Directions for Graduates

Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15, 2021 | Redwood Bowl

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.

An information session for students was be held on Wednesday, May 12 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Watch Info Session Recording

COVID Precautions

Graduates, staff, faculty, and guests must perform a wellness self-check before coming to campus.

If you are feeling ill, have symptoms of COVID-19, or have potentially been exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, you cannot attend the Commencement event.

Face covering and physical distancing will be required for everyone in attendance at all times. Hand sanitizer and umbrellas (for rain or sun) will be provided to all graduates.

Anyone traveling from outside California is expected to quarantine for at least 10 days OR provide proof of being fully vaccinated. 

If needed, everyone is expected to promptly follow directions from Humboldt County Public Health related to testing and contact tracing.

Guest Tickets

All guests must be registered and have a printed ticket to enter Redwood Bowl. This includes infants and children, regardless of whether they sit on a lap or in a chair. Email tickets to your registered guests by clicking on the email/print tickets button when you log into the registration portal.

Name card

Pick up your pre-printed name card when you arrive at check-in. Hold onto your card during the Commencement ceremony—as you enter the stage, you'll need to present it to the stage manager.


Graduates and guests may park in most lots on campus, but G11, FS9, G13, G14, and G15 are recommended. Shuttles for those with mobility issues will run continuously from the G15 lot on the corner of 14th and Union Streets. The green lots on the attached map are open and the blue lots are recommended for ADA and shuttle access. No parking is allowed past the red lines toward Redwood Bowl.

Assemble for the procession

Arrive in your cap and gown at the Student Recreation Center (at the top of the Redwood Bowl stairs and across from the Kinesiology & Athletics Building) no later than:


3:00 p.m. | All Colleges Ceremony


8:00 a.m. | College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
11:30 a.m. | College of Natural Resources & Sciences
3:00 p.m. | College of Professional Studies

You will be directed to line up by your major, but it’s not necessary to be in alphabetical order.

Procession order

The Mace Bearer and Student Marshals will lead students into the Redwood Bowl, followed by faculty and the platform party. Students will file out 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. There are 10 seats in each row.

Commencement ceremony

  • Following the President’s speech, Student 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.
  • You will pick up a diploma cover from the table as you enter the stage. Walk to the gold square on the stage in front of the podium and face the photographer for a photo.
  • Walk down the stairs at the center of the stage or use the ramp on the west side, and the Student Marshal will direct you to return to your seat.
  • For master’s candidates, you will carry your hood in the processional on your arm. As you line up to go on stage, you’ll get instructions about how to put your hood on.
  • Following the reading of the graduate names, the President 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 and guests will be directed to exit one row at a time

Watch Online

The Commencement Ceremonies will be livestreamed and there will be a link on the HSU homepage and the HSU Commencement website the day of the event. There will also be a link to watch the livestream with Spanish translation. A recording will be available to view in the week following the ceremonies.

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.
  • HSU is smoke- and tobacco-free and smoking is not permitted anywhere in Redwood Bowl or on the HSU Campus.
  • Dogs are not allowed in the Redwood Bowl, except for service animals.
  • 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.
  • Bring your own reusable water bottle and encourage your guests to do the same.
  • 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.


GradImages photographers will be on hand at the ceremonies to capture official graduation portraits. You’ll have the opportunity to take at least one portrait without a face covering if you’d like. After the ceremony, you’ll be sent a link to preview your images, and there is no obligation to purchase photos.

Graduates consent to having portraits and candid photos taken by Commencement photographers. Candid photos may be used in HSU publications, website, and social media. If you do not want to be photographed, email

Commencement Flowers

Pre-order leis and other Commencement flowers for local delivery or pick up from Haggerty Designs.

Congratulations! As you celebrate your success this weekend, please be safe and responsible.

Graduates check in at the top of the stairs by the Student Recreation Center. Please arrive at least 1 hour prior to the beginning of the ceremony.
View Map (pdf)

SRC on map, shows Graduate Check-in location