Who may participate?
All undergraduate and graduate students who received a degree from Humboldt State during the summer '19 or fall '19 semesters, as well as those who have filled out the Application for Graduation and expect to be awarded a degree at the end of the spring '20 or summer '20 or fall '20 semesters are eligible to participate. If you need to change your graduation date or want to confirm eligibility, call the Office of the Registrar, 707-826-4101 or go to the website, humboldt.edu/registrar.
In order to walk in the Commencement ceremony in May, you must register for Commencement by April 3, 2020.
The Commencement program lists the names of graduates and eligible candidates as provided by the Office of the Registrar at the time of publication. The presence or absence of a name in the program does not indicate completion or non-completion of degree requirements.
When is the deadline to apply for graduation?
Students pursuing a bachelor's degree may apply for graduation with the Registrar's Office any time after they have reached junior standing (60 units), and it is strongly recommended they apply AT LEAST three semesters prior to their expected term of graduation.
To be kept up to date on all things Commencement, don't forget to register for commencement at humboldt.edu/gradreg. This is our way of planning and preparing for you and your family to be present at Commencement 2020.
How do I get more information on my graduation status?
What happens if there is bad weather?
Commencement ceremonies will be held rain or shine in Redwood Bowl. Given the size of our graduating class and the number of guests, there is no indoor alternative. However, we will be live-streaming the Commencement ceremonies and there will be a link on the HSU homepage starting Thursday, May 14. Limited seating is available for guests to view the live stream indoors in Science A, Room 564.
Monitor the forecast and be prepared—with umbrellas, ponchos, sunscreen or whatever weather protection may be necessary.
A current weather forecast is available from the National Weather Service. The average mid-May temperatures for our area over the past 30 years are a high of 58 and a low of 48. Rain is rare—the average is less than one-twentieth of an inch for graduation day—though it has dampened the last two years' ceremonies, so be prepared just in case!
Where can I see the ceremony if I'm not able to come to campus that day?
We will be live-streaming the Commencement ceremonies and there will be a link on the HSU homepage starting Thursday, May 14. In addition, limited seating is available to view the live stream in Science A, Room 564. Photos from the event are usually posted on the University homepage within a day or two.
How do I know if my name will be in the program?
One way to ensure inclusion in the program is by filling out the Application for Graduation with the Registrar's Office by February 3, 2020 for Spring, Summer, or Fall 2020 graduation. Students who have filed an application for graduation BEFORE the deadline for the terms Summer 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Summer 2020, and Fall 2020, will be included in the 2020 Commencement ceremonies and will have their name included in the Commencement program.
Students who do not wish for their names to appear in the Commencement program can request their names be removed. Under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) you as a student have the right to control the disclosure of your information and records.
If you do not wish to be included in this public document, you must email the Office of the Registrar no later than March 13, 2020. Be sure to provide your HSU ID number and mention the Commencement program in your email.
Additionally, students who have requested confidential status will not be listed in the Commencement Program, unless the student explicitly requested a Commencement exception when they requested confidential status. If you have questions, please email the Office of the Registrar.
How will my name be read?
When you registered for Commencement you filled out the name you wanted read on stage and gave the phonetic spelling. That information will be pre-printed on a name card which you will pick up on the Thursday and Friday before Commencement from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the front lobby of the Student Business Services building (SBS). As you cross the stage, you'll need to present the card to the name reader, so don't forget to bring it to the ceremony with your cap and gown.
When will I get my diploma?
At the Commencement ceremony, you will receive a diploma cover. The actual diplomas are printed and sent to graduates approximately three to four months after the end of the term they graduated.
Will a transcript be sent to me automatically?
No. You may request a copy of your academic record or transcript by filing a request form with the Office of the Registrar. For details about transcript request information, contact the Registrar at (707) 826-6185 or registrar.humboldt.edu. Because of the volume of transcript requests, a delay of up to four weeks may occur after grades have been posted. All transcript requests are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
What (and when) is Grad Fair?
Grad Fair is the kick-off of the graduation season. This year it will be March 25 and 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Bookstore.
