UMA Commencement

When: Saturday September 14, 2024

Ceremony start time: 10:30 a.m.

Doors open for grads and guests: 8:00 a.m.

Where: Yuengling Center Tampa, FL

Grads enter at Gate D for check-in

Eligible Grads: April 29, 2025 – September 29, 2024


Register Here

Only Graduates need to register. Guests do not require registration or tickets.

Important Dates

  • August 28, 2024: Deadline to order cap and gown at standard price
  • August 29 — September 3, 2024: $10 rush fee added to cap and gown orders
  • September 4 — September 9, 2024: $10 express shipping fee added to cap and gown orders, in additional to $10 rush fee
  • September 9, 2024: Final day to place cap and gown order
  • September 12, 2024: Deadline to register to attend Commencement
  • September 13, 2024: Deadline to sign up for pre-ceremony graduate portraits
  • September 14, 2024: Commencement Day

Eligibility to Walk

Any UMA graduate completing their program between April 29, 2024, and September 29, 2024, will be honored at the Fall 2024 ceremony.

All graduates are responsible for registering to attend and purchasing your cap and gown set for the ceremony. Please note: At the commencement ceremony, each graduate in attendance receives a diploma cover. The actual diploma is mailed to the address provided by the student once all program graduation requirements have been met.

Register to Attend

All grads who will be attending Commencement in Tampa, Florida in person must register in advance. You do not need to register to attend the virtual ceremony live stream. Graduates will not be mailed tickets for themselves or guests and do not require tickets to enter the Yuengling Center. Guests do not need to be registered. Registration opens on June 1, 2024 for Fall 2024 Commencement.

Cap, Gown, and Tassel Ordering

Click here to order your cap and gown.

Cap and Gowns are on sale now.

All orders must be placed by August 28, 2024. Orders placed after this date will be charged a $10 late fee. Late orders may also need to be shipped via express shipping methods to be delivered on time which will increase the shipping cost.

It is recommended to contact Economy Cap and Gown by calling 866-245-0600 to find out the best expedited shipping option according to your needs.

It is our policy that all graduates must wear a cap and gown to participate in the ceremony.

Cap & Gown FAQs

Will UMA send me a cap and gown set?

No, cap and gown set purchase is the responsibility of each graduate. The only item mailed to graduates is an honors cord if that distinction is applicable.

Can I decorate my grad cap?

Yes, grads are permitted to decorate their cap to celebrate.

Should I steam or cool iron my gown at home?

Yes, please get the wrinkles out of your gown before coming to the ceremony. Use a cool iron or a steamer to smooth out the wrinkles. Do not use a hot iron or you could damage/melt the fabric.

What are the shipping options for my cap and gown?

Your cap and gown will ship to your home. Orders are not processed daily and may take a few weeks to arrive. If you place an order by the online order shipping deadline, be assured that it will arrive in time for you to bring your cap and gown to Commencement. If you have any questions, please contact Economy Cap and Gown at866-245-0600.

May I buy a cap, gown, or tassel as a souvenir even if I am not attending the ceremony?


What if there is a problem with my cap, gown, or tassel order?

Please contact the vendor: Economy Cap and Gown. As the providers of the cap and gown set, they will be able to work on resolving your issue. Their customer service number is 866-245-0600.

Click here to order your cap/gown/tassel set.

Graduate and Guest Special Assistance

For Graduates with disabilities, limited mobility, or who need special assistance during their time at the Yuengling Center, please register to attend and order your cap and gown then contact or call 888-333-1454 to provide more details regarding your needs. We can best assist you with advance notice.

Service Animals are permitted in the Yuengling Center. Please bring proper documentation.

For guests, handicap seating is available throughout the Yuengling Center. Venue staff will assist you to these seating areas.

Sign language interpreters will be at the ceremony for any hearing-impaired graduates or guests. If you are a graduate needing sign language interpretation on Commencement day, special assistance can be provided. If you have a family member who requires seating near sign language interpreters, reserved seating is available. Please contact or call 888-333-1454 in advance of Commencement day to make arrangements.

COVID 19 Policy

The health and safety of all graduates, guests, UMA staff, and faculty is our number one priority. UMA will adhere to current CDC guidelines and recommendations. All Commencement attendees are encouraged to wear a face covering, regardless of vaccination status. If graduates or guests are feeling unwell or showing signs of COVID 19 symptoms, we ask that you do not attend.

