2015 Commencement Ceremony

  • When: Saturday, May 16, 2015 9:30 a.m.
  • Where: Athletic, Recreation and Community Center (ARCC)
  • (Graduates should arrive by 8:45 a.m. in cap and gown)

About the Ceremony

An annual commencement ceremony is held each May and is presided over by HCC’s president. The commencement ceremony is a traditional academic service and signifies the completion of the degree or certificate being awarded. Students completing a degree or certificate program with 30 or more credits are eligible to participate in the annual commencement ceremony. Only students who have filed an application for graduation and have met all requirements will be permitted to participate in the ceremony.

  • Students who have indicated that they are planning on attending the May commencement ceremony on their Application for Graduation will receive communication regarding the ceremony beginning in the spring through their HCC student email account.
  • A commencement rehearsal for all students participating in the ceremony is held Friday evening at 6 p.m.
  • The commencement ceremony is held in the ARCC at 9:30 a.m. The procession of graduates and faculty begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. Graduates need to arrive dressed in their cap and gown for line up at 8:45 a.m.
  • Dress code guidelines are included at the following link: Graduation Decorum
  • No tickets are needed for guests but seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Most seating is available in the bleachers. There is a limited amount of designated seating for guests with special seating needs, (e.g., wheelchair, disabled, elderly). Guests with special accommodations should enter the ARCC through the back entrance (doors at the rear of the ARCC).
  • If you need special accommodations for yourself and/or your guest(s), please contact the Disability Support Services Office at 240-500-2273 or
  • Protocol and courtesy dictate that once the processional has begun, no entrance into the gymnasium will be allowed until the processional has concluded. The entire ceremony will be projected and available to view in the lobby area.
  • Except to follow directions from the stage, graduates are asked to remain in their seats for the entire ceremony.
  • We ask all guests to remain in their seats during the program, except in an emergency. Please keep aisles and doorways clear, and remember to turn off electronic devices. Guests should remain in their seats until the recessional is completed.
  • In honor of the graduates, a reception hosted by the Alumni Association will follow immediately after the ceremony in the lobby of the ARCC. Light refreshments will be provided. All graduates and their guests are invited to the reception.

Commencement Rehearsal

A commencement rehearsal for all students participating in the ceremony is held Friday evening before Saturday’s ceremony. The rehearsal begins at 6 p.m. in the Athletics, Recreation and Community Center (ARCC) and lasts approximately one hour.

  • Graduates will receive important information about the ceremony.
  • At rehearsal check-in, students who will be receiving diplomas will receive a hood to be worn with their academic attire. At the completion of the ceremony, the hood must be returned in order to receive your diploma.
  • Graduates will also receive their name cards. Graduates will practice walking across the stage and having their name read correctly. You can write the phonetic pronunciation of your name on the card to ensure your name is pronounced correctly. When your name is read at rehearsal, the name card will be returned to you. Please make sure you bring these cards with you on Saturday morning for the ceremony.
  • All graduates participating in the ceremony are expected to attend Rehearsal.

Graduation Party

A graduation party will take place right after commencement rehearsal, Friday, May 15 at 7 p.m., for all students graduating. The party is sponsored by the Alumni Association and the Student Government Association (SGA) and located in the Athletics, Recreation and Community Center (ARCC). There will be pizza, a candy bar, a photo booth, and many giveaway prizes. The grand price is an iPad Mini.

Cap and Gown

Graduates who are planning on attending the May ceremony will need to purchase their cap and gown online. Graduates must wear a cap and gown to participate in the ceremony.

  • Information to purchase the cap and gown will be sent to students by email to their HCC student email account.
  • Cap and gown orders are placed online through Balfour. Orders can be placed from February 1 through April 1. The cost is $30 payable by debit or credit card.
  • Cap and gown orders will be delivered to the HCC Campus Store and will be available by the first week of May. Detailed information will be sent to your student email regarding cap and gown pick-up at the Campus Store.
  • Graduates who order additional online items/accessories from Balfour will be shipped directly to your mailing address provided.
  • Members of Phi Theta Kappa wear a gold stole, blue/gold cords, and a gold tassel. Students should contact their PTK advisors regarding PTK accessories. PTK graduates can purchase items at Graduation Rehearsal. Stoles can be borrowed and picked up the morning of the Graduation ceremony.
  • Only PTK, Veterans, and Honor Program graduates may wear graduation cords. All other academic regalia accessories such as cords and pins must be approved by the Dean of Student Affairs.

Graduation Announcements and Invitations

  • Students can order printed graduation announcements and/or invitations with an official HCC seal online through Balfour.
  • Announcements and invitations will be available for order online from February 1 through April 1.
  • Items ordered online from Balfour will be shipped directly to your mailing address provided (except for caps and gowns that will need to be picked up from the HCC Campus Store).

Commencement Photographs

Professional photography for HCC is provided through Classic Photography, who will take a photo of each graduate receiving their diploma on stage. Classic Photography will contact graduates through their HCC student email account when your proof is available for review. There is no obligation to purchase photos.

The college asks guests to remain in their seats and take pictures from their seating area. Please do not block the stage or come to the ramp to take pictures.