Directions for Graduates

Graduation is a huge milestone and it’s just around the corner. Before you move on to the next stage in life, here are instructions on what to do before, during, and after you walk in the Commencement ceremony.


Registration will begin at the start of the Spring term.  You must register by April 3, 2020. The ceremonies are organized by College and there are three to choose from. If you are a double major, you can choose to walk in more than one ceremony. Not sure which ceremony you're in? See a list of majors by College here.

Name Card

Pick up your pre-printed name card on May 14 or 15 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Admissions Visitor Center in the front lobby of the Student Business Services building (SBS). Bring your card with you to the Commencement ceremony—as you enter the stage, you'll need to present it to the name reader.


If you or your guests are driving, park in either the large parking lot opposite the Student Business Services building (lot G11) or in the lots at the corner of 14th and Union streets (lots G14 and G15). Shuttles for those with mobility issues will run continuously from those lots.

Assemble for the procession

Arrive in your cap and gown at the West Gym no later than:

  • 7:45 a.m.College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • 11:15 a.m.College of Natural Resources & Sciences
  • 2:15 p.m.College of Professional Studies

Line up by your major, but it’s not necessary to be in alphabetical order.

Procession order

The Mace Bearer and Marshals will lead students out of the West Gym, followed by faculty and the platform party. Students will file out in two separate lines with each major all in one line—you must stay in the line with your major. Please do not stop for photos or to talk with family and friends. Marshals will direct you to your seats.

Commencement ceremony

  • Following the President’s speech, Marshals will direct one row at a time to approach the stage. Hand your name card to the reader, and as your name is read, cross the stage. Be sure the person in front of you has their diploma cover before approaching.
  • You will receive the diploma cover in your left hand and then shake your right hand. Walk to the President to shake hands. 
  • Walk down the stairs at the center of the stage or use the ramp on the East side, and return to your seat.
  • For master’s degrees, the Provost will hood each candidate and then present  the diploma cover.
  • Following the presentation of all the diploma covers, the President will ask you to rise. She will confer the degrees and ask you to switch your tassel from the right side of your cap to the left. Please ask your guests to stay for this celebratory moment.


After the President’s closing remarks, there will be a musical cue for the Mace Bearer to lead the platform party and faculty out of the Redwood Bowl. After they have left, graduates will be directed to exit one row at a time.

Things to remember

  • In the event of an emergency, remain calm and listen for instructions from the stage.
  • Please stay for the entire ceremony out of respect for your classmates and your families. 
  • Commencement will go on, rain or shine, so be prepared for any weather. Bring umbrellas in the event of rain, or sunscreen for a hot day.
  • Dogs are not allowed in the Redwood Bowl, except for service animals.
  • HSU is smoke- and tobacco-free and smoking is not permitted anywhere in Redwood Bowl or on the HSU Campus.
  • Bring your own reusable water bottle and encourage your guests to do the same.
  • The Commencement Ceremonies will be live-streamed and there will be a link on the HSU homepage the day of the event. The recording will be available to view as soon as the ceremony is finished, and the video can be downloaded for free on the Commencement site in the weeks following. Seating is also available to view the live-stream in Science A, Room 564.
  • Confetti poppers and cannons are not allowed in the audience or graduate seating area as part of HSU's commitment to environmental sustainability. Anything that could cause a distraction (toys, balloons, beach balls, etc.) is prohibited and will be confiscated.
  • Those who require disability-related accommodations should contact the Student Disability Resource Center at (707) 826-4678 or as soon as possible. Some accommodations may take several weeks to arrange.

Graduates Assemble in the West Gym. Please arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony.
View Map (pdf)

Green Up Graduation

HSU Students are known for their commitment to the environment. Dedicated students at Humboldt State strive to reduce waste at Commencement ceremonies. This year they’ll continue to reduce the number of compostable coffee and water cups, so be sure to bring your own water bottle.

Our vendors will be selling discounted water canteens, so look for water stations in Redwood Bowl to refill your reusable water bottles. In addition, coffee will be half price for those bringing their own coffee cup.

Working together we can Green Up Graduation!

Special thanks to the following student groups: Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, Delta Phi Epsilon, HSU Oh SNAP!, HSU Takes Back the Tap, and the Waste Reduction & Resource Awareness Program