collage of 4 photos from commencement



Commencement ceremonies, which are held every fall and spring, are public recognition of our students' accomplishments.  Since the inaugural class of 1960, more than 5,200 alumni have attended Penn State New Kensington and earned a Penn State degree.

Important dates and deadlines

Please apply to graduate on LionPath.  For information and directions, please go to Lionpath Help page.  Applying to graduate for Spring 2018, expires on January 23, 2018.  If you do not set your intent to graduate by this date, please contact the Registrar's Office.

Commencement rehearsal will be held on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, during Common Hour, in the Athletic Center. 

The commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. in the Athletic Center.

Academic Attire

In observance of tradition, all participants in the Commencement Ceremony will wear full academic regalia, consisting of a traditional gown and mortarboard (cap) with tassel.  Caps and gowns must be ordered from the Penn State New Kensington Bookstore.  You can contact the Bookstore at 724-334-6170. 

Wear the tassel of the cap forward and to the right until you are signaled at the ceremony to shift it to the left when the degrees are conferred.  Business or business casual attire is recommended.

Bookstore Information

Academic regalia (Cap and Gown) is available through our Bookstore. It is now made of "green" biodegradable material.  Please order your regalia early. For more details, view the Academic Attire section above.

Print ready Penn State graduation announcements, invitations and thank-you cards are available online at:  Class rings and jewelry can be ordered through the bookstore and are also available for purchase on the Jostens website at:

The bookstore will be open special hours for your graduation needs, gifts, or just to browse. For additional information, you may contact the bookstore at: 724-334-6170.


Each semester, before students can schedule, they are asked to verify their contact information as a part of their To Do list in the student center portion of LionPath.  It is very important to verify that all information is correct since all official University correspondence, including their diploma, will go to the address we have on file.  Diplomas are mailed to the student's address after the ceremony. 

If the alternate site form is filed correctly and timely, students from other campuses may participate in our commencement ceremony. 

Note: Special inks are used in the printing of the diplomas.  Do not store your diploma in a cedar chest.


Distinction at graduation is awarded to baccalaureate degree candidates with:

  • at least 60 credits (30 credits for associate degree candidates) earned at Penn State
  • minimum of a 3.5 cumulative grade-point average
  • are in the top 12% of a college's graduating class

The distinction table is created in September for the coming fall, spring semesters and summer session, based on the grade-point average information of previous graduates.

Distinction levels for your degree can be found at:

Graduation Speaker

Michelle Wright is an Emmy award-winning news anchor and reporter for WTAE-TV. She has reported live from the scene of the region's biggest news stories including: The Flight 93 crash on 9/11, the Quecreek Mine rescue, and the G-20 Summit. 

Michelle is also an adjunct university professor, a contributing reporter for WQED, and a professional beekeeper. In addition to selling honey, honeycomb and beeswax beauty care products she also gives presentations on the importance of honeybees and what businesses can learn from the work habits of bees. Michelle also hosts workshops on topics including: Handling Criticism, Empowering Women, Beginner Beekeeping and The Value of Communication.  

Michelle recently purchased and renovated a historic church built in 1889 in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. After a year of remodeling she’s pleased to offer Tarenbee's chapel and commercial kitchen for weddings, seminars, parties, and cooking classes. 

She has interviewed fascinating people such as: Oprah Winfrey, Sidney Crosby, Peter Jennings, Barbara Bush, President Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Space Shuttle commander astronaut Michael Fincke. She serves as the spokesperson, board member or emcee for Race for the Cure, Project Bundle Up, The Emmaus Community, National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Achieva.

Michelle has been honored with three Regional Emmy Awards, a National Headliners Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and honored by the Associated Press and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasting.  She is an 1987 graduate of Liberty University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science.  Michelle is most proud of her two children, Zachary and Allison. 

Guest Information

Friends and family of the graduates are very welcome at the Commencement Ceremony.  Each graduate is encouraged to invite their family and friends to participate in their special day.  Floor seating will be available for our guests with special needs. Handicapped parking spaces are designated in the front row of our Athletics Center parking lot for Spring graduations, and in the front near the main entrance for Fall ceremonies. Please contact the Academic Affairs office if you and/or your guest(s) require specific accommodations, (724) 334-6032.

Free parking is available at Penn State New Kensington.

For directions to the campus, just input your starting location on this driving directions map.  Or, enter the following address into the GPS of your choice:
Penn State New Kensington
3550 Seventh Street Road
Route 780
New Kensington, PA 15068

Honors Ornamentation

Graduating students may wear only provided ornamentation to commencement. Ornamentation representing honorary societies or nationalities is not approved attire for Penn State academic ceremonies.  Students graduating with distinction, high distinction, highest distinction and approved veterans will be provided University approved cords. 

Penn State New Kensington ALUMNI Society

A student's connection with Penn State does not end at graduation.  Join over 150,000 Penn State supporters by becoming a member of the largest alumni association in the country, and keep that Blue and White spirit alive! 

The local alumni organization based on our campus is the Penn State New Kensington Alumni Society. The society represents more than 7,000 Penn Staters living the Alle-Kiski valley.

For more information on the Penn State Alumni Association, visit:

The Procession

Graduates in their caps and gowns will assemble in advance.  The procession will be led by the Faculty Marshal, the Chancellor, the Director of Academic Affairs, visiting dignitaries, faculty and staff, and then the graduates.


A transcript is the University’s official statement of your academic record.  Please visit the Penn State Office of the Registrar for additional information and instructions on how to request an official transcript.