DSU Spring Commencement

DSU Spring Commencement

Congratulations! You will soon achieve a milestone in your life when you graduate from Dakota State University at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 5, at the DSU Fieldhouse. The following information is provided to ensure that you and your family have an enjoyable day.

View the DSU Spring Master's Hooding Ceremony.

View the DSU Spring Commencement Ceremony. 

Academic Apparel

Regalia is ordered through the Trojan Zone at this link: http://www.cbgrad.com/school/DAKSU. The last
day to order your regalia is Friday, April 27, 2018.

  • Associate’s Apparel Unit includes: black cap, gown, tassel, year tab
  • Bachelor’s Apparel Unit includes: black cap, gown, tassel, year tab
  • Master’s Apparel Unit includes: black cap, Master sleeve gown, hood (required), year tab
    • A hood is required to participate in the special master’s hooding ceremony at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse.
  • Doctoral Apparel Unit includes: black cap, gown with velvet chevrons, tassel, hood (required),year tab
    • A hood is required to participate in the doctorate hooding ceremony at commencement.
    • Rental regalia is available through the Trojan Zone. The deadline to order is April 27.
    • Custom regalia is available through the Trojan Zone. The deadline to order is March 19.

Graduation Announcements | Class Rings | Diploma Frames

If you have questions on academic apparel, announcements, frames or jewelry options please email bookstore@dsu.edu or phone (605) 256-5238.

Legacy Cords | International Stoles

  • Legacy Cords. Do you have a family member who is a DSU Alumni? For more information about this new tradition, please contact the DSU Alumni Office.
  • International Stoles. Please contact the International Programs Office for more information.

Reserved Seating/Tickets

Due to the large size of the spring/summer graduating class and available seating in the Fieldhouse, tickets are required for ALL guests; including bleacher seats. For your convenience, additional seating is available at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse where live streaming of the ceremony can be viewed.

  • Each graduate in attendance will be guaranteed six (6) guest tickets for the commencement ceremony at the DSU Fieldhouse.
  • We will assess the number of tickets we have available at the beginning of April and disperse additional tickets to the Fieldhouse on a first come, first served basis.
  • Special Accommodation Seating. Bleacher seating tickets may be exchanged for floor seating tickets for family or friends who are unable to sit in the bleachers. To request floor seating tickets or to notify us of special needs (wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, vision or hearing impairment, etc.) that we need to accommodate in our planning, please let us know as soon as possible.
  • Questions? Please contact events@dsu.edu or phone (605) 256-5666.


A commencement rehearsal will be held on Friday, May 4, at 4:15 p.m. at the DSU Fieldhouse. You are encouraged to attend this practice session so you will be familiar with:

  • the location where graduates meet,
  • the line of march,
  • and the procedures for the ceremony.

For the benefit of our master’s and doctoral graduates, we will also quickly walk through the hooding procedure.

Master’s Hooding Ceremony

A special hooding ceremony to honor our master’s graduates will be held at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse Convention Center at 9:00 a.m.

  • All master’s graduates are expected to attend.
  • Graduates, please arrive at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse dressed in your regalia by 8:30 a.m.

Commencement Ceremony

The commencement march will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m. and the Fieldhouse doors will open at 9:30 a.m. to allow guests to be seated. The ceremony will last approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

  • Graduates, please arrive at the Madison Community Center (MCC) double gym dressed in your regalia by 9:45 a.m. All graduates and guests must enter through the main Fieldhouse doors. Entrance is not permitted through the MCC doors.
  • Please do not leave purses or anything of value in the Madison Community Center double gym. It will not be staffed during the ceremony. DSU/MCC is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Commencement Speaker

Dennis Daugaard is the 32nd Governor of South Dakota. Daugaard and his running mate, former house speaker Matt Michels of Yankton, were elected in 2010 and sworn in on January 8, 2011. The Daugaard/Michels gubernatorial ticket was reelected in 2014 by the largest margin in South Dakota history.

