Northcentral University
Graduation 2017


Welcome, NCU graduates!

Graduation details can be found below. There will be more information posted to this site, as this important date draws closer. Please check back often for updates. 

NCU Commencement 2017 events will be held on July 8, 2017, at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort located in Phoenix, Arizona.

The schedule for the day's events will run from 8:30am to 6:00pm. A formal agenda will be shared with you in the coming months.


Graduate Poster Session 


Academic Recognition & Doctoral Hooding Ceremony

Prior to NCU Commencement 2017, the University will host an Academic Recognition & Doctoral Hooding Ceremony. The event will include award presentations, honor society induction recognition, and Doctoral Graduate Hooding. The NCU Store will also be onsite for alumni to purchase merchandise.


Commencement Ceremony

The 2017 Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 8, 2017.


Graduation Dessert Reception

Following the 2017 Commencement Ceremony, you are invited to attend a Graduation Dessert Reception also held at the JW Marriott.


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 17, 2017 and the deadline to RENT regalia is late June 23, 2017. 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 and class rings from Jostens

Regalia pick-up will be open at the graduation venue the day prior and day of Graduation 2017..


Travel Information
Hotel Reservations

We have negotiated a group rate for you and your guests at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort, where Commencement 2017 will be held. We recommend you book your room early! 

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

  • Marriott reservations at 480.293.5000 or
  • Online via the "Student" Reservation Site

Guests can access the site to learn more about the event and to book, modify, or cancel a reservation from November 1, 2016 to July 8, 2017. The room block will be held until June 14th, 2017. Reservation requests received after this date will be accepted on a space availability basis only and may be at a higher nightly rate as the property is reaching capacity.

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





Graduation FAQ

Q: How many guests can I bring?
A: You can reserve space for up to seven (7) 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. More information regarding registration will be offered in the coming months.

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 mid-May 2017 and the deadline to RENT regalia is late June 2017. 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 (Social and Behavioral 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 graduation venue the morning of the academic recognition ceremoney 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!

2016 Graduation Video

Watch the entire 2016 commencement ceremony on YouTube
2016 Northcentral University Commencement

2016 Graduation Photos

If you wish to download images from our 2016 event, please visit the link below:
Photos - NCU Graduation 2016

2015 Dissertation of the Year Award Winner Dale Spurlin

Dale Spurlin Speech from Northcentral University on Vimeo.


Graduate Student Poster Session
The 2017 Graduate Student Poster Session will be held prior to the Academic Recognition Ceremony in the Summer of 2017 in Phoenix, AZ. The purpose of the 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 Spring 2017 are eligible to present at the poster session. More information will be provided in the coming months.

Poster of the Year

Northcentral annually recognizes the outstanding academic work of its graduate students by hosting a poster presentation session at each graduation. Masters and doctoral students/candidates are encouraged to submit their research for presentation. Of those selected to present, one student will be chosen for the Poster of the Year (POY) award, following the poster session. 

Please see the POY Handbook for more information regarding the award and how to submit an application to present your research. Applications are due in Spring of 2017.

Poster Presentation Application

Directions: Please complete this form and submit it to

Student’s name and degree:

Poster title:

School and program:



Dissertation of the Year

Each year, Northcentral University recognizes high scholarly achievement among its doctoral students by honoring one or more authors of outstanding dissertations. The author(s) of the Dissertation of the Year (DOY) are invited to attend that year's graduation ceremony to be honored for their achievement, with remuneration in the form of up to $1,000 in the author's travel and lodging expenses paid by the University.

DOY Award Nomination

Directions: Please complete this form and submit it with a copy of the dissertation to

Doctoral candidate’s name and degree:

Name of person nominating student’s dissertation (self-nomination is acceptable):

Role of person nominating dissertation (e.g., Chair, Committee member):

Dissertation title:

School and program:

Please explain why this dissertation should receive the DOY award?

What are key characteristics and qualities that differentiate this dissertation from the others?

How does this dissertation support NCU’s mission, vision, and values?  (see:


Dissertation of the Year 2015

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.”

View videos of our past 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 Honor Society Reception, in the Summer of 2017, 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 Chris Alvarado at or Thia Walker at

Kappa Delta Pi (School of Education)  For information about Kappa Delta Pi, please contact Dara Levitch at, or Kelley Walters 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 (Department of Marriage and Family Sciences)  For information about Delta Kappa, please contact Lisa Kelledy at


Commencement 2017 Speaker

 More information regarding our 2017 Commencement Speaker will be shared in the coming months.