Congratulations! You are approaching the end of your graduate studies, an accomplishment the Graduate College celebrates with you. The information contained in this section will explain the ceremony of commencement and how to participate.

Students must ensure that all paperwork and required documentation has been submitted to the Graduate College prior to graduating. Completing your academic requirements are a necessary but not sufficient condition for graduating; you are also required to have all required forms completed and filed appropriately in order for your degree to be conferred.

Students’ names will appear in the Commencement Program issued for the semester of degree completion. Summer graduates’ names appear in the program for the following fall semester. To ensure their name appears in the program, students must release their information through MyUNLV.

History of Academic Doctoral Regalia and the UNLV Lucky Coin Tradition

At commencement ceremonies, you will notice graduates wearing regalia that come in a multitude of colors. Doctoral regalia has a long and rich history. The European sumptuary recognized gowns and hoods as the official dress of academics in 1321. The UNLV doctoral robes are unique and are in the official university colors, scarlet and gray.

Academic attire dates back to the Middle Ages when most educational institutions, often considered to be the earliest universities, were situated in churches and cathedrals. These large buildings were often open, lofty spaces. In order to keep warm, clergies routinely wore robes. As many scholars and educators were part of the clergy, the clerical robes became the foundation for scholarly attire.

The gowns provided warmth with large sleeves that were useful in holding writing instruments. The hood also offered warmth and later evolved to include particular colors that distinguished the type of degree being conferred and the field of expertise of the graduate. The hood also harkens back to ancient Greece when students would give donations to their educators by placing coins in their hood, as it was not appropriate to pay them directly.

We carry on this tradition today - with a slight twist. During the UNLV graduate commencement ceremony, it is the advisor who drops a lucky coin into the graduate's hood. This practice pays homage to the long standing tradition and allows UNLV to symbolically say farewell to our graduates and wish them luck as they embark on their next journey. This practice is uniquely UNLV and distinctly Las Vegas!