Commencement Information

celebrating your wonderful academic accomplishments

Union Institute & University hosts commencement ceremonies throughout the year, including regional ceremonies in California, Florida, and Ohio, to celebrate your accomplishments. Explore below to learn more about commencement at your location and to order announcements, regalia, and class rings.

A variety of class rings are available for men and women through Herff Jones.

California Commencement: Each graduate is allowed 3 guests who can attend the ceremony and reception free of charge.
National Commencement: Each graduate is allowed 6 guests who can attend the ceremony and reception free of charge.
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

Reservations: 513-421-9100 | 800-774-1500

A special rate of $139 per single or double-bedded rooms are available for graduates and their families by using the special code UNI. Custom reservation link: This rate is in effect until September 16, 2016. Guest rooms requested on dates other than will be provided on a space and rate-available basis. When making your reservation, please identify yourself as a Union Institute & University commencement attendee. Rates cannot be changed at check-in or check-out for guests who fail to identify their affiliation at the time of the reservation. Preferred rates can be confirmed by calling 1-800-HILTONS or 1-800-445-8667.

You are eligible to participate in Union’s Commencement Ceremony if you have already officially graduated and received your diploma, but have not participated in a past commencement or you are officially registered in the final term/session to complete your academic degree requirements by the end of the summer term/session I or II. Please note that commencement is a ceremony that celebrates your academic achievements, not certification of graduation. You must satisfy all of your degree requirements before you officially graduate and receive your diploma and transcript. Your financial obligation can only be processed through the Business Office located at our Headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. Contact Miles Scott, Student Accounts Financial Advisor, at 800-861-6400 x1291 or

A professional photographer will be present at the ceremony to take photos of you and your family prior to and after the ceremony. The photographer will also take a photo of you with the president as you cross the stage and receive your certificate. Proofs will be sent to you at no charge and under no obligation. If you choose to purchase photos, you will work directly with the photographer.

Undergraduate Regalia for Purchase

The bachelor gown traditionally has pointed sleeves that highlight this style. While keeping its notable appearance, the bachelor gown features full front pleats, balanced fluting and an easily accessible center-mounted zipper closure. This keeper gown comes with the customary mortarboard cap with black rayon tassel and year signet.

Add that special touch with a stole of gratitude — UI&U’s forest green with gold seal. The stole is ordered separately for an additional cost of $25. You will receive information on how to purchase your regalia once you have been approved to participate in commencement.

To purchase custom regalia, email

Custom Master’s Regalia for Purchase

This design, by tradition, is identified by unique and oblong-shaped sleeves with wrist openings. The gown, VISA® gabardine, requires little or no ironing and releases stains easily. The yoke is outlined in bright gold braid, completed at the center back with a braided black cord and button. The balanced fluting provides ample body fullness over the shoulders and across the back. The hood is black, also VISA® gabardine, with a green satin border edge. Union’s school colors (dark green and gold) are represented in satin and degree color is velvet-trimmed in bright gold braid.

There are two choices of cap: the standard black mortarboard cap with standard black tassel, or the black velvet tam (four sided) with button and a standard black tassel. To purchase custom regalia, email

Doctoral Regalia for Rent

The rental doctoral gown is black with black velvet down the front panels and on the sleeve bars (chevrons). The rental doctoral hood has blue velvet for the Ph.D. degree, along with Union’s colors of green and gold. This model does not have a hood attached – the hood drapes down the graduate’s back. The hat is a mortarboard with a gold tassel. Remember, you can rent the gown and purchase a custom Union Institute & University hood and/or velvet tam.

Custom Doctoral Regalia for Purchase

nion’s doctoral gown is a ‘Marshal’ style gown in black gabardine with bell-type outer sleeves. The shoulder area in the back of the gown features a “V” at the center and includes a deluxe cord and button. The gown offers wide velvet panels, featuring the official Union Institute & University seal embroidered in gold on the front royal blue Ph.D. panels. Three chevrons on each sleeve are blue, piped in gold.

The hood is black gabardine with a green satin border edge. Union’s school colors (dark green and gold) are represented in satin and the Ph.D. is represented by blue velvet. The hood has a green satin border. The accompanying tam is either a 6-sided or 8-sided black velvet tam with a gold silk tassel. The main difference between the purchased and rental regalia is the color of the velvet chevrons on the sleeves, the velvet panels down the front, and the tam, which are distinct from the rented mortarboard.

