Letter from the Secretary of the University

Commencement Events: President's ReceptionPrayer Breakfast

February 1, 2002

Dear Degree Candidate:

     The University's 134th graduation ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2002, for all candidates having completed their degree requirements as of Summer 2001, December 2001, and May 2002.

      This letter is directed to all prospective graduates. Neither receipt of this letter, participation in the Commencement Exercises, receipt of invitations, nor the appearance of a name in the printed program, will be considered as conclusive evidence of graduation on May 11, 2002. Candidates are personally responsible for satisfactorily completing all general University, major department, academic, and financial requirements. (See “Clearance for Graduation” )

      As you near the completion of your degree program, you will need pertinent information regarding the events of the week of May 5, with particular emphasis on the May 11th Commencement Exercises. THE FOLLOWING CHECKLIST SHOULD BE CAREFULLY READ AND RETAINED FOR GUIDANCE AND CONTINUED REFERENCE THROUGHOUT THE GRADUATION PROCESS.


      Commencement Exercises will be held on Saturday, May 11, beginning at 10:00 a.m., on the Upper Quadrangle, Main Campus. Please encourage your guests to be seated by 8:45 a.m. to witness the procession of the graduates.

       Inclement weather information will be included with your invitation packet, and will be announced on this website. These arrangements are subject to change.


      Two reserved seat tickets will be issued to each graduate. Other guests may be seated in the general seating section on a first-come, first-served basis.


      The Commencement exercises will be broadcast live over WHUR-FM Radio and WHUT-TV. There will also be a delayed broadcast of the exercises on WHUT-TV.  Videotapes of Commencement Convocation will also be available. Purchase Order Forms for the videotape can be obtained at the distribution site where the invitation will be available for pick-up beginning March 11, and at the distribution site for academic costumes beginning May 6-10, as noted in this letter. The cost is $39.95 per videotape.


      The academic costume consists of cap, gown, hood, tassel, and black shoes.

      The cap is an essential part of the academic costume and is to be retained on the head throughout the academic exercises, except during prayer and the singing of the Alma Mater. In particular, the cap is not to be removed at any point during the conferring of degrees.


      The University will issue souvenir academic costumes consisting of cap, gown, tassel, and hood. Candidates for degrees who have Clearance Slips from their respective dean and the Office of Student Financial Services may obtain academic costumes in the lounge area of Cramton Auditorium during the period Monday, May 6, through Friday, May 10, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (See Distribution Schedule for Academic Costumes). Access to the distribution point will be through the south door of Cramton Auditorium near the Ira Aldridge Theatre.

      In addition, please be advised that an official Howard University Kenté stole depicting academic excellence will be available for purchase at the time and place of distribution. The purchase price of the Kenté stole is $15.00.

      IMPORTANT: To assure receipt of a properly-fitting academic costume, you should know your head or hat size, your height, and weight. A size chart will be provided at the distribution center to assist you in selecting the appropriate costume size.


      Degree candidates will report to Greene Stadium not later than 8:00 a.m. on May 11 for the procession to the staging area. The procession MUST begin at 9:00 a.m. (In the event of rain, degree candidates will assemble in Burr Stadium, with no academic procession.)

      The University Marshal, with the assistance of the faculty marshals, will assemble the procession. Under the direction of class presidents, who will serve as assistant marshals, candidates will form in columns of two's behind the markers designating their respective schools or colleges. Upon the signal from the University Marshal, the candidates will march to their assigned seats.

      Upon reaching the reserved seats, the candidates will remain standing, facing the rostrum, until the president of the University acknowledges the salute of the University Marshal; then all will sit simultaneously.


1. At the direction of the dean of the college or school, the candidates rise, face the rostrum, and remain standing at attention.

2. The dean presents the class to the president of the University.

3. The president confers the degree.

4. The person at the graduate's immediate left invests him/her with the hood; then all graduates face forward, remain standing at attention, and await the signal of the dean before sitting.

SPECIAL NOTE: Graduation is a joyous and special occasion. It is a time for celebration and merriment. You are reminded, however, that Commencement is a formal University function. You are requested to maintain the order and solemnity of the proceedings. It is a courtesy we owe each other and our guests.


      The Commencement Exercises will be concluded with a recessional. The graduates of each school and college will proceed to a designated location where diplomas will be issued.


      A rehearsal of the graduation proceedings will be held in Cramton Auditorium on Tuesday, May7, at 10:30 a.m. All degree candidates and all marshals of the divisions of the University must attend.


      All Official Invitations for Commencement are furnished by the Secretary of the University only.

      Invitations will be issued to prospective candidates for graduation in Cramton Auditorium, beginning Monday, March 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., based upon provisional certification by the deans of each school and college. Each provisionally-certified prospective candidate for graduation is entitled to twenty (20) invitations. Additional (extra) invitations are available at a cost of 75 cents each and can be picked up at Cramton Auditorium. (Access to the distribution point will be through the south door near the Ira Aldridge Theatre.)

      The University does not provide name cards; however, students desiring to order matching name cards may pick up order forms from their student advisors now.


      The University has arranged for photography service that will capture graduates individually as they enter the staging area. Information in this regard may be obtained from the Office of the Dean of your school or college.


      Each candidate for graduation is personally responsible for obtaining clearance for graduation. You are urged to consult the dean of your school or college to determine if you have met all academic and financial requirements in order to graduate. If you have not been financially cleared, you must report to the Student Accounts Office to settle your account in order to be eligible for graduation. Only candidates with official University clearance by both the respective dean and the Office of Student Financial Services will be approved for graduation.

      Should you have questions concerning the Commencement Exercises or this correspondence, please do not hesitate to write to the Office of the Secretary, 2225 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20059, or call (202) 238-2610.

With best wishes!


Artis G. Hampshire-Cowan, Esq.
Secretary of the University

This is the only notice you will receive concerning Commencement procedures. Please retain!


IMPORTANT! Caps, gowns, tassels, and hoods will only be issued at the times indicated on this schedule.

May 6
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
College of Medicine
School of Business
Graduate School (Ph.D. Candidates Only)
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
School of Divinity
School of Social Work
College of Dentistry
May 7
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
College of Arts and Sciences
Graduate School (Master’s Candidates)
May 8
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Division of Allied Health Sciences
Division of Nursing
School of Communications
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
School of Law
School of Pharmacy
May 9
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
College of Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Sciences
Division of Fine Arts
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
School of Education
Division of Fine Arts
May 10
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and  1:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Graduates who have been previously instructed to return for academic costume adjustment.

2002 C
Armour J. Blackburn University Center, Ballroom, Main Campus

President's Reception

Prayer Breakfast

Graduating Classes and Their Families
Thursday, May 9
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Graduates and Guests
Friday, May 10
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
(Breakfast served from 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.)