Atlanta Ceremony

Atlanta Commencement


Saturday, May 12, 8:30 a.m.

Atlanta Campus Upper Field, Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus


The following information and reminders will be useful to you. In late March, you will receive a complete 2018 Commencement Handbook via email to assist you in planning for this exciting day. Please take careful notice of the following deadlines and schedules so that your recognition and celebration will be long remembered as the high point that it will be. The ceremony will be held outside on the upper field and will include graduates from the Atlanta Campus and the Atlanta area regional academic centers. Including graduates, we expect 7,000 to 8,000 people to attend the ceremony.

Deadlines and Dates

  • The last date to order your required Cap and Gown is March 16, 2018 at Herff Jones. Caps and Gowns will be available for pick up at the Mercer Atlanta Bookstore beginning April 23, 2018. It is important that caps, gowns, and hoods be uniform in appearance. It is not appropriate to “borrow” regalia from previous years as it will not match. Any questions related to Cap and Gown should be directed to the Mercer Atlanta Bookstore by calling (678) 547-6350.
  • The last date to order your graduation announcements to send to family and friends is also May 11, 2018 at Herff Jones.
  • Parking passes are required to park in Graduates Reserved Parking on the campus. Those will be sent to you in the 2017 Commencement Handbook in late March.
  • Guests of graduates attending the ceremony will not need tickets or parking passes. Driving directions for your guests will be included in the Commencement Handbook.  Parking for guests will be in the parking lots of University Office Park, which are located along Flowers Road South. These lots will be served by continuously running shuttle buses which will deliver guests to the main entrance of the upper field on the campus for the ceremony and return afterward to the parking areas.
  • For Mobility Impaired Guests, you may request one (1) Mobility Impaired Parking Pass for reserved space in the East lot on the campus adjacent to the Commencement event area. For individuals accompanying a mobility impaired guest, you are limited to two (2) “sit with” tickets available per graduate.  No exceptions to this number of tickets can be made.  You must request your Mobility Impaired Parking Pass and/or seating tickets no later than April 20, 2018 by completing the Mobility Impaired Request Form. Following submission of the official request form, the pass and driving instructions will be sent to your mobility impaired guest by mail. Mobility impaired guests will need to bring their own wheelchairs and walkers.

Graduation Day Schedule

7 a.m. – Graduates must report promptly to Sheffield Main Gym in caps and gowns ready for the Ceremony (Please leave valuables with family or friends)
8 a.m. – Academic processional from the Sheffield Main Gym to the Upper Field
8:30 a.m. – Ceremony begins
11 a.m. – Approximate time of Ceremony conclusion

Hooding and Pinning Events

College of Pharmacy Pinning Ceremony

Monday, May 7 • 2 p.m.     

Sheffield Center         

Pinning Ceremony followed by Reception on the Quad

Tift College of Education Hooding Ceremony

Thursday, May 10 • 4 p.m.

Day Hall

Hooding Ceremony followed by Reception in Davis Lobby

Penfield College Ph.D. Hooding Ceremony

Thursday, May 10 • 6 p.m.

Atlanta Administration & Conference Center Auditorium

Hooding Ceremony followed by Reception on 2nd Floor Atrium

School of Business Honors Ceremony

Thursday, May 10 • 6:30 p.m.

Trustees Dining Room

Induction Ceremony followed by Reception

College of Nursing Hooding and Pinning Ceremony

Friday, May 11 • 9 a.m.

Second–Ponce de Leon Baptist Church

Hooding and Pinning followed by Reception

College of Health Professions Hooding Ceremony

Friday, May 11 • 10 a.m.

Sheffield Center

Hooding Ceremony followed by Reception on the Quad

College of Pharmacy Hooding Ceremony

Friday, May 11 • 2 p.m.

Sheffield Center

Hooding Ceremony followed by Reception on the Quad

School of Theology Commissioning Service

Friday, May 11 • 8 p.m.

Smoke Rise Baptist Church

Reception at 6:30 p.m. (by invitation only)

Additional Information

Requirements for Graduation

Please read carefully the following concerning degree requirements and eligibility to participate in the graduation ceremony. (Receipt of the Commencement Handbook does not certify the completion of degree requirements, nor does it confirm eligibility to march in the graduation exercises.)  

  • A degree will be awarded only to students who have satisfied all requirements of the University and the school/college certifying the degree.
  • All obligations to the University must be satisfied prior to the issuing of diplomas. This includes the returning of library books and other University property to the appropriate offices and payment in full of outstanding indebtedness (tuition balances, parking fines, library fines, etc.).
  • Honors printed in the program are based on grades earned through the Fall 2017 semester. Refer to the Mercer Catalog for information on the calculation of University honors. Mercer will provide honor cords to students qualifying for undergraduate Latin honors the day of the ceremony.

