Spring commencement celebrates students, introduces new tradition

Student takes a selfie with President Wintersteen at commencement spring 2023

Graduate Michael Bui grabs a selfie with ISU president Wendy Wintersteen as he receives his diploma during spring 2023 commencement at Hilton Coliseum. Photo by Christopher Gannon,Iowa State University.

AMES, Iowa – Of the thousands of students who will walk across the stage in Hilton Coliseum this spring, one will be sure to stand out in the crowd.

As part of a new commencement tradition, graduating members of the Iowa State University Mascot Squad are encouraged to wear Cy’s feet as part of their commencement regalia. It’s a special recognition as the names of students are kept secret throughout the duration of their time appearing as Cy for the mascot squad.

Crayton Mitchell as Cy running with football team on the field

Crayton Mitchell on the field as Cy at 2023 Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Photo courtesy of Crayton Mitchell.

“Iowa State wants all graduates to celebrate their unique ISU experience,” said Jennifer Suchan, university registrar. “Adding Cy’s feet as part of the many academic adornments for graduates is a great way for the students who participated in the mascot squad to celebrate and recognize their experience!”

Crayton Mitchell, a graduating senior in industrial design, joined the mascot squad in 2021. He’ll be the first to take part in this new tradition when he crosses the stage during the College of Design commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11.

“I am very excited and proud to be the first Cy to wear the feet for commencement,” Mitchell said. “Being Cy has been one of the greatest college experiences. From running the football team out at home games, traveling to BYU, Las Vegas, and March Madness, to going to weddings as Cy, it has all been so much fun!”

4,598 students earning degrees

Nearly 4,600 students are expected to complete degrees this spring. That includes an estimated 3,866 undergraduate students, 575 graduate students and 157 veterinary medicine candidates. Iowa State will hold five commencement ceremonies over the course of three days:

  • Graduate College, 7 p.m. May 9, at Hilton Coliseum
  • Veterinary Medicine, 1 p.m. May 10, at Stephens Auditorium
  • Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, 9 a.m. May 11, at Hilton
  • Colleges of Design, Engineering, 2 p.m. May 11, at Hilton
  • Colleges of Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, 7 p.m. May 11, at Hilton

There will be a livestream of each ceremony. Links are available here.

More celebrations

The six undergraduate colleges also will honor graduating students at their own convocations and receptions on Friday or on Saturday morning. Click on the college name for a link to the event livestream or reception details.

Parking information

Due to CYTown construction, certain parking lots between Hilton Coliseum and Jack Trice Stadium will be blocked off the day of commencement. Additional parking is available at Jack Trice Stadium, Maple Willow Larch, Lied Recreation Center and the Memorial Union (click here for parking maps and CyRide, golf cart information).

Guests should plan to arrive early to find parking and walk to guest seating in Hilton Coliseum. Carpooling is encouraged. Handicap parking is available in lot C2.