.


  • Parking Information

    Free parking courtesy of Fontbonne University will be available in the Olive Compton Parking Garage (located at corner of North Compton Avenue and Olive Street)  learn more online at the Chaifetz Arena website.  Shuttles will run from Olive Compton Garage and the Chaifetz Arena, 3:00PM – 4:00PM and again following the event.  For handicap parking information please see ticketing and seating information above.

  • Video Streaming of the Ceremony

    The ceremony will also be broadcast live for your friends and loved ones that are not able to come to Chaifetz Arena for the ceremony at this video link. This link will be available for several weeks to share with your friends and loved ones.

  • Class of 2017 Commemorative Tassel

    Make a donation of $20.17 to Fontbonne and receive a special commemorative tassel.  Graduates participating in our 2017 graduating class gift will also receive special recognition during Fontbonne’s Sending ceremony.  Find more information  here .

Contact Us

If you have questions, please contact Mary Asaro at 314.889.4516 or at