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Graduation Ceremony Information

Students, family and friends at NIU Law Commencement.

Date, Time and Location

Saturday, May 26, 2018
2-4 p.m. (ceremony)
4-5 p.m. (reception)
Sandburg Auditorium, Holmes Student Center, Northern Illinois University (ceremony)
Ellington Ballroom, Holmes Student Center, Northern Illinois University (reception)

No tickets are needed to attend the ceremony or the reception.

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Live Video Stream

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A professional photographer will be present during the ceremony to take pictures of all graduates receiving their degrees. You will be given the opportunity to purchase your photograph at a later date. A DVD of the ceremony will be available for purchase and must be pre-ordered by May 18, 2018. Stay tuned for ordering details.

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Cords Policy

  • Honor Cords: Students who receive honors awarded by NIU Law based on their grade point average (Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude or Cum Laude) will be listed in the commencement program and may wear an approved gold cord during commencement ceremonies. NIU Law will purchase and provide the honor cords to eligible students, and the cords may be retained by the student honorees at their option.
  • Racial or Ethnic Stoles/Sashes: Students who wish to represent their racial or ethnic background may wear the appropriate stoles or sashes during the commencement ceremony, furnished by them at their own expense.
  • Veterans Cords: Students who are veterans may wear appropriate cords during the commencement ceremony, furnished by them at their own expense.
  • Student Organization Cords: Students who are members of recognized NIU Law student organizations during their studies at NIU Law may choose to wear up to two approved cords representing those organizations during the commencement ceremony. The College of Law will bear the cost of the Law Review cords. Payment for other student organization cords will be the responsibility of the individual student organizations or the Student Bar Association.  
  • Limitations on Number of Cords Worn: No more than two student organization cords, one honor cord, one racial or ethnic stole/sash and one veterans cord may be worn by any graduating student during the commencement ceremony.
  • Guidelines for Student Organization Cords:
    • Official Recognition. To qualify for the wearing of student cords at commencement, graduating students must belong to a student organization that is officially recognized by NIU Law. A full list of organizations that are currently recognized will be posted on the NIU Law website, along with the approved colors of the organizations' respective cords. Generally, student organizations will maintain the same cord color from year-to-year. If changes in vendors, budget restrictions, cancellation of particular colors or other factors necessitate changes, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs will meet with representatives of the SBA and the affected student organizations to arrange an equitable means of reallocating cord colors. A student organization may also request a change in its cord color on its own initiative as long as no other active or recently inactive organization is using the requested new color. Gold is reserved for the honors cords.
    • New and Inactive Organizations. A newly recognized student organization may select a cord color, provided that the color is not the same as any color currently used by a recognized organization and provided that the selection is reported to and approved by the Student Bar Association not later than 90 days prior to the first commencement at which the cords are to be worn. A recognized student organization will retain priority for its respective cord color for a period of one academic year following the academic year in which it becomes inactive. If the organization does not reactivate after one academic year, it loses the priority for the cord color allocated to it. If and when the inactive organization becomes active again, it must select a new color in accordance with the above procedures. All new color selections will be reviewed and approved on a first-come, first-served basis, and all cord colors are subject to change depending on availability and cost. 
    • Membership Requirements, Retention Rights and Distribution. Each student organization will establish its own requirements for determining which students qualify as members entitled to wear that organization's cords and whether students must return the cords to the organization or may retain them. The student organizations and the SBA will be responsible for the distribution of the cords to students prior to or at commencement and for the collection of the cords after the commencement ceremony (if students are not permitted to retain the cords).

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Schedule of Events on May 26, 2018

  • 1 p.m. - Doors to Sandburg Auditorium and Regency Room (the overflow room for the ceremony) open.
  • 1 p.m. - Graduates assemble in the Capitol Room of Holmes Student Center for robing and processional instructions. Photographer will be taking a picture of each graduate in this room before ceremony. Do not bring any valuable personal items with you.
  • 1:45 p.m. - Graduates line up in alphabetical order (in Capitol Room).
  • 2 p.m. - Processional begins. Graduates will be seated in middle section of auditorium, directly in front of the stage.
  • 3:15 p.m. - Graduates will rise one row at a time and proceed to the stage. Each graduate will cross the stage as his/her name is called for the hooding ceremony, receipt of diploma, and photograph.
  • 4 p.m. - A short reception (approximately one hour) will follow the commencement ceremony in the Duke Ellington Ballroom, Holmes Student Center.
    • Regalia return:
      • Gown, tam and hood must be returned. You may keep the tassel.
      • Regalia return for graduates will be open until 5 p.m. in the Capitol Room (the same room you lined up in).

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Additional Notes

  • Anyone who has an immediate family member, spouse, or partner who is a past graduate of the NIU College of Law may request that they be permitted to assist in the hooding ceremony. See Julie Mahoney-Krzyzek (SP285) or Greg Anderson (SP280) for details.
  • Diploma dimensions are 13" X 16"

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Regalia Pickup

  • Gown and tam may be picked up from the career office (SP 280) beginning 8:30 a.m. on Monday, April, 30, 2018.
  • NOTE: you must pick up your regalia before Friday, May 4, 2018 (in case we need to reorder for any reason.). If you can’t come to pick it up, you may have someone pick up for you, but must email We will not release them without previous notice from you.

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Composite and Class Photo

The class photo is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on April 30, 2018. The unveiling of the Class of 2018 Composite will follow.

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Local Hotel Information

Holmes Student Center Hotel
340 Carroll Avenue
DeKalb, IL 60115

Hampton Inn
663 S. Annie Glidden Road
DeKalb, IL 60115
Miles to Holmes Student Center: 1.5

Baymont Inn & Suites
1314 W. Lincoln Highway
DeKalb, IL 60115
Miles to Holmes Student Center: 1

Holiday Inn Express and Suites
1935 DeKalb Avenue
Sycamore, IL 60178
Miles to Holmes Student Center: 5

Country Inn and Suites
1450 S. Peace Road
Sycamore, IL 60178
Miles to Holmes Student Center: 6.5

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Phone: 815-753-8595
Swen Parson Hall 151

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