Seminary
Institute Graduation Procedures
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“Institute Graduation Procedures,” A Guide to Seminary and Institute Graduation Exercises (2021)

“Institute Graduation Procedures,” A Guide to Seminary and Institute Graduation Exercises

Institute Graduation Procedures

Note: When bishops and stake presidents are mentioned below, it also pertains to branch presidents and district presidents, respectively.

The Guidelines

  • Annual graduation exercises provide one way to recognize the effort and accomplishments of institute students.

  • Graduation should be held annually.

  • Institute graduation should be held at the campus or stake program level. This also allows for stake programs to combine with campus programs and other stake programs for graduation ceremonies, as deemed appropriate by local administrators and leaders.

  • If possible, graduation ceremonies should be held after the school year ends.

  • If it is determined that graduation ceremonies will not be held, diplomas may be requested by endorsed students and printed by the institute program after the year has ended.

  • Students who qualify for graduation must complete at least 14 credits of institute courses: 4 Cornerstone courses (8 total credits) and 3 elective courses (6 total credits).

  • To complete a course, students must satisfy (1) attendance, (2) assigned course reading, and (3) Elevate Learning Experience (ELE) requirements. Makeup work is available for students who have not met these three requirements. Projected graduation applicants should be invited to apply for recognition at graduation.

  • Projected graduation applicants must obtain an ecclesiastical endorsement to complete the graduation application.

  • Only the preprinted signatures of the chairman of the Church Board of Education and the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion (S&I) administrator appear on diplomas.

  • If desired, at the annual graduation ceremony, institute programs may choose to recognize students who have earned a certificate of completion or certificate of attendance.

Roles and Responsibilities

The stake president who is assigned to the current Institute Advisory Council (IAC) (see General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 14.1.2, ChurchofJesusChrist.org; Stake Institute, ChurchofJesusChrist.org) or his designee:

  • Consults with the local institute director in preparation and planning of graduation.

  • Approves the final graduation program.

  • May speak at graduation and may assist in recognizing graduates and distributing diplomas.

All stake presidents or their designees:

  • Ensure bishops understand the ecclesiastical endorsement requirement as explained by the institute director. Students are responsible for seeking an ecclesiastical endorsement to complete their graduation application.

  • Should understand that they may receive multiple emails from multiple institute programs, depending on where the young adults in their stake are attending institute.

  • Attend graduation, supporting stake members in their achievement.

  • Are invited to sit on the stand if they have students participating in graduation.

The bishop or one of his counselors:

  • Endorses projected graduation applicants as each student seeks an ecclesiastical endorsement.

  • May, at his discretion, choose to endorse or not endorse each applicant. If the bishop or his counselor does not sign a student’s ecclesiastical endorsement on the graduation application, the application is not complete and the student will not be recognized at graduation.

  • Is responsible to inform institute graduation applicants if and why the applicant is not endorsed.

  • Is invited to attend graduation if he has students participating in graduation, supporting ward members in their achievement.

The Institute Ecclesiastical Endorsement

The institute director:

  • Ensures that each stake president understands the ecclesiastical endorsement requirement to become an institute graduate.

The stake president or his designee:

  • Ensures that each bishop also understands this requirement.

The bishop or one of his counselors:

  • Meets with each applicant. The endorsement of a student for institute graduation signifies that the student understands and strives to apply the principles and doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ learned while in institute, “confirming that students are worthy and committed to live the standards outlined in For the Strength of Youth or similar standards for young adults” (General Handbook, 31.1.7).

  • May use regularly scheduled young adult interviews as the basis to endorse or not endorse a projected graduation applicant. It is not necessary to hold a separate ecclesiastical endorsement interview for institute graduation applicants.

  • May, at his discretion, choose to endorse or not endorse each applicant. If the bishop or his counselor does not sign a student’s ecclesiastical endorsement on the graduation application, the application is not complete and the student will not be recognized at graduation.

  • Is responsible to inform institute graduation applicants if and why the applicant is not endorsed.