The approximate cost of the Doctoral Regalia is $1000. This does not include taxes, shipping, or additional purchases such as garment bags, special hangers, etc. Please note: Dean’s approval for graduation is needed before rental or custom regalia may be arranged. To purchase custom regalia, please email

Requests for special accommodations for individuals with disabilities (ADA) must be submitted no less than 30 days prior to the event. However, if the necessary accommodation is a reader or signer, a 60-day minimum notice is required. The request will be reviewed, verified with the requester regarding the accommodation, and then final arrangements will be made. Accommodations cannot be guaranteed if the request is made in less than the stated minimum timeframe. To arrange for accommodations, contact the Union Institute & University ADA Coordinator at

Commencement Locations & Details

  • 2017 date coming soon!
  • Time: tbd
National Ceremony Schedule
  • 8:30 AM: Robing areas open
  • 9:00 AM-10:30 AM: Photography available for pre-ceremony
  • 10:30 AM: Processional lineup
  • 11:00 AM: Commencement ceremony begins
  • Wilshire Ebell Theatre
  • 4401 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005
  • Sunday, August 7, 2016
  • 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
California Ceremony Schedule
  • 8:30 AM: Robing areas open
  • 9:00 AM-10:30 AM: Photography available for pre-ceremony
  • 10:30 AM: Processional lineup
  • 11:00 AM: Commencement ceremony begins

Dr. Joseph Bock

2016 California Commencement Speaker

It is an honor to welcome Joseph G. Bock as the commencement speaker for the 2016 California commencement ceremony.  Dr. Bock is well-known for his research and publications on violence prevention, a sub-field of global health. He has twelve years of international humanitarian experience. His dedication to service and humanitarian causes has permeated his life and his work. We welcome him as our commencement speaker as an example of Union’s enduring mission to engage, enlighten, and empower adults as they pursue professional goals, and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

  • 1881 SE 17th Street Causeway
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
  • Sunday, July 23, 2017
  • 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Florida Ceremony Schedule
  • 8:30 AM: Robing areas open
  • 9:00 AM-10:30 AM: Photography available for pre-ceremony
  • 10:30 AM: Processional lineup
  • 11:00 AM: Commencement ceremony begins

Speaker TBD

Dr. Alma S. Adams

2016 National Commencement Speaker

It is an honor to welcome the Honorable Dr. Alma S. Adams to serve as our 2016 national commencement speaker and to bestow upon her the university’s highest honor, the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters: Honoris Causa.

Congresswoman Adams has led an exemplary life of service. She was sworn in as the 100th woman elected to Congress in November 2014, to represent the 12th Congressional District of North Carolina in the U.S. Congress. She sits on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Agriculture Committee, the Small Business Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee. She is the ranking member of the Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight. Dr. Adams is the founder of the first ever Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus and serves with the Women’s Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, Diabetes Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Historic Preservation Caucus, AIDS/HIV Caucus, Hunger Caucus, Medicaid Expansion Caucus, and the Art Caucus. Congresswoman Adams also holds a leadership role in the Democratic Caucus as vice president for the 114th Congress’ freshmen class and she serves as a regional whip for the Democratic Caucus.

Throughout her career, Representative Adams has promoted quality education for all students, spearheading legislation to boost funds for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), provide nutritious breakfasts in schools, and increased pay for teachers. As a former educator, Dr. Adams has dedicated her career to improving the lives of young people and her community. Prior to her public service, she taught Art History at Bennett College for 40 years. While at Bennett, she led the effort to increase student civic participation coining the phrase “Bennett Belles are Voting Belles” and organizing annual marches to the polls.

She began her political career in the 1980s by becoming the first African-American woman ever elected to the Greensboro City School Board. It was then that she made a lifetime commitment to effecting social change in her community and beyond. In 1994, her peers appointed Dr. Adams to serve in the North Carolina House District 26th seat. She went on to serve ten terms in the state House. During her tenure, she rose to become the chair of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus and was instrumental in passing legislation that improved the climate for quality affordable health care in the state. A working mother of two, Representative Adams pioneered the Displaced Homemakers Bill and successfully spearheaded the state’s first minimum wage increase in nine years.

Before serving as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly, Congresswoman Adams served nine years on the Greensboro City Council. Throughout her service to the second district in Greensboro, Dr. Adams worked to create safe and affordable housing and the revitalization of neighbors.

A lifelong learner, Congresswoman Adams graduated from North Carolina A&T State University, with both her undergraduate and master’s degrees. She earned her Ph.D. in Art Education and Multicultural Education from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

Throughout her lifetime, Dr. Adams has dedicated her work and her efforts to better the lives of those around her. Her career, spanning her participation on a local school board, serving as a professor at an HBCU, representing her fellow citizens in North Carolina, and now, serving as a U.S. Congresswoman, exemplifies and embodies Union Institute & University’s mission of engaging, enlightening, and empowering each individual to pursue a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility. It is a privilege to be joined by Dr. Adams today, not only to share in her generous spirit and partake of her wisdom and experience, but also to honor her lifelong commitment and service to others.

Friday, October 7 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM at Union Institute & University
Click on the button below to RSVP for this free event celebration.

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at: 513-487-1102