Caps and gowns are available for purchase online only through the HSU Bookstore. Master's degree Candidates may purchase a Master's hood for the hooding ceremony. The color of the Master's hood differs, depending upon the degree. Master's degree students graduating with distinction may purchase a gold honor stole.
When and where do I line up for the ceremony?
Candidates for credentials, bachelor's, and master's degrees assemble in the West Gym in their caps and gowns 45 minutes before their ceremony. Once there, they gather by major. Candidates must bring the name reader card with them (pick up on the Thursday and Friday before Commencement from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the front lobby of the Student Business Services building (SBS). This card will be used by the name reader as each graduate approaches the stage, as well as the photographers to identify and contact graduates.
How does the processional happen?
As the time nears for the graduation ceremony to begin, faculty and staff members at the West Gym will call for graduation candidates to line up in single file with others in their major.
A college representative will announce when to begin. Though candidates in each major will line up single file, the procession out to the field will consist of two lines side by side, as the lineups of majors from various departments are doubled up. For example, the line of candidates in the Department of English may be marching alongside the line from the Department of Geography.
The bachelor's degree candidates will follow the master's degree and credential candidates in the procession.
Led by the mace bearer and student marshals, the procession descends the stairs outside the Forbes Gym onto the plaza below, and then moves north through the middle of the Redwood Bowl field to the seating area. (Candidates in wheelchairs may join the procession at the bottom of the stairs in the plaza.)
Marshals will provide ample guidance, which is why a rehearsal is not necessary.
What happens during the ceremony?
Commencement is a formal, degree-conferring ceremony. 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.
The program includes remarks by the University President and sometimes other dignitaries. There may be some special presentations or other short speeches. President Lisa A. Rossbacher will confer degrees on candidates and make note of special honors.
How does it end?
Following the president's congratulatory statements, the mace bearer will lead a recessional from Redwood Bowl, followed by the president's platform party, the faculty and then the graduates. This will conclude the formal ceremony. Receptions are often held by various departments.
Do I have to stay for the whole thing?
Yes! Out of respect for your classmates and your families—many of whom have traveled a long way to celebrate your accomplishment—please stay for the entire ceremony.
How soon after the ceremony can we make dinner reservations?
Allow enough time after the end of the Commencement ceremony to get to restaurants and other activities off campus. Ceremonies last between 2 and 2.5 hours, so it's strongly recommended that you make restaurant reservations a minimum of 3.5 hours after the start of the ceremony.
What's the music?
The music is performed by the HSU Commencement Brass Choir, under the direction of Professor Dan Aldag.
The processional will sound familiar. It is Sir Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance." The recessional will be "Centennial Flourish: Sempre Pro Veritas (Always for Truth)."
Are there photos taken during the ceremony?
At least two different pictures of each graduate will be taken by a commercial photographer from GradImages®—an individual portrait and a photo shaking hands with President Tom Jackson, Jr. The proofs of these pictures will be sent to the graduate. There is no obligation to order these pictures. You can contact GradImages® by calling 800.261.2576.
The HSU Campus Photographer will also be taking photos of graduates before, during, and after the ceremony in various places on campus. A slideshow will be compiled and posted on the Commencement website within a few days of the ceremony.
Guests are welcome to take photographs from their seats, but should not stand in the aisles nor block the view of other guests. Be respectful! The wheelchair seating areas on the field are NOT accessible to guests waiting to photograph their student. Only official photographers will be permitted on the platform or within the fenced areas on the field.
Graduates and guests are encouraged to post photos to their personal social media accounts and tag them with #humboldtstate.
Will you take away my beach ball?
Yes. The Commencement ceremony symbolizes the culmination of many years of hard work. It is a time for you, your family and friends to recognize and celebrate your success. We ask your help in making the ceremony a positive experience for everyone. The University's non-alcohol policy for Commencement will be strictly enforced. Graduates and guests will not be permitted to carry alcoholic beverages into the stadium or consume them there.
