May 16 Commencement Updates

Plans are underway for celebrating the Class of 2020 in a virtual ceremony on Saturday, May 16, which will include a video for each College with messages from President Jackson and others. While we still hope an in-person ceremony will be feasible, possibly next spring, we are focusing for now on making this the first step in recognizing the achievements of the Class of 2020. 

Graduating students have been asked to submit a photo and a short video of them saying their names and sharing a brief message by May 1. These will be compiled into a video for each College which will be broadcast on YouTube Live. Anyone logged in with their HSU email, Gmail, or YouTube accounts will be able to live chat with each other and experience the celebration together. Archived videos will be available on the Commencement website.

Ceremonies will be broadcast at the following times:
College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences—10:00 a.m.
College of Natural Resources & Sciences—1:00 p.m.
College of Professional Studies—4:00 p.m.

In order to make this successful, HSU needs broad student participation. Please encourage students to submit a photo and video by May 1

Commencement is a special day recognizing milestone achievements. We’re proud of the hard work and sacrifice you and your classmates put into earning your degrees, and we want to bring the Lumberjack community together to recognize and celebrate the positive experiences you had during your time at HSU.

Frequently Asked Questions

We are reachable at so email if you have questions. We will be adding updates to this site as we know them. 


Can I get a refund for the Commencement fee?

A Commencement refund will automatically be given to students in the Class of 2020 with graduation dates on file of Spring 2020 or Summer 2020. Refunds will be processed through your student account, so make sure you're signed up for electronic refunds in your Student Center (paper checks could get lost in the mail). Please allow approximately two to four weeks to process.
If you have an outstanding balance due on your student account, the refund will be applied to those charges first.
To verify the refund has been processed, select “Account Activity” in the "other financial..." drop down in Student Center—see instructions. If you have questions, email

Why cancel Commencement instead of rescheduling?

Right now, HSU intends to have an in-person ceremony at some point in the future. With the situation changing frequently, there is no way to accurately plan for a timeframe, so the decision was made to cancel instead of postpone to an unknown date. 




Can I get a refund for my Commencement Cap & Gown?

Yes. If you’ve already purchased regalia, refunds will be given for items that are unopened/unused using the same method you placed your original order. Receipts or order numbers will be needed and you may chose to keep any items except the gowns:

  1. Purchased online through Herff Jones: Fill out the form online or contact their customer service center at 800-837-4235 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST). If you haven’t picked up your regalia packages, the Bookstore will handle shipping them back.

  1. Purchased in person at the Bookstore: Email with your name, phone number, and best time/way to reach you. The Bookstore is closed but their staff will get back to you with instructions on how to do the refund over the phone.

Can I still keep my Commencement regalia?

Yes, you can keep everything but the rental gown. If you ordered your regalia items but haven't picked them up yet, the Bookstore will ship them to you. Email with your name, phone number, and best time/way to reach you and a Bookstore staff member will get in touch with you.

Can I still purchase Commencement regalia?

Yes, you can still purchase graduation caps, stoles, tassels, honor cords, masters hoods, and other items such as announcements, class rings, and diploma frames to keep for photos or other personal use. However, you can't purchase the rental gown. Email with your name, phone number, and best time/way to reach you and a Bookstore staff member will get in touch with you with instructions.




Should my family cancel plane tickets and hotels for May?

We won't have an in-person ceremony in May and there may be travel restrictions in place. We encourage you to check the CDC website for more information

Most airlines have offered options to change tickets without penalty, so check their websites for details. This is United’s website with information about cancellations. 

Many hotels and online vendors like Airbnb are doing the same thing but have deadlines associated with cancellation, so have your family and friends get in touch with them as soon as possible.



Frequently asked questions about HSU’s guidelines on COVID-19

More information on the HSU COVID-19 website