All commencement ceremonies are for undergraduate and graduate candidates.
Commencement is a special and significant occasion in your life. Many of your family and friends will come from a long distance to witness this memorable ceremony. Our faculty, staff and administrators have planned the program and arrangements with every consideration to make this an impressive and enjoyable event for all candidates and spectators.
Please follow these decorum guidelines for Commencement:
- Arrive an hour before the ceremony.
- Remain quiet and in your seat except when going to the stage or being recognized by your dean and the President. You are not allowed to leave before the ceremony concludes.
- No smoking.
- No alcoholic beverages.
- No balloons.
- Umbrellas are permitted, please bring a poncho in case of rain.
- Wear proper graduation attire. Candidates should wear dark, flat shoes and dress attire with graduation gowns.
- A stole associated with an honor society, a student organization/group represented on campus, or a department of Georgia Southern University may be worn at the commencement ceremony.
- Cell phone ringers must be turned off during the Commencement ceremony and only text messaging is allowed during the ceremony.
- No gathering for group photos during the ceremony.
- No use of selfie sticks or noise makers such as cowbells, horns, megaphones, etc. will be allowed.
- Do not engage in other disruptive behavior during the ceremony.
Tickets for guests are not required at Paulson Stadium. Graduates will not need tickets. Their cap and gown is their ticket.
All guests, regardless of age and including currently enrolled students, are required to have a ticket for entry to Enmarket Arena. There will be no charge for tickets.
Graduates that reserved guest tickets can print the tickets for their guests or email the tickets through the MarchingOrder system. If you are emailing the tickets to guests and sending multiple tickets to one email address, we recommend printing each ticket to expedite your entry into the ceremony.
Guests can either present a printed ticket (recommended) or display the ticket on their mobile device to be scanned. Each ticket contains a unique barcode that can only be scanned once. For this reason, it is important to print the entire PDF file to distribute multiple tickets rather than making a copy of the first page.
Graduates will not need tickets. Their cap and gown is their ticket.
Candidates should arrive at Paulson Stadium an hour before the ceremony. Enter through gates 9 and 11 and proceed to the seating area on either side of the Bishop Building, based on your college for undergraduates and degree level for graduate students (masters, specialist, doctorate).
Candidates should arrive Enmarket Arena one hour prior to the ceremony.
Seating for the Paulson Stadium ceremonies will begin an hour before each ceremony. Please enter at the west end of Paulson Stadium — gates 9 and 11. Please proceed to the seating area on either side of the Bishop Building. Your seating location is determined by your college for undergraduate students and by your degree level for graduate students. Staff members will help direct you to your seat in the seating area.
Seating for Enmarket Arena ceremonies will begin an hour before the ceremony. Graduates will enter through a separate entrance and security checkpoint on the far right of the building to get to their seats. Staff members will help direct you to your seat in the seating area. Please note that Enmarket Arena’s policies apply to the Commencement ceremony, including the clear bag policy. Please visit Enmarket Arena’s A-Z guide for complete information on the venue’s policies.
Note: Guests will enter through the main entrance and security checkpoint. All guests, regardless of age and including currently enrolled students, must have a ticket to enter.
Candidates who need accommodations during the graduation ceremony due to limited mobility should contact the Student Accessibility Resource Center (SARC) by Monday, Dec. 5.
On the day of the ceremony, they may also speak with a Guest Services representative upon arrival. ADA representatives will assist them with getting to their seat.
Visitors with accessibility concerns are strongly encouraged to arrive early to the ceremony. A designated handicap parking area is available on a first-come, first-served basis. A state handicap parking permit is required. See map below.
If one or more of your guests require accessible seating, all guests in your party should enter Paulson Stadium through the Media Gate or Gate 13 and sit together in the accessible seating area, which is located along the South Concourse adjacent to sections A and G, and along the North Concourse in sections H through P, sections 101 through 113. See map below. Reservations are not required and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Due to the design of Paulson Stadium, the walkway to the concourse is an inclined distance and all who experience mobility issues are strongly advised to be prepared with mobility devices (i.e. wheelchairs, scooters, walkers) and/or personal assistance. Wheelchairs will not be available at the venue. Please come with a wheelchair if one is needed.
Visitors with accessibility concerns are strongly encouraged to arrive early to the ceremony. ADA guests may be dropped off at the front of the building in Lot B. Their party can park in Lot J, which is the main parking area for guests and graduates. All guests will enter through the main entrance through the security checkpoint. Wheelchairs will not be available at the venue. Please come with a wheelchair if one is needed.
American Sign Language interpreting is available. Guests who need access and desire close proximity to the ASL interpreter may choose to sit in Section J of Paulson Stadium (Statesboro Campus). In Savannah, the interpreter will be visible on the big screen from all seating areas.