Please note: Confetti poppers/cannons and silly string 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, beach balls, etc.) is prohibited and may be confiscated. Alcoholic beverages, coolers/ice chests, noisemakers, and fireworks are not allowed in Redwood Bowl. HSU is smoke- and tobacco-free and smoking is not permitted anywhere in Redwood Bowl or on the HSU Campus.
Are there access services for graduates with disabilities?
Yes, we work hard to make the ceremony enjoyable and accessible for everyone. Contact the Student Disability Resource Center at 707-826-4678 for information on transportation, seating and other reasonable accommodations for graduates.
What do I wear to Commencement?
All candidates participating in Commencement must wear a cap and gown. Candidates should wear dress clothes beneath the academic robe.
The cap is worn with the long point of the shell to the rear. Undergraduates who have not yet earned a first degree wear the tassel forward and to the right. During the ceremony President Rossbacher will instruct undergraduates to move their tassels to the left to signify the conferring of the bachelor's degree. Master's degree candidates will be hooded during the ceremony.
Caps and gowns are available to rent for both undergraduate and graduate students at the HSU Bookstore. Undergraduate gold honor cords are available in the Bookstore as well. Please ask to see the Registrar’s Honor Cord list when you pick up your gold cord. Blue cords are available for Candidates who are receiving their Teaching Credentials. Master’s degree candidates may purchase a Master’s hood. The color of the Master’s hood differs depending upon the degree. The candidate will bring the hood to Commencement for the hooding ceremony. Master’s degree students graduating with distinction may purchase a gold honor stole.
What do I do with the gown after the ceremony?
You must return the gown to the HSU Bookstore either at their tent located in Redwood Bowl on the day of Commencement or in the store within the week following the ceremony. The cap, tassel and stole are yours to keep, or you may choose to donate the cap to CCAT for future rental. They'll be in the same tent as the HSU Bookstore in Redwood Bowl.
Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility
Green ribbons may be worn by graduates to symbolize their support of the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility, a Commencement tradition that started at HSU in 1987. The pledge has been adopted by hundreds of universities worldwide, and reads:
"I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects for any organizations for which I work."
The day of Commencement, there will be a booth and a table with information about the graduation pledge. Students may sign the pledge at that time. For more information, visit graduationpledge.org.
How do I join Forever Humboldt?
As a new graduate, Forever Humboldt provides you with a FREE membership and exclusive benefits. Open Enrollment for graduates begins at the Spring Grad Fair, where you can sign up in person. To join online, visit forever.humboldt.edu or call (707) 826-3132.
How can I stay in touch with Humboldt State University?
One of the best ways to stay connected with HSU is to join Forever Humboldt (see above). Another great way is to visit with your department's website. You'll find the latest news from your major and have access to professors' contact information so you can stay in contact with your favorite teachers. Many websites also feature a Class Notes section where alumni can share updates on major life events, like a new career, marriage or new baby. Class Notes also appear in "Humboldt" magazine. Visit magazine.humboldt.edu/alumni_updates to submit a class note today.
As an alum of Humboldt State University you're eligible for all of the benefits that come from membership in Forever Humboldt. As a member you'll get special invites to alumni events and hear about all the updates on campus via the monthly alumni newsletter and biannual campus magazine. Members also receive discounts at the HSU bookstore, Student Rec Center and have access to the HSU Academic & Career Advising Center. Other perks include discounts to many local businesses, national car rental agencies and insurance providers. Membership is free, but you'll need to create a login and password online to get your membership card. For more information, visit the Forever Humboldt website.
How do I order announcements?
Announcements and Thank You cards are available through the HSU Bookstore.
Where Can I Order a Class Ring?
A class ring is a great keepsake of your academic achievements and experiences at Humboldt State University. Rings may be ordered through HSU Bookstore. Normal delivery time after ordering a ring is six weeks.
Do I need any tickets?
There are no tickets for Commencement. You may invite as many people as you want.
What college do I participate with if I'm an Interdisciplinary/Student Designed or Liberal Studies/NT major?
Students who are in the Interdisciplinary Studies/Student Designed or Liberal Studies/Nonteaching programs are assigned to a college by their academic advisor. Students must indicate that designated college when picking up their cap and gown.
Where can I get more information?
