Commencement Ceremonies Postponed for 2020 Graduates

Based on the current public health guidelines for Minnesota and public events, we have made the difficult decision to postpone Commencement ceremonies until May 2021. The University heard from many members of the Class of 2020 that postponing our Commencement celebration was preferred to canceling or hosting a virtual celebration, and we want to honor this request. 

There will be no December 2020 Commencement ceremony. Diplomas will be mailed, and December 2020 graduates will be included in the May 2021 Commencement, as will our May 2020 graduates.

Advance Orders for Academic Garb

A few students have inquired about the possibility of purchasing caps and gowns to wear for photos or personal graduation celebrations. Academic garb can be purchased here. Please be aware that once an order has been placed, there are no returns and no refunds. Orders take 7–10 days to fulfill.

Community Update on Commencement

This spring, we made the decision to postpone our May 2020 Commencement ceremonies in order to protect the safety of our community during the coronavirus pandemic. We heard from many of you that postponing our celebration was preferred to canceling or hosting a virtual celebration, and we want to continue to honor this request. 

In our April communication about this decision, we identified three options for holding graduate and undergraduate Commencement ceremonies for all three colleges — College for Women, College for Adults, Graduate College — pending the status of the COVID-19 public health guidelines. Based on the current public health guidelines for Minnesota and public events, and what we anticipate will be the situation through the fall and into winter, we have made the difficult decision to postpone Commencement ceremonies for our May 2020 graduates until May 2021. There will be no December 2020 Commencement ceremonies; the December graduates will be included in the May 2021 Commencement.

Graduates who would have been recognized this past May will instead be invited to a specially designated ceremony for their college in May 2021, including all of our traditional St. Catherine events that accompany the main exercises. We envision these events in May 2021 as both a historic postponed Commencement ceremony and a one-year reunion for the Class of 2020. The Class of 2021 also will celebrate their Commencement ceremonies in May 2021. (Please note: All students eligible for graduation this past May had their degrees conferred and diplomas were mailed to students in June.) 

We endeavor to make our campus environment as safe as we know how to do for our students, faculty, staff and guests so  we can celebrate your achievements and this important right of passage for you, your family, and your friends. Crossing the stage is a defining moment for our students who have worked so hard to earn their degree, and it is why we are committed to providing our graduates the opportunity to participate in an in-person ceremony. We will share more details in the new year regarding Commencement ceremonies in May 2021. As we all know, this presumes that large, indoor group gatherings of hundreds of people will be allowed by next May. For many reasons, let us hope and pray this will be true.

We are incredibly proud of your resilience, strength, and tenacity to persevere. We cannot wait to celebrate with you and honor all that you have done — and will do — to transform the world. 

Becky Roloff

Anita Thomas, PhD
Executive Vice President and Provost

Celebrate Our 2020 Graduates!

Our Commencement ceremony has been postponed, but you can still join us in celebrating the St. Catherine University Class of 2020!

Whether you are a graduate or know someone who is, show your pride and offer congratulations by downloading St. Kate's yard signs, campus-themed backdrops for Zoom gatherings, and custom images to post to social media.

Class of 2020 celebration downloadables

graduates in procession

Notice of Filming and Photography
By participating in Commencement, you consent to be photographed, filmed, and/or live-streamed during the ceremony at The O'Shaughnessy and/or the Baccalaureate Liturgy in the Chapel.

Baccalaureate Liturgy and Hooding Ceremony

The Hooding Ceremony is a tradition incorporated into the Baccalaureate Liturgy, in which bachelor's and associate students will receive a special blessing and place their graduation hoods upon each other. Students consistently describe this tradition as one of the highlights of the Commencement events.

Attending and Bringing Guests
  • All graduating students and their guests are welcome and encouraged to attend.

    • Note: Graduate College students do not participate in this Hooding Ceremony, as they are hooded during their Commencement ceremony. Graduate College students are still welcome and encouraged to process into the Chapel and sit with other graduating students.

  • All faiths are welcome and encouraged to attend.

  • Please note that space in the Chapel is limited. 

What to Expect
  • All participating students will be dressed in their academic gowns and process into the Chapel and sit together as a group.

  • During the Liturgy, bachelor's and associate students will be invited to stand, receive a blessing, and place the hood over the student next to them. There is nothing to prepare for in advance. The ceremony is simple and will be explained as it happens.

A sign language interpreter will be provided. For reasonable accommodations, please contact

Students are invited to serve as readers and Eucharistic ministers during the Baccalaureate Liturgy. Those interested should contact the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice at or 651.690.6724.

Diplomas, Honors, and Student Account Status

Unsure if you will be graduating with honors, or when you will get your diploma? Concerned about your student account's outstanding balance? Make sure you are squared away for graduation day.

Latin Honors are awarded to eligible students earning their first baccalaureate degree. To be considered for Latin Honors students must complete a minimum of 64 credits in residence at St. Catherine University. Latin Honors are awarded upon completion of all graduation requirements with the following institutional grade point average (resident courses only, no transfer courses included):

  • For graduation cum laude, a GPA of 3.667
  • For graduation magna cum laude, a GPA of 3.8
  • For graduation summa cum laude, a GPA of 3.9

The honors awarded are noted on your transcript and in the program at Commencement.

Predicted eligibility for Latin Honors is determined approximately six weeks prior to Commencement; actual eligibility is based on your final St. Catherine University GPA.

Latin Honor cords will be handed out at lineup. Cords for departmental honor societies are provided by the individual departments. Graduating students are encouraged to wear any/all of their honor society cords to Commencement.

Students with balances remaining on their accounts should contact Jordana Lewis ( or 651.690.6567) in student accounts to make arrangements for payment to the University.

Students with balances on their account after Commencement will have their diplomas and official transcripts held until full payment is made.

If you are a Perkins or Nursing Loan borrower, you need to complete the online loan exit questionnaire prior to graduation. Questions about the questionnaire can be directed to the Student Accounts Office ( or 651.690.6503). Technical questions or problems can be directed to University Accounting Service (UAS) at 1.800.999.6227.

If you borrowed other types of student loans, you need to complete an exit counseling session. Expect notification of times from the Financial Aid Office.

If your student account is in good standing your diploma will be mailed to your permanent address approximately six weeks after Commencement.

Please ensure that the registrar’s office has your correct address on file.

Diploma frames are available for purchase through the St. Catherine University bookstore—view examples online or in the bookstore.

St. Catherine University bookstore



Parking Recommendations for Students and Guests

We encourage students and guests to enter through Gate 4 on Fairview Avenue and park in The O’Shaughnessy parking lot located on the southeast corner of campus, near the Georgia and Alberta Apartments. During Commencement, all campus parking areas will be open for guests and permit requirements will not be enforced.