Student Handbooks

MBA Student Handbook - Commencement Ceremony Policies and Procedures

This information applies to candidates for graduation in the Early Career/Career Change, BA/MBA, MBA/JD and Accelerated program formats.

Candidates for graduation must submit a "petition for degree" at the beginning of their final semester in the program.

It is the student's responsibility to be certain that he or she has completed all graduation requirements and is in good standing within the policies of the Atkinson School and Willamette University. Graduation requirements are listed in the Academic Regulations section of this handbook. Each student has online access to their official graduation audit and is expected to communicate in a timely manner with Karen Arthur, Atkinson School Recorder, about any questions pertaining to their graduation audit.  

The Willamette University Master of Business Administration for Business, Government and Not-for-Profit Management (MBA) degree will be conferred on MBA students who have satisfactorily completed all requirements of the MBA degree and all requirements of any concurrent degree (BA/MBA or MBA/JD) as determined by the registrar's office.



Participation in the Commencement Ceremony - Graduating Students

MBA students who are in good standing within the policies of the Atkinson School and Willamette University and have satisfactorily completed all the requirements of the MBA degree and all requirements of any concurrent degree (BA/MBA or MBA/JD) as determined by the registrar, may fully participate in the Atkinson School Commencement Ceremony. Graduating students who participate in the Commencement Ceremony:

  • Will have their name called and may walk across the stage.
  • Will receive their diploma cover and diploma at the Commencement Ceremony.
  • May be considered and selected for academic honors.
  • Will be listed in the official Willamette University Commencement publication distributed at the Willamette University Commencement Ceremonies in May.


Participation in the Commencement Ceremony - Walking Students

MBA students who have not completed all of the requirements for the MBA degree, are in good standing within the policies of the Atkinson School and Willamette University and for whom one of the following circumstances has been verified and approved by the Dean, may "walk" with their class at the Commencement Ceremony.

  • The student is within 6 credits (two courses) of the total MBA course work required for graduation and will complete the remaining 6 credits during the summer or fall semester following the Commencement Ceremony.
  • The student's cumulative grade point average is below the 3.0 minimum required for graduation as a result of a grade received in the final semester.
  • The student received a failing grade in a required course taken during the final semester.

Students eligible to "walk" with their class who participate in the Commencement Ceremony:

  • Will have their name called and may walk across the stage
  • Will not receive their diploma at the Commencement Ceremony
  • Will temporarily receive a diploma cover when they walk across the stage. The diploma cover must be returned to Atkinson School personnel at the end of the Commencement Ceremony. (Students will receive their diploma and diploma cover in the mail, at a later date, after they officially graduate.)
  • Will not have an opportunity to be selected for academic honors for the ceremony in which they walk. Will have the opportunity for consideration for academic honors as a member of their actual graduating class.
  • Will be listed in the official Willamette University Commencement publication distributed at the Willamette University Commencement Ceremonies in May with the notation "on completion."

Students who have questions about participating in the Commencement Ceremony should contact Karen Arthur, Atkinson School Recorder or Judy O'Neill, Associate Dean/Director of Admission.


Graduation Fee

Graduating MBA students will be billed a $50 graduation fee on their final semester billing. If the student decides not to participate in the Commencement Ceremony, the amount will be refunded after commencement.


Academic Honors at Graduation

Only students who are "graduating students" may be considered for academic honors at graduation

Graduating Student with the Highest GPA: The graduating student with the highest Atkinson School cumulative grade point average will receive a Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Stole to be worn during the Commencement Ceremony.

Atkinson Honors: Atkinson Honors is bestowed upon graduating students who have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.8 or higher in all Atkinson course work. Students who receive Atkinson Honors will receive white honor cords to be worn during the Commencement Ceremony and "Honors" will be noted on their diploma.

Beta Gamma Sigma: Beta Gamma Sigma is an international honor society that recognizes outstanding academic achievement of students enrolled in business and management programs. Willamette's chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma limited to full-time MBA students whose Atkinson cumulative grade point average ranks in the top 20% of the graduating class. The grade point average utilized for eligibility for membership is the cumulative grade point average at the end of the third semester (fall semester-2nd year) of coursework at the Atkinson School for Early Career, Career Change and BA/MBA students. The grade point for JD/MBA students is the cumulative grade point average at the end of fall semester of the 4th year of JD/MBA study). Members of Beta Gamma Sigma will receive blue & gold honor cords to be worn during the Commencement Ceremony.

Pi Alpha Alpha: is a national honorary society that recognizes and promotes excellence in the study and practice of public affairs and administration. Willamette's chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha is limited to full-time MBA students students with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.7 who rank in the top 20% of the graduating class. The cumulative grade point average utilized for eligibility for membership is the cumulative grade point average at the end of the third semester (fall semester-2nd year) of coursework at the Atkinson School for Early Career, Career Change and BA/MBA students. The grade point for JD/MBA students is the cumulative grade point average at the end of fall semester of the 4th year of JD/MBA study). Members of Pi Alpha Alpha will receive light blue & gold honor cords to be worn during the Commencement Ceremony.


Dean's Awards


Dean’s Awards are given in honor of one man and one woman who have contributed greatly to the development of the Atkinson community. The award is symbolic of their efforts to foster citizenship and fellowship among the members of the Atkinson community. These are based on consistent efforts to enrich the Atkinson student experience.