This website will be updated frequently, especially as we get closer to the day of the event. We have made every attempt to be thorough, but if there is something we have missed or you need clarification, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When is Commencement?
Saturday, May 16, 2020, Redwood Bowl
- 8:30 a.m. - College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
- Noon - College of Natural Resources & Sciences
- 3:00 p.m. - College of Professional Studies
Who will speak at Commencement?
President Tom Jackson, Jr. will do the Welcome and Commencement Address.
How long is the ceremony?
Ceremonies last between 2 and 2.5 hours.
How early should my guests and I plan to arrive?
Students line up 45 minutes prior to the start of each ceremony, and the processional begins on time. Guest seating in Redwood Bowl is on a first-come, first-serve basis, so your guests should plan to arrive early.
For the convenience of guests arriving early, food and beverages (coffee, tea, soft drinks) will be on sale at the concession stand in the stadium. Bring a reusable water bottle or coffee cup to help reduce waste during the event.
A member of my party is elderly, has a disability and/or mobility limitations. What access services are available?
Disabled parking is available, for those with proper plates or placards, in lot FS9 north of the Student Business Services building and near the corner of Harpst and Rossow streets, and in lot G15 near 14th and Union streets. Shuttle buses for those with limited mobility will run continuously from those lots starting at 7 a.m.—look for the shuttle pick-up areas under the tents.
Distance and terrain from designated parking lots to the commencement site in Redwood Bowl may be significant for some individuals. There are some steep inclines and numerous stairs in certain areas, see the map for suggested pedestrian routes and the one-way road for Passenger Drop-off location.
Once at Redwood Bowl, guests who have difficulty walking can request a wheelchair escort. This service is provided free of charge. There are wheelchair/accessible seating areas on both the west and east sides of Redwood Bowl on the field. There is room for one guest to accompany the person in the wheelchair or who has a mobility limitation in this seating area.
American Sign Language Interpreters will provide signing for each ceremony.
Appropriate auxiliary aides are available when possible. Requests must be made in advance to the Student Disability Resource Center at (707) 826-4678 as early as possible, preferably no later than April 24.
What about parking?
Parking is available in most campus lots, and parking permits are not required on the day of the ceremony. All meters are free to use except those on Rossow, Harpst and B streets. Disabled parking is located in lot FS9 at Harpst and Rossow streets as well as in lot G15 at Union and 14th street. Shuttle buses for those with mobility limitations will run continuously from those lots starting at 7 a.m.—look for the shuttle pick-up areas under the tents. Note that only shuttles and other authorized vehicles are allowed on Union Street north of 17th Street.
To reach the passenger drop off area, turn left from Union Street onto 17th. For all other drop-offs, go to the designated lots where shuttles are available.
Shuttles pick up passengers at designated locations approximately every 10 minutes starting at 7 a.m. Those leaving from the disabled parking lots are designed to accommodate wheelchairs. Distance and terrain from designated parking lots to the commencement site in Redwood Bowl may be significant for some individuals. There are some steep inclines and numerous stairs in certain areas, see the map for suggested pedestrian routes.
Where are the receptions?
What about flowers?
A flower booth will be located at the south end of Redwood Bowl, and will be selling leis, rose bouquets and spring bouquets.
What else should I know about the ceremony?
Greening up graduation: In an effort to reduce waste at the Commencement ceremonies Take Back the Tap will continue to reduce the number of single-use bottles, while also minimizing the number of compostable water and coffee cups. Look for drinking fountains at the south end of Redwood Bowl and water stations throughout the Bowl to refill your reusable water bottles. Vendors will be selling discounted water canteens and souvenir coffee cups, complete with unlimited refills.
Return/Recycle Graduation Gowns: Please check in your rented gown at one of the Bookstore sites located in Redwood Bowl on the day of Commencement, or at the Bookstore within a week of graduation. You may keep the cap and tassel. If you rented a cap and gown from CCAT, they will be in the Bookstore tent on the field in Redwood Bowl the day of Commencement.
