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 2019 Commencement Information

Time & Place

Saturday, May 11, 2019, at 5:00 p.m.
The Orpheum Theater
203 S. 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 11. As you arrive, please look for signs directing you to assemble in a room backstage. 

Graduates, please report to the stage door located on Beale Street. A security guard from the Orpheum will check your name and then admit you to the staging area for graduates. Only graduates will be permitted backstage, so please direct your friends and family members to enter through the main entrance to the Orpheum.

The exterior doors to the Orpheum will open at 3:15 p.m. 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 and their families will be permitted to come inside the auditorium lobby beginning at 3:15 for pictures only. Graduates who wish to take pictures at the venue are encouraged to do so prior to the ceremony, as the crowd size will make it difficult to get photos inside the venue after 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 Wednesday, April 24. It helps us greatly to know how many graduates will be participating in the ceremony.


Parking for graduation will be limited due to anticipated traffic and crowds with Memphis in May activities.

If you have access to parking within walking distance of the Orpheum and can refrain from using one of the designated Memphis Law graduation spots, we ask that you do so to make as much parking as possible available to graduates and their families who do not have access to downtown parking.

A limited amount of graduation (only) parking is available at the MLGW garage, located at 246 S Front St. Memphis, TN 38103. You must display a Memphis Law Graduation placard in your car to be permitted to park at the law graduation rate ($5 per car and per placard). You will pay at the garage when you park. You should plan to park on the 5th and 6th floors, through the second set of entry gates into the reserved area of the garage. The entry and exit gate on the 4th floor will be raised/up to allow easy entry and exit of the area.

You only will be allowed to enter the parking garage between 3 and 5 pm on May 11. You will not be required to move your car immediately after graduation if you choose to stay downtown afterwards.

You will not be allowed to park in the designated Memphis Law graduation spots at the reduced rate without a parking placard. And, we will not be able to replace any lost placards, so please be sure to keep up with yours.

Order of Ceremony

During the commencement ceremony, you will:

1. Line up in alphabetical order in the back stage assembly room;
2. Walk in order from the back staging area to the front lobby;
3. Process into the auditorium;
4. Walk to the stage (at the indicated time);
5. Give your card with your name on it to the pronouncer (you will receive your card back stage at the Orpheum before the ceremony);
6. Receive a hood from the table;
7. 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);
8. Continue across the stage to shake hands with Dean Schaffzin and President Rudd (a photographer also will take a picture of the handshake);
9. Proceed backstage where you will have a staged, formal photo taken (you will receive information about ordering photos at a later date);
10. Walk down the stairs at the other end of the stage and return to your seat after the photos for the remainder of the graduation ceremony;
11. Recess out; and
12. Proceed immediately down Aisle 1 (the farthest aisle to your right as you are facing the stage) to the backstage robing area to drop off your gowns and hoods.

Guest 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.

The exterior doors to the Orpheum will open at 4:00 p.m., and the interior doors to the auditorium will open at 4:15 p.m.

• Graduates Alexander - Keef will process into the Orpheum down Aisle 3.
• Graduates Keene - Wright will process into the Orpheum down Aisle 4.
• All graduates will recess out on Aisle 3.

Please let your families know, so they can plan where to sit accordingly.

Guests should arrive early, particularly if they want seats together as a group and/or to be seated near the front. 

You can find information about accessible seating here.

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. Information about how to purchase photographs will be available at the ceremony.

You can pre-register to purchase your graduation photos here and save 20% on your graduation photos if you pre-register..

Live Streaming

We anticipate 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 video of graduation on here


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 in the Career Services Office in Room 236. We will provide specific pick-up dates closer to graduation. All regalia must be picked up no later than 4:00 pm. on Thursday, May 9, 2019. You also will pick up parking placards (see parking info above) and complete a photo card when you pick up your regalia.

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 Monday, May 1, 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 by Monday, May 1, 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 lawgraduation@memphis.edu.

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