Commencement 2024

William Peace University is pleased and proud to present and honor our graduates each year. All students who graduated in the summer semester and the fall semester, along with the students completing their graduation requirements by the end of the spring semester, are welcome to participate in the commencement events: a Baccalaureate Service and the Commencement ceremony.

Neither event is required. However, we hope you and your loved ones will join us to honor your hard work and achievements.

Baccalaureate – Friday, May 10, 2024

3:30 p.m. – Holy Trinity Church

Baccalaureate is a one-hour religious service honoring the graduating class. During the ceremony, the graduate’s “hooder” will adorn them with the hood, symbolically preparing them for the next day’s Commencement. Students will line up at Holy Trinity Church (across the street from WPU) at 3 p.m. in the side courtyard.

Have you RSVPd for the Baccalaureate?
Read more about the tradition of Baccalaureate and RSVP.

Commencement – Saturday, May 11, 2024

9:30 a.m. – WPU Main Lawn

Have you ordered your regalia? Graduating students received an email from the Office of the Registrar about ordering their regalia. The deadline to place an order is Feb. 29. 

*Please note that Commencement will take place rain or shine. See FAQ below about the weather.

This page is regularly updated with new information throughout the spring semester. Check back often for the latest news. 

Apply to Graduate
The application period to graduate in May 2024 has closed. Contact if you have questions about commencement eligibility or graduation application.

Checklist for Graduating Students

  • Check your Self-Service Progress tab and check in with your Advisor to verify progress toward graduation requirements. Contact the Registrar’s Office with any questions about the status.
  • Check the Commencement website for up-to-date information and direct your family to the website.
  • Pay fines or other financial debts on your student account. Your account must be cleared before graduation.
  • You’ll receive information on graduation status and cap and gown ordering and pickup via email from the Registrar’s Office. Please keep an eye out.
  • Other informational emails will be sent from the University. Read these carefully and respond appropriately.

Ceremony FAQs

Info for Graduates

  • Regalia/Cap and Gown
    Graduating students received an email from the Office of the Registrar about ordering their regalia. The deadline to place an order is Feb. 29. This website will be updated with pickup information. 

    If students have questions about ordering their basic cap and gown package, they can reach out to
    • Please note that graduates should wear shoes appropriate for walking in the grass and on the brick walkway.
    • Graduates wear a cap and gown for both ceremonies. The tassel is worn on the right side of the mortarboard until the student is awarded a degree.
    • Mortarboards may be decorated in a 2-dimensional fashion only.
    • Graduates who are members of disciplinary honor societies should wear the pins or cords they receive as part of their induction into the honor society.
    • Latin Honors recipients will wear gold cords to indicate graduating with Latin Honors.

    Watch: How to Wear Your Cap and Gown

  • Your Diploma
    The Office of the Registrar orders diplomas so that Latin Honors are properly reflected on the diploma. Diplomas are mailed to your preferred address after all of your degree requirements are met (conferral) and balances are paid.  If you have not received your diploma by August 1 please contact the Office of the Registrar at The diploma includes the graduate’s full name, degree as well as academic distinctions (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude) as applicable. Your major(s) and minor(s) will be reflected on your transcript, but are not printed on the diploma. 

    Diplomas are 8.8 x 11” and are printed on high-quality paper.

  • Will we receive honor cords?
    Students who are eligible to graduate with Latin Honors at the end of the Fall semester prior to graduation will be able to wear Honor Cords at Commencement. Honor Cords will be given to eligible graduates along with their regalia.

    Latin Honors will be conferred on graduating seniors whose cumulative GPA meets the following criteria:

    • 3.9-4.0 Summa Cum Laude
    • 3.7-3.89 Magna Cum Laude
    • 3.5-3.69 Cum Laude

    Students must earn a minimum of 45 semester hours at William Peace University to be eligible for Latin Honors. In order to be recognized as Valedictorian, a student must have earned at least 90 credits at William Peace University.

  • What is a hooder for Baccalaureate? Whom do I choose?
    Have you asked someone to “Hood” you during Baccalaureate Service?

