Graduating - 2020

Below you will find some basic information about this year’s ceremony.


When are the Graduation Ceremonies?

GBCC will be holding two ceremonies to celebrate our 2020 Graduates. Both ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 16th. The morning ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. and the afternoon ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m.  Ceremonies are broken down based on your major, please refer to your graduation letter for specifics on which ceremony to attend.

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 their designated degree line no later than one hour prior to the start time of their ceremony. 

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

Students must order their caps and gowns at the bookstore.  Students can order their caps and gowns beginning on March 23rd at the Bookstore. Ordered caps and gowns will be available for pickup at the Bookstore starting May 4th.

Where will the graduation ceremony be held?

The ceremony will take place in the Student Success Center gymnasium at the Portsmouth campus.

How long does the ceremony last?

The ceremony will last roughly 90 minutes.

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 main lobby 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 and 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?

No, you will receive your diploma cover at the graduation ceremony.  Diplomas will be mailed out, 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 but seating is first come first serve.  The building will open up at 60 minutes prior to the start of each ceremony.

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 lunch on Friday, May 15th at 12:00 p.m.?

The graduation rehearsal lunch gives students and opportunity to socialize with faculty. Academic awards are given at the lunch. Lunch is FREE to all graduating students. To RSVP for the lunch, email Allyson Grochmal at The lunch is held at the Portsmouth Country Club.

Why should I attend the graduation rehearsal on Friday, May, 15th?

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.

  • Graduation rehearsal for the morning ceremony will be held at 10:00 a.m.
  • Graduation rehearsal for the afternoon ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m.

Rehearsals are broken down based on your major, please refer to your graduation letter for specifics on which rehearsal to attend.  

REMINDER:  ALL FEES AND FINES (library fines, tuition, etc.) MUST BE CLEARED BEFORE FINAL EXAMS. If these are not cleared before graduation, you will not receive your degree.

Congratulations! We look forward to seeing you in May.