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University of Northern Colorado, Commencement records

Identifier: RG004-S006

Collection Scope and Contents

This collection contains information about commencement ceremonies and graduation at the University of Northern Colorado and its previous names. It is largely comprised of commencement programs, both unbound (in folders) and bound (in volumes). The commencement programs provide names of graduates, speakers, university administrators, and program agendas. Other information may be included but varies year to year.

The collection also includes official graduation lists, commencement speeches, and newspaper articles about the commencement ceremonies. In addition, plans and procedures for the commencement ceremonies can be found in Series 3. This series also contains information from the Registrar's Office including memos to faculty and graduate students regarding graduation and commencement.


  • 1891 - 2022


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. Born-digital files may require advanced notice to access.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictons may apply. User is responsible for all copyright compliance. Please contact the Archives and Special Collections for further information.

Historical Note

In the early years, graduates were listed in the Board of Trustees minutes. Beginning in 1936, the institution produced three commencement programs per year: baccalaureate, year-end spring quarter, and summer quarter. In 1950-1953, four commencement ceremonies were held with accompanying programs (winter, spring, fall, and summer). From 1953-1960, an additional baccalaureate program was produced. From 1960-1988, a commmencement ceremony was held every quarter and thus a spring, summer, fall, and winter commencement program was produced each year. In 1988, the University of Northern Colorado switched from a quarter system to semester system, prompting the university to hold a spring, summer, and fall graduation ceremony each academic year. Beginning in 2001, the summer commencement ceremony was limited to graduate degrees only. Starting in 2007, the University began printing only two commencement programs per year: spring and fall. In 2021, UNC began creating a Spanish language version for each commencement program.


10.05 Linear Feet (21 boxes)

0.0231 GB (7 files)

Language of Materials



This collection contains information about commencement ceremonies and graduation at the University of Northern Colorado and its previous names. It is largely comprised of commencement programs but also includes commencement speeches, lists of graduates, and additional information about the commencement ceremony and graduation.

Collection Arrangement

This collection is organized in 3 series: Series 1: Commencement Programs (unbound), 1891-2019. 4.5 linear feet Series 2: Commencement Programs (bound), 1891-1986. 1 linear foot Series 3: Commencement Supporting Documentation, 1891-2013. 4.25 linear feet

Acquisition Information

It appears that this collection was received by at least 1986 based on a typed draft of a finding aid dated November 17, 1986 with the initials "ss, emm." The "ss" is probably Sue Schulze who served as University Archivist, 1985-1989.

1896 commencement invitation (Accn #19.18) purchased in July 2019. The 1897 commencement program was donated by Colorado State University's Archives and Special Collections in January 2020 (Accn #20.22).

The 2010 Spring Comencement Program (Acquisition #14.04) was a transfer from Stacy Sharp in the Registrar's Office.

Library administration acquired 2018-2019 programs from the commencement ceremonies and transferred to archives in May and December 2019. The archives received missing commencement programs and a couple of items from an unknown source in September 2019.

Accessions #10.20 and #14.04 are related to RG004-S006 but did not find accession records in ASpace. SJS, 6/07/2018.

Two unbound commencment items, 1990 and 1994, transferred from collection #RG008-S005, UNC Office of the Registrar, in June 2021.

University Advancement transferred physical and digital commencement programs in 2021 and 2022.

Digitized Materials

Commencement Programs (unbound) have been digitized and are available in Digital UNC: Programs that have been digitized are designated with a file name in the identifier field. The most recent programs may not yet be available in DigitalUNC.

Related Materials

Information on graduates from the school's first years can be found in the UNC Board of Trustees records (RG001).

Bound copies of commencement programs can be found in UNC general sample marketing publications (RG003-S002).

Information on honorary degree recipients can be found in UNC, Honorary Degrees collection (RG004-S008).

Original diplomas, robes, mortarboards, and academic banners can be found in UNC, Degrees and Regalia collection (RG004-S009).

Photographs of commencement and graduation ceremonies can be found in UNC photographic prints and negatives (RG021-S001).

Separated Materials

Two purple satin stoles ("Faculty Marshal") and Academic Banners were transferred to University of Northern Colorado, Degrees and Regalia collection, RG004-S009.

Two programs for musical recitals/concerts were transferred to the UNC School of Music records, RG007-S043, during processing in June 2019.

Theses and dissertation information was transferred to the UNC Graduate School and International Admissions records, RG007-S007, during processing in June 2019.

Four postcards were transferred to the UNC postcards collections, RG021-S005 in June 2017.

One photograph was transferred to the UNC News and Publicity photographs, RG003-S020 in July 2013.

Mortarboard, hoods, robes, and cap were transferred to the UNC Degrees and Regalia collection (RG004-S009) in September 2009.

Processing Note

This collection was reprocessed in 2019 by Laura Uglean Jackson with the help of students Kara Cousins, Theo Erler, and Katie Savig. Since 2019, new acquisitions were processed into the collection upon accession.

RG004-S011, "Graduation ceremonies" was merged into this collection during the Record Group Collection Management Project, November 2017. The material was processed into sub-series 3.2, Commencement Items (unbound).

A previous processing note stated: Items from two boxes of commencement programs kept in 3 ring binders (Acquisition #13.19) were either added to the collection or discarded: Binder 1: 1891-1936; Binder 2: 1937-1954; Binder 3: 1955-1964; Binder 4: 1965-1969; Binder 5: 1970-1974; Binder 6: 1975-1979; Binder 7: 1980-1985; Binder 8: 1986-1994; Binder 9: 1995-1998; Binder 10: Spring 1999-Fall 2004; Binder 11: 2002-2003. Included in the binders were photocopies or original copies of commencement and baccalaureate programs, lists of honored alumni, doctors degrees awarded, and "Departmental Lists of Degrees Awarded."

University of Northern Colorado, Commencement records
Shirley Soenksen, Laura Uglean Jackson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Edition statement
Inventory prepared by Shirley Soenksen on 2015 June 18 (including information taken from previous finding aids, Archon and the Archives website); slightly revised 2016 October 6; slightly revised 2017 May 1; minor revisions on 2017 November 29; updated to conform to DACS June 2018. Collection reprocessed and major revisions to finding aid completed June 2019. New accession added in 2022.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Northern Colorado Repository

University Libraries
James A. Michener Library L119
Campus Box 48
Greeley CO 80639