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2020 May Commencement Ceremony

COVID 19 UPDATE - A December graduation ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 12, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. in the ARCC. It will honor the accomplishments of all 2020 graduates (May, August and December). Graduates will be asked to arrive by 8:30 a.m.  A graduation rehearsal will be held the night before, Friday, December 11, at 4 p.m. More details about the December 12 graduation ceremony will be sent to students via their HCC student email accounts, and posted on the HCC website during the fall semester. 

  • When: Saturday, December 12, 2020, 9:30 a.m.
  • Where: Athletic, Recreation and Community Center (ARCC)
  • (Graduates should arrive by 8:30 a.m. in cap and gown)

About the Ceremony

The Annual commencement ceremony will be 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 plan to attend 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 5 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 Guests with special accommodations may have no more than three escorts sit with them in the handicap seating. If needed, sign language interpreting services for graduates and/or guests need to be requested. 
  • 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 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 5 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 associate degrees will receive a hood to be worn with their academic attire. At the completion of the ceremony, the hood must be returned.
  • 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.

Cap and Gown

Graduates who are planning on attending the commencement ceremony will need to purchase their cap and gown online at 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 link on this page under important dates and deadlines. 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 or the first week of December. Graduates will need photo identification to pick up their cap and gown. 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 may 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 Students.

Graduation Announcements and Invitations

  • Students can order printed graduation announcements and/or invitations with an official HCC seal online through Balfour at
  • Announcements and invitations will be available for order online from February 1 through April 13.
  • 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

Students and Graduates may view and order pictures from Hagerstown Community College’s 2019 May Recognition and Commencement Ceremonies at: You do not need an access code, just look at the Hagerstown Community College events under the down arrow for jobs/event and select your event(s). There is no obligation to order.

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.