Ceremony Information

Commencement Banner 3

Commencement Rehearsal

Rehearsals will take place on Wednesday, April 30, 2020, at the Fisk Memorial Chapel and Friday, May 1, 2020, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church (Old Hickory). 

Graduate Traditions and Decorum (including Attire)

Graduation Day is a time of grandeur which requires each graduate to adhere to the following:

  • All male graduating seniors are required to wear dark suits, dark ties, black dress shoes, and dark socks. Other than a watch, no jewelry should be worn. The hairstyle should be one that can be neatly contained under the mortarboard (cap). The gown should be free of wrinkles, i.e., ironed.
  • All female graduating seniors are required to wear daytime, knee or tea length black dresses or suits (no spandex or glitter); and black shoes. Females may also wear small ball earrings (such as pearls). The hairstyle should be one that can be neatly contained under the mortarboard (cap). The gown should be free of wrinkles, i.e., ironed
  • It is required that each graduate comes to commencement in the appropriate attire and regalia. All graduates must wear Fisk University academic regalia for their ceremony. Josten is the official university vendor for all caps and gowns and may be ordered through the Registrar Office.
  • The dignity of this Fisk University ceremony is important, so accordingly graduates are to refrain from the practice of gown embellishment.  If the attire and regalia are not appropriate, the graduate will comply immediately or be removed from the line and will not be allowed to cross the stage.

Graduating Cap Decorating Procedure and Etiquette

Please take into consideration the following rules when decorating your graduation cap.  Failure to follow these rules will result in a replacement cap being given to you during Commencement.

  • No offensive language, sayings, nicknames, pictures or lyrics on the cap.
  • No objects such as signs, stuffed animals, bells, flowers or any 3D object may rest on the cap.
  • All decorations MUST lay FLAT on the cap. Nothing can lay perpendicular thus allowing us to see the decoration beyond eye level.
  • Your cap CANNOT make noise. No bells, horns or anything that makes noise.
  • It is appropriate to put the following on your cap.
  • Thank a parent, grandparent, teacher or friend.
  • Recognize the university you will be attending, however, there will be no use of the Fisk University initials

We will not furnish new caps if you mess yours up decorating. The administration will reserve the right to disallow anything that is not considered appropriate for the Commencement ceremony

  • Please leave jackets, handbags and all valuables at home or with your guests.
  • Graduates will be seated according to discipline and degree.  Please arrive on time; if you arrive late you may not be seated with your designated group as you are not assured of proper seating.
  • Graduates are required to remain for the entire ceremony.

In an effort to have a graduation ceremony that is both memorable and safe, Fisk University requests your cooperation regarding the following:

  • The wearing of official Fisk Regalia only.
  • Cell phones and other electronic devices must be turned off when the ceremony begins.
  • No food, beverage, liquid, balloons, noisemakers are allowed during Commencement in Temple Church outside of the designated serving area.
  • Graduation Candidates Photographing during commencement is strongly discouraged. The University has provided an official photographer to take pictures as candidates cross the stage. Therefore, it is requested that family members not approach the stage or enter the aisle as the graduate approaches the stage to receive the degree.
  • Please discuss with family and friends prior to Commencement that graduates are required to remain for the entire ceremony.
  • Ticket information will be provided at a later time.
  • The expected decorum of each graduate is that of consideration and celebration. Be considerate of all who have come to this important occasion and allow all to celebrate by hearing and seeing their loved ones. Once the graduate is introduced, all others should remain seated so that the graduates can be seen and their names heard when called. Keep undue noise and clamor to an absolute minimum.