Chancellor and Dean Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry

A Message to Parents

Please Join Us!

On behalf of Penn State Altoona, I invite you to join us at our college’s fall 2016 commencement ceremony at the Jaffa Shrine, Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. I congratulate you on your student’s achievements and happily anticipate celebrating this significant milestone with you. To ensure a smooth and successful commencement day, please peruse this site, where you will find information about travel, logistics, photography, and more.

I look forward to joining with you on December 17 for a wonderful day of celebration.

Dr. Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry
Chancellor and Dean

Fall 2016 Ceremony

Penn State Altoona's fall 2016 commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 11 a.m. in the Jaffa Shrine in Altoona.

GRADUATES, click Commencement Details on the menu to find out more about the ceremony.

#PSUgrad — Share the experience!

Soon-to-be graduates and families of soon-to-be graduates: Tell the world about your tremendous accomplishments. Share your photos and your thoughts and include the #PSUgrad hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+.


Because of the large number of seats available at the Jaffa Shrine, no tickets are required for guests to attend the ceremony. Likewise there is no limit on the number of guests per graduate.

Professional Photography

To commemorate this milestone occasion, a professional photograph will be taken of each graduate being congratulated by the chancellor. No pre-orders will be taken. Rather, photos can be viewed and ordered after commencement by visiting the Film Center's Web site.

In order to avoid congestion and to maintain decorum during the ceremony, we ask that family and friends refrain from approaching the platform when taking pictures or using a video camera.


Families and friends of the graduates have the opportunity to purchase commencement flowers either in advance of commencement or at the ceremony. To purchase flowers in advance, visit Flowers ordered in advance, as well as day-of purchases, will be available at the Commencement Flowers table in the main lobby of the Jaffa Shrine on commencement day.

About the Jaffa Shrine

Altoona’s Jaffa Temple was chartered on July 9, 1903; the dedication of the Jaffa Mosque at Chestnut Avenue and Seventeenth Street occurred on August 29, 1920. Rapid growth of membership resulted in the establishment of larger headquarters.

Thus, on September 25, 1930, the present Jaffa Shrine was dedicated and opened, celebrating twenty-seven years of growth and development.

Although the Jaffa Shrine has not changed since its dedication, through efforts of the trustees and the Jaffa Improvement Association, thousands of dollars have been expended each year to update and improve the building. Various activities, both social and philanthropic, have been the source of the Shrine’s success over the years.

The Shrine Circus each spring is the biggest and most successful activity at the Shrine, hosting nearly 6,000 persons, including hundreds of school children. The Jaffa Shrine also is host to concerts, seminars, trade shows, banquets, and other events throughout the year. Penn State Altoona celebrated it seventieth anniversary at the Jaffa Shrine on October 25, 2009, with a concert by the Doobie Brothers.

For questions concerning commencement ceremonies:
Contact the Office of University Relations
Beech House, 814-949-5105

For questions concerning graduation requirements:
Contact , Registrar
E130 Smith Building, 814-949-5035