Commencement Exercises

The Commencement pages are updated frequently - please revisit often for the latest information.

Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 11:00 a.m.

Beachem Portico, North side of Pennsylvania Hall
11:00 a.m.

Further ceremony instructions, including line-up information.

Commencement exercises will be held outdoors - rain or shine - on Sunday, May 15, at 11:00 a.m. on the North side of Pennsylvania Hall.   Unfortunately, the College does not have an indoor space large enough to accommodate everyone in the event of rain, and the many large trees around Penn Hall prevent us from being able to erect tents at the Commencement site.  Ponchos will be provided to graduates, faculty, and all guests if necessary; please bring any other rain gear you wish to have if there is inclement weather on Commencement Day.

Wearing the Caps
Generally, caps (mortarboards) are worn while the class is processing as a group and while class members are standing individually, except during the invocation and benediction. Wearing your cap while seated is optional.

The Academic Procession
On your first day on campus in August 2012, at Convocation you processed as a class for the first time, up the north steps of Penn Hall and down the south steps to symbolize your entry to the College.  At Commencement, you will process in the opposite direction, up the south steps of Penn Hall and down the north steps to your seats, symbolizing the completion of your time as a student at Gettysburg College. 

The Deans and Assistants will organize and direct your processional lines. There will be two single-file lines proceeding down the side aisles to your seats. It is essential that you keep your place in line and remain in the order in which you are listed on the program and announced to the President. The order is alphabetical within each degree as follows:

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Music
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude
Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude
Bachelor of Music, Cum Laude
Bachelor of Science in Music Education, Cum Laude
Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude
Bachelor of Science, Magna Cum Laude
Bachelor of Music, Magna Cum Laude
Bachelor of Science in Music Education, Magna Cum Laude
Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude
Bachelor of Science, Summa Cum Laude
Bachelor of Music, Summa Cum Laude
Bachelor of Science in Music Education, Summa Cum Laude

When you arrive at your seat, remain standing. Upon signal from the presiding officer you will be seated. Men, please remove your caps for the invocation.

Banner Carriers
Banners will be carried by designated seniors who will process after the rest of their classmates.  Individual departments will notify each banner carrier of this honor before the Commencement ceremony. Should a designated student decline the honor, another student will be appointed to carry the banner.

When diplomas are presented, class officers and head ushers will help banner carriers take their proper places in line. After receiving their diplomas, banner carriers will return to their seats in the front rows. Banner carriers and the Valedictorian should place their banners and class flag in the stands and then be seated in the front rows of the student section.

Valedictorian and Salutatorian
The Valedictorian, carrying the class flag, and the Salutatorian will follow the Banner Carriers. The Salutatorian and Valedictorian will receive their degrees last.

The Conferring of Degrees
The method of conferring the bachelor's degree is as follows: Each group of candidates will be asked to rise. (Caps should be replaced by this time.) Degrees will be conferred in the following order: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Science in Music Education. Each group will be seated at the direction of the provost. When the procedure is completed for all three groups, graduates will individually receive diplomas.

Receiving the Diplomas
At the direction of the student marshals, seniors will rise a row at a time, beginning with Bachelor of Arts candidates. Be sure caps are replaced and proceed to the platform in order as directed. When the Provost announces your name, proceed across the platform to the President, receive your diploma in your left hand, shake hands with the President, and process across and off the platform.  Following receipt of the degree and a photograph with your new diploma, ushers will direct you back to your seat. Please remain standing until your entire row is in place and be seated at the signal from the student marshal. Caps may be removed when seated.

After all diplomas have been received and graduates have been welcomed into the Alumni Association, the President will offer her "Charge to the Graduates" and give the rite of passage, directing graduates to change their tassels from right to left. The Alma Mater will be sung and the benediction offered, at which time the audience will stand. We encourage you to sing the Alma Mater together as a class. The words and music will be in the program. Caps should be removed for the benediction and replaced afterward at the signal of the college marshal.

The Recessional
After the benediction, the platform party, followed by the faculty, will recess up the center aisle. The Class will follow the faculty. Beginning with the first rows, right row pairs with left row in the center directly after the faculty. Graduates will follow the faculty toward Memorial Field. The academic procession should remain intact and quiet. Please keep moving to the post-Commencement reception, making room for graduates still recessing.