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Please read the following information carefully!

With your application for graduation, you indicated that you would like to participate in the 2023 May commencement ceremony. The commencement ceremony is a traditional academic service and signifies the completion of the degree or certificate being awarded. Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 graduates may participate in the May ceremony. Summer 2023 graduates may attend the May ceremony as they are not taking more than 6 credits in the summer. Only students who have filed an application for graduation and have met all requirements will be permitted to participate in the ceremony.

General Ceremony Information

  • The Annual Commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 20th at 9:30 a.m. at the Athletic, Recreation, and Community Center (ARCC) on campus. 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 9:00 a.m.
  • A commencement ceremony rehearsal for all students participating in the ceremony will be held Friday, May 19, 2023; 4-5 pm at the ARCC. Please plan to arrive by 3:30pm.
  • Given our ability to use the ARCC for the Annual Commencement Ceremony, your graduation will happen rain or shine.
  • The Annual Commencement Ceremony is NOT a ticketed event, thus you are able to invite as many guests as you would like. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please encourage guests to arrive early. Guests that arrive after 9:30am, will be asked to sit in a seating area specific to latecomers. We do expect to be at maximum capacity for graduation; live online viewing will be available for guests who choose not to attend in person.
  • Your graduation ceremony will run approximately one hour and a half in length.
  • Dress code guidelines can be found on our webpage: Graduation Decorum and Dress Code
  • Graduates must wear their graduation HCC approved green cap and gown to participate in the ceremony. Detailed information will be sent to your student email regarding cap and gown pick-up at the HCC Campus Store. You will need to bring a photo ID to pick up your cap and gown at the Campus Store.
  • The Annual Commencement Ceremony will be live-streamed on Facebook for your friends/family to watch online.
  • A handicap seating area will be available to guests needing such provisions at each ceremony. There is a limited amount of designated seating for guests with special seating needs (e.g., wheelchair, disabled, elderly). Guests with special accommodations will be assisted by designated HCC staff. Guests with special accommodations may have no more than three escorts sit with them in the handicap seating. If you need special accommodations for you and/or your guest(s), please contact the Disability Support Services Office by Friday, May 12, 2023 at 240-500-2273 or
  • Except to follow directions to and from the stage, graduates are asked to remain in their seats for the entire ceremony.
  • Guest parking will be in HCC Parking Lots (K, L and O Lots). Be prepared to walk (due to the distance from parking lots to guest entrance). Handicap Parking will be available in the L1 Lot, as it is closest in proximity to the ARCC.
  • Graduates will receive a diploma cover at the ceremony but printed diplomas will not be available until after May 20th. Details regarding this will be sent via email at a later time.

Cap and Gown Information

Eligible graduates who are attending the May ceremony will need to purchase their cap and gown online. Graduates must wear a cap and gown to participate in the ceremony.

  • Cap and Gown ordering is now closed. Students may still apply but will not be allowed to walk in the Commencement Ceremony.
  • Detailed information will be sent to your student email regarding cap and gown pick-up at the Campus Store. You will need to bring a photo ID to pick up your cap and gown at the Campus Store.
  • Members of Phi Theta Kappa wear a gold stole and tassel. PTK graduates can purchase stoles and/or cords directly from . Please do so in advance and allow for shipping and delivery time. A limited supply of stoles will be available for purchase at cost during graduation rehearsal.
  • United States Veterans, may wear a red, white, and blue cord provided by the HCC Veterans Club. Veteran students may pick up a cord at the Rehearsal or the morning of commencement at the Veterans table in the lobby of the ARCC.

Commencement Photographs

Professional photography through HCC is provided by Classic Photography & Imaging, which will take a photo of each graduate. Photos will be available to view and order online at There is no obligation to purchase photos.

The ceremony will be live-streamed on HCC’s Facebook Page and a video recording will be placed on HCC’s YouTube station. We are pleased to offer this option for those unable to attend for any reason.

Diploma/Certificate Pickup

Students participating in the May ceremony are able to pick up their diploma or certificate the Monday following commencement. Diplomas may be picked up in person in the Administration and Student Affairs Building at the Admissions/Records department counter during normal business hours. Students must present a photo ID to obtain their diploma

Contact Us

Our graduates have worked hard and deserve a ceremony to recognize their achievement; thank you for doing your part in making this a successful event. We look forward to celebrating with you!

If you have any additional questions regarding the commencement ceremony please contact R. Lee Smith at or by phone at 240-500-2526. For the status of your application for graduation or diploma, please contact Chris Baer at or by phone at 240-500-2341.