Northcentral University
Graduation 2015


Welcome, NCU graduates!

Congratulations to our 2015 Graduates!

If you wish to purchase images from this event, please visit the link below:
Marchetti Photography - NCU Graduation 2015

Graduate Check-in and Regalia
Saturday, July 18, 2015 –Valley of the Sun Ballroom, Encanto Room & Foyer – 2nd floor

  • 7:00am – 8:00am - Honor Society Check-In (Foyer by Encanto)
  • 7:00am – 10:00pm - Doctoral Hooding Check-In (Foyer)
  • 7:00am – 12:00pm - Commencement Check-In (Foyer)
  • 7:00am – 1:00pm - Regalia Pick-up (North Mountain)
  • 4:00pm- 6:30pm - Regalia Drop-off (North Mountain)

Honor Society Recognition Ceremony
Saturday, July 18, 2015 –Encanto Room & Foyer – 2nd floor

  • 7:00am – 7:45am - Graduate Check-In (Foyer)
  • 8:00am – 8:45am - Honor Society Recognition Ceremony (Encanto)

Poster Sessions, Doctoral Hooding & Academic Recognition Ceremony
Saturday, July 18, 2015 –Valley of the Sun Ballroom & Foyer – 2nd floor

  • 9:00am – 10:00am - Poster Sessions (Ballroom D & E)
  • 10:00am - Doctoral Graduate and Diss. Chair Line up (Foyer)
  • 10:00am - Doors open for general seating
  • 10:30am – 12:00pm - Doctoral Hooding & Academic Recognition Ceremony (Ballroom C)

Commencement Ceremony
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Phoenix Ballroom & Foyer – 3rd Floor

  • 1:00pm - Graduates report to staging rooms (Foyer)
  • 1:00pm - Doors open for general seating
  • 2:00pm - Commencement Ceremony Procession
  • 4:00pm - Commencement Recession

Commencement Reception
Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Phoenix Ballroom D & E – 3rd Floor

  • 4:00pm - Post-Ceremony Reception Begins
  • 6:30pm - Post-Ceremony Reception Ends

Regalia and Announcements

Graduation Regalia If you have not ordered your regalia, please contact Willsie University Cap & Gown online or at (800) 370-0931 to reserve or purchase your regalia. Please note: the deadline to PURCHASE your regalia is May 27, 2015 and the deadline to RENT regalia is July 8, 2015. Orders received after this date will not be processed.

If you run into any challenges while ordering your regalia, please contact Tony Harvey at Willsie University Cap & Gown directly at

 Announcements: You may purchase NCU graduation announcements from Jostens

Travel Information
Hotel Reservations

We have negotiated a group rate for you and your guests at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, where Commencement 2015 will be held. We recommend you book your room early! 

Room reservations under the Student block can now be made via:

  • Sheraton reservations at 866.837.4213 or
  • The "Attendee" StartGroup Site

Guests can access the site to learn more about the event and to book, modify, or cancel a reservation from February 9, 2015 to July 25, 2015. The room block will be held until June 14th, 2015 at 5:00pm (MST). Reservation requests received after this date will be accepted on a space availability basis only & may be at a higher rate per night.

You can find additional information on Phoenix, including places to stay, where to eat and things to do online at Visit Phoenix.

**The Student Room Block at the Sheraton is now sold out. If you have already made reservations at the Sheraton, you may still call the number above with questions or to make adjustments to your reservation. If you have not made reservations, the following hotel options are within walking distance of the Sheraton.

Hyatt Regency Phoenix
122 N. 2nd St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Renaissance Phoenix Downtown
50 E. Adams
Phoenix, AZ 85004

The Westin Phoenix Downtown
333 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Transportation Options
There is a shuttle available from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown for $13 per person. For this and additional transportation options please click here.

Graduation FAQ

Q: How many guests can I bring?
A: You can reserve space for up to ten (10) guests. 

Q: Do I need tickets for each event?
A: Physical tickets are not required for this year’s Commencement events, just your RSVP response. 

Q: How do I order Commencement Regalia?
A: If you have not ordered your regalia, please contact Willsie University Cap & Gown online or at (800 370-0931 to reserve or purchase your regalia. 

Q: What is the deadline for ordering Regalia?
A: The deadline to PURCHASE your regalia is May 27, 2015 and the deadline to RENT regalia is July 8, 2015. Orders received after this date will not be processed.

Q: If I can't make it to Graduation, may I purchase a graduation tassel?
A: Yes. You may send an email (preferred) to requesting your tassel. Willsie Cap & Gown will ship your tassel via US Post.

Q: Where can I purchase Graduation Announcements?

A: You may purchase NCU graduation announcements from Jostens.

Q: If I missed the cut-off date for Commencement last year, but want to attend this year and already have my degree, do I need to bring it with me? 
A: No, you do not need to bring your diploma with you. You will receive the same diploma holder as everyone else when you walk.

Q: What are NCU's hood colors?
A: NCU colors are royal blue and gold. NCU hoods are lined with gold (the part that is exposed). Trim colors for the hood are different according to the branch of learning/degree. The colors associated with NCU's degrees are drab (School of Business and Technology Management), light blue (Education) and golden yellow (Psychology and Marriage and Family Sciences). Keep this in mind when renting or ordering your regalia. Willsie Cap & Gown is extremely helpful and will be happy to answer any of your regalia questions. You can email Tony Harvey at Willsie Cap & Gown at:

Q: If I'm renting my regalia, do I have to pick up my cap and gown from Northcentral University or will there be a place to pick it up and drop it off at the ceremony?
A: Willsie Cap & Gown will be at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown the morning of the academic reception and commencement. You will be able to pick it up then and return it after the ceremony.

