Commencement: Frequently asked questions

When and where is commencement?

CCBC's 2020 Commencement ceremony takes place 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 31 on the Essex campus. The ceremony will be held beneath the graduation tent on the multipurpose field.

A reception for graduates and their guests will be held immediately following the ceremony in a tented area adjacent to the Wellness and Athletics Center.

How do I get there? Where do I park?

Directions to CCBC Essex and a map of the campus are available on the college website. Free parking is available throughout the campus.

Individuals with limited mobility or who require assistance will be directed to designated parking (Lot 3) upon arrival at the main entrance to the campus. Vehicles that require handicapped or senior parking should use the Rossville Boulevard entrance and stay in the right lane.

For more detailed information, visit Directions and parking.

When should I arrive?

Graduates must report to the check-in/robing area of the Wellness and Athletics Center by 12 p.m. for robing and lineup for the ceremony procession. Faculty and staff processional marshals will be there to assist you. Please do not bring valuables into the check-in/robing area as these items will not be secure.

Faculty and staff who are participating in the commencement ceremony should report for robing to the Wellness and Athletics Center, rooms 008/012, and be ready to process outside the Wellness and Athletics Center by 12:45 p.m.

Do my guests need tickets?

Admission tickets are not required, but seating is limited and it is recommended that graduates bring no more than six guests.

What if I/my guests need special accommodations?

Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis to accommodate guests with wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen and visual impairments, etc. We cannot guarantee reserved seating. It is highly recommended that guests arrive early to ensure the seating of their choice. The aisle seat in every other row will have a space to accommodate a wheelchair.

There will be a reserved area for guests using interpreter services. If you need special seating arrangements for deaf or hard of hearing guests, please contact Michael Shaw at  or 443.840.4408 by Tuesday, May 26 so an adequate number of seats may be reserved. If you do not notify us in advance, we cannot guarantee adequate seating.

There is a drop-off area near the graduation tent for those guests with limited mobility, and a designated parking area for cars with valid state "handicap" tags or placards. Guests must provide their own wheelchairs.

Note: There will be live broadcasts of the commencement ceremony in the Wellness and Athletics Center and in the Romadka College Center (lower level, F. Scott Black Theatre) with indoor seating to view the graduation. This may be a good option for elderly guests and guests with mobility issues, for whom walking to the ceremony tent may be challenging.

How do I order my cap and gown?

If you have applied to graduate in May 2020 and will have the necessary number of credits by the end of the Spring 2020 semester, you may order your cap and gown online through Herff Jones.

There is no fee for the cap and gown. Graduates wishing to purchase additional tassels may do so when they pick up their cap and gown in the CCBC Bookstore. Additional tassels cost $4.98 each. They are not available online.

Graduates with an overall grade point average of 3.40 or greater are eligible to wear gold honor tassels as part of their graduation regalia. The overall grade point average is determined by computing your cumulative course work from CCBC.

Please note these important deadlines for ordering commencement regalia:

Wednesday, January 1
  • Cap and gown orders accepted online.

Sunday, April 15
  • Last day to place online orders for cap and gowns. After this date, all students and faculty must place regalia orders in person at a CCBC bookstore.

Wednesday, May 6
Friday, May 15
  • Students: Last day to order commencement regalia (in person at a CCBC bookstore).
  • Faculty: Regalia orders placed on or after this date will be assessed a $30 late fee in addition to the cost of the cap and gown. All faculty orders are overnighted to the CCBC bookstore where the order was placed.

How do I get announcements?

Each graduate will receive 10 announcements when picking up their cap and gown at the CCBC bookstore. Students may also purchase additional announcements at $5 per package of 10.

Note: Announcements are not tickets. See question #4 above regarding tickets.

When will I receive my diploma?

Those who have met the graduation requirements for May 2020 graduation, applied for May graduation by the graduation deadline and satisfied all obligations to the college will receive their official diplomas immediately following the ceremony. Graduates will be directed to the diploma distribution area during the recessional. 

Note: Students who have previously graduated in August and December should have received their diplomas in the mail.

What should I wear?

Commencement-day weather can range from rainy and cool to sunny and hot — sometimes all in the same morning!

Students participating in the CCBC commencement ceremony are encouraged to wear occasion- and weather-appropriate clothing beneath their regalia. Lightweight fabrics are generally a good choice to help avoid becoming overheated. Students should consider wearing low-heeled shoes in order to more easily maneuver the stairs and grassy areas of the ceremony site. 

Graduates who do not have proper academic regalia (cap and gown) will not be permitted to process and cross the stage.

Decoration of academic regalia
Graduates may decorate their mortarboards for the commencement ceremony. Embellishments are limited to the graduation cap mortarboard (the square, flat top) only. The academic gown and hood cannot be altered or decorated.

Since commencement is an official academic ceremony, we ask that all decorations be in good taste, be a positive representation of CCBC’s academic programs and community, and be family-friendly. There may be no three-dimensional decorations (items extending up from or hanging down from the mortarboard).

Graduates with mortarboard decorations that do not meet these guidelines may be asked to remove their decorations prior to the ceremony.

Will I get a graduation photograph?

Every participant in the commencement ceremony will be professionally photographed by GradImages®. Picture proofs, as well as a coupon code for a free 5x7 photograph, will be sent to each graduate after the ceremony. More information »

There will also be opportunities for additional cap-and-gown photographs prior to the commencement ceremony and at GradFest 2020, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 16 at CCBC Essex.