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

GRCC graduate at commencement

2024 Commencement

Thursday, April 25 at 7 p.m.


Van Andel Arena
130 Fulton St W
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Graduates will follow signs for "Graduate Line Up" to the east side of the building. Arrive before 6:30pm.

Guests will enter at Van Andel Arena's main entrance off of Fulton. Arrive before 6:30pm.

GRCC graduate at commencement

Event Details

  • Arrive 60 to 30 minutes prior to your scheduled ceremony, please check in with staff. Graduates need to arrive early for check-in, line up, and security screening.
  • Van Andel Arena has a no bag policy which is in effect for all Graduates and attendees.
  • Once checked in you will be directed to line up outside of the arena.
  • There is no rehearsal prior to Commencement. Please keep this information with your cap and gown to review and reference on the day of the ceremony. Staff will be available to assist graduates to ensure a memorable commencement experience.
  • There are no tickets for commencement, and we anticipate graduates to invite between two and six guests to support them.

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!
  • Military service members (past and present) will be recognized for their service with red, white, and blue cords. These will be distributed at GRADfest. Following GRADfest, they will be available in the Student Life Office.

Preparing for Arrival and Robing

Bring the following items with you:

  • Cap, gown, tassel and stole. Also, please adhere to the College’s face covering requirement.
  • The honors and veterans cords, Delta Pi Alpha, Phi Theta Kappa, culinary medallions, and nursing pins are approved to be worn with the graduation gown.
  • The tip of your mortar board 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.


  • Parking is available near the arena. Please view parking information from Van Andel's website for parking and accessibility options.
  • GRCC Bostwick Ramp gates will be raised for graduate and guest parking. If you park there - please arrive early enough to walk to Van Andel Arena. Graduates should arrive at 6 p.m. and no later than 6:30 p.m.

Line Up Information

  • Arrive 60 minutes prior to your ceremony’s scheduled time for check in at the southeast entrance of Van Andel arena (behind HopCat). 
  • Follow the directions from greeters.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as you will be standing for an extended period of time. If you require any special accommodations, please contact the Student Life Office at (616) 234-4160.

During the Ceremony

  • You will be directed to sit in a specific row by an usher. Please move all the way to the end of the row and fill every seat. This is critical, as the ushers are counting/tracking how many students are in each row.
  • When you are at your seat, stay standing.
  • President Dr. Lepper will signal and ask you to be seated.
  • When it is time to cross the stage:
    • Ushers will signal your row to stand. The entire row will rise together.
    • A staff member will be placed at the ramp to verify your name before crossing the stage.
    • When signaled by the staff member, you will walk across the stage. Pause and smile for the photographer as you pick up your diploma cover.
    • You will then exit off the stage for an 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.
  • 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. 
  • Consider donating your gown! There will be boxes to drop gowns in on the plaza if you are willing to donate them for future graduates.

Additional Information


GRCC graduate at commencement

Two photographs will be taken of each graduate. One with the college president as each graduate receives a 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 at (800) 997-4980.


Participation in the ceremony does not guarantee graduation. Your record will be reviewed after all grades are submitted and your diploma will be mailed upon degree verification.

Special accommodations 

If you require special accommodations during the line-up process or ceremony, please contact Student Life at (616) 234-4160 or email

No longer participating

If your plans change and you will no longer be participating in the ceremony, please call the Student Life Office at (616) 234-4160.