Graduate's Guide

Event Details

  • 6 p.m.      Doors open at Ford Fieldhouse
                   Graduates arrive for line up.
  • 6:45 p.m.  All guests should be seated
  • 7 p.m.      Ceremony begins

Before the Event

  • Take your cap, gown, and stole out of the package in advance. Hang it in the bathroom while you are showering to remove any wrinkles. Do NOT iron!
  • If you are a member of Phi Theta Kappa, purchase your key medallion from the Student Life Office.
  • Military service members (past and present) can pick up a red, white, and blue cord recognizing your service to our country. Please bring proof of service with you.

Preparing for Arrival and Robing

Bring the following items with you:

  • Cap, gown, tassel and stole (come dressed)!
  • The honors and veteran cords, Delta Pi Alpha, PTK, culinary medallions and nursing pins are approved to be worn with the graduation gown.
  • The tip of your mortar board (cap) should point to the front. Your tassel will start on the right side of your cap and will be moved to the left side during the ceremony when the President instructs you to stand and move it.
  • Please leave all personal belongings and valuables with family and friends. Only graduates will have access to the line-up area. If you choose to carry a phone, please verify it is in silent mode. Neither you nor family members should bring cow bells, air horns, balloons, etc.

Guests and Parking

  • Tickets are required for all guests over the age of two-years-old.
  • The Fieldhouse will open at 6:00 p.m. for guest seating.
  • Lyon St. and the Fieldhouse will close at 6:45 p.m. for the procession to take place. Both will reopen once gradautes are inside and seated.
  • Parking is FREE in GRCC's Bostwick or Lyon Street Ramps.
  • Guests who need mobility assistance can be dropped off in front of the Ford Fieldhouse on Lyon St.

Lineup Information

  • Arrive by 6 p.m. for lineup on the Dr. Juan R. Olivarez Student Plaza.
  • Follow the directions from greeters to pick up your name card. (You will keep this with you to hand to the stage staff.)
  • Follow further directions to line up according to your school, which will be distinguished based on the color of your name card.
  • If you want to sit by specific people (you must be graduating in the same school), you will want to make sure that person is in front or in back of you in line.
  • Once you are in line, please stay there. If you have questions, ask staff working in that area. We will remain in line until about 10-15 minutes before the ceremony, when we will start moving to enter the fieldhouse.
  • Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as you will be standing for an extended period of time.

During the Ceremony

  • You will be directed to sit in a specific row by a marshal (staff member in black gown). Please move all the way to the end of the row and fill every seat. This is critical, as the marshals are counting/tracking how many students can fit in each row.
  • When you are at your seat, stay standing while faculty and stage members enter. President Ender will signal and ask you to be seated.
  • During the National Anthem, men will need to remove their caps.

When it is time to cross the stage:

  • Marshals will signal your row to stand. The entire row will rise together.
  • Bring your name card up with you! You will hand your card to the stage staff to read your name.
  • Hand your card to the stage staff and start walking toward the President to shake his hand and receive your diploma cover.
  • When you shake hands with the President, pause to smile for the camera, then exit the stage for additional photo.
  • After your photo, return to your seat.
  • When it is time, you will be directed by the President to stand and move your tassel from right to left.
  • This is a formal academic ceremony and there is an expectation of respect and professionalism. We do not throw caps at the end of the ceremony. All graduates are required to stay until the conclusion of the ceremony out of respect to your fellow grads.

After the Ceremony

  • Staff will lead you out of the building through a faculty congratulations line.
  • Tell family members and guests to meet you.
  • Consider recycling your gown! There will be boxes to drop gowns in on your way out if you are willing to donate for future graduates.

Additional Information

  • Flowers will be available for purchase at the fieldhouse that evening.
  • DVDs of the ceremony are available for $10.00. The order form is available online.
  • Photographs - Two photographs will be taken of each graduate. One with the college president as graduate receives diploma cover and one photo just off the exit ramp. You will receive an email after the ceremony to purchase photos. There is no obligation to purchase. Questions? Please contact Call Photography (800) 997-4980. Cameras and video cameras are permitted, but we do ask all guests to remain in their seats and do not stand in or block the aisles.

Please note:

  • Participation in the ceremony does not guarantee graduation. Your record will be reviewed after all grades are submitted and your diploma will be mailed mid-summer upon degree verification.
  • If you require special accommodations during the line-up process or ceremony, please contact Student Affairs at (616) 234-3925 or studentaffairs@grcc.edu.
  • If your plans change and you will no longer be participating in the ceremony, please call the Student Life Office at (616) 234-4160.
  • For additional questions and assistance, call (616) 234-3925 or (616) 234-4160.

You've worked hard for this! We can't wait to celebrate with you!