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Health and Human Services - The Center for Study of Chronic Illness and Disability



Congratulations to the graduating doctoral students in the College of Health and Human Services!  We hope that you will join us for the May 2017 Graduation Festivities: the CHHS Degree Celebration and the university Commencement. At the CHHS Degree Ceremony, doctoral students will cross the stage and be presented with a doctoral medal by their advisor. At Commencement, the official university graduation ceremony, President Cabrera will confer all degrees and this is the ceremony where doctoral students will be hooded on stage by their advisor. Each ceremony will be approximately two hours.

CHHS Degree Celebration

Thursday, May 18, 2017
10:00 a.m.
EagleBank Arena
Fairfax Campus
Parking available in Parking Lot A

9:15 a.m. Arrival and Check-In: Doctoral students should arrive no later than 9:15 a.m. at the EagleBank Arena Hospitality Room to robe and meet their advisors. Light refreshments will be available. The entrance of the Hospitality Room is located on the east side, lower-level of the arena and faces the Johnson Center. Please check-in with one of the doctoral student marshals (Drs. Mallinson and Oetjen) so they know you have arrived. Marshals will direct you to line-up with your advisor in a specific order for the procession. Since the doctoral students lead the processional into EagleBank Arena at the beginning of the ceremony, one of the doctoral marshals will show the first doctoral student in line the processional pathway into the arena and where the doctoral bank of seats is reserved. Doctoral students should wear their hoods at the Degree-Celebration ceremony.

Note: Please do not leave valuables in the Hospitality Room. A fanny pack is a great place to tuck keys and cell phone, and is easily hidden under your robe.   

9:40 a.m. Doctoral Line-Up: The doctoral marshals will ask the doctoral line of doctoral students and their advisors to move outside near the EagleBank Arena loading dock doors.  If it is raining, the line will remain inside in a hallway.

9:50 a.m. Events Management Cue: Events Management staff will move the doctoral line inside the loading dock area so the line is poised to begin the processional.

10:00 a.m. Processional: The processional begins into EagleBank Arena led by the doctoral students. Please remain standing until the dean opens the ceremony and instructs the audience to be seated. There will be a program on your seat.

During the Presentation of Degrees: You will be sitting with your advisor in a bank of seats near the stage. A staff member will cue the doctoral students to stage with their advisors. Once on stage, there will be markings on the floor where the doctoral student and advisor should stand. At this ceremony, doctoral students will be presented with a CHHS doctoral medal by their advisors as well as a faux diploma. Please pause so that the photographer may take a picture of you with your advisor on stage.  Next, proceed across the stage, shaking hands with the dean and the chair of your department, leaving the stage from the other side of the stage to return to your seat.

Recessional: The ceremony will end with the recessional. The platform party leaves first, followed by the faculty, the doctoral students, and the then the bachelor’s and master’s students. Doctoral students will follow the faculty down the center aisle of the arena, leaving the arena via the loading dock doors. In the loading dock “tunnel” you may use the back hallway (on left) to return to the Hospitality Room.

Diplomas: Diplomas are mailed to doctoral students during the summer. Please contact the Office of the Registrar with diploma questions.

University Commencement
Saturday, May 20, 2017
10:00 a.m.
EagleBank Arena
Fairfax Campus
Parking available all across campus

The Office of Events Management runs the university commencement and has a thorough commencement website. On March 1, 2017, Events Management sent an e-mail to all graduating doctoral students regarding ordering regalia, commencement information, and the fact that doctoral students would be hooded only at commencement this year.

Below is brief commencement information specific to doctoral students.  For more information, please review the university commencement website.

8:30 a.m. Arrive for Continental Breakfast in the Johnson Center Atrium: Please join the university faculty and your doctoral advisor in the Johnson Center Atrium for a continental breakfast and robing promptly at 8:30 a.m. Events Management staff will be able to assist you with robing.  Following the breakfast, faculty marshals will direct you to assemble for the academic procession to the EagleBank Arana, which will start from the Johnson Center North Plaza, near the Mason statue. The procession will be led by Mason’s Fife and Drum Corps. In case of rain, please meet by the EagleBank Arena Hospitality Room located on the east side, lower-level of the arena, facing the Johnson Center.

9:25 a.m.: All Lines Formed and Ready to Process 

9:45 a.m.: Procession to EagleBank Arena

10:00 a.m.: Commencement Begins

Noon: Recessional:  The commencement ceremony will end with the recessional. The platform party will leave first, followed by the faculty and then the doctoral students.  A marshal will cue the doctoral students when they will join the recessional back down the center aisle of the arena.

In Case of Rain: If it is raining, there will no procession across campus.  Bachelor’s and master’s students will come directly to the EagleBank Arena and be seated by program on the floor of the arena. Doctoral students and their advisors will meet in the EagleBank Arena Hospitality Room for their line-up. Doctoral students will be directed by Events Management staff and will lead the procession into EagleBank Arena to begin the ceremony.


Please contact Julie Gladbach in Events Management at or 703-993-2853, or Susan Swett at or 703-9932423.