Pledge Alliance: Green ribbons may be worn by graduates to symbolize their support of the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility, a Commencement tradition that started at HSU in 1987. The pledge has been adopted by hundreds of universities worldwide, and reads:
"I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects for any organizations for which I work."
The day of Commencement, there will be a booth and a table with information about the graduation pledge in the West Gym. Students may sign the pledge at that time. For more information, visit graduationpledge.org.
First aid: Our Center for First Aid, Lost & Found and Emergencies is located at the south end of the stadium.
Baby strollers: Guest seating in the stadium is in the bleachers with steep steps, and the use of baby strollers is not recommended. However, there is a seating area on the south end of Redwood Bowl where strollers can be used.
Domestic Animals: No animals of any kind are allowed in Redwood Bowl or Redwood Plaza on Commencement day except for Service Animals. Domestic animals are permitted outside on campus grounds but are not allowed in any campus building, with the exception of Service Animals. All animals must be leashed and under the handler's control at all time.
Please note: Confetti poppers/cannons and silly string aren't allowed in the audience or graduate seating area as part of HSU's commitment to environmental sustainability. Alcoholic beverages, coolers/ice chests, noisemakers, and fireworks are also not allowed in Redwood Bowl. HSU is smoke- and tobacco-free and smoking is not permitted anywhere in Redwood Bowl or on the HSU Campus.
How do I get a Commencement program?
The Commencement program, with the names of graduates and program details, will be distributed to graduates and handed out to guests as they enter Redwood Bowl. Programs will be limited to 2 per family. Contact email@example.com to obtain one after the ceremonies.
Your name will be listed in the program if you have filed an Application for Graduation by February 4, 2019 unless you have requested confidential status with the Registrar’s Office (please see “How do I know if my name will be in the program?” for more details).
Please note: The presence of your name in the program does not, in itself, testify to completion of your degree.
Where can I stay in Humboldt County?
Guest reservations for area lodging and dining during Commencement Weekend should be made as soon as possible. If you change your plans, please call and cancel your reservations so that others may take advantage of local hospitality.
- Humboldt County California Redwood Coast—comprehensive listing of lodging, dining & activities.
- North Coast Journal's restaurant listings
- Activities on the North Coast
Can I bring my pet?
No animals of any kind are allowed in Redwood Bowl or Redwood Plaza on Commencement day except for Service Animals. Domestic animals are permitted outside on campus grounds but are not allowed in any campus building, with the exception of Service Animals. All animals must be leashed and under the handler's control at all time.
What services are available in the stadium during the ceremony?
A flower booth will be located at the south end of Redwood Bowl, and will be selling leis, rose bouquets, spring bouquets and stuffed animals.
Forever Humboldt will also have a booth selling gifts for graduates.
For the convenience of guests arriving early, food and beverages will be on sale at the concession stand in the stadium. Water stations will also be available and guests are encouraged to bring their reusable coffee cups and water bottles.
Photography: At least two different pictures of each graduate will be taken by a commercial photographer from GradImages®—an individual portrait and a photo shaking hands with President Lisa A. Rossbacher. The proofs of these pictures will be sent to the graduate. There is no obligation to order these pictures.
First aid: Our Center for First Aid, Lost and Found and Emergencies is located at the south end of the stadium.
What services are available on campus that day?
The HSU bookstore is open graduation day from 7:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. The HSU Bookstore is located on the University Center's third floor next to the clock tower. It carries a large selection of HSU clothing and gifts, greeting cards, and more.
Where can I learn more about Humboldt State?
Catch the latest news and announcements from HSU by visiting Humboldt State NOW.
You can also visit HSU's Fast Facts page for an overview of campus, including the number of enrolled students, information on faculty, and more.
Finally, for those interested in the history of Humboldt State University, a brief timeline is provided at the President's Office website.
Further reading can be found in alumna Katy Tahja's ('70 Journalism & Mass Communications) book, "Humboldt State University," which contains more than 200 archival photos from the school's 100-year history.
Professor William R. Tanner's "View from the Hill," offers another take on the school's history from its origins through the early '90s. Both books, along with a host of other archival materials, can be found in the Humboldt State Library's Humboldt Room.