Professional Photos

Grad Images, the professional photographer for Commencement, will be taking photographs of each graduate as they receive their diploma. So, a professional photograph of the occasion will be available should you decide to choose this option. If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, contact Grad Images directly at (Mercer University is not involved in this process.)

Recommended Attire

In general, dress for comfort and the weather. Men should wear dark slacks, dark shoes, and a shirt with a white collar. Women should wear comfortable dark dress shoes (high heels are not a good idea; flats are best for walking on the stairs and lawns) with a dress or skirt that does not show below the gown, or dark slacks and a blouse. Layered clothing is a good strategy. Sunglasses could prove useful, but please remove them for your photograph and before walking across the stage to receive your diploma.

Commencement Etiquette

Commencement is a special event for both the graduates and their guests. During this time, Mercer requests that all participants and guests respect the importance of this occasion with the proper decorum.

In order to maintain propriety of this event, it is important that all cell phones are turned off or on “silent” during the entire ceremony, which includes the processional.

Assembly of Graduates

Graduates must arrive at the Sheffield Main Gym by 7:00 am for registration, line-up and instructions for the ceremony. Graduates will begin the processional walk from Sheffield to the event area at 8:00 am. There is no formal rehearsal for the Commencement Ceremony, so being on time at 7:00 am for line-up and instructions is crucial. Please do not plan to leave valuables in Sheffield Gym. You may wish to arrange for family or friends to take care of them for you.

Guest Seating

No tickets are needed for the Atlanta ceremony.  We do, however, ask that each graduate limit your number of guests to six. Since the ceremony begins at 8:30 am sharp, we ask that your guests be seated no later than 8:15 am. With open guest seating, seats may not be saved by any means other than a guest sitting there. If your guests attempt to save multiple seats with markers, ribbons, or other “place holders,” a member of the Staff will ask that they be removed. A large video screen is set up to make viewing the ceremony easy for everyone.


At the Commencement Ceremony, only diploma covers will be handed to graduates as they cross the stage during the ceremony. Actual diplomas will be mailed to your permanent address of record after the final graduation degree requirements have been completed and certified.

Guest Photography

To avoid blocking the view of other seated guests during the ceremony, there will be a roped off section (on the left side of the stage, facing the platform) for families and friends to photograph graduates after they receive their diplomas.

However, space is limited within the roped-off photography area. So, please ask that any of your guests who may be taking photographs, go to the roped off area only when your school or college is announced and return to the seating area immediately after you have moved past.

Severe Weather

In the event of intense rain or other severe weather, Commencement may be delayed or cancelled. If the weather is uncertain, you may check the status by calling the University Hotline at (678) 547-6111 (after 5:00 am on the morning of Commencement). The Hotline will have regular updates to announce any delays or cancellations due to weather alerts.

You may also check the Mercer University website at, or sign up for direct text alerts sent to your mobile phone. To register for text alerts, go to and look for “Emergency Alert Registration” under “Most Popular Topics.” Sign up in plenty of time prior to the event, because new registrations are not active until after 48 hours.

Driving Directions

From I-85 North

If traveling north on I-85 from downtown Atlanta, take Exit 94 (Chamblee-Tucker Road) and turn right. Then turn right on Mercer University Drive toward the campus. Graduates should continue straight on Mercer University Drive and will be directed into the Graduate Reserved Parking Areas. Guests and Guests with Disabled Parking Passes should turn right at the beginning of Mercer University Drive onto Flowers Road South. They will then be directed to the appropriate parking areas. (See map)

From I-85 South

If traveling south on I-85 from outside the perimeter, take Exit 94 (Chamblee-Tucker Road) and turn left. Then turn right on Mercer University Drive toward the campus. Graduates should continue straight on Mercer University Drive and will be directed into the Graduate Reserved Parking Areas. Guests and Guests with Disabled Parking Passes should turn right at the beginning of Mercer University Drive onto Flowers Road South. They will then be directed to the appropriate parking areas. (See map)

From I-285

If traveling on I-285 east or west, take Exit 33 to I-85 south toward Atlanta, inside the perimeter. Take the first exit, number 94, to Chamblee-Tucker Road, turn left. Then turn right on Mercer University Drive toward the campus. Graduates should continue straight on Mercer University Drive and will be directed into the Graduate Reserved Parking Areas. Guests and Guests with Disabled Parking Passes should turn right at the beginning of Mercer University Drive onto Flowers Road South. They will then be directed to the appropriate parking areas. (See map)

Local Accommodations

Some local accommodations are listed for your information. Contact the hotels for details.

Double Tree **

Atlanta at North Druid Hills        
(404) 321-4174

Crowne Plaza Atlanta

(877) 270-1393 or (770) 395-7700

Hampton Inn **

(770) 493-1966


Atlanta Perimeter North    
(404) 564-3000

Marriott Courtyard **

Executive Park
(404) 728-0708

Marriott Courtyard**

(770) 938-1200

** Reduced rates are available by mentioning Mercer Commencement during room reservation

Parking and Campus Map

View or print the Atlanta Commencement 2018 Campus & Parking Map for details on directions, entrances, open and reserved parking areas, graduate reporting area, and commencement event area.

