Information for Graduates

Information for Graduates

Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

How exciting it must be for you as you make preparations for this special day in your life. This letter will provide details regarding the steps prior to and during commencement weekend.

Admission Ticket Orders for Commencement Ceremony

  • Admission tickets are required for your guests at the Commencement ceremony to be held in Siebens Fieldhouse at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 27. Tickets are free of charge.
  • Orders for commencement admission tickets must be placed by the graduate no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, May 8, 2017.
    • Each graduate can order up to six tickets for their guests. If there are additional tickets available after the deadline, they will be released at 1 p.m. at the Siebens Fieldhouse on commencement day.
    • If your ticket requirements change after submitting your initial request, please enter a new request. The date of the most recent request will be honored. If you've ordered tickets and decide later that you will not be attending the commencement ceremony, please go back to the commencement ticket web site and place a new request for 0 tickets. This will free up tickets for the guests that still need tickets.

Cap and Gown Ordering

All graduates are encouraged to order a cap and gown whether or not you plan to attend the Commencement ceremony (the cost is included in your graduation fee). Herff-Jones Co. is our supplier for cap and gown orders.

  • 2017 Commencement cap and gown ordering has closed.

Commencement Fair

Storm Lake campus graduates will be sent an electronic invitation to attend the Commencement Fair, which is scheduled for Wednesday, March 15th. Various Storm Lake campus offices will be available for you to take care of end-of-the-year details in one location. Graduates from our Online, Site and Graduate Programs will take care of end of the year details at their respective locations.

  • Personalized announcements can be ordered at the Commencement Fair or on the Herff-Jones web site.

Admission Ticket/Cap and Gown Pick Up

Tickets can be picked up during cap & gown distribution on the stage of Anderson Auditorium (located in the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business/Siebens Forum):

  • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Wednesday May 24, Thursday May 25 and Friday May 26 in Anderson Auditorium, located in Siebens Forum.
  • 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Commencement Day at the table outside Anderson Auditorium

Graduates unable to access Anderson Auditorium using the stairs may contact the Registrar's Office ( or phone 712.749.2641 to request pick up of your cap/gown at the commencement admission ticket table located outside Anderson Auditorium.

Storm Lake campus graduates

Please allow 5-10 minutes to complete a Senior exit survey when picking up your cap and gown.

Online, Site, and Graduate Program students

Please complete the Online, Site, & Graduate Program Senior Exit Survey.
The information gathered through the survey will:

  1. Help the Office of Career Planning & Personal Development prepare an annual statistical summary of your graduating class.  This information is vital in assessing our programs and tracking trends in employment and graduate school attendance from year to year.
  2. Allow the Office of Alumni relations to keep you informed of all that is happening with your alma mater.  You will continue to receive news about Buena Vista University, details about alumni events like Homecoming and receptions in your community as well as information about how you can continue to play an important role in the life of BVU and future generations of students.


Our 2017 Baccalaureate service will be held in Schaller Memorial Chapel at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 27. Graduates are invited to sit with their families and friends. Academic apparel will not be worn at this service.

Assembly Location for Commencement Ceremony

Graduates should be in Schaller Chapel no later than 1:30 p.m. to receive instructions and assemble for the Commencement procession. The Commencement procession will begin to move through the Victory Arch at 2:15 p.m. and enter Siebens Fieldhouse at 2:30 p.m. Graduates who arrive late will be placed at the end of the line for their school rather than in alphabetical order.

Attendance at Ceremonies

All graduates are expected to participate in the ceremonies. If you must be absent, please contact the site where you receive advising services. The telephone numbers are:

  • Campus (Storm Lake) 712.749.2233 (Molly Ringgenberg)
  • Carroll 712.749.1910
  • Council Bluffs 712.749.1990
  • Creston 712.749.1900
  • Denison 712.749.1925
  • Emmetsburg 712.749.1960
  • Estherville 712.749.1965
  • Fort Dodge 712.749.1914
  • Iowa Falls 712.749.1944
  • LeMars 712.749.1940
  • Marshalltown 712.749.1930
  • Mason City 712.749.1950
  • Masters 712.749.2162 (Deb Lenhart)
  • Newton 712.749.1955
  • Online 712.749.1880
  • Ottumwa 712.749.1980
  • Spencer 712.749.1970
  • Spirit Lake 712.749.1975
  • West Burlington 712.749.1850

Honors Recognition

Recognition of honors at the Commencement ceremony, including honor cords and announced honors, is based on coursework completed and grades processed by the Registrar's Office prior to April 1. Any additional transfer work, BVU grades, or grade changes received after April 1 will not affect the honors announced during the Commencement ceremony. You may check your current cumulative GPA via Beavernet-Unofficial Transcripts, or Degree Audit.

