Fall 2019 Commencement - Fast Facts

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The 2019 Fall Commencement Ceremony will be held on Monday, December 16, 2019, at 6:30 PM at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

Rehearsal will be held on Monday, December 16, 2019, at 10:00 AM in the Exhibition Hall and Coliseum of the Lake Charles Civic Center. Rehearsal should last an hour.

Attire for Commencement

All graduates will wear a cap & gown (which is obtained through the SOWELA Bookstore). The gowns are navy blue and will be distributed at Grad Fest.  We suggest that you wear an appropriate seasonal outfit, keeping in mind the weather on the day and that the gowns can be quite warm. Suitable attire includes:

Dress shirt, preferably white with collar
Dark pants, no jeans
Dress shoes or boots
Dress or dress slacks and solid top
Dress shoes suitable for negotiating stairs/standing for a long period of time
Bobby pins and safety pins

Attire that is NOT suitable: Jeans, tennis shoes, work boots, flip-flops, or shorts.

Arrival/Assembly for Academic Procession

Graduates must arrive in cap and gown promptly at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, December 16, 2019. Family and friends will not be permitted to enter the assembly area. Staff members will be available to help direct graduates to the appropriate line-up areas as well as to direct family and friends to seating areas.

Application for Graduation

Students can apply for graduation online through their LoLA account.  Please verify your eligibility to graduate with your academic advisor before submitting the online graduation application.

Cap & Gown Order and Distribution

Cap and gowns will be distributed at Grad Fest. Students who do not attend Grad Fest must order cap and gown and other Graduation Memorabilia (class rings, graduation announcements, etc.) directly through the SOWELA Bookstore located in the Sycamore Student Center.

Grad Fest

Fall 2019 Grad Fest will be held Thursday, October 24th, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the Arts & Humanities building. This is your day to finalize your business with the College, complete graduation related paperwork, verify your diploma information and celebrate with campus friends. Caps and gowns will be distributed at this time. Candid Campus Photography will also be on site to take photos of students in their cap and gown that day. Students are at no obligation to purchase the photos taken. Candid Campus will handle all payment arrangements and contact with students.

Your gown may be wrinkled when you take it out of the bag; we recommend that you steam it before the day of the ceremony. If you are unable to attend Grad Fest, you must contact the SOWELA Bookstore to obtain your cap and gown. If you pick up your cap and gown after Monday, December 2, 2019, you may be not be seated with your group at graduation and may be placed at the back of the entire line to march in.


Diplomas are inscribed with the College name, degree, graduate’s name, and date of award. Your name will appear on your degree/diploma as it appears on your student record. You may access LoLA to view current name information. If you wish to make changes, please contact the Registrar’s Office before Monday, December 2, 2019. You will be required to submit legal documentation for any major name changes. During the ceremony, diploma covers will be presented. Graduates will pick up their diploma after commencement. Tables will be set up to issue diplomas by alphabetical assignment based on your last name.

If you are unable to attend graduation, diplomas will be available for pick up Monday, January 6, 2019 and thereafter at the One-Stop Desk in the Sycamore Student Center on the Main Campus.

Graduation Honors

Graduation honors for the ceremony are determined by using your degree GPA. Graduates participating in the ceremony who are eligible for academic honors will receive cords at rehearsal. Gold cords will be issued to graduates who have earned a cumulative programmatic grade point average of 4.00. Silver cords will be issued to graduates who have earned cumulative programmatic grade point averages that are between 3.50 and 3.99.


A professional photographer has been engaged to take your picture with the Chancellor as you cross the stage. You may order pictures directly from the photographer.  For further information, you may contact Candid Campus Photography at 800-233-3686.

Services for Students and Guests with Disabilities

Graduates or graduates with guests with special needs are asked to contact Ms. Christine Collins at 337-421-6969, or email ods@sowela.edu, no later than Monday, December 2, 2019.