Des Moines University's 118th
730 3rd Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
Tickets are not issued for this event. Graduates may invite as many guests as they please.
City parking garages are located throughout downtown with convenient skywalk access to the Iowa Events Center. Payment for city garages is collected each time you enter the garage. The City of Des Moines has a downtown parking signage system to give up to the minute details on where parking is available in the garages. Cost varies depending on the garage.
ADA accessible parking is available at the Iowa Events Center/Hy-Vee Hall by entering the lot south of Crocker Street, next to the Convention Center (formerly Veterans Auditorium). You will also find ADA accessible parking on the third level of the Fifth Avenue and Keo Way parking ramp. Hy-Vee Hall does not provide wheelchairs so please provide your own for family members who need assistance.
Maps of the downtown area are accessible at www.catchdesmoines.com.
Children are welcome to attend the Commencement ceremony. DMU provides a supervised play area for children so they will have access to toys, colors and coloring books and videos. Please note: Children must be accompanied by an adult relative at all times.
Hy-Vee Hall is fully accessible for individuals with special needs. Guests with limited mobility are advised to bring a wheelchair - wheelchairs are not provided by DMU or Hy-Vee Hall.
Seating Requests: For special seating requests for guests with sight or hearing challenges, please contact the Office of Student Life by emailing StudentLife@dmu.edu.
A drop-off location for guests with limited mobility will be on 3rd Street, in between Crocker and Center Streets. This will allow the passenger side door to open to the Hy-Vee Hall entrance.
Parking: Guests with Handicap Parking Permits are advised to park in the small lot in front of Iowa Events Center (surface lot directly north of the Convention Center (formerly Veterans Auditorium). Parking charges ($8) must be paid in cash.
J.D. Polk, D.O., M.S., MMM, CPE, FACOEP, FAsMA, is the chief health and medical officer of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He began serving in this position in November of 2016. Previously, he was dean of the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Prior to his work at DMU, Dr. Polk was the assistant secretary (acting) for health affairs and chief medical officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a post he assumed after serving as the principal deputy assistant secretary for health affiars and deputy chief medical officer.
Before joining DHS, Dr. Polk was the chief of space medicine for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. He is the former state emergency medical services medical director for the state of Ohio and former chief of metro life flight in Cleveland. Dr. Polk is a Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians and a Fellow of the Aerospace Medicine Association.
Dr. Polk received his degree in osteopathic medicine from the A.T. Still University in Kirksville, MO. He completed his residency in emergency medicine with the Mt. Sinai hospitals via Ohio University and completed his training in aerospace medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He is board-certified in both emergency medicine and aerospace medicine. Dr. Polk holds a master’s degree in science in space studies from the American Military University, a master’s degree in medical management from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and a master’s certificate in public health from the University of New England.
Dr. Polk is well published in the fields of emergency medicine, disaster medicine, space medicine and medical management. He is a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has received numerous awards and commendations, including citations from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, White House Medical Unit, Association of Air Medical Services and the U.S. Air Force. He has received the NASA Center Director’s Commendation, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the National Security and International Affairs Medal and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal.
Mandatory for DPT, MSPA Graduates who have borrowed financial aid
MHA, MPH, MSA, MSBS, PPDPT welcome to attend
Registration for Commencement Activities
Graduates will receive name cards, BLS certificates (if applicable) and gift from Development & Alumni Relations
Mandatory for DO, DPM, DPT, and MSPA Graduates
Mandatory for DO, DPM, DPT, and MSPA Graduates (Graduates in other programs are welcome to attend.)
Program Awards Ceremonies are for students and faculty within the program
DPT and PPDPT – Ruza Lecture Hall 2
DO – SEC Auditorium
DPM – Lecture Hall 1
MHA and MPH – SEC Student Lounge
Cap and gown ordering
Students will order their own regalia online and it will be delivered to their home address. More information on how to order your attire will be provided in the January Newsletter.
Graduates should wear attire that harmonizes with the gown. Shoes and other visible attire should be dark colored. Men should wear dark shoes, socks and dark trousers. Women should wear dark colored clothing and dress shoes. The gown looks best when worn with a blouse that does not show through the V-neck. Absolutely no adornment is permitted on the gown or mortarboard. DMU is dedicated to providing graduate-level health professions degrees and our ceremony will compliment the professional status of our graduates.
The mortarboard is to be worn flat on the head with the pointed cap pulled onto the forehead. It should be parallel to the ground so that the tassel can fall straight down the side of the wearer’s face
Hooding of doctoral candidates is a cherished academic tradition at DMU. During this ceremonial ritual, the doctoral hood is placed over the shoulders of the graduates to signify the professional status attained by terminal degree holders. DMU’s ceremonial protocol provides for the on-stage hooding of all doctoral candidates. Candidates for the master’s degree wear their hoods throughout the ceremony. Based on academic protocol, a graduate wears only one hood representing the highest degree earned or the hood representing the primary academic program.
Customarily, the honor of hooding is reserved for faculty in recognition of their role in the education of the graduates for a terminal degree.
