Information for Graduates

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Congratulations Prospective Graduates!

The University’s 137th graduation ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2005, for all candidates having completed their degree requirements as of Summer 2004, December 2004, and May 2005.

The information on this page is directed to all prospective graduating seniors. Neither receiving the information on this page, 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 14, 2005. 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 8th, with particular emphasis on the May 14th Commencement Exercises. The following checklist should be carefully read and retained for guidance and continued reference throughout the graduation process.

Should you have questions concerning the Commencement Exercises, please do not hesitate to write to the Office of the Secretary, Room 731, 2225 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20059, or call (202) 238-2598.

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

Time and Place

Commencement Exercises will be held on Saturday, May 14, 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. Prospective graduates are required to assemble by school/college ninety minutes prior to the beginning of the Academic Processional which begins at 9:00 a.m. Prospective graduates who arrive late may not be allowed to sit with their respective school or college and may be added to the end of the Processional.

Additional 2005 Commencement Events for All Graduating Seniors:

President’s Reception
Graduating Classes and Their Families
Thursday, May 12
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Prayer Breakfast
Graduates and Guests
Friday, May 13
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
(Breakfast served from 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.)
Armour J. Blackburn University Center Ballroom
Main Campus

Admission of Guests

Two reserved seat tickets will be issued to each graduate when receiving academic regalia (see Distribution Schedule For Academic Costumes). Other guests may be seated in the general seating section on a first-come, first-served basis.

Broadcast Arrangements

The Commencement Exercises will be broadcast live over WHUR-FM Radio 96.3 MHz and WHUT-TV, Channel 32. There will also be a delayed broadcast of the exercises on WHUT-TV, air dates to be announced. Videotapes of the Commencement Convocation will be available. Purchase Order Forms for the videotape can be obtained at the distribution site where the invitations will be available for pick-up beginning March 14, and at the distribution site for academic costumes beginning May 9 - 14, as noted in this letter. The cost is $39.95 per videotape.

The Commencement Exercises will also be broadcast on the Howard University Web site. Please check back later for details.

Academic Costume

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 hood is not to be worn until the actual Conferring of Degrees by the President of the University.

Procurement of Costumes

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 9 through Friday, May 13, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (See “Distribution Schedule for Academic Costumes” on page four.) 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 Kente stole depicting academic excellence will be available for purchase at the time and place of distribution.

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

Assembly of Degree Candidates

Degree candidates will report to Greene Stadium not later than 7:45 a.m. on May 14 for the assembly and procession to the staging area. The procession must begin at 9:00 a.m. (In the event of inclement weather, degree candidates will assemble in Burr Gymnasium, with no academic procession.)

The University Marshal, with the assistance of the faculty marshals, student and staff 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.

Conferring of Degrees

  • At the direction of the Dean of the School or College, the candidates will rise, face the rostrum, and remain standing at attention.
  • The Dean presents the class to the President of the University.
  • The President confers the degree.
  • 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.

Securing Diplomas

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, May 10, at 10:30 a.m. All degree candidates and all marshals of the divisions of the University must attend. Important information is provided at this session regarding arrival instructions, guest information, parking and transportation, the processional route, as well as any last minute updates of information pertaining to the Commencement Ceremony.


All official invitations for Commencement are furnished by the secretary of the University only and may be picked up in the lower level of Cramton Auditorium.

Invitations will be issued to prospective candidates for graduation beginning Monday, March 14, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 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 60 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.

Clearance for Graduation

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 Office of Student Accounts/Student Financial Services 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.

To obtain financial clearance, you must adhere to the following:

  • Payment of the $100.00 graduation fee. Personal checks are not acceptable.
  • Recipients of University Emergency Loans must clear the Student Loan Office by April 20, 2005. Personal checks are not acceptable.
  • Recipients of Perkins, Health Professional Loans, Loans for Disadvantaged Students, Nursing, and/or Long Term University Loans are required to have an exit interview with the Student Loan Office by April 20, 2005. Contact the Student Loan Office for an appointment at (202) 806-2570.
  • Students with Direct Student Loans may conduct their Direct Loan exit interview via the web at You must have your Department of Education Pin Number to access your account. If you experience problems, you must contact the Direct Loan office at (202) 806-2570 by April 20, 2005.
  • Library fines or lost books charges must be satisfied at Founder’s Library or any branch library by April 20, 2005.
  • All outstanding obligations for tuition, room, meals and related fees must be satisfied in the Student Accounts Office by April 20, 2005. Personal checks are not acceptable.
  • Recipients of Stafford (GSL) or non-subsidized Stafford Loans are required to have a financial aid clearance exit interview. Contact the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment for an appointment at (202) 806-2820. (Note: This is not the same as the Student Loan Office).

It is your responsibility to clear each of the above offices before your name can be submitted to the Dean of your College or School as being financially clear. If you have any additional questions regarding your student account, please call (202) 806-2600 or (202) 806-2610.

Distribution Schedule for Academic Costumes

Location: Lower Level, Cramton Auditorium Entry from South Side Door near Ira Aldridge Theatre

Caps, gowns, tassels, and hoods will only be issued at the times indicated on this schedule.
Monday, May 9

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
Tuesday, May 10 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
College of Arts and Sciences
Graduate School
(Master’s Candidates)
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 11 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
Thursday, May 12 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
Friday, May 13 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Graduates who have been previously
instructed to return for academic
costume adjustment.
1:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.