Parking for Graduates

Parking for Commencement will include spaces on the Atlanta campus as well as the University Office Park adjacent to the campus. Parking on campus will be strictly reserved for graduates and can be entered only from Mercer University Drive. Special Parking Passes are required and will be available for pickup when you pick-up your cap and gown. Before arriving on campus the morning of the ceremony, please place it on the left dashboard of your car. Without this Parking Pass, you will not be admitted to the reserved parking lots; however, you may park in the guest parking areas of University Office Park. (Note: Guests may arrive in the same vehicle as a graduate with a Parking Pass and park in the space reserved for graduates.) (See map) Late arrivals may necessitate grads being directed to special overflow parking in University Office Park immediately across the street from the West parking entrance (University Circle) to the campus.

Parking for Guests

No parking pass is needed for guests. Assistance in parking will be provided as guests approach the parking areas located in University Office Park on Flowers Road South. Shuttle buses will be provided to transport guests from the parking lots to the Commencement Event Area. (See map)

Parking or Accommodations for Guests with Disabilities

There will be a reserved parking area for mobility impaired guests in the East lot of the Mercer Atlanta campus immediately adjacent to the Commencement event area. Mobility Impaired guests must have a special parking pass (or government issued handicap parking pass) to enter this area.

You must request the Mobility Impaired Parking Pass online via the Mobility Impaired Request Form.  Upon completing the online request form, the Mobility Impaired pass and driving instructions will be sent by mail to the mobility impaired guest. To provide ample time for delivery, any request for a Mobility Impaired Parking Pass must be made no later than April 20.

Please bear in mind that any guest, including those with disabilities, may accompany the graduate to the ceremony in the same car utilizing the Graduate’s Parking Pass. Also, guests who do not require mobility assistance may find that the open guest parking areas using shuttle buses may be quite satisfactory, since the shuttle bus drop-off area is immediately adjacent to the Commencement site. (See map)

For guests needing accommodations unrelated to mobility, please contact Hannah Lawrence by calling (678) 547-6824 or by e-mailing no later than April 20. In all situations, a good faith effort will be made to provide appropriate accommodations per your request.


1. Why do the graduates have to arrive so early?

The logistics of a graduation ceremony are very complex, and to get more than 1,000 graduates signed-in, lined up and staged for the procession is time-consuming. We will offer coffee and light food for purchase at the Sheffield Gym while graduates are preparing for the processional.

2. As a graduate, can I bring family and friends with me in my car, so we can park closer to the Commencement venue?

We encourage you to bring as many guests as possible in your car. This helps reduce congestion. Food service will be available in The MAC for your guests, and the Bookstore will be open.

3. What if I have a guest who needs disabled parking access?

You must obtain a special Mobility Impaired Parking Pass (limit one per graduate) for a disabled guest who needs close proximity parking. The pass must be requested by completing Mobility Impaired Request Form no later than April 20. The pass will be mailed directly to the mobility impaired guest.

4. Can I depend on Mercer to alert me regarding dangerous weather issues which might delay or cancel the ceremony?

As everyone is aware, weather is often very difficult to predict. However, safety is the most important consideration in making weather related decisions, so if dangerous weather is in the vicinity the ceremony may be delayed or cancelled. Announcements will be made beginning no later than 5:00 am on the day of Commencement, and will be communicated via the University Hot Line (678) 547-6111, the Mercer website at, or sign up for text alerts on your mobile phone at and look for “Emergency Alert Registration” under “Most Popular Topics.” Sign up in plenty of time prior to the event, because new registrations are not active until after 48 hours.

5. What if it is very hot?

We hope for a beautiful spring morning with moderate temperatures. Our schedule for an 8:30 am beginning will allow the program to end before the warmest part of the day. Graduates will be provided with a bottle of water at their seat, and water will be available for all.

6. Is the guest parking and transportation to the venue convenient?

We will be providing parking for thousands of vehicles, so we will use parking lots all around the campus. We have arranged for attendants and police to guide guests into the parking areas, and we will have buses running continuously before and after the ceremony to shuttle guests. (See map)


Here are a selection of Mercer University and related business contacts that may help in your preparation for the upcoming Commencement.

Registrar’s Office

Graduation eligibility for Atlanta Campus students
(678) 547-6136, or

Graduation eligiblitiy for Regional Academic Center students
(478) 301-2680, or

Mercer website

For general University information and inclement weather updates

Mercer Weather Hot Line

Changes to Commencement Schedule due to severe weather (after 5:00 a.m. on May 16)
(678) 547-6111

Mercer Police

Parking arrangements
(678) 547-6358

Mercer Bookstore

Pick-up of academic robes and regalia, Mercer merchandise
(678) 547-6350


Graduation announcements, caps and gowns

Grad Images

Graduation photographs