Presentation of Gifts and Commencement Rehearsal

Friday, May 9 at 1:45 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium
Attendance is mandatory.

Baccalaureate Dinner

Friday, May 9th from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. in MacDonald Dining Hall 
Normally, 300-350 people attend the dinner. In order to maintain a steady flow, doors will open at 4:30 p.m. We hope this will help eliminate longer lines at the buffet. The cost is: $14.00 adults, $7.00 children 6-12 yrs., and free for children 1-5 yrs. Graduates will receive a complimentary ticket for their meal at no cost. Guests must purchase a ticket in advance to attend the dinner. Tickets can be purchased through the Registrar's Office. You may include payment in the enclosed envelope. If you send your payment through the mail, we will mail your tickets. 

Baccalaureate/Hooding Service

Friday, May 9 at 7 p.m. in Hayes Auditorium
Please wear your academic regalia (gown and hood, no cap) to this service. You will line up for this service at 6:30 p.m. outside of the cafeteria. If it rains, you will line up in MacDonald Dining Hall.

Commencement Ceremony

Commencement begins promptly at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 10 in Williams Gymnasium.
Graduates should be in the indoor tennis courts by 9:30 a.m. to robe and line-up. Sunday dress beneath academic robes is appropriate.

Division chairs should arrive at 10 a.m., platform party should arrive at 10 a.m., and faculty should arrive at 10:15 a.m.

Lees-McRae College Board of Trustees member and former chairman, Thomas H. Brigham, Jr. ’72, has been chosen as the 2014 Commencement speaker along with former Board of Trustees chairman, Jane B. Stephenson ’57. Mr. Brigham will present his keynote address titled “Pursuing your passion and living life for significance,” and then Ms. Stephenson will present her address titled “Leap into life and make a difference.” 

Read more about this year's Commencement speakers


Parking will be available at the following sites: Chaffee Administration Building, Hayes, Cannon Student Center, and Avery parking lots along with the two gravel parking lots of Williams Physical Education Center and the historic Banner Elk Elementary School. These parking lots are on a first come, first served basis. The paved parking lots of Williams Physical Education Center will be reserved for handicapped and VIP/Reserved parking (valid permit required).

Shuttle Service will be available at Hayes, Cannon Student Center and Avery parking lots. Signs will be posted for shuttle service at each location. Shuttles will begin at 9 a.m. and run continuously until the last person has been shuttled to the ceremony site. Shuttles will also be available at the Best Western Plus Mountain Lodge. That shuttle service will run from 9 – 10 a.m.

Disability-Related Needs

The College has reserved the main, paved parking lot of Williams Physical Education Center for guests with mobility impairments; however, the total number of parking spaces is limited. To park in one of these reserved spaces, a valid permit is required. In addition, areas within the seating section have been reserved for wheelchair users and handicapped individuals.


Programs will be available on the morning of Commencement. The program lists the name, degree, major, and honors of each graduate.


As each graduate is handed his/her diploma, a picture will be taken by a professional photographer. A free color proof will be sent to your current mailing address, including a password for online viewing. You are under no obligation to purchase prints.

To receive an email notification the moment your photos are online, please visit to pre-register. If you do not receive a proof within a week of the ceremony, please contact or call 1-800-722-7033.


Additional Commencement Information

Only students who have completed all requirements for their program(s) of study are eligible for participation in the commencement ceremony. Graduates also must have all accounts paid and must have completed an application for graduation.

Degrees are granted three times during the calendar year - May, August, and December; however, the only commencement ceremony is held in May. Graduates who receive their degrees in August or December are encouraged to participate in the following May ceremony. No matter when the degree is granted, the student must go through the proper application process and pay the appropriate fees to receive the diploma.

Graduation and receipt of a diploma from Lees-McRae is an honor bestowed by the Faculty, Administration, and Board of Trustees; thus, May graduates are required to participate in the baccalaureate services and commencement exercises. The faculty recommends the student for the degree and therefore expects the student to attend the ceremonies to receive the diploma. Award of a degree is duly noted on the official College transcript.

Caps and Gowns

Caps and gowns are available now in the campus bookstore during regular business hours. Please bring your Student ID to when picking up your cap and gown. If you are a December graduate and will not be on campus until Commencement practice, you can pick up your cap and gown at practice.

If you attend an extended site campus (WPCC, MCC, SCC), caps and gowns will be delivered by your coordinator or one of your professors near the end of April. December graduates from WPCC can pick up caps and gowns at the Higher Education Center in Morganton from Ava Smith near the end of April.

Academic Requirements for Graduation

  • A minimum of 124 credit hours.
  • A minimum 2.0 grade point average (GPA) (Exceptions: Elementary Education and Athletic Training majors should see their division chairs for adjusted requirements.)
  • Completion of the Core Curriculum
  • Completion of the Degree Requirements for the appropriate degree
  • Completion of an approved major program of study
  • Successful completion of an outlined degree program
  • Completion of at least 30 hours taken at the 300 or 400 level
  • Completion at Lees-McRae College of at least one half of the credit hours required for the major program of study
  • Completion of at least 32 of the last 40 semester hours must have been earned at Lees-McRae

The College requires every student to enroll in a prescribed curriculum and to pursue this curriculum through a carefully planned sequence of courses that will lead to successful completion of the academic program and the awarding of the appropriate baccalaureate degree.

Each student must attempt to register for required courses before pursuing elective courses in order to concentrate upon the Core of liberal arts subjects which the faculty judges to be basic for a college education. After primary attention has been given to completion of required Core courses, each student and advisor should choose elective courses appropriate for the student's academic major or professional interest.

No deviation from the prescribed curriculum will be permitted unless written approval has been secured.

A student earning a grade of "F" in any required course in the major course of study must repeat that course. No more than 12 credit hours of coursework in which a grade of "D" has been received may apply toward graduation.

No more than four credit hours of physical education activity courses may count toward graduation.

A student may choose to meet the graduation requirements listed in the College Catalog that was in effect the year the student entered Lees-McRae College or in any subsequent catalog. However, a student may not select graduation requirements from more than one catalog at a time. If the student has been out of residence for more than one academic year, the graduation requirements in effect at the time of re-enrollment at Lees-McRae will apply.

Download the Graduation Application Form