‚ÄčWillmar Campus Commencement

Commencement exercises will be held on Friday, May 15th, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at the Willmar Civic Center, Willmar, MN.  Please arrive to the Blue Line Arena by 6:00 p.m. to receive line up instructions and information. 

This is an open event and tickets are not needed for this event.


There is NO rehearsal, which is why it is important to be there by 6:00 p.m. to understand the details of the evening.

Graduation Cap, Gown, & Tassel

A black cap, gown and Ridgewater tassel are required apparel for all commencement participants. Starting April 1st through the date of commencement, apparel packages will be available for purchase in the Ridgewater College Willmar Campus Bookstore during regular Bookstore hours.  The fee for an apparel package (cap, gown, and tassel) is $35. Please do not send payment with your participation form. Tassels can be purchased separately for $5.

Honor Regalia

If you qualify to receive honor regalia, it may be picked up starting at 6:00 p.m. on the evening of commencement in the Blue Line Arena, which is connected to the Civic Center.

You must meet the following criteria to receive honor regalia:

  • 4.0 GPA Medallion and Gold Cord
  • 3.75-3.99 GPA Gold Cord

The only regalia that graduates may wear are the medallion and honor cords presented by    Ridgewater College.  Nothing else may be placed on your graduation gown. 

Proof Graduation Information

If you turned in an Application for Graduation and gave permission to publish your name, you will be listed on the Graduation List on the web page.  Please check it to make sure all the information is accurate. The last day to make any changes is April 17, 2015.  If your name is not listed or you have questions, please contact Kelli Kienitz, Registrar 320-222-5215.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between commencement & graduation?

Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the official transcript, which is held in the Registration Office. Commencement is the ceremony that celebrates the completion of a degree. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not imply that you have officially graduated. If you have questions about your official graduation, contact the Registration Office.

Can I use my friend or family member's gown from another year?

Sure, as long as it is BLACK in color, that will not be a problem.  You will be able to purchase a tassel separately in the bookstore starting April 1st through the date of commencement.

Does my family need tickets to get into Commencement?

No, tickets are not required for this event. However, seating does fill quickly and we recommend for you and your family to come early to get a good seat. 

How long does the commencement ceremony last?

The graduation ceremony typically lasts approximately an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half. The length is typically determined by the number of graduates who are participating in the ceremony.

Will my diploma be presented to me at the commencement ceremony?

You will not receive your actual diploma during the commencement ceremony. Instead, you will receive a diploma cover for you to place your diploma in after you have received it by mail. Your diploma will be mailed to you after grades are finalized and your graduation is confirmed by the Registrar, which is approximately 4 weeks after graduation. Your diploma will be delivered to the diploma address you provided on your application for graduation. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not imply that you have officially graduated.

Can my family take photographs at the ceremony?

Yes, however they are not able to walk up to the stage and take pictures. They will need to stay clear of the stage area during the degree awarding process.  We will have a professional photographer present who will be taking pictures of you as you are presented your diploma and other various shots of you on the stage.  The Chappell Studio photography company will be in contact with you in regards to the details of ordering copies of your photos.

What if a graduate needs special assistance to participate?

Please contact Jay Morrison in the Student Disabilities office, 320-222-8040, to arrange special assistance.

How do I find out about local lodging and restaurants for my guests?

Check out the local lodging and restaurant guide for Willmar at http://www.willmarlakesarea.com/

If you are not finding the answer to your question, contact us!

For ceremony and graduation gown details
  • Student Life
    • Hutchinson 320-234-8562
    • Willmar 320-222-5643


For graduation application questions, honor regalia questions or corrections on your name and/or degree listed on the graduation list
  • Records & Registration 320-222-5215


Ridgewater College is an equal opportunity employer and educator.