    Read our “What is Baccalaurate?” blog post

    One of the unique traditions at WPU is a Hooding Ceremony that happens during our Baccalaureate Service on Friday, May 5 at 3:30 in Holy Trinity Church (across the street from campus). 

    Each graduating student will be “hooded” by a person selected by the graduate as part of the service. At WPU, we call that special person your “Hooder.”  The graduate and “Hooder” will walk in together and sit with each other. This person will literally put your hood on you during the ceremony and symbolically prepare you for commencement on Saturday. Your “Hooder” should be meaningful to you and supportive of you during your educational journey at WPU. You may select a family member, friend, significant other, or staff member.  All Faculty members are part of the ceremony and, therefore, will NOT be individual “hooders” for students. Each student can ask only one person to hood them.  

    2023: The Baccalaureate Service is traditionally a religious service held before commencement; the service is open to ALL students regardless of religious background or interest. In 2023, the Service will be adjusted, with the Hooding Ceremony near the start. After the Hooding, there will be a short recess for those who wish to leave before the rest of the service continues. Attendance at the Baccalaureate Service is optional but strongly encouraged. 

    You must RSVP for the Baccalaureate. You will receive an email with further details.

    If you have any questions about selecting your “Hooder” or the Baccalaureate Service, please contact Dawn Dillon at ddillon[at]

    RSVP for Baccalaureate

  • What time should I arrive for Baccalaureate?
    Graduates should arrive around 3 p.m. The ceremony starts promptly at 3:30 p.m. Families can be seated after 2:45 p.m.
  • What to Know for Baccalaureate

    • Arrive with your selected Hooder at Holy Trinity Church (directly across the street from WPU) between 3:00 – 3:10 p.m. 
    • Your selected hooder will sit with you during the service, while the rest of your guests will sit in the general seating area.
    • The service begins promptly at 3:30 p.m. and will last approximately an hour
    • Wear your regalia (your gown and stole).  The person hooding you will carry your hood, cap, and tassel. Graduates and hooders enter the church through the left-side courtyard door (as you face the church from WPU), and families and guests should use the entrance off Peace Street. This service is strongly encouraged but not required.

  • What to Know for Commencement

    • Please arrive in the Main Parking lot line up by 8:30 am.  
    • Graduates should find the Registrar’s Table to get their name cards as soon as they arrive. Graduates will receive their name cards and then give them to the name reader as they approach the stage.
    • Be dressed in your full regalia.  PLEASE, keep in mind you will be walking in grass and over bricks. It may be wet, depending on recent weather. We advise keeping the high heels to a minimum – it will be hard to walk in muddy grass.
    • You will line up in the Main Parking lot, but you will get to sit with your friends!  You will not be lined up alphabetically as we have done in the past.  So if you know in advance you want to sit with your teammates or your friends from bio class, keep that in mind.  And if you don’t know who you want to sit with, it’s an opportunity to make a new friend.
    • The Main Lawn opens for guests at 7:00 a.m., and the ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m.  No tickets are needed, but seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.  In an effort to be equitable, reserved seats are not permitted.
    • The ceremony is expected to last approximately 75-90 minutes.

  • What is the Alma Mater?
    The History of the Peace Institute Alma Mater

    Nannie Carrington Dinwiddie (1865-1946), Lady Principal of Peace Institute from 1891 to 1909, and Miss Martha Adderton Burkhead McCorkle (1907-2004), Class of 1926, wrote the Peace Institute Alma Mater together. It first appeared in print in the 1929 Lotus (yearbook) and for years afterward was attributed only to Miss Nannie. However, later documentation revealed that Miss Nannie and Miss Martha worked together to create the Alma Mater.

    Our Alma Mater

    “In the heart of Carolina,
    ‘Neath its skies of blue,
    Stands our Noble Alma Mater,
    Glorious to view.
    Classic in her broad proportions,
    Looks she proudly down
    Reared against the arch of heaven,
    With the stars for crown.

    Lift the chorus, speed it onward; Let it never cease;
    Hail to thee, our Alma Mater; Hail, all hail, to Peace!”