The Academic Code is very clear on the subject of adornments. Other than the velvet trimmings and faculty colors, the code states, “Nothing else should be worn on the academic gown.” To maintain standards for a professional ceremony and to respect Commencement as a celebration for academic achievement, DMU does not allow any adornments, with the exception of honor cords, to be worn with the gown. Marshals will be instructed to remove and replace mortarboards with decorations, and to have graduates or faculty remove items of personalization, including jewelry, corsages, or other means of individualization.
At Commencement, graduates march in the gown appropriate to the degree they will receive. Candidates may wear only one hood at a time and it should be appropriate to the gown. For example, an individual receiving both a doctoral and a master’s degree at the same ceremony marches in the attire of the higher (terminal) degree and will wear only one hood, that of the higher degree. An individual receiving two master’s degrees wears only one hood, generally to indicate the primary or initial degree field.
As a DMU graduate, you are now a member of the Alumni Association, and the alumni office will be your first contact for future communications and questions. To familiarize yourself with the office, please check out our website. We are proud to offer you many benefits, including alumni events locally and nationally, Continuing Medical Education, access to job opportunities, monthly and quarterly published communications, continued access to the Wellness Center and Library, and much more! The best way for us to keep you up-to-date is to have your accurate information on file. Please create your alumni profile at DMU Connect. Using DMU Connect will also allow you to continue to update your contact information, access the alumni directory, submit a class note, view your giving history, and register for all alumni events and fundraisers. If you have questions, contact the Alumni Relations Office at 515-271-1463 or send us an email at email@example.com.
Please update your address in the Profile section of My Pulse in Pulse.
Note: It is not necessary to bring your laptop to this session.
For graduates issued a computer at orientation, ownership of your computer equipment will be transferred to you. To facilitate that transition, the Information Technology Services Department will provide instructions at a mandatory meeting (see schedule above). Specifically, you will receive instructions to (1) back up all your data and (2) run a process that will automatically update your software and remove your computer from the DMU network. Information Technology Services will provide additional instructions regarding the entire process via email prior to graduation and during the meeting and recommends the process is completed within 15 days after graduation.
Download laptop transfer of ownership and restore instructions
Note: Microsoft Office will NOT be installed when students use the USB drive to restore the laptop to original manufacturer's settings. Information Technology Services recommends that you purchase Microsoft Office 365 directly from Microsoft. If questions arise, the DMU Help Desk (515-271-1522) will be available to provide technical support for 30 days following graduation.
If all financial obligations and all academic requirements have been met, graduates will receive their diplomas following the ceremony.
Diploma distribution will take place in Hall B (the same location as graduate lineup) immediately following the ceremony.
At Commencement, students receiving two degrees (an MPH, MHA, MBS or MSA) as well as the DO, DPM, MSPA or DPT will march and be seated with the candidates in their full-time (primary) degree program. Recognition for the second degree will be announced as the graduate marches across the stage for the primary degree.
Students receiving dual MPH and MHA degrees will be recognized for both degrees as the final candidates to march across the stage for these programs.
DO, DPM, and DPT students will receive the doctoral hood on stage; MSPA, MPH and MHA students wear the Master's hood throughout the ceremony.
Based on academic protocol, a graduate wears only one hood representing the highest degree earned.
DMU is committed to ensuring you have the resources available to help you effectively manage your student loan debt once you leave DMU. DMU offers its upcoming graduates multiple ways to get help managing your student loans. Students with loan debt will be notified to complete the required online federal exit counseling.
The following services are available for you:
Complete information on these services can be found on the Financial Aid page of Pulse under the Repayment Box and PG Presents Tab.
Please feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office with any questions at 515-271-1470.
Student Loan Exit Interview
All graduates who obtained student loans are required by the Department of Education to have an exit interview. Information on how and when to complete the DMU on-line exit interview will be provided to graduating students. The exit interview will contain information on loan amounts, rights and responsibilities, repayment options, loan consolidation, a repayment calculator and more. You will be required to provide information including references and expected employer. Students who received campus-based loans will be contacted with instructions on additional required on-line exit counseling. Students who do not complete the exit requirements will have their diploma placed on hold.
Graduation announcements will be available for order through the Herff Jones website, at herffjones.com/college/desmoines.
The announcements are available in a personalized style that includes your name in the copy as a candidate for a degree at the ceremony. To ensure efficient delivery, please provide your address at the time of delivery. If there is a question regarding your address within the time frame for delivery, please provide a permanent address.
If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact Matthews Bookstore at 515-271-7823 or Matthews.Bookstore@dmu.edu.
In order to be eligible for spring Commencement, all program requirements must be met as follows for each program:
DO and DPM students are reminded that all clinical paperwork must be submitted within one week of completion of the rotation. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all paperwork - including the preceptor’s evaluation of the student - reaches the appropriate Office of Clinical Affairs within this time frame. Also, be advised to keep on schedule with rotations. All requirements must be completed prior to graduation to ensure your participation in the ceremony.
Your University account must be cleared in order to receive your diploma. Students with outstanding obligations will be notified by the Accounting Office.
For more information about requirements for graduation, please read the official Degree Candidate Approval Policy (PDF).
