Though we can’t be in person to celebrate our 2020 graduates, we are pleased to share our virtual commencement ceremony

Key elements of the ceremony include: 

  • Student commencement address by Marlo Macai Schneider, Doctor of Chiropractic Candidate, summa cum laude
  • Keynote commencement address by Joseph P.D. Stiefel, DC, EdD, MS, President, National University of Health Sciences
  • Graduate address by UWS President Joseph Brimhall 

The commencement video will go live December 18 at 11 a.m. PST.

watch commencement

COVID-19 Commencement Update:

This year, as we respond to the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the December 2020 graduation ceremony will be conducted remotely. Please save the date!

UWS Virtual Commencement Ceremony
Graduating Class of 2020
Friday, December 18, 2020, 11 a.m. (Pacific time zone)
At this ceremony, all UWS 2020 graduates will be welcomed and celebrated. The Class of 2020 Virtual Commencement Ceremony will incorporate traditional elements of graduation including a keynote commencement address, a student speaker, representative greetings from the Board of Trustees and the faculty, and a presentation of graduates. The entire event will be recorded, and graduates will have access to both the live and recorded event.

2020 Graduates:
On behalf of the entire University of Western States and its Board of Trustees, congratulations! 

Please invite your families and friends join the UWS community as we celebrate the Graduating Class of 2020 at the Virtual Commencement Ceremony!

Quick Facts

  • Upcoming Dates: 
    Fall 2020 – Friday, December 18, 2020
    Spring 2021 – Friday, June 18, 2021
  • Time: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Guest seating begins at 10:30 a.m.
  • Location: Fall 2020 – Virtual
    Spring 2021 – Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Portland Oregon
  • Ballroom: Spring 2021 Oregon Ballroom
  • Venue Map for Spring 2021:
  • Live Stream:
  • Accessibility: Please email [email protected] if you have mobility challenges

Commencement Program: December 2020

Grad Checklist


Students in the college of chiropractic are eligible to participate in commencement if:

  • They are on track to complete their degree requirements during the term that commencement is held;
  • The degree requirements were met in a previous term; or
  • They are on track to complete their degree requirements in the term immediately following commencement.

Students in the college of graduate studies are eligible to participate in commencement if:

  • They are on track to complete their degree requirements during the term that commencement is held; or
  • The degree requirements were met in a previous term.

Participating in the commencement ceremony does not signify completion of your academic program.

Questions about your eligibility to participate can be sent to [email protected].

Diploma Confirmation and Commencement RSVP

All eligible candidates will receive an email to confirm their diploma information and to RSVP for the commencement ceremony during the first week of either spring or fall quarter.  If you do not receive this email please email [email protected].

  • If you choose not to be part of the virtual ceremony you still need to fill out the form to enter your diploma information.
  • If you are unable to attend the commencement ceremony you can request two complimentary copies of the program to be mailed to your home.


Your regalia is your cap and gown and is complimentary from UWS and yours to keep after the ceremony.

Parking, Transportation and Travel

Public Transportation

  • Graduates will be given two one-way MAX tickets. Tickets can be picked up in the bookstore the week before commencement.
  • Stop ID 8341 goes eastbound from the convention center, while Stop ID 8376 goes west-bound
  • From the Portland International Airport, there are transportation options including shuttles (many airport hotels offer free services), taxicabs and ride service options (e.g. Lyft and Uber), as well as the MAX light rail. For more information, check here.


  • All graduates will be given one parking voucher for the Oregon Convention Center. Vouchers will be available after the ceremony for graduates and employees (one a piece) at the UWS info table in the commencement dressing area.
  • All other parking is the responsibility of the other drivers.
  • Details for the OCC garage can be found here.


There are many hotels to choose from in the Portland area. To help with your selection, please visit for information on Portland hotels.

  • UWS has connections with Hotelstorm. Use the code “alumni” to apply the UWS discount code when searching for lodging opportunities.


Open House
Fall 2020 – canceled.


For those visiting from out of town here are some links to help explore the surrounding area.


Student Speakers

All graduates will be able to nominate a peer as the student speaker. Details to nominate a candidate will be sent with the diploma confirmation and commencement RSVP ceremony.

Previous Speakers

Keynote Speakers

The keynote speaker for Fall 2020 will be announced soon.

Dr. Mac Powell was the keynote speaker for the Fall 2019 commencement ceremony.

Dr. Mac Powell is Senior Vice President at the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NCCU).  With over a decade of higher education management experience, and having led three institutions, including John F. Kennedy University, Dr. Powell actively contributes to the strategic direction of higher education. He has served as chair of the American Council of Education’s Commission on Educational Attainment and Innovation and the Council of Applied Master’s Programs in Psychology.  He is a former commissioner on the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior Commission, a graduate of the WASC Assessment Leadership Academy, and former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Performance Psychology.  He is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and a Master Professional in the Professional Golfers Association of America who has authored over 50 articles, three books and two book chapters on the subjects of education, clinical psychology, and performance psychology.

Commencement Information

Timeline for Spring 2021

  • 8:30 a.m. Graduates arrive at the Oregon Convention Center and follow signs to the dressing room
  • 9 a.m. Graduate class photo session
  • 9:30 a.m. Graduates line-up for dress rehearsal
  • 10:30 a.m. Guests are allowed to take their seats
  • 10:55 a.m. Processional line up outside of Ballroom
  • 11 a.m. Commencement ceremony begins
  • 12:30 p.m. Commencement ceremony ends

Students participating in the ceremony need to arrive promptly at 8:30 a.m. at the Oregon Convention Center. Enter the dressing room then proceed to the check-in table. Once students are assembled and in full regalia, class photos will be taken and the dress rehearsal will begin. You must arrive on time to be included in the group photo.

FAQs for Spring 2021

Gifts for graduates

  • Guests are welcome to bring gifts for graduates; however any distracting items or items that will obscure other guests’ views will need to be located at the side or back of the ballroom.
  • Please note that helium-filled balloons are not permitted in any part of the Oregon Convention Center (OCC). No exceptions.
  • When arriving to the UWS commencement dressing area, there will be clear signage for where you should check-in, as well as sections for each program so you can mingle more with your program cohorts.


Two  professional photos will be taken of you during the commencement ceremony. You can purchase copies of these photos a few days after the ceremony at

Photos from throughout the day will also promptly be posted on UWS social media. Check them out later on the day of graduation here.

  • Photo 1 – While shaking hands with Dr. Brimhall as he hands you the diploma cover.
  • Photo 2 – After you leave the stage stand in front of the background holding your diploma for a ¾ length photo.