Preparing To Graduate

Commencement 2015 Frequently Asked Questions

When is the Graduation Ceremony?

The 2015 Graduation Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 16th at 11:00am.  Students must order their caps and gowns at the bookstore.  Students can begin ordering their caps and gowns beginning on March 16, 2015.  For the 2015 Commencement, ordered caps and gowns will be available for pickup at the Bookstore starting May 11, 2015.

At what time should I be in line before the ceremony starts?

All students participating in the ceremony must be dressed in cap and gown and in your designated degree line no later than 10:00am. The ceremony starts at 11:00am.

How can I participate in Graduation Ceremony?

Students are required to submit the Intent to Graduate form with the $100 fee to the College Services One Stop.  Typically, this is done at the beginning of the student’s last semester.  The fee is for all graduating students, even if you do not participate in Commencement. The deadline to submit the form is February 1st. 

How do I get my cap and gown for the ceremony?

Students must order their caps and gowns at the bookstore.  Students can begin ordering their caps and gowns beginning on March 16, 2015.  For the 2015 Commencement, ordered caps and gowns will be available for pickup at the Bookstore starting May 11, 2015.

Will the graduation ceremony be cancelled if it is raining?

There is no planned ""rain date"" for an announced graduation ceremony date. The ceremony will take place under a tent.

How long does the ceremony last?

The ceremony will last roughly two hours. However, if there are an exceptionally large number of graduates participating in the ceremony, the length of the ceremony may be longer.

What is the availability of parking at the ceremony site?

Parking is available for FREE at the College.  Parking is available on campus on a first come first serve basis.  We do encourage visitors and guests to car pool when possible.  Please note parking is NOT PERMITTED at the Passport Center and they will tow vehicles.

Are there Honors tassels? 

Graduates who have completed a degree program with a cumulative grade point average of 3.7 or higher will receive a gold tassel to wear for Commencement.  Gold tassels are provided at rehearsal.

Will there be flower stands available at the ceremony if I want to purchase flowers for a graduate?

No.  We do not have a flower vendor at graduation.  We encourage you to plan ahead and bring flowers if you so desire.

Where can I meet my family/friends after the ceremony is finished?

All guests can meet the graduates at the reception in the café immediately following the ceremony. 

Will my family be able to take a close-up photograph or videotape during the processional, walks across the stage, or in the recessional?

Essex Photography will be taking close up photos of the graduates as they receive their degree.  Photos will be for sale directly from Essex Photography.  For the safety of all participants and their guests, close-up picture taking and video recording is restricted. Really ""close-up"" proximity is not available, and all guests are required to follow instructions given by the facility ushers, authorized GBCC personnel. Guests are requested to refrain from standing in the aisles as they may block the view of individuals who are seated.

Will I receive my degree at the ceremony?

You will receive your actual degree at the graduation ceremony, unless you have not completed your degree requirements, or you have an outstanding balance at the college.

How can I ensure that my name is pronounced correctly when I walk across the stage?

The best way to ensure that your name is correctly pronounced is to attend the graduation rehearsal. The announcer will read your name as you practice crossing the stage during the rehearsal, providing you the best time to correct pronunciation.

Will my major and/or certificate be announced as I walk across the stage?

As observed by the majority of universities and colleges throughout the United States in their commencement ceremonies, only recognized degrees and/or certificates are announced.

What kind of clothing should I wear underneath my gown?

All students should dress for the weather. Suggested attire for men includes dark trousers, dark shoes (no sandals or slippers), and a white or light-colored shirt with a collar extending above the gown collar. A necktie is optional. Suggested attire for women includes a dark dress or dark trousers, and dark shoes. Flat shoes or shoes with short heels are recommended for safety purposes.

On what side of my cap do I wear my tassel?

You will wear the tassel on the right side of the cap until the tassel moving event is conducted. At the end of the ceremony you will be directed to move the tassel from the right side to the left side of the cap.

Will there be someone to help me with my collar, hood, cap or gown on the day of the ceremony?

There will be a number of GBCC staff volunteers to help students with last-minute academic regalia details.

Where do I get my tickets for guest admission to the ceremony?

Tickets are NOT needed to attend graduation. 

Do I take off my cap during the playing of the U.S. national anthem?

No, you don't have to remove your cap. However, if you are a U.S. citizen, placing your right hand over your heart is considered appropriate and respectful.

Why should I attend the graduation rehearsal breakfast on Friday, May 15, 2015 at 9:00am?

The graduation rehearsal breakfast gives students and opportunity to socialize with faculty.  Academic awards are given at the breakfast.  Breakfast if FREE to all graduating students.  To RSVP for the breakfast email Mike Fischer at  The breakfast is held at the Portsmouth Country Club.

Why should I attend the graduation rehearsal on Friday, May 15, 2015 at 11:00am?

Attendance is mandatory. The graduation rehearsal provides each student important seating, line-up and stage movement directions. It is your final opportunity to correct pronunciation of your name, clarify your honors designation, and receive last-minute information. The rehearsal usually lasts about one hour.