Governor Daugaard has emphasized job creation, sound fiscal management, and efficient government operation. Days after taking office, Daugaard proposed and the Legislature passed a state budget that eliminated a $127 million structural deficit, without raising taxes.

That same year, Daugaard led emergency flood protection efforts to avoid catastrophic flooding along the Missouri River after the Corps of Engineers announced record-breaking water releases from Missouri River dams.

Daugaard joined with the Chief Justice and legislative leaders to conduct inter-branch, bipartisan studies of the state’s adult and juvenile criminal justice and corrections systems. This led to bipartisan passage of comprehensive reform legislation for both systems. The intent of the legislation is to increase public safety, hold offenders more accountable, and control escalating costs.

In 2015, Governor Daugaard assembled the Blue Ribbon Task Force to propose solutions to improve education in South Dakota. The task force put forth recommendations which Daugaard then brought as legislation the following session. The package of bills raised new revenue for teacher pay, provided for property tax relief, reformed the school funding formula, and included measures to create efficiencies and retain teachers. As a result of the Governor’s proposals, South Dakota’s average teacher salary increased by 11.9 percent for the 2016-2017 school year.

The Governor has prioritized sound stewardship of the state’s resources, including adequate funding of transportation infrastructure, prudent management of the state pension plan, and maintenance and preservation of state buildings. Under his leadership, South Dakota was named “Best Run State in America” and obtained the highest bond rating of AAA from all three rating agencies.

In the fall of 2011 Daugaard launched the Better Government Initiative to improve efficiency and openness in state government. Daugaard opened the Governor’s Mansion to the public, released invitation lists of Governor’s events, and partnered with state agencies to move many government services online. The initiative is a continuing effort to cut red tape, and has eliminated 4,000 sections of obsolete or unnecessary laws and rules, accounting for nearly 470,000 words.  



A professional photographer will take photos of each graduate. Photos may be purchased directly from the Lifetouch Special Events. Guests may take their own photographs during the ceremony, but must remain outside of the candidate seating area, in order to ensure an enjoyable ceremony for all candidates. Guests will have time after the ceremony to take personal photographs on the stage, near the commencement flags and other spots within and around the DSU Fieldhouse.

Graduates’ Reception

The Graduates’ Reception will be held at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse Convention Center immediately following the commencement ceremony. This reception is intended to provide an opportunity for you to relax and visit with family, classmates, and DSU faculty/staff while enjoying cake and punch.


For more information, please email graduation@dsu.edu.


Parking is available along Washington Avenue, in the lot north of the Dakota Prairie Playhouse and in the gravel lot directly west of the Fieldhouse.

Graduation DVD

Spring 2018 Graduation DVD Order Form

The cost is $10 per DVD. DVDs will be mailed within 10 business days following graduation. If you have any questions, please email video@dsu.edu with a subject line of Graduation DVD Order.

Trojan Zone – Extended Hours

For your shopping convenience, the Trojan Zone will be open until 6 p.m. on Friday, May 4. A 20% discount will be offered on all DSU imprinted items. Go Trojans!

Airport/Hotel Information

The nearest airport is the Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD) located 50 miles from DSU. We have two hotels in Madison:


AmericInn Lodge & Suites

504 SE 10th St

Madison, SD

Ph: 605-256-3076


Super 8

219 N Highland

Madison, SD

Ph: 605-256-6931


Other hotels for consideration:

Watercrest Hotel and Conference Center (22 miles, west of Madison)

103 S Main St

Howard, SD

Ph: 605-772-4700


Quality Inn & Suites (46 miles, located off I-29)

5410 N Granite Lane

Sioux Falls, SD

Ph: 605-338-1900


Sheraton Sioux Falls & Convention Center (50 miles, near the airport)

1211 West Avenue North

Sioux Falls, SD

Ph: 605-331-0100