Honor Cords, Tassels, and Stoles

If you received a gold or silver honors cord in the mail, bring it to the ceremony. A limited number of honors cords will be available when you check in, but we cannot guarantee to have extras if you forget yours.

ABK Honors Society members will receive their items in advance of Commencement day. ABK cords will not be available at the ceremony. UMA Student Ambassadors will receive their red stole in advance of Commencement Day.

Honors cords are sent by UMA to graduates who have qualified.

UMA Cords and Stole

  • Gold Cord: High Honors (4.0 CGPA)
  • Silver Cord: Honors (3.5 – 3.99 CGPA)
  • White Cord: Perfect Attendance (Clearwater Campus Only)
  • Red/Blue Cord: Alpha Beta Kappa Honor Society
  • Red Stole: Student Ambassador


The color of your tassel signifies your degree or diploma. All associate degree graduates wear a black tassel. Diploma graduates wear differing colors based on their program.

Virtual Commencement Activities

Commencement is such an exciting time, not only for graduates but also for UMA’s staff and faculty! Before Commencement takes place, we will be hosting several virtual events to give graduates the opportunity to meet their Learner Services and Career Services advisors, faculty, and program directors. More information and RSVP for these events will be emailed to all eligible graduates.

Graduate Check-in on Commencement Day

All Grads who are attending in-person in Tampa are required to check-in prior to the start of the ceremony. Graduates should enter the Yuengling Center through Gate D and proceed to graduate check-in. At the check-in table, you will receive a card with your name on it. This card is your ticket across the stage to have your name called. Every grad must have a name card to enter the seating area and walk across the stage. Your primary email address provided to UMA will be printed on the card as well. Your stage photo proofs will be sent to this email from grad Images for review after the ceremony. This contact information will not be used for any other purpose.

Pre-Ceremony Activities

Pre-ceremony activities start at 8:00 a.m. and end at 10:00 a.m. We highly recommend you arrive at the Yuengling Center in advance of the ceremony start time to fit in all the pre-ceremony activities. Lines can get long.

  • The Mix & Mingle is a special opportunity for graduates to socialize with fellow students and UMA Advisors and staff. There is no need to RSVP for the in-person Mix & Mingle on Commencement Day.
  • Photo booths, selfie stations, and photo opportunities with UMA’s Mascot, Journey the Puma.
  • Meet with UMA’s partner schools for continuing education opportunities.
  • Visit the graduate resources tables to meet with the Financial Literacy Services, Clearwater Campus, and Career Services teams for post-graduation support.
  • Visit the UMA Fan Shop, where you can buy exclusive UMA merchandise only available at Commencement.
  • Graduate portraits with a professional photographer will be available prior the ceremony. All orders must be placed in advance, no day of purchases will be taken at Commencement. For pre-registration and to receive a special discount, SIGN UP HERE.

Graduate Portraits and Stage Photos

Optional Pre-Ceremony Portraits for Purchase

A professional photographer will be available before the ceremony to take graduate portraits. Commemorate your special achievement with a professional portrait by Insight Photography! Registration is just $30 for this professional portrait session! Please register no later than September 13 to reserve your camera time with the photographer. If you need help registering or have questions, call or text Ally Covington at 727-560-3144 or email her at Registering reserves your camera time with the photographer and is refunded only in the event you cannot attend the ceremony. After your portrait is taken, we'll send you a link where you can order photos online and receive a $30 discount with promo code UMA30 at checkout. You must use the UMA30 promo code at checkout to receive your discount. The discount code cannot be applied after you order. All orders must be placed in advance; no day of purchases will be taken at Commencement.

For pre-registration and ordering, SIGN UP HERE.

Stage Photos

Grad Images will be taking pictures of each graduate as they receive their diploma cover on the stage, with two additional pictures taken after the graduate leaves the stage. Proofs will be emailed to the graduate to view after the ceremony. There is no obligation to purchase the photos.

After the ceremony, photos can be viewed here: Grad Images - Find My Photo

Commencement Etiquette

In order to participate in the commencement ceremony, graduates must be in academic apparel (wearing cap, gown, and tassel). Please wear your best interview attire underneath the gown. Jeans, shorts, sandals, and tennis shoes should be avoided. There are stairs down to the graduate seating floor and to enter the stage so appropriate shoes are recommended.

Etiquette | How to properly wear a graduation cap and gown:

Royal blue cap and gown must be worn by graduates, with limited quantities for sale the day of the ceremony. We strongly recommend that you order your cap/gown/tassel set in advance to guarantee that you will be able to participate in commencement.

