Commencement 2022

William Peace University is pleased and proud to present and honor our graduates at an in-person ceremony and Baccalaureate service this year.

WPU holds one commencement ceremony each year to honor all graduates from that academic 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.

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

3:30 p.m. Friday, May 6 | Holy Trinity Church

Baccalaureate is a one-hour religious service honoring the graduating class. All faiths and non-faiths are welcome. During the service, an address in the form of a sermon is delivered by a faculty member or respected leader in the religious community. Faculty, graduates, and their “hooders” process in cap and gown for the ceremony. 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. on the side courtyard. Guests can enter through the front doors off Peace Street starting at 3 p.m. Parking is available in the WPU Main Lot.

9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 7 | University Main Lawn

Students will line up in our Main Parking lot at 8:30 a.m. Commencement takes place on the Main Lawn. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. and will last about 75 minutes. The ceremony features speakers and awards before the conferring of diplomas. As students exit the stage, a professional photographer will take an official photo.

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

2022 Commencement Speaker: Sepi Saidi

Sepi Saidi

Sepideh (Sepi) Saidi is the founder and CEO of SEPI, Inc., headquartered in Raleigh. The civil engineering firm offers full-service infrastructure design, planning, and construction management services to public and private clients throughout the southeast.

Saidi was born in Tehran, Iran, where she was raised with an emphasis on education and independence. She excelled in science and math throughout school and chose to major in engineering at NC State. Due to the political turmoil in Iran in the 1980s, Saidi was separated from her family and her financial support.

Saidi started her company in 2001 with $35,000 in home equity. SEPI, Inc. had $36 million in gross revenue in 2021. Saidi and her company have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Fast 50 by Triangle Business Journal, Zweig Group’s Best Places to Work For and Hot Firm, Inc. 5000, the Triangle Business Journal as Businessperson of the Year; Saidi was also inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame. 

She has served on multiple nonprofit boards and professional organizations, which currently include the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Executive Board, the NC Chamber of Commerce, and the FMI Board of Directors.


Info for Graduates

  • Regalia/Cap and Gown
    Please order your regalia, including class rings, and announcements online at

    If you have questions, please contact the Office of the Registrar at

    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.

  • 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.

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

  • Checklist for Graduating Students

    October – November
    • Apply to graduate. You may pick up a Graduation Application in the Office of the Registrar
    • Once you have applied, a complete degree evaluation will be processed by staff in the Registrar’s Office to determine whether or not you are on track to graduate in May.
    • You should regularly visit Degree Audit and meet with your Advisor to confirm that all of your courses are meeting the appropriate degree requirements.
    • Register for the courses needed to complete your degree during spring registration for classes.  Verify that with your spring courses, you have completed all degree, major, minor, and concentration requirements.
    • Check Degree Audit and check in with your Advisor to verify progress toward graduation requirements. Contact the Office of the University Registrar with any questions about 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 about cap and gown 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.

  • Commencement Day FAQs
  • When will I receive my cap and gown?
    Caps and gowns are ready for pickup at the Office of the Registrar. Please pick your items up as soon as possible. Questions? Contact the Office of the Registrar at

    If you lose the cap & gown that you are provided, you will be responsible for ordering a replacement from Herff-Jones by contacting the WPU bookstore at

    Mortarboards (your cap) may be decorated in a 2-dimensional fashion only.

  • 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 presented to you just prior to Commencement so that you can wear them on that day.

    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?

    One of the unique traditions at WPU is a Hooding Ceremony that happens during our Baccalaureate Service on Friday, May 6 at 3:30 in Holy Trinity Church (across the street). 

    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.  

    While Baccalaureate Service is traditionally a religious service held before commencement, the service is open to ALL students regardless of religious background or interest. This year, our retiring Chaplain, Rev. Dr. R. Lee Carter, will be offering the Baccalaureate Address. Attendance at the Baccalaureate Service is optional but strongly encouraged. 

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

  • 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 pm. 
    • 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 pm and will last approximately an hour
    • A light reception will follow.
    • 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.  
    • Be dressed in your full regalia.  PLEASE, keep in mind you will be walking in grass and over bricks, likely that will be wet from rain on Sunday, so I 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 am and the ceremony begins at 9:30 am.  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.

Info for Parents + Weekend Guests

  • What are the plans for rain or inclement weather?
    Ceremonies will go on as planned, rain or shine. We will provide clear ponchos for students if it rains.  If a thunderstorm with lightning is expected we will delay until the storm has passed. Please note that umbrellas are not allowed during the ceremony. 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. You can also follow along on your device on this page.
  • 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 in the Hilton family:

    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.

  • 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, on Franklin Street, 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 Disability Services for these special requests:
  • Professional Photographs
    A professional from Photo Specialties will photograph each graduate as he or she crosses 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 of Graduating Students

    • Remind your student to purchase regalia by March 5 or contact the Registrar if late.
    • Remind your graduate to consult his or her degree evaluation on MyPacerNet to verify progress toward graduation requirements.
    • 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 2022 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