The academic attire worn at Commencement and other ceremonial events is reminiscent of the distinctive dress associated with academic processions and convocations of the Middle Ages. Students in English and European universities wore woolen and fur garments to stay warm in unheated, drafty stone buildings. Most scholars of the time were clerics in holy orders, and wore cloaks with hoods to cover their tonsured heads.
Today, academic attire indicates by style and adornment the highest degree earned, the major field of study, and the college or university attended by the wearer. Hence, graduates receiving degrees in medicine in today's ceremony wear a black robe with green chevrons and a green tassel. Similarly, the colors on the hood reflect the degree being conferred and the colors of the institution - Des Moines University’s colors are purple and white. This assignment of colors representing different faculties was standardized in the United States in the late 1800s. While the original colors represented different degrees in a general sense, over time more colors were developed to reflect the wider varieties of conferrable degrees. For example, white was assigned to arts and letters; red, a traditional color of the church, was assigned to theology; Green, the color of herbs, was adopted for medicine, and olive, as a variant of green, was given to pharmacy; and yellow gold, which represented the wealth which was produced by scientific research, was assigned to the sciences.
Colors for the various degree programs at DMU are listed below:
The robe worn by Dr. Franklin was designed specifically for her inauguration and serves as her official academic attire for ceremonial events. Styled to be emblematic of our University and the president's rank and authority as our chief executive, the robe is a rich purple, the official school color, and it includes the University's seal on the velvet front facing panels. The sleeve trim is the customary black velvet, and there are four chevrons to designate a presidential robe. The front facings and sleeve trim are edged with gold cord. The President’s attire is completed with a beefeater tam to reflect the strength of our academic heritage and traditions.
The president's medallion serves as a visible display of the authority vested in the office of the University President. As a complement to academic attire, the medallion is worn by the President at Commencement and at other official ceremonies of the University. The University's medallion, designed in the Year 2000 to celebrate the new millennium, was struck in pure silver and plated with 24-karat gold. The center features a two-dimensional seal bearing the lamp of learning, to signify education, and the caduceus, to signify medicine. A chain of office honors the University's fifteen presidents.
Milestone medallions distinguish and honor DMU alumni who are celebrating significant anniversaries of their graduation. During the Commencement ceremony, members of the 50-year reunion class and earlier classes wear gold medallions, while members of the 25-year class wear silver medallions.
The Medallion Ceremony honors DMU alumni who, during Commencement weekend, are celebrating milestone anniversaries of their graduation. At the ceremony, members of the 50-year class and earlier classes are awarded gold medallions, and members of the 25-year class receive silver medallions. These graduates are invited to participate in Saturday's Commencement ceremony, wearing their medallions as symbols of their distinguished alumni status.
The presence of the mace is another sign of a ceremonial event. As used in academic settings today, the mace is modeled after a medieval weapon carried by a bodyguard to protect a king or person of high status. Carried in the Commencement procession by a member of the faculty, the mace is symbolic of office and authority adorned with the University seal. As is the tradition at Des Moines University, the president of the university's faculty organization is designated to serve as the Mace Bearer at official University ceremonies.
The Grand Marshal is an honored position conferred by the President upon a senior member of the faculty, the administration, or the alumni body. The selection recognizes the highest level of academic or service contributions for the benefit of the University. The Grand Marshal serves as the chief of protocol, leading the ceremonial parties in the processional and recessional, as well as announcing the official opening and closing for the Commencement ceremony.
For many years, the academic tradition of hooding has been a significant and cherished part of the Commencement Ceremony.
During this on-stage ritual, the doctoral hood is placed over the shoulders of the graduates to signify the professional stature attained by terminal degree holders. Customarily, the honor of hooding is reserved for faculty in recognition of their role in preparing graduates for their terminal degree. Each college defines its procedures for the selection of faculty hooders.
Students must maintain health insurance until they have completed their clinical rotations, as agreed upon between DMU and the rotation sites. We recommend you maintain coverage at least until your residency begins. If you are covered by a University plan, your coverage extends through July 31. If you have any questions, please contact Chris Mohr.
Please be sure to print your health record from the portal or email the record to your own email address before you graduate. Your immunization and health records can also be obtained from the Des Moines University Clinic through Health Information Management (i.e., Medical Records) by calling 515-271-1706 or faxing a request to 515-271-1726.
If your name has a difficult pronunciation, or you feel it may be mispronounced, please complete the phonetic pronunciation form located in the Pulse graduate checklist. This will assist the reader who will be pronouncing your name from the stage at graduation. If you have requested a Guest Hooder, please provide a phonetic pronunciation if his/her name is difficult to pronounce. Phonetic pronunciation forms are due in the Registrar’s Office no later than April 7.
Graduates at Des Moines University can locate their graduation photos online by visiting www.gradimages.com/desmoinesuniversity
The following information is required to access your account:
Graduates can reach the Customer Service Department by calling 800-261-2576, if you have any questions or need assistance.
Your student ID will remain active as long as you are a student. Once you graduate, the ID is disabled unless you request that the University’s Security Office activate your ID on an annual basis. The activation will be limited to the library and if a waiver is signed, it will be activated for the Wellness Center as well.