How to wear the cap and gown: The cap is worn flat on the head. The gown should fall midway between the knee and ankle. Tassels are worn on the right side and shifted to the left when graduates receive their diplomas.

Seating for Ceremony

There is no graduate processional; graduates can access the ground floor by using the stairs nearest to Gate D. There will be two seating sections in the arena. Due to limited seating, there is no option to select your seat, so please follow staff directions to the seat you will occupy during the ceremony. If you want to sit with a friend(s) during the ceremony, you must enter the arena floor at the same time since you won’t be able to reserve seats for anyone and staff will make sure every seat is occupied. Graduates will not be seated by program. Only graduates are permitted on the seating floor. Family, including children, and guests must be seated in the general seating area.

The commencement staff will assist graduates in the seating area.

All graduates are required to be seated 15 minutes prior to the ceremony start time, so plan accordingly.

Your cooperation in following these instructions will help us get the Commencement ceremony underway on time.

Seating for Ceremony - Graduates with Special Needs:

We are happy to accommodate our students with special needs. We have reserved space for our graduates requiring special assistance in the first rows of the right-hand section of the arena, where you can access the stage via the ramp. We request that graduates with special needs or limited mobility (wheelchairs, etc.) arrive on the ground floor 30 minutes before the ceremony start time and check-in at the Graduate Special Assistance table located in the Corral near graduate check-in. The graduate seating area can be accessed by using the elevator located near Gate D.

For graduates with limited mobility or who need special assistance during their time at the Yuengling Center, please register to attend, order your cap and gown, then contact or call 888-333-1454 to provide more details regarding your needs on the day of Commencement.


The Commencement ceremonies will begin promptly at 10:30am with the processional of UMA leadership and faculty. Graduates arriving late will be held and seated after the processional.

During the reading of graduate names, we ask graduates and their guests to be considerate in their applause and celebration so that all names are heard clearly and the ceremony is not disrupted.

We also ask that if you decide to attend the Commencement ceremony, you remain in your seat for the entire event. Only in rare instances will an usher allow a graduate to leave their seat. Please make post-Commencement plans with the understanding that you are expected to attend the ceremony in its entirety. The ceremony is approximately 2½ hours and we want to afford all graduating students and their families the same respect and honor.

Graduates will rise one row of each section at a time to be presented with the diploma cover. The staff will direct the movement to the stage. People with special assistance needs will proceed first to the stage, toward the right-hand side where the accessibility ramp is located.

When it is your time to advance toward the stage, follow the other graduates in line to walk up to the stage. Present your card to the staff member and continue walking. Please do not stop as your name is being read. You will immediately be ushered to stand next to a leadership member who will present you with your diploma cover. Follow the instructions of staff to pose for a picture with leadership, and then proceed down the stage for two more pictures before returning to your seat.

The reading of the names will go quickly; please follow the instructions of the commencement staff.

Due to venue and ceremony time constraints, we are not able to read the names of graduates who are not in attendance in person at Commencement.

Name Reading

The graduate must be in attendance and walk across the stage to have their name read at the ceremony. Due to venue time constraints, we are not able to announce the names of graduates who are not in attendance. Names of all eligible graduates, in attendance or not, are in the commencement program. Please note, your name will only be included in the program and on the Livestream name scroll for the ceremony in which you are eligible.

After all names have been read of those who are in attendance, conferring of diplomas is the final celebration of the ceremony.

Guests and Guests Seating

Graduates are encouraged to invite family and friends to celebrate at Commencement. There is no guest limit. Guests do not need to be registered and do not require tickets to enter the Yuengling Center.

Guests are invited to sit in any area of the arena that is not designated as reserved for graduates or VIPs.

There is available seating for family members with limited mobility. Please ask a Yuengling Center representative to assist you to this area.

Out of respect to the graduates, everyone should be seated 15 minutes before the ceremony starts.


All parking is complimentary.

Ceremony Livestream

The Commencement ceremony will be streamed live over the Internet. If you or your family cannot join us in Tampa, you can still be a part of your special day! There is no cost to attend the virtual ceremony. Registration is not required to view the livestream for graduates or guests. Information about the livestream will be emailed to all eligible graduates in advance of the ceremony. Graduates should share this information to friends and family.

Please note: due to venue and ceremony time constraints, we are not able to announce the names of the thousands of graduates who are not in attendance, even if they are watching the live stream broadcast. Names of all eligible graduates, in attendance or not, are recognized in the digital Commencement program and live stream page name scroll.

Yuengling Center

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