Student Accessibility Resource Center: 912-478-1566
A GradPass will be sent to you through Marching Order. You MUST have the electronic GradPass accessible on your cell phone or a printed copy of the GradPass before entering the stadium seating area. If you do not have the GradPass when you arrive at the stadium, please see a staff member at the Candidate Check In table near the entrance to Paulson stadium. During the ceremony, you will present your GradPass to the scanner in front of the stage so your name can be read as you cross the stage. If you choose to use your cell phone to present your Grad Pass, make sure it is fully charged before you arrive. You can save it to your phone (make sure to turn your brightness all the way up and do not enlarge the QR code.) We strongly encourage you to bring a printed copy of your GradPass in case anything happens to your cell phone.
A GradPass will be sent to you through Marching Order. You MUST have the electronic GradPass accessible on your cell phone or a printed copy of the GradPass before entering Enmarket Arena seating area. A printed copy is highly recommended. If you do not have the GradPass when you arrive at the ceremony, please see a staff member at the Candidate Check In table near the Candidate entrance. During the ceremony, you will present your GradPass to the scanner in front of the stage so your name can be read as you cross the stage. If you choose to use your cell phone to present your GradPass, make sure it is fully charged before you arrive. You can save it to your phone (make sure to turn your brightness all the way up and do not enlarge the QR code). We strongly encourage you to bring a printed copy of your GradPass in case anything happens to your cell phone.
The commencement ceremonies will be broadcast live on the University’s Facebook page. All ceremonies can also be viewed on this page. During the time of the ceremonies, a link to the live videos will appear at the top of this page. The Facebook Live event will begin approximately 5-15 minutes before the ceremony. Due to technical constraints, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do not permit the use of their systems to transmit such broadcasts. Should you not be able to view the broadcast, please contact your local ISP.
A commencement program listing the names of all candidates will be placed in the candidates’ seats at the ceremony. Commencement programs will be digital for guests.
Deborah Nelson graduated magna cum laude from Georgia Southern University (formerly Armstrong Atlantic State) in Savannah, Georgia, in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with an emphasis in American history. She was also the first graduate to receive “special honors in history.” She received her law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law where she was a member of the Moot Court Honor Board. She is a partner in the Seattle law firm of Nelson Boyd, PLLC, and is a partner in Boyd Trial Consulting, a national trial consulting firm that provides interactive focus groups and related services to plaintiffs’ trial lawyers.
Deborah served as president of the Washington State Association for Justice (formerly the “Washington State Trial Lawyers Association”). In addition, she served as president of the Council of Presidents of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) where she was also a member of the Executive Committee and a State Delegate. She is past chair of the Insurance Law Section of AAJ and is a member of AAJ’s Jury Bias Litigation Group, Insurance Law Section and Leaders Forum. She is also a member of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia and the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association.
Deborah has been named a Super Lawyer by Washington Law & Politics magazine every year since 2003, has been named to Best Lawyers and was twice named Best Attorney in Clallam County by a readers’ poll of the the Peninsula Daily News. In addition, she has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Clallam Pro Bono Lawyers, the Alvin Anderson Award from the Washington State Association for Justice, the Woman of Distinction Award from Soroptimist International of Port Angeles, and was named a Distinguished Alumni by Georgia Southern University.
Deborah is a frequent speaker who has lectured locally, nationally and internationally on a variety of legal topics especially in the areas of traumatic brain injury, insurance litigation, legal malpractice, jury trials and focus groups. She has also written numerous articles and has been published in Washington Association for Justice’s Trial News, American Association for Justice’s Trial magazine and other publications. Deborah focuses her law practice in the areas of serious personal injury, insurance coverage, insurance bad faith litigation, long term disability insurance and legal malpractice. Deborah is an avid runner, road cyclist and triathlete who has completed more than 25 centuries on her bike, the Paris Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, the Flying Pig Marathon, more than 40 half marathons and approximately 20 triathlons of differing distances. She is a member of the PRO Sports Club Triathlon Team and is a former member of the cycle team, marathon team and triathlon team for Team in Training, and has raised more than $30,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to fund research, treatment and patient services for those suffering from blood cancers. She is also a founding board member of Ian’s Ride, which is a charitable organization formed to raise awareness and increase outdoor access for those with mobility disabilities. She also serves on the Georgia Southern University Foundation Board. In her spare time, Deborah sings with the Swedish Singers of Seattle and is doing her best to learn Swedish.
Liz Crisafi is currently the Global Vice President of Marketing at IHG Hotels and Resorts®, one of the world’s leading hotel companies. She is consistently recognized as an integrated marketing pioneer, successfully blending data, creativity and customer relevancy to create best in class campaigns. Today, she leads IHG’s suite of 17 global hotel brands (such as InterContinental, Kimpton, Holiday Inn and Six Senses to name a few), as well as integrated marketing strategies across digital, loyalty and partnerships for more than 6,000+ hotels worldwide.
