FAQs for Graduates
Who may participate?
All undergraduate and graduate students who received a degree from Humboldt State during the summer '15 or fall '15 semesters, as well as those who have a graduation date on file at the Registrar's Office and expect to be awarded a degree at the end of the spring '16 or summer '16 or fall '16 semesters are eligible to participate. For answers to your questions, call the Office of the Registrar, 707-826-4101 or go to the website, humboldt.edu/registrar.
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 2016.
How do I get more information on my graduation status?
How do I know if my name will be in the program?
One way to ensure inclusion in the program is by petitioning to graduate with the Registrar's Office by February 2, 2016 for Spring, Summer, or Fall 2015 graduation AND be listed in the Commencement program. Students who have filed an application for graduation BEFORE the deadlines published for the terms: Summer 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Summer 2016, and Fall 2016, will be included in the 2016 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 contact the Office of the Registrar by letter postmarked no later than March 7, 2016. Be sure to mention the Commencement program in your letter.
How will my name be read?
You will be given a Name Reader card with your cap and gown (they will also be available at Commencement prior to the processional). Fill it out completely and give it to the Name Reader as you cross the stage. Your name will be read from the card.
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. Details regarding transcript request information may be obtained by calling the Registrar at (707) 826-6185 or visiting humboldt.edu/registrar. 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 TBD from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Bookstore.
Caps and gowns are available for rent at 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 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 Reader Card with them, filled out with their name, phonetic spelling of their name, email address and permanent address. 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 candidates in the procession.
Led by the mace bearer and student marshals, the procession descends the stairs outside the Forbes Gym Center 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. Candidates and guests are asked to refrain from the use of cell phones, noisemakers, beach balls and other distractions that could detract from the experience for others.
The program includes remarks by the University President, and 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.
What's the music?
The music is performed by the HSU Commencement Brass Choir, under the direction of Professor Gilbert Cline.
The processional will sound familiar. It is Sir Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance." Depending upon the ceremony, the recessional will be "Light & Truth" or "Triumphal March from Aida."
How can I take photos during 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. Only official photographers will be permitted in the platform area.
At least two different pictures of each graduate will be taken by a commercial photographer from GradImages ®—you will receive 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. You can contact GradImages by calling 800.261.2576.
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: Alcoholic beverages, balloons, coolers/ice chests, banners, signs, beach balls, noisemakers, silly string, and fireworks are not allowed in Redwood Bowl. Smoking is not permitted in or around Redwood Bowl. Smoking is allowed only in designated areas on campus—Smoking Areas Map.
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 both undergraduate and graduate students at the HSU Bookstore for a special discounted price, as they can be rented. Undergraduate gold honor cords are available in the Bookstore during Finals Week. 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?
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 after graduation. You may keep the cap, tassel and stole.
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 alumna or alumnus of Humboldt State University you're also 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 Career Center. Other perks include discounts to many local businesses, national car rental agencies and insurance providers. Membership is discounted for new graduates, so be sure to sign up within six weeks of graduation. 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 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.
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 at (707) 443-7062 or wrh.noaa.gov/eka.
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. Over the past 20 years, rain has only dampened two.
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.
Do you have a story to tell?
We're looking for story ideas about Humboldt State's Class of 2015. Are you part of a family of graduates, e.g., a mother/daughter combo or assorted siblings? Did you create a one-of-a-kind major? Are you getting your dream job after graduation? Perhaps you overcame difficult odds getting to college and plan to make your life's work helping others who need a hand?
Email Marketing & Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story and let us know the best times and ways to reach you. We can't guarantee you 15 minutes of fame or that we'll be able to use every suggestion, but we'll do our best to follow up with as many as possible.
Stories may be used in Humboldt Magazine, the Humboldt State NOW campus news website or passed along to the news media.
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, e-mail email@example.com.