Students who are completing their initial baccalaureate degree and have completed a minimum of 60 credit hours from BVU will be eligible to graduate with Latin honors. Latin honors are based on cumulative grade point averages listed below:

  • Cum Laude 3.500 - 3.699
  • Magna Cum Laude 3.700 - 3.899
  • Summa Cum Laude 3.900 - 4.000

Students who are completing a second or subsequent baccalaureate degree and have completed a minimum of 45 credit hours from BVU in that program. will be eligible for the honors Distinction, High Distinction, and Highest Distinction. The minimum cumulative grade point averages for these honors are listed below:

  • Distinction 3.750 - 3.849
  • High Distinction 3.850 - 3.999
  • Highest Distinction 4.000

By policy, BVU will only award one baccalaureate degree to any individual; however, students who have undertaken coursework at BVU prior to matriculating in the second degree program may not count that coursework towards the 45-hour requirement or the grade point average requirement for such honor, nor shall coursework completed at any other institution count toward either requirement.

Designation of actual honors earned will be based on the cumulative grade point average upon completion of degree requirements and will be noted on the diploma and final transcript and you will receive the appropriate honors ribbon.

Online, Site, and Graduate Program graduates only – If you received honors and your GPA changes, please contact your site/location during regular business hours to exchange your honors ribbon for the correct one.

Commencement Viewing Locations on campus or BVU Website

  • The Siebens Fieldhouse doors will open at 1 p.m. on Saturday for guests that have tickets for the Commencement ceremony. There is no reserved seating in Siebens Fieldhouse. The commencement procession will be broadcast to the Siebens Fieldhouse for guests who want to view the procession from their seats at that location. Please make sure your guests are aware of these details.
  • The Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies will also be broadcast to Rooms 1-4 and Anderson Auditorium in the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business/Siebens Forum. These comfortable locations are convenient areas to view the ceremonies for those with health concerns, the elderly, and guests who do not have a ticket to the Siebens Fieldhouse.
  • The ceremony is also broadcast with seating in the indoor track area adjacent to the fieldhouse. Families with small children are welcome to take their children there to enjoy the open area.
  • Family and friends of the graduates who are unable to attend the Commencement ceremony at BVU may wish to view the event live on the BVU web site ( by clicking on the 2017 Commencement link beginning at approximately 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, 2016.

Reserved Parking for Guests with Special Needs

  • To better accommodate our Commencement day guests, the parking lot north of the Siebens Fieldhouse (parking lot B on the campus map) will be reserved for additional handicap and special needs parking.. Use Early Street to access this parking lot. This reserved area will accommodate up to 60 vehicles and is centrally located to the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business/Siebens Forum and to the Siebens Fieldhouse. Shuttle service will be available in this area for those guests who need additional assistance. Handicap parking is also available at other locations on campus, with limited shuttle service.
  • Guests that aren't able to access the bleacher seating in the Siebens Fieldhouse can request seating on the floor when they arrive at the Siebens Fieldhouse. One additional person will be allowed to accompany the person that requests seating in this area. Reservations are not needed for this seating area.

Flower Sales

Grad Flowers will offer flowers for sale prior to the Commencement ceremony. Sales will begin at approximately 1 p.m. in front of Siebens Fieldhouse. In the event of rain, flowers will be available in the lobby of the Siebens Fieldhouse.


GradImages will be photographing all Buena Vista University graduates as they receive their diploma cover from President Moore during the ceremony. Visit their website, and click on the Pre-Event Email Registration. By submitting your information and the email addresses of those you would like to share your photo with, proofs will be available to them to view and order within a few days after the graduation ceremony. Photo orders can be placed online or by calling 1-800-424-3686.

Because your proud moment will be captured by a professional photographer, we would prefer that personal photos be taken before and after, but not during the ceremony. Photos of graduates processing through and down the steps of the Grand Arch on their way to the Siebens Fieldhouse are great opportunities for personal photos. (No selfies are permitted on stage with President Moore during the ceremony.)

Commencement Reception

A reception hosted by the National Alumni Association will be held immediately following the Commencement ceremony on the east lawn of Siebens Fieldhouse. All graduates, guests, faculty and staff are invited to relax and celebrate with you and your Family. In case of inclement weather, the reception will be held in the Lamberti Recreation Center.

Video Orders

Video recordings of the Commencement ceremony and Baccalaureate service are available for purchase. To place an order, please complete the video order form and return it by June 2, 2017 to the address listed on the form.

Event Services

Please contact Lori Ohlson-Townsend via email, or by phone 712-749-2541, to schedule your commencement party or event.