Commencement Information

Memphis Law celebrates all graduates with three annual commencement ceremonies, in May, August, and December. (August and December commencements are held with the University's main ceremony).

May 2018 Commencement Information

Time & Place

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.
The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
255 N. Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103

The graduation ceremony is expected to last approximately two hours. There will not be a rehearsal.

Graduates need to be backstage at the facility no later than 3:45 p.m. on May 12. As you arrive, please look for signs directing you to assemble in a room backstage. There will not be a rehearsal. Only graduates will be permitted back stage.

The exterior doors to the Cannon Center will open at 3:15 p.m. and only for graduates to quickly take interior photos with their families and then immediately exit. The exterior doors will open to the general public at 4:00 p.m., and the interior doors will open at 4:15 p.m. Graduates who wish to take pictures at the venue are encouraged to do so prior to the ceremony. We will have student volunteers with hoods available in the lobby before the ceremony for graduates to use to take pictures.


Please RSVP for graduation here by Friday, May 4. It helps us greatly to know how many graduates will be participating in the ceremony.


Parking downtown can be somewhat of a challenge during Memphis in May. Parking is available in the garage underneath the Cook Convention Center/Cannon Center as well as in lots nearby. The cost is $10/vehicle at the Convention Center lot.

Please note that the Memphis Convention Center will be undergoing renovations during graduation and the West P1 and West P3 lots will not be available for parking. There will also be limited access to the elevators in the South Hall lobby. Please plan accordingly and plan to arrive earlier than usual, especially if you have guests who have limited mobility.

Order of Ceremony

During the commencement ceremony, you will:

  1. Line up in alphabetical order in the backstage assembly room
  2. Process into the auditorium
  3. Walk to the stage (at the indicated time)
  4. Receive a hood
  5. Give your card with your name on it to the pronouncer (you will receive your card at the Cannon Center before the ceremony)
  6. Walk to the middle of the stage after your name is called, where you will be hooded (a photographer will take a picture of the hooding)
  7. Continue across the stage to shake hands with Dean Letsou and a university representative (a photographer also will take a picture of the handshake)
  8. Proceed backstage where you will have another photo taken (you will receive information about ordering photos at a later date)
  9. Be directed back to your seat after the photos for the remainder of the graduation ceremony
  10. Recess out and return quickly to the backstage assembly area to drop off your gown and hood

General Seating

We will have general seating at graduation with the exception of several reserved front rows. Your guests do not need to purchase or use tickets for graduation. There is no limit to the number of guests who may attend.

Guests should arrive early, particularly if they want seats together as a group and/or to be seated near the front. The exterior doors to the Cannon Center will open to the public at 4:00 p.m., and the interior doors to the auditorium will open at 4:15 p.m.

ADA Accessible Seating

The Cannon Center has approximately 34 seats available that are ADA accessible. These seats are in the located on the Parterre and Mezzanine levels in the box seating area. They will be designated with ropes. These seats will be reserved exclusively for those guests who need ADA accessible seating and for one other person who accompanies them. Please tell your families not to sit in these areas unless you need accessible seating. We reserve the right to ask anyone not needing ADA accessible seating to leave these areas if others need them.

Graduates with Disabilities

If you are a graduating student and have a physical impairment that might impact your ability to process and recess with your classmates or to climb up and down stairs during the processional and for your hooding, please contact Dean Aden as soon as possible so that we can make appropriate arrangements for you.

Personal Belongings

You will not be able to leave any personal belongings backstage during the graduation ceremony. Do not bring any personal belongings to the staging area that you can't process and recess with or leave under your seat during the ceremony.


There will be professional photographers taking photos at graduation. Each graduate will be photographed on stage as he or she is being hooded and during the handshake. In addition, each graduate will have the opportunity to take an additional formal graduation photo during the graduation ceremony. Please complete the form here to pre-register with Candid Campus Photography. This will expedite the time it takes to receive the proofs of your graduation photos.

Live Streaming

We will be live streaming graduation. There will be a short delay (no more than 20 minutes) so that we can also create an archival recording of the graduation ceremony. You and your family members can view the (almost) live stream of graduation on the University of Memphis Commencement Live page. Once we receive the archived recording from the videographer, we will post a link to it on the Law School's commencement page for later viewing.


The law school will not have an official invitation, but graduates can order invitations through the University or on their own. To order through the University, please contact Balfour at 1-800-278-7644 or visit the law school landing page on their website. Be sure to use this link to ensure you are on the law school landing page and not the main university landing page.

Regalia & Certificate & Pro Bono Cords

There is no additional charge for the regalia.

You may pick up your regalia from Stephanie Hope in the Career Services Office in Room 236 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. beginning on Monday, May 7, 2018. All regalia must be picked up no later than 4:00 pm. on Thursday, May 10, 2018. You will also complete a Candid Campus photo card when you pick up your regalia. This will be used to ensure each student gets the right photo proofs after graduation.

If you are graduating with a certificate in Advocacy, Business Law, Health Law, or Tax Law or if you are receiving a Dean's Distinguished Pro Bono Award, the law school has ordered a special cord for you to wear at graduation. Please let Stephanie Hope know so she can make sure you receive the appropriate cord.

Gowns and hoods must be returned to a law school representative backstage within 30 minutes of the end of the graduation ceremony. You may keep the tassel and your tam (puffy hat).

Please note that we will not have extra regalia at graduation, so please be sure to bring everything with you to graduation.

Legacy Hooding

Are you a legacy? If you have a family member who is a graduate of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, we'd like to know! If you have family members who are Memphis Law Alumni, they can assist with your hooding at graduation. Please email Archie Shelton no later than Wednesday, May 2, with your name and the name and contact information of your family members if you would like to participate.

Please note that hooding assistance is only available to students with family members who are Memphis Law Alumni.

Name Pronunciations

If your name is difficult to pronounce, complete this form immediately to ensure the correct information regarding phonetic pronunciation is included on the pronunciation card. We will need to have this information well in advance of graduation, so fill the form out as soon as possible, if you haven't done so already.

Graduation Attire & Honor Pins

In keeping with the formality and tradition of the ceremony, men usually wear dark dress trousers, a white shirt, a tie, socks, and dark shoes, while women usually wear dresses (or equivalent) and dark shoes.

You may wear honor pins (college level and higher) on the left side of your graduation robe (on the black lapel next to the purple chevron). This includes Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Alpha Delta, Omicron Delta Kappa, and other honorary pins.

Diplomas & Composites

You will not receive a diploma during the graduation ceremony. Your diploma and composite will be mailed to you several months after the ceremony, once summer classes are completed, rankings are calculated, and once it has been certified that your financial obligations are met and that all degree requirements have been satisfied. By law, the University cannot release grades, transcripts, diplomas, or certifications of credit on or to any student who has an unresolved financial obligation to the University.

Change of Address

Please let us know about any changes of address, phone number, or email address that you have after graduation. We need to know where to send your diploma, and there are several surveys and other matters you will receive the first year after graduation.

For any other commencement related questions or concerns, please contact us at

Most of all, congratulations! We look forward to seeing you there.