Liz joined IHG in 2014. Under her leadership, IHG has cemented its place as one of the most beloved hotel companies in the world by developing breakthrough marketing, launching a newly revamped loyalty program as well as helping introduce a half-dozen new hotel brands in the last five years alone. Before IHG, Liz held senior leadership positions at Kimberly-Clark, Ogilvy & Mather, Discovery Communications and Eastman Kodak. Liz’s global expertise across these many diverse industries and her global leadership reputation, has uniquely positioned her as an innovative, strategic and inspirational trailblazer amongst her peers.
In 2021, she was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to sit on the Georgia Tourism Foundation Board, with a goal of expanding Georgia’s tourism and making it a sought-after travel destination. In addition, Liz serves on the advisory board of Brand Innovators and has been recognized as one of the “Top 100 Women To Watch in Brand Marketing.” She was also recognized by Dress for Success Atlanta in their annual “2021 Women of Power.” Liz is a proud wife and mother and loves traveling with her husband Mike and their 15 year-old son Nicolas. She also volunteers her time to give back to underserved communities in Atlanta as well as gives countless hours fundraising to support local music and arts organizations in her community. Liz proudly holds a Bachelor of Science in communication arts with an emphasis in broadcasting from Georgia Southern University (class of 1995) and was a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority (GSU Alpha Lambda Chapter).
Relatives and friends may enter Paulson Stadium through Gates 1, 5, 7, 8, 12 or 13. Guests and candidates will not be allowed to hold or reserve seats for other guests.
Gates/doors open 1 hour prior to the start of each ceremony. Please note that the ceremonies begin promptly at 2 p.m. with a processional.
Please note that parking at Paulson Stadium is limited due to a construction project. Carpooling is encouraged, and shuttles are available at three locations around campus to transport guests to the stadium.
Graduates and guests driving to Enmarket Arena should plan to arrive early. Parking is first come, first serve in Lot J. Once Lot J is full, guests and graduates should use parking in lots D-H (see diagram). Parking is free and no pass is required.
Guests may enter Enmarket Arena through the main front entrance. Tickets are required for entry. Guests and graduates will not be allowed to hold or reserve seats for other guests. Graduates will enter the arena through a side entrance.
Gates/doors open 1 hour prior to the start of each ceremony. Please note that the ceremony begins promptly at 2 p.m., respectively, with a processional.
Concessions will be available for food and drink purchases.
Parking is available at Paulson Stadium and other locations on campus. To minimize traffic congestion, carpooling is encouraged.
Shuttles will be available on commencement days. The shuttles will begin running one hour before each ceremony and run for one hour after each ceremony. Each parking lot stop is listed below:
Enmarket Arena Lot J is available for guests and graduates on a first come, first serve basis. Once Lot J is full, guests and graduates should use parking in lots D-H (see diagram). Lot A is not available for guest or graduate parking. Parking is free and a pass is not required.
A professional photographer from GradImages will take a picture of you as you cross the stage. A proof of this picture will be emailed to you at your Georgia Southern email address and mailed to your home address so that you may decide if you wish to purchase these photos.
If you preregister, you can get 20% off of your purchase.
Caps and gowns are required, and only academic attire approved for the ceremony may be worn. The University Honors Medallion as well as stoles—which include, but are not limited to, Honors Society scarves/cords and Sorority/Fraternity scarves—are approved graduation attire. We suggest candidates wear dark flat shoes, dark dresses or dark pants with their graduation gowns.
For undergraduate students, tassels should be worn on the right side of the cap hanging over the right eye. At the ceremony, the President will ask you to move your tassel to the left side of the cap during the ceremony.
For graduate students, tassels should be worn on the left side of the cap hanging over the left eye. The mortarboard of the cap should be parallel to the ground.
Diploma frames and other commemorative items are available at the University Store on the Statesboro Campus. You may also purchase merchandise online at the University Store’s website.
Invitations, thank you notes, and certificates can be ordered through Printing and Postal Services, in the Main Dining Commons or on the Printing and Postal Services online webstore.
Diploma frames and other commemorative items are available at the University Store in the Student Union on the Armstrong Campus. You may also purchase merchandise online at the University Store’s website.
Invitations, thank you notes, and certificates can be ordered through Printing and Postal Services, on the corner of Arts and Science Drive or on the Printing and Postal Services online webstore.
Diplomas will be mailed to the graduates at their diploma mailing address or their permanent home address. Please remember to update your diploma address in WINGS to an address that will be valid eight weeks after completing all degree requirements. If there is no diploma address, the diploma will be mailed to the current mailing address. Diplomas should be mailed six to eight weeks after graduation for students who have applied for graduation and completed all requirements.
When applying for employment, transcripts should be used instead of diplomas. Three weeks after graduation, if requirements are complete, graduates may request a transcript with the degree conferred.