Info for Families + Weekend Guests

  • What are the plans for rain or inclement weather?
    Ceremonies will go on as planned, rain or shine. If it rains the day of, we will provide clear ponchos for students to wear and may adjust the ceremony.  We recommend visitors and guests come prepared for the weather. Please note that umbrellas are not allowed during the ceremony. If a thunderstorm with lightning is expected, we will delay until the storm has passed. Main Lawn will likely be wet Saturday morning; please select your footwear accordingly.
  • Ceremony Program
    Printed programs will be available around Main Lawn before and during the ceremony.

    An electronic program will be available here during the ceremony.

  • Hotel Arrangements
    Contact information for preferred hotels can be found using the link below.

    Explore Downtown Raleigh Hotels

    William Peace University community members receive discounted rates at the following hotels:

    The Longleaf Hotel – Downtown Raleigh
    Address: 300 N. Dawson St. Raleigh NC 27603
    Phone: (919) 867-5770
    Receive a 15% discount when you mention WPU at booking.

    Hampton Inn and Suites – Downtown Raleigh
    Closest to WPU (only two blocks!)
    Address: 600 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603
    Phone: (919) 825-4770

    DoubleTree by Hilton – Raleigh Midtown
    Address: 2805 Highwoods Blvd, Raleigh, NC 27604
    Phone: (919) 872-3500

    Homewood Suites by Hilton – Raleigh Crabtree Valley
    Address: 5400 Homewood Banks Dr, Raleigh, NC 27612
    Phone: (919) 785-1131

    To access these discounts, use this link. Enter Corporate Account number 2831252 using the “Special Rates” button in the top right corner. From there, enter “Raleigh, NC” as the location and select your dates of travel/number of guests. You’ll arrive on a page listing local hotels with discounted rates signified by “William Peace University” below the hotel title.

    Location and Direction Information for WPU

  • Parking
    Students and guests may park on Delway, the gravel lot, street parking, and in public parking decks on North Salisbury Street. (Parking Deck #64 and #66).  Students and guests MAY NOT park at Seaboard Station or in the Main Parking lot. (Main Lot is reserved for those with disabilities.)

    You may also take advantage of street parking alongside campus.

    Explore the Campus Map

  • Guests with Special Needs
    Special Needs parking spaces will be available in the 15 East Peace Street, Main parking lot. Please contact the Office of Public Safety for these special requests.
  • Professional Photographs
    A professional from Photo Specialties will photograph each graduate as he/she/they cross the stage during commencement. Photo Specialties will send free color proofs and ordering instructions to each graduate’s email and permanent mailing address. If graduates do not receive this link or need additional information about ordering photos, they should contact Photo Specialties at or 919.967.9576.

    Contact Photo Specialties

  • Checklist for Parents/Families of Graduating Students

    • Remind your student to place their order for regalia ASAP. Regalia was paid for with student fees. There is no additional fee for the cap/gown/tassel package, but students must place their order by the deadline.
    • Remind your graduate to verify progress toward graduation requirements via the Self-Service Progress tab.
    • Make hotel reservations.
    • Read through all Commencement information on our website.
    • Ceremonies will be held rain or shine. Graduation exercises will be held outside on Main Lawn, and temperatures can vary; please plan accordingly.
    • Questions? Contact the Registrar’s Office.

  • What is appropriate dress for the weekend?
    Family members and other guests are encouraged to dress comfortably for the weekend, taking the weather conditions into account. Most guests dress in business attire for the Baccalaureate service and the Commencement exercises, but there is typically a wide range of attire for those ceremonies.
  • Do I need tickets?
    The 2024 Commencement is open. You do not need tickets to attend.
  • What time should we arrive for Baccalaureate?
    Graduates should arrive at Holy Trinity Church at 3 p.m. The ceremony starts promptly at 3:30 p.m. Families can be seated after 2:45 p.m.
  • What time should families arrive for Commencement?
    The Main Lawn opens for guests at 7 a.m. and the ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. No tickets are needed but seating is on a first-come-first-served basis. In an effort to be equitable, reserved seats are not permitted.
Office of the Registrar
Main 108