Humboldt State University

Commencement 2017 Saturday, May 13 | Redwood Bowl

FAQs for Graduates

    • Who may participate?

      All undergraduate and graduate students who received a degree from Humboldt State during the summer '16 or fall '16 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 '17 or summer '17 or fall '17 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,

      In order to walk in the Commencement ceremony in May, you must register for Commencement by April 4, 2017.

      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.

      Visit the Registrar's site for more information »

      To be kept up to date on all things Commencement, don't forget to register for commencement at  This is our way of planning and preparing for you and your family to be present at Commencement 2017. 

    • How do I get more information on my graduation status?

      Go to, or call the Office of the Registrar, 707-826-4101 or go to the website,

    • 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. However, we will be live-streaming the Commencement ceremonies and there will be a link on the HSU homepage starting Thursday, May 11. Limited seating is available for guests to view the live stream indoors in Room 166 of the Behavioral & Social Sciences Building and in Van Duzer Theatre.

      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. Over the past 20 years, rain has only dampened two.

    • I have guests that can't come to the ceremony. Is there any way to see it online?

      We will be live-streaming the Commencement ceremonies and there will be a link on the HSU homepage starting Thursday, May 11. If your guests can't watch the ceremony live, an archive of it will be available to view as soon as the ceremony is finished and the video will be available to download for free on the Commencement homepage in the weeks following Commencement. In addition, limited seating is available for guests on campus to view the live stream in Room 166 of the Behavioral & Social Sciences Building and in Van Duzer Theatre.

    • 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 January 30, 2017 for Spring, Summer, or Fall 2016 graduation. Students who have filed an application for graduation BEFORE the deadline for the terms Summer 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Summer 2017, and Fall 2017, will be included in the 2017 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 10, 2017. 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 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 28 and 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Bookstore.

      Caps and gowns are available for purchase 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 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. 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 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.

    • 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 Gilbert Cline.

      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 official 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 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.

      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.

      Graduates and guests are encouraged to post photos to their personal social media accounts and tag them with #HSUgrad.

    • 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, 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.

    • 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 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 may keep the gown, cap, tassel and stole. Or, you may choose to donate the cap and gown to CCAT for future rental at their tent located in Redwood Bowl on the day of Commencement. 

    • 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

    • 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 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 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 Career 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