Pre-Commencement Reception FAQs

Cap and Gown Information

  • Caps and gowns are not to be worn for these Pre-Commencement Receptions
  • Caps and gowns for Graduation Ceremonies may be obtained from the University Book Store, Memorial Union, phone: (515)294-5684
  • With Distinction Cords – if eligible, these can be picked up in the Registrar’s Office, 214 Enrollment Services Center.

How many guests may I bring?

Most departments have no limit to the number of guests you can bring, however for the Mechanical Engineering Department, students are limited to 4 guests at the spring reception and 6 guests at the fall reception due to space issues. When you complete the RSVP process on AccessPlus, please have an accurate count of your group size so we can plan accordingly.

Where and when will the reception be held?

Locations and times for the receptions vary by department. Information can be found on the College’s web site at: Once you are registered, your department will communicate with you if the location or time changes for any reason.

How do I register my attendance?

Please register your attendance and indicate the number of guests you will be bringing using AccessPlus.

  • Login to AccessPlus.
  • Within the “Graduation” menu option after you have filled out your Application for Graduation another sub-category “Diploma/Ceremony” will appear.  Clicking on this will take you to a page with options to register for the University Commencement Ceremony as well as your Department’s Pre-Commencement Reception.
  • Complete all the fields in the form to register yourself and your guests.

Who needs to register?

Each graduate planning to attend the event should complete one registration for themself and their guests. Guest cannot complete a separate registration.

When do I need to complete my registration?

Final registration dates differ between departments, but most ask that you complete your registration and finalize any changes one week prior to graduation.

What if I already registered and need to change my number of guests or cancel?

Changes can be made on AccessPlus until registration closes which in most cases is one week prior to Graduation.  If you have any changes after that please contact your department’s Pre-Commencement organizer.  Their information can be found:

Is the reception venue handicap accessible?

Yes, all ISU facilities are handicap accessible.

What happens at the reception?

Each department’s reception is a little different but they all typically involve a continental breakfast and a short program to recognize the graduates of the department. The receptions give the department chair or his/her designee an opportunity to congratulate graduates and welcome their families to campus.

Do I also have to register for the commencement ceremony? (As well as all other commencement ceremony and diploma related questions.)

Questions about your commencement ceremony and diplomas should be directed to the ISU Graduation Office at, 515-294-9372 or

  For additional questions not answered in the FAQ’s, please use the department contacts listed on this page.