Commencement Information

NOTE: Commencement dates for the 2019 academic year are May 11, 2019, August 10, 2019 and December 14, 2019.

Information relevant to each ceremony will be posted nearer the date of the ceremony and will be emailed to graduating students’ HBU email. If you are a December 14, 2019, graduate and have not yet filled out a Commencement Ceremony Participation Form, please do so now.

About the Commencement Ceremony

The Commencement ceremony will be held on the HBU campus in the Joella and Stewart Morris Cultural Arts Center in the Dunham Theater on Saturday, December 14, 2019.

In order to ensure adequate seating for faculty, graduates, and guest, two separate ceremonies will be held – one at 9:00 a.m. and one at 11:30 a.m.

The 9:00 a.m. ceremony will honor graduates receiving degrees from the following colleges:

  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • Dunham College of Business
  • School of Christian Thought
  • School of Fine Arts

The 11:30 ceremony will honor graduates receiving degrees from the following colleges:

  • College of Science and Engineering
  • School of Humanities
  • School of Nursing and Allied Health

Graduates must report to Belin Chapel an hour before their ceremony in order to receive instructions for the ceremony. Those walking at 9:00 a.m. should be there by 8:00 a.m. and those walking at 11:30 a.m. should be there by 10:30 a.m.

Live Stream the Ceremony

Ticket Information:

Tickets will be issued for the commencement ceremonies. Participating graduates will be allowed 8 tickets.  Tickets can be picked up beginning on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at the Grad Fest or Friday, December 6 thru Thursday, December 12 in the Registrar’s Office. Any extra tickets will be released Friday, December 13, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Graduates may request additional tickets at the time, if available. Guests without a ticket will not be allowed entry into the Dunham Theater but will instead be directed to Belin Chapel to watch a live video feed of the ceremony. For guests that are not able to attend, online streaming will be available for viewing the commencement ceremony at on Channel 1.

Cap and Gown Information

Please contact the University Store for detailed information.

Ceremony Etiquette for Graduates

MEN:  Wear a white or light-colored shirt.  Dark pants and shoes, either brown or black, are appropriate.  Do not wear jeans, tennis shoes or flip flops. WOMEN:  Dark shoes are appropriate.  If pants are worn, please wear dark pants.  Do not wear jeans, tennis shoes or flip flops.  If you received a white collar with your gown, do not use it.

The academic cap is designed to be worn on TOP of the head, NOT on the back of the head.  CAPS ARE NOT TO BE DECORATED.  Each graduate will also receive an academic hood as a part of their regalia.  To prevent the academic cap from falling off during the hooding part of the ceremony, it is important that the cap be placed on top of the head. Women, fasten the cap SECURELY to your head. NOTE: only graduate students will be hooded on stage. Undergraduate students will not be hooded on stage, but will wear their hoods.

Undergraduate students achieving the appropriate GPA to graduate Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude or Cum Laude may pick up their honor cords from the bookstore after August 6th.  The bookstore will also have the honor cords available graduation morning in the Belin Chapel.  Approved honor cords from the following Honor Societies may also be worn during graduation – Sigma Theta Tau (Nursing), Alpha Kappa Delta (Sociology), Psi Chi (Education), Kappa Delta Pi (Education), Phi Alpha Theta (History), Delta Mu Delta (Business), Beta Beta Beta (Science/Math), Omicron Delta Kappa (Science/Math), Iota Sigma Pi (Science/Math), Alpha Epsilon Delta (Science/Math), Alpha Chi, Sigma Pi Sigma, Theta Alpha Kappa (Christianity),  American Red Cross & Alpha Mu Gamma (Spanish)Honors College students may also wear their Honors College medals. Sorority or fraternity sashes are not appropriate for the commencement ceremony.

 Please DO NOT bring purses, suit coats,or other valuables into the Belin Chapel.

Ceremony Etiquette for Guests

The Commencement Ceremony is a most dignified ceremony. Decorum and courtesy are very important. Please refrain from moving around once you have entered the Theater and been ushered to your seat. Food and beverages are not permitted in the Theater during the ceremony. Helium balloons and air horns are not permitted.  Strollers cannot be brought into Dunham Theater.  For your convenience, we have a live video feed in Belin Chapel next to Dunham Theater.  For young children who are disruptive to the audience, we ask that you use this facility.  Guests with wheelchairs and other mobility assistance equipment should arrive early and see University hosts for help with special seating. You are requested to remain for the entire ceremony.  Guests arriving after the start of the ceremony will be directed to Belin Chapel.

The University provides a professional photographer for the ceremony. Photographs will be offered for sale by the vendor, Marc Nathan Photography, who will contact all graduates at their permanent address on file with the Office of the Registrar within a few weeks.  To contact the photographer, send an email to

Family members and other guests will be allowed to spend a short time in special areas near the front, off to the side. Please do not block the aisles or the view of others in the Theater, and please observe the directions of the University hosts and police officers.


Students will receive their diploma while participating in the commencement ceremony. Students not attending the commencement ceremony may pick up their diploma from the Office of the Registrar, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. Photo ID is required.

Degrees with Distinction

Honors at graduation are awarded to undergraduate baccalaureate students who have completed a minimum of 64 semester alpha-grade hours in residence at HBU and have earned an appropriate number of grade points to be eligible for the honors indicated. An average standing of 3.50 or higher entitles the student to graduate cum laude; 3.70 or higher magna cum laude; 3.90 or higher summa cum laude.


© 2019 Academics