Have additional questions? Contact your Academic Advisor! 

Are you wondering what you can expect when you attend graduation? Check out some of our videos from previous events!

Graduation 2015 Trailer

Graduation 2014- Behind the Scenes

NCU understands the great accomplishments our students have worked so hard to earn. That’s why there’s nothing virtual about the thrill of actually walking across a stage with peers to receive that well-deserved diploma.

Rich Karlgaard: "The Will Do Attitude" (NCU 2014 Commencement Address)

Each year NCU offers a noteworthy commencement speaker to inform, entertain and encourage our graduates. In 2014 our commencement ceremony featured Rich Karlgaard, bestselling author and publisher/columnist of Forbes Magazine.

Anta Fall Moore, NCU 2014 Dissertation of the Year Winner

NCU always seeks to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of our students. In conjunction with our 2014 commencement, we awarded Dissertation of the Year to Dr. Anta Fall Moore for her study on why African-American women decline breast cancer surgery.

Graduate Student Poster Session
The 2015 Graduate Student Poster Session will be held prior to the Academic Recognition Reception on Saturday, July 18, 2015, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown in Phoenix, AZ. The purpose of the Graduate Student Poster Session is to give students the opportunity to showcase their research; to communicate their results to other students, family, friends, faculty and staff; and to learn about other areas of research and creative activity. 

Graduates who have completed their dissertation defense by April 30, 2015 are eligible to present at the poster session. Example: Dissertation must have been completed and approved between April 1, 2014 and April 30, 2015 for a 2015 nomination.Graduate students who wish to have their work considered for presentation are encouraged to submit their dissertation abstract to by May 1, 2015. Submissions will be judged on factors such as writing quality, significance of research and findings, research method, and interpretation of results. Those selected to present will be contacted and provided with information regarding poster criteria.

Dissertation of the Year

Congratulations to Dr. Dale Spurlin who was selected as the 2015 Dissertation of the Year winner! 

Dr. Dale Spurlin is Northcentral University's 2015 Dissertation of the Year award winner

Dr. Spurlin completed his PhD in Education with a specialization in Curriculum and Teaching and successfully defended his dissertation “When Learning Could Hurt: A Case Study of Student-Veterans and their Combat Experiences in the Classroom”. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the United States Army Command and General Staff College (USACGSC) and serves as Chair for the Combined Arms Center – Education Institutional Review Board. 

When asked why he chose this topic as the focus of his research, Dr. Spurlin explained that he was inspired by his own experience as an adult educator. Dr. Spurlin recalls: “After teaching student-veterans for several years, I came to the realization that our practice and theory for adult learning might not be facilitating learning in the classroom. I surmised that our methods were driving them away from learning instead of promoting it.  I wanted to know why and what to do about it.”


Dr. Spurlin will accept his 2015 Dissertation of the Year award and speak about his research at the Academic Recognition Reception. 

View videos of our past three Dissertation of the Year winners.

Rebecca Collins Watch Dr. Rebecca Collins give her Dissertation of the Year acceptance speech.

Milton Kabia Dr. Milton Kabia shares his NCU story at the 2012 Graduate Poster Session.

Thomas Thompson Dr. Thomas Thompson, an international student from Jamaica, was the 2011 Dissertation of the Year award winner.

At the Academic Recognition Reception on Saturday, July 18, NCU will be inducting the newest members of our five honor societies. Invitations are made based on academic performance, but each honor society has different requirements. Visit our Honor Societies page to learn more. If you have any questions about the qualifications, please utilize the contact information below. 

Golden Key International Honor Society (all Schools)  For information about Golden Key International Honor Society, please contact Ryan Smith at and Barb Scherzer at

Kappa Delta Pi (School of Education)  For information about Kappa Delta Pi, please contact Dara Levitch at, Melanie Shaw at, and Karen Ferguson at

Delta Mu Delta (School of Business)  For information about Delta Mu Delta, please contact Kim Vince at

Alpha Phi Sigma (School of Business, Criminal Justice)  For information about Alpha Phi Sigma, please contact Kim Vince at

Delta Kappa (School of Marriage and Family Sciences)  For information about Delta Kappa, please contact Lisa Kelledy at


Commencement 2015 Speaker

Rebecca Collins

Northcentral University is proud to announce NCU alumna and 2013 Dissertation of the Year winner, Dr. Rebecca Collins, as speaker for Commencement 2015!

Dr. Rebecca Collins works in Cooperative Educational Service Agency #9 where she focuses on statewide improvement of outcomes for Wisconsin students with disabilities, educator effectiveness, and culturally responsive practices. In addition, she serves as adjunct faculty for Northcentral University, the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and Viterbo University.

Dr. Collins received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Olaf College. She completed a Master’s degree in Education and licensure in School Psychology at Butler University. She attended UW-Superior for licensure as an administrator of Special Education and Pupil Services. Most recently, she completed her PhD in Education with a specialization in Exceptional Student Education at Northcentral University. Her dissertation focused on identifying factors influencing the attitudes of middle school students toward physical education and activity. Dr. Collins was also the recipient of the 2013 NCU Dissertation of the Year award.

Dr. Collins enjoys boating on Lake Superior, exploring new places, spending time with her family and playing with her Boston Terrier, Buttons.

2013 Dissertation of the Year Speech

2013 Graduate Student Poster Session