Commencement exercises

Class of 2021 Commencement postponed to May 22-23, 2021

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 the first day on campus in August 2017, during Convocation the Class of 2021 processed as a class up the north steps of Penn Hall and down the south steps to symbolize their entry to the College. At Commencement, the Class will process in the opposite direction, up the south steps of Penn Hall and down the north steps to their seats, symbolizing the completion of their time as a student at Gettysburg College.

The Deans and Assistants will organize and direct the processional lines. There will be two single-file lines proceeding down the side aisles to the graduates' seats. It is essential that each graduate keeps their place in line and remaina in the order in which they are listed in 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 Music Education
  • Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude
  • Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude
  • Bachelor of Music, Cum Laude
  • Bachelor of Music Education, Cum Laude
  • Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude
  • Bachelor of Science, Magna Cum Laude
  • Bachelor of Music, Magna Cum Laude
  • Bachelor of 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 Music Education, Summa Cum Laude
  • When graduates arrive at their seats, they remain standing. Upon signal from the presiding officer, they will be seated. Men should remove their 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, carrying the class's Twilight Walk book, will follow the banner carriers. The Salutatorian and Valedictorian will receive their degrees last.

The Conferring of Degrees
In keeping with academic tradition, the method of conferring the bachelor's degree is as follows: Each group of candidates will be asked to rise individually. 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 Music Education. Each group will be seated at the direction of the Provost. When the procedure is completed for all four 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. The Class Valedictorian and Salutatorian will receive their degrees last. As a courtesy to all graduates, guests are asked to please remain in their seats until every graduate has received their diploma.

After all diplomas have been received and graduates have been welcomed into the Alumni Association, the President will offer his “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. Graduates are encouraged 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 graduates 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. The academic procession should remain intact and quiet. Please keep moving to the Departmental and post-Commencement receptions (Old Quad, Stine Lake, CUB, or Dining Center), making room for graduates still recessing.