Grab your robes and decorate your mortarboards. It’s graduation time, Bucs!

Commencement is Dec. 16 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Mini Dome. The morning ceremony is for the colleges of Arts and Science, Education, Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach and New Media Studio. The afternoon ceremony is for the colleges of Business and Technology, Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, Nursing, Public Health, Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences.

“I think we’ve just made a lot of huge strides in trying to make it something everybody can enjoy,” said University Registrar Sheryl Burnette about the ceremony. “We try to make the focus all on the students.”

The total number of approved graduates set for this semester hits at 809 undergraduates and 217 graduate students. However, this number may change due to late graduation applications and the time final grades are posted for the fall 2017 semester. In addition, 194 undergraduate and 157 graduate students from the summer 2017 semester will be able to walk during the December ceremony.

ETSU Associate Professor Robert Beeler will speak during the morning ceremony, and U.S. Congressman Phil Roe will speak during the afternoon ceremony. The full program will be available on the ETSU graduation ceremony website closer to the day of graduation.

After the ceremony, students will have their pictures made with the alumni banner of their college and meet with faculty.

“I don’t think there are a lot of people who get to have the sense of accomplishment in other offices,” Assistant Registrar Jessica Miller said. “There are a lot of people here who help students throughout their time that they matriculate, but we get to actually be there for something and celebrate with their families, and that’s always pretty exciting.”

Island Photography will be at graduation, and students will receive an email after graduation to view proofs from the ceremony and have the opportunity to order copies of the photos. The students can have photos made before and after the ceremony by the company.

Students are allowed to carry only their cell phones and name cards onto the ceremony floor to avoid losing personal items. A secure coat check area for students is available, and students can store any belongings there before the ceremony. They will be given a lanyard to wear under their robe that corresponds with their items, according to Miller.

Additional security will be onsite during the ceremony. In an email on Dec. 1, the Office of the Provost announced all graduation attendees will be subject to metal detectors or wands and bags will be checked before being allowed in the Mini Dome.

Graduation ceremony rehearsal is on Dec. 15. Although not required, Burnette and Miller said they recommend attending rehearsal to know what to expect during the ceremony and to hang out with ETSU faculty and staff to celebrate their graduation. One benefit of attending rehearsal is knowing where to tell friends and family to look for the graduate. Students will attend the rehearsal that corresponds to their graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m.

“Everybody’s really excited,” Burnette said. “There’s a lot of positivity in the air. Parents are there, and grandparents are there. Everybody is just celebrating with the students.”