NCU has been graduating leaders in our community since 1899!


General Information

Northwest Christian University has been holding commencement ceremonies and conferring degrees since the very first graduating class of 1899. While the largest and primary graduation ceremony occurs in May at the end of the traditional academic year, our evening and online students in non-traditional programs are completing degree requirements throughout the year. In 2007, an annual December graduation ceremony was added to serve this growing demographic.

There are generally two types of attendees at graduation: friends and family of the graduates, and those who are actually graduating. If you’re looking for dates and times for either Fall or Spring graduation, or directions or hotel accommodation recommendations we have provided some general information for you. More specific information for graduates–how to apply for graduation, order regalia and other supplies, etc.–is available on MyNCU.


Date   Time
May 9, 2015 (Saturday)    10:00am
December 11, 2015 (Friday)    6:00pm


Both the May and December commencement ceremonies are held on the NCU campus in the Morse Event Center. If you are unfamiliar with Eugene or the NCU campus, check out our driving directions and campus map.


For those that might be traveling from out of town, please visit our hotel and restaurant recommendations page. Many of these are within walking distance of the NCU campus. You might also find some of the information on our Parent Resource page useful.

academic regalia

The pageantry and dress of the academic procession have been inherited from the medieval universities of the 11th and 12th centuries.  Academic life as we know it today began in the Middle Ages, first in the Church, then in the guilds.  The teaching guild was the guild of the Master of Arts, where the Bachelor was the apprentice of the Master and the dress was the outward sign of privilege and responsibility.  Principal features of academic dress are the gown, the cap, and the hood.  Both Cambridge and Oxford since the 15th century have made academic dress a matter of university control even to its minor details and have repeatedly published revised regulations.  American universities agreed on a definite system in 1895.  In 1932 the American Council on Education presented a revised code which, for the most part, governs the style of academic dress today.

The Gown

The flowing gown comes from the 12th century. While it originally may have been worn as protection against the cold of unheated buildings, today it has become symbolic of the democracy of scholarship, for it covers any dress of rank or social standing.  It is usually of black material.  Bachelors’ gowns have pointed sleeves; masters’ have long pouch-like sleeves which reputedly were once used to carry books and food.  Doctors’ gowns are faced with panels of velvet down the front and three bars of velvet across each sleeve.

The Cap

When Roman law freed the slave, he won the privilege of wearing a cap.  The academic cap is a sign of freedom of scholarship and the responsibility and dignity with which scholarship endows the wearer.  While usually shaped like a mortar board, some caps from some universities are made of a round, soft velvet material.  The tassel may be black or colored according to the scholarly field of the wearer.  Only the doctor’s cap may be of velvet.

The Hood

The hood is trimmed with one or more chevrons of a secondary color on the ground of the primary color of the college.  The color of the facing of the hood denotes the discipline represented by the degree; the color of the lining designates the university or college from which the degree was granted.

Tassel Colors

Preview Day

Additional Resources