Information for Graduates

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Congratulations Prospective Graduates!

The University’s 141st graduation ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2009, for all candidates having completed their degree requirements as of Summer 2008, December 2008, and May 2009.

This Web page is directed to all prospective graduating seniors. Neither receipt of the Dear Degree Candidate letter, participation in the Commencement exercises, receipt of official announcements, nor the appearance of a name in the printed program will be considered as conclusive evidence of graduation on May 9, 2009. 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 3rd, with particular emphasis on the May 9th Commencement Exercises. The following checklist should be carefully read and retained for guidance and continued reference throughout the graduation process.

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

Time and Place

Commencement exercises will be held on Saturday, May 9, beginning at 10:00 a.m., on the Upper Quadrangle, Main Campus. Prospective graduates are required to assemble by School or College at 7:00 a.m. on the field of Greene Stadium. 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. Please encourage your guests to be seated by 8:45 a.m. to witness the procession of the graduates.

Admission of Guests

Four reserved seat tickets will be issued to each graduate by the graduate clearer of each School or College. Additional 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. DVDs of the Commencement Convocation will be available. Purchase Order Forms for the DVDs can be obtained from the graduate clearer of each School/College beginning April 13, and at the Howard University Bookstore beginning May 4-8. You may also download the Purchase Order Form (PDF). The cost is $32.00 per DVD. The broadcast may also be viewed on the World Wide Web; please refer to the Webcast Information page for specific 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.

Order & Purchase of Academic Costumes

All graduate academic costumes are acquired at the Howard University Bookstore (The “HUB”). Each candidate must complete all academic and financial requirements and obtain clearance slips before acquiring academic costumes. Candidates may receive further instruction via the HUB Graudation Center. In addition, please be advised that beginning April 13, an official Howard University Kente Stole depicting academic excellence will be available for purchase at the Cramton Auditorium box office.

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 HUB to assist you in selecting the appropriate costume size.

Graduation Center Pick-Up Procedures for Academic Costumes

The HUB will host the Graduation Center Pick-up Fair. Graduates must present a valid ID and Graduate Clearance Slip before payment and receipt of caps and gowns. Details about the fair will be posted on the HUB website.

Clearance for Graduation

Clearance for graduation is the process of official compliance with the academic and financial requirements established by the University. Each candidate is personally responsible for obtaining academic and financial clearance for graduation. Please consult the respective Dean of the School or College to determine if you have met all academic requirements. For financial clearance, you must report to the Office of Student Financial Services to settle your account. Only candidates with official University clearance by both the respective Dean and the Office of Student Financial Services will be approved to receive the academic costume and to participate in the Commencement ceremony.

All graduate clearance questions should be directed to the respective graduate clearer for the individual School or College. This information can be found on the Howard University website:

Official Announcements


Official announcements will be issued by the clearers to prospective candidates for graduation beginning Monday, April 13, based upon provisional certification by the Deans of each School or College. Each provisionally-certified prospective candidate for graduation is entitled to twenty (20) free official announcements. Additional official announcements will be available at a cost of $.60 cents each and can be purchased at the box office of Cramton Auditorium. 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.


A graduation rehearsal will be held in Cramton Auditorium on Tuesday, May 5, at 10:30 a.m. All degree candidates and all marshals for the divisions of the University must attend. Important information is provided at this session regarding arrival instructions, guest information, parking, transportation, and processional route, as well as any last minute updates of information pertaining to the Commencement ceremony. If you cannot attend the rehearsal, all pertinent information will be posted to this Web site.

Assembly of Degree Candidates

Degree candidates will report to Greene Stadium at 7:00 a.m., but not later than 7:45 a.m. on May 9th 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, 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 behind the markers designating their respective School or College. 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 and face the rostrum, and remain standing at attention. The Dean then presents the Class to the President of the University. The President confers the degree, and the person at the graduate’s immediate left invests him/her with the hood. 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 owed to fellow students and guests.

Securing Diplomas

The Commencement exercises will conclude with a recessional. All graduates should proceed to their respective School or College where diplomas will be issued.

Commencement Information

Should you have questions concerning the Commencement exercises or this correspondence, you may e-mail the Office of the Secretary at:; visit The Howard Center, Room 731, 2225 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20059; or call the Commencement 2009 information line at (202) 238-2604.

Events for All Degree Candidates

President's Reception

All Degree Candidates and Families
Thursday, May 7
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Armour J. Blackburn University Center Ballroom
Main Campus

Prayer Breakfast

All Degree Candidates and Families
Friday, May 8
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