Ceremony and Venue

Michigan Tech conducts two commencement ceremonies each year: one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester. The Midyear Commencement ceremony is in the Student Development Complex Varsity Gymnasium and the Spring Commencement is in the John J. MacInnes Student Ice Arena, attached to the Student Development Complex.

A ticket is required for entry.

Upcoming Ceremony

Where and When: Midyear Commencement is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, December 16, 2017 in the Varsity Gymnasium of the Student Development Complex (SDC).

Duration: The Midyear Commencement ceremony is approximately 2 hours. The Spring Commencement ceremony generally lasts more than 2.5 hours.

Watch Online: Live streaming is available beginning on the morning of the ceremony.

Future Ceremonies: Spring Commencement 2018 will be held Saturday, May 5, 2018 and Midyear Commencement 2018 will be held Saturday, December 15, 2018.

Venue Information

The Student Development Complex (SDC) is open by 8:30 a.m. the day of the ceremony. Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. Concessions and campus retail stores are also open.


For the safety and security of the graduates and their guests, please be advised that all bags are searched prior to entering the event. Public Safety and Police Services are present.

Please stand for the Processional and National Anthem. At the ceremony conclusion please remain in your seats until all graduates have recessed.

First aid is available.

Please note that the SDC is an alcohol-free and tobacco-free facility.


Limited Mobility Seating:  seating areas are available for guests with mobility limitations. Please contact the Registrar’s Office (906-487-2319) or registrar@mtu.edu by Friday, December 8, 2017 to discuss ceremony accommodations. Ushers will be on hand for assistance.

Other Accommodations: a sign language interpreter is present throughout the ceremony for anyone needing these services.

Handicap Parking: handicap parking is available. However, there is a large volume of attendees and all parking is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Commencement Speaker

Jim Parm personnel

Jim Parm '81

Jim graduated from Michigan Tech in 1981 with a BS in Electrical Engineering. He earned his MBA from Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business.

In his current position, he provides business strategy advice to corporate CEOs. Prior to joining Inc. CEO Project, Jim had a distinguished career leading international technology companies. He was president of Inmarsat Solutions, the 1.4 billion dollar a year market-facing entity for Inmarsat PLC, a London-based satellite communications company. There, he led the development and execution of Inmarsat’s global go-to market strategy.

Prior to that he was president and CEO of Stratos, a publicly traded Canadian company, where he oversaw the strategic direction and global operations of the $650M satellite services company. During his time at Stratos he took the company from a regionally focused North American company to a global leader in satellite services.

Before he joined Stratos, Jim was president and CEO of Shell Offshore Services Company where he led strategy development and execution for the telecom startup, which provides remote communications services to the energy industry.

Jim is a member of the Michigan Tech President’s Advancement Council and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Academy. He and his wife Jean, a 1982 Tech Graduate in Computer Science, established the Jim and Jean Parm Endowed Scholarship.

The Parms live in Casey Key, Florida where they enjoy golfing, boating, fishing, kayaking, bicycling, and scuba diving.

Student Speaker

Valeria Suarez pesonnel

Valeria Suarez

During her time at Michigan Tech, Valeria has used the family phrase to encourage her to experience things she had never done before.

Valeria is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering and although she has been at Michigan Tech for less than two years she has made a mark on the University and vice versa.

The native of Maracay, Venezuela transferred to Michigan Tech after nearly two years studying geophysical engineering at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas. Many factors prompted her decision to study internationally, including political instability in her homeland. “I wanted a geological engineering program that included geophysical engineering,” she says. Looking at institutions in both the U.S. and the U.K,. an email from Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences Chair John Gierke sealed the deal for Michigan Tech.

The move brought about many changes for Valeria, She left a city with a population of more than two million, a diverse cultural environment and a vastly different climate. “The first time I saw snow was when I landed at CMX,” she says.

Armed with her mantra, “I know that I know nothing,” she embraced the Keweenaw, taking up snowboarding and kayaking and even joining a broomball team. “I’ve learned so much, both in and out of the classroom. I’ve experienced things I never had before, learned songs and sayings I never heard before and became involved with so much I wouldn’t have had I not come here.”

She was a member of the International Club, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and Vice President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. And to top it all of, Valeria is the first international student chosen to be the student speaker.

“It is truly an honor,” Valeria says. “As one of only four Venezuelan students here at Michigan Tech (including her sister Vanessa), I am honored to be chosen as student speaker.”