Congratulations to our future Distinctive Mercy Graduates! We hope you find this site a useful resource for all your Commencement needs. Please be sure to bookmark this page and visit regularly for updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference Between Graduation and Commencement?

Graduation is the completion of academic requirements for a specific degree program. In order to graduate, you need to earn a determined number of credits and submit your graduation application by the appropriate deadline. If you meet all graduation requirements, you are eligible to participate in commencement. 

Attention December 2020 Graduates: 

If you completed your graduation application for December 2020, you are eligible to participate in the May 2021 commencement ceremonies. You do not need to resubmit a graduation application! 

Commencement is the academic ceremony that celebrates students who have graduated. Students who have not met graduation requirements may not participate in commencement. All students must graduate to officially receive their degree, but not all students who graduate are required to participate in the commencement ceremony. 

I’m scheduled to graduate in August 2021. Can I participate in the May 2021 Commencement Ceremony? 

Students in good academic standing with six or fewer credits to be completed by the August graduation date or those completing clinical coursework before the August graduation date, may petition to walk in May 2021 Commencement. You may access the petition here. The completed signed petition is due by March 22, 2021.  

Will Commencement ceremonies take place in person this year? 

We plan to hold short, program-specific in-person ceremonies where students will be called to the stage and photographed receiving their diploma covers (diplomas will be mailed home to students approximately six weeks after these ceremonies). Photos will be shared online for free downloading a few weeks after the ceremonies.  

These ceremonies will be held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks on Friday, May 7, 2021 and Saturday, May 8, 2021 between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Due to indoor gathering restrictions, graduates will be limited to only two guests for these ceremonies and masking and physical distancing measures will be strictly enforced. These ceremonies will be live-streamed and recorded for future viewing.  

Masters, Doctoral and ABSN program ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 7, 2021 

Associates and Bachelors program ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 8, 2021 

More details about specific program ceremony times and how to RSVP will be posted soon.

Please note that in-person ceremonies are subject to cancellation due to the ongoing pandemic. In the event of a cancellation, we will host fully virtual commencement ceremonies

Will there be a virtual commencement option?

Yes, Graduate and undergraduate virtual ceremonies will supplement the in-person ceremonies and include student speakers, remarks from the President, Provost and Deans, and graduate recognition. In the event of a pandemic-related in-person ceremony cancellation, virtual ceremonies will replace the in-person events.  

Will there be a Baccalaureate Mass for All?

In keeping with long-standing University tradition, a Baccalaureate Mass inclusive of all faiths, will be held on Friday, May 7, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. Archbishop of Philadelphia Nelson Perez will serve as the celebrant for this special event. In-person tickets will be limited based on venue restrictions on a first-come, first-served RSVP basis. 

More information on tickets will be posted soon. The Mass will also be live-streamed from the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks. We hope you and your families will join us in person or online!  

Will there be an Honors Convocation?

The annual honors convocation ceremony will be held virtually. The link to the event will be posted to the commencement webpage following the Baccalaureate Service at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 7, 2021.  

Will I be able to have Graduation portraits taken this semester?

Yes! Lifetouch Photography will be on the Gwynedd Valley campus from March 15, 2021 to March 17, 2021 to take graduation portraits. Portrait sessions will be held in the Late Night Lounge of the Waldron Student Center.

All appropriate COVID-19 protocols will be enforced to ensure student safety. To schedule your appointment time, please see the below instructions. PLEASE NOTE: appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis. This is the only portrait session scheduled for the spring semester.  

  1. Navigate to  
  2. Enter school code 280 
  3. Appointments may also be scheduled via phone by calling 1-800-687-9327 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.  

Regalia will be provided by the photographer and there is no cost to be photographed.  

How do I order regalia?

Orders must be placed by March 15, 2021 and will be shipped directly to graduates’ homes. There is no charge for your regalia and it is yours to keep! 

Here's how to place your online order:

  1. Navigate to GMercyU's online store
  2. Click on “Graduation Caps and Gowns” tile 
  3. Click on “Student Regalia Shipped to Home” collection 
  4. Choose the appropriate degree 
  5. Click “Gown Fit” and enter height and weight 
  6. Click “Major/Curriculum” and choose appropriate field of study 
  7. Click “Buy Now” which will bring you to your shopping cart 
  8. Enter first and last name and click “Checkout” 
  9. Click “Continue as Guest” 
  10. Enter Contact Information and click “Continue” 
  11. Review your order summary and click “Submit” 
  12. Save your order confirmation number for future reference 

Alumni Awards

The Awards Committee of the Alumni Association is coordinating nominations for the Alumni Awards for Outstanding Students, presented at Honors Convocation. Please take a moment to identify graduating students whom you feel should receive this year's awards. Deans, faculty, staff, and alumni are encouraged to participate. We would very much appreciate at least one nomination from each School, in each appropriate category.

The two award categories include the following (click to select the nomination form):

Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student (PDF)
Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Graduate Student (PDF)

In your nominations, please provide as much detailed information as possible so that the committee may make informed decisions during the selection process. The deadline for nominations is March 1, 2021.

Return completed forms to Gianna Quinn, in the Alumni Relations Office. Contact the office with any questions at 215-641-5554 (21554.) 


If you have any questions regarding Commencement 2021, contact