Commencement instructions for the Class of 2020

Message sent September 22, 2021

Erin Eline Aumen, Commencement Coordinator and Associate Director of Constituent Relations, sent instructions to the Class of 2020 about their Commencement ceremony on September 26.

Dear Class of 2020,

Congratulations! Your day is nearly here! We can’t wait to welcome you back on Sunday for your Commencement ceremony.

If you are no longer planning to attend, please let us know ASAP!

Thank you for reading carefully the information below.


Since Commencement is formal, academic attire is required. Casual attire is not appropriate dress for Commencement. Sensible shoes are recommended as high heels may sink into the grass and many sandals can be slippery. Plus, the steps of Penn Hall are steep!

If you have not yet picked up your regalia, please contact the Bookstore as soon as possible. Please remember that your regalia consists of five pieces: cap, gown, tassel, hood, and 2020 Stole of Gratitude (if you still have it—the Stole of Gratitude is not required). All graduates must bring any items previously mailed or ordered, including honor cords and your Stole of Gratitude. Extra items are not available!

How to put on your academic regalia

  • Your gown – Be sure to hang up your regalia before the weekend; it may have wrinkles from the packaging.
  • Your Stole of Gratitude – If you are wearing a Stole of Gratitude, put it on before your hood so that it rests underneath.
  • Your hood – Put on your hood with the orange and blue part turned so it can be seen. Here’s a video from another college which may be helpful.
  • Your cap – Wear the tassel on your left side because your degree has already been conferred.
  • Honor cords – Honor cords should be worn underneath your hood to help keep them in place. All honor cords were mailed in the summer of 2020. You must bring them with you. Extra cords are not available.

Sunday details

  • Please arrive at the CUB Ballroom NO LATER than 9:45 a.m. on Sunday morningin your regalia (gown, cap, tassel, hood, and Stole of Gratitude, if you have it). Check in at the registration tables and follow instructions given there. After check-in, please go immediately to your seat. You will be given instructions on how everything works when you arrive.
  • No food or drinks will be permitted in the Ballroom. A bottle of water will be provided under your seat at the Commencement site.
  • Please plan to use the restrooms before entering the Ballroom. Once you are in the Ballroom, we ask you to remain there.
  • Please take ALL belongings with you when you leave the Ballroom in the Commencement procession.
  • It is VITAL that you STAY IN YOUR LINE AND IN ORDER during the procession from the Ballroom to Penn Hall.

Handy tips and other information

  • Three photos will be taken of each graduate and may be viewed and purchased at GradImages.
  • Be sure to eat something and hydrate before line-up on Sunday morning—you’ll need your energy!
  • If you need the restroom or any assistance during the Commencement ceremony, see a Commencement usher.
  • Remember to silence your phone (and be sure it’s charged for photos, too!).
  • You can use #gburg2020 to share your Commencement moments and photos on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Be sure to take your time and hold onto the railings when ascending and descending the Penn Hall stairs and stage ramp.
  • The current weather forecast is looking nice. You may want to wear sunscreen. If it is rainy, we’ll provide a poncho for you to wear over your regalia when you get to the Ballroom. Gettysburg weather.

Translation copies for Spanish-speaking guests

Spanish versions of the Commencement program and script will be available on a table by the band tent (left side of stage as you face Penn Hall). Ushers can assist.

After the ceremony

  • We recommend that you have a predetermined location to meet your family, friends, or guests after the ceremony. Perhaps in front of your major’s academic building or at your favorite campus spot for photos. It’s best not to plan to meet near the fountain because it’s a very busy area!
  • Light refreshments will be available on Memorial Field following the ceremony.

Class of 2020 Commencement website

Go to the Commencement website for the latest information.

COVID-19/campus safety

Gettysburg College is committed to the health and safety of the broader campus community. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Commencement information is subject to change. The College continues to monitor conditions and may adjust plans as needed. During Commencement/Homecoming Weekend, visitors will be expected to followcampus COVID-19 protocols which currently includes masking for all, regardless of vaccination status, while indoors. Guests are not permitted in campus residences, including fraternity housing.

Homecoming Weekend events

  • The Homecoming Tailgate Lunch will take place in the tent on the Jaeger Center lawn (pool side) on Saturday, September 25, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Registration is required. $20 for adults, $8 for children.
  • The Class of 2020 Social is Saturday, September 25, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. free of charge in the tent on the Jaeger Center lawn (pool side). There is not a registration for this event, but ID will be required.
  • The All-Campus Party will follow the Class of 2020 social in the tent from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. All are welcome. ID required.
  • Please consult the full Homecoming Weekend schedule for additional details and activities.

Please feel free to email us at with last-minute questions.

And last but not least, there will be people from every area of the College to help you, direct you, and lead you along the way. Just remember to breathe, smile and—most of all—enjoy this special occasion. Congratulations!

My very best wishes to you,

Erin Eline Aumen
Commencement Coordinator and Associate Director, Constituent Relations