Information for 2021 Graduates

Commencement ceremony to be held May 17, 2021

Updates: Read the messages sent to Class of 2021 Graduates and Families on May 13, 2021. Note: Due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Commencement information is subject to change. The College continues to monitor conditions and may adjust plans as needed.

Academic Regalia

Caps and Gowns

Since Baccalaureate and Commencement events are formal, academic attire is required. The regalia package includes a black gown, cap, tassel, and academic hood with the appropriate degree color. Gowns should be pressed before being worn. Please wear the cap properly with the tassel on the right side until the degree has been conferred. An academic hood will come with your regalia and should be worn properly. Please refer to the instruction sheet which comes with the hood.

In addition, graduates will receive a Class of 2021 Stole of Gratitude (see details below) with their regalia package. If the purchase of regalia poses a financial hardship, please contact the Commencement Coordinator. The President’s Office maintains a fund to provide assistance in certain cases.

Students may order their regalia online.

Stoles of Gratitude

The Stole of Gratitude is a gift from the Gettysburg College Alumni Association. Many people, including thousands of alumni, help enrich the experience of every Gettysburg student. Stoles are worn throughout the Commencement Exercises as a symbol of graduates' appreciation for all of the individuals whose support was instrumental in bringing them to this day. Graduates are encouraged to present the Stole to someone special to demonstrate their gratitude for that individual's role in their success.

Honor Cords

Honor Cords will be distributed by individual departments and programs after all final grades have been determined.

Diplomas and Diploma Cover

Diplomas and diploma covers will be mailed to graduates in June. If you have any questions about your degree or diploma, contact the Office of the Registrar.

Ceremony Instructions


Each graduating senior is required to register themself and they may register two guests to attend Commencement. Once seniors have completed the registration process, they will receive an email with each guest's QR code. These will be specific to each guest, who will be expected to scan the code upon arrival at the Musselman Stadium gates on May 17.

Seniors must share registration details with their guests in advance of the guests' arrival at Musselman Stadium.


The 2021 Baccalaureate service will be prerecorded and posted on the Commencement website to view at your convenience during this busy time. We hope you join us in this joyful moment of gratitude, thanksgiving, and hope.


Graduates are to arrive at Memorial Field, with their academic regalia, at 9 a.m. on May 17.

2021 Commencement Speaker

Michael Brown will speak on Monday, May 17, 2021 at Gettysburg College’s Commencement Ceremony for Class of 2021. Initially slated to speak at the Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2020, Brown was rescheduled to speak in May 2021 after last year’s ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2020 has been rescheduled to September 26, 2021, and the Commencement speaker will be announced shortly.

Brown is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He currently serves as the president of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, as well as Senior Advisor and Co-Founder of City Year, a nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for recent college graduates to pay it forward by serving as full-time tutors, mentors, and role models in high-need schools of 29 cities in the United States.

Ceremony Policies

All ceremonies will start promptly. Please be at the appointed place in good time. If for any reason the planned procedure is interrupted, look to the president, college marshal, the dean, or the student marshals for direction.

Ceremony Courtesy

With courtesy and respect to all graduates and families, please refrain from disrupting the formal ceremonies with the use of noisemakers (such as air horns, cowbells, and bullhorns), shouting or chanting, and high-volume mobile phone ringtones and conversations.


Since Baccalaureate and Commencement events are formal, academic attire (i.e. cap and gown) is required. Casual attire is not appropriate dress for Commencement. No high heels or spiked heels are permitted as they will damage the track and the turf on the field.

Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking is not permitted once you have entered the academic procession. Please remember that no alcohol is allowed at the graduation site.

Miscellaneous Helpful Information

Yearbook Orders

Seniors may order yearbooks in several ways:

Online: Visit, select your school, and follow the ordering instructions.

Phone: Call 1-800-853-1337.

Social Media: #gburg2021

Want to send congrats to your classmates? Have a great photo of your cap and gown ready to go? Share your Commencement moments, photos, and memories on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: #gburg2021

Stay connected and involved after Commencement