Graduates and Visitors FAQs

Congratulations, graduates! We look forward to seeing you at the ceremony and sharing this special occasion with you! The following information is designed to answer questions you might have about this special day:

Commencement will be held on Friday, May 19, 2023 at 2:30 p.m. at the NOW Center Arena located at 5333 Prairie Stone Pkwy, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192. 

All fall 2022 graduates and any student who has applied to graduate for the spring or summer 2023 semester.

The guest speaker for the Commencement ceremony is Timothy L. Killeen. President Killeen is the 20th president of the University of Illinois System, which includes universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield.
Read his bio.

All graduates attending the ceremony must order a cap and gown. The cap and gown, which you keep, is $40 plus tax. You can order these online at harpercollege.edu/graduation or in the HarperStore (L260) The deadline for shipping gowns is May 1. You may pick up your cap and gown from the HarperStore (L260) now! If you have questions regarding your cap and gown, contact HarperStore at 847.925.6275. You should arrive at the ceremony dressed in your gown. Tassels should be worn on the right side of the mortarboard and then moved to the left once degrees and certificates are conferred.

An Application for Degree or Certificate must be submitted by April 21, 2023 to have your name included in the Graduation Program.

There will not be a graduation rehearsal. Graduates must arrive at 1:30 p.m. to line up for the procession. Only graduates will be allowed in the line-up area.

Graduation is confirmed once all credit is awarded, grades are finalized, and degree/certificate requirements are met. The ceremony is simply a celebration. Students will receive an email sent to their Harper email when their graduation application has been reviewed for their graduation status. 

Please arrive no later than 1:30 p.m. Procession will begin promptly at 2:30 p.m. Parking is available in the lots that are accessible off Prairie Stone Pkwy, Hoffman Blvd, and Pratum Ave (see detailed map). Parking is available in lots A-F and once inside, Prairie Stone signage and parking attendants will direct you to the closest lot.

Students must enter the building of the NOW Center Arena through Door 11. An additional ADA Entrance is available at Door 10. Family and friends can enter through the main entrance (Door 1) and must go to the seating area upon arrival. Graduates will line up according to degree or certificate and Health Career graduates will line up at the end of the line as the pinning ceremony will be held at the end of the Commencement ceremony. Signs will be placed throughout the line-up area and volunteers will be there to assist.

We will begin seating guests at 1:30 p.m. Guests should park in lot A, B, D, E, and F. Additional ADA parking is available in the front of Lot C.

You are welcome to invite as many guests as you'd like. Guests do not need tickets to attend the event. 

Please arrive at the ceremony in your cap and gown. When you arrive at the NOW Arena, you will check in and receive your Name Card. Please make sure your name is correct, as this is used to assist with the lineup and will be used to announce your name at the ceremony. You will also receive a photo card that you will need to fill out as well. You will hand both the name card and photo card to a designated staff member as you cross the stage. 

Please leave any valuables with family or guests. There will be no designated area at the ceremony where you may leave your valuables. If you choose to carry your cell phone or camera with you, please be advised that Harper College and the NOW Center Arena are not responsible for the loss or damage to these or any other valuables. 

As a courtesy to your fellow graduates, please have your cell phone or any other electronic devices set to vibrate. 

Harper College has made arrangements with Graduation Foto to photograph you at the ceremony. To prepare for the ceremony, please complete the graduate photo registration form. Following the ceremony, Graduation Foto will contact you regarding graduation pictures. If you do not hear from them within a few weeks after the ceremony, you may contact them at 800.482.0321. There is no obligation to purchase pictures.

Yes, Harper College has made arrangements with a florist to purchase flowers and they will be available at the entrance to the NOW Arena. 

The ceremony will last approximately one and a half hours.

Please notify Access and Disability Services at 847.925.6266 if you are a student with a disability and require accommodations to attend the ceremony, as reserved seating for graduates can be arranged in advance. Sign language interpreters and captioning will be available. Accessible seating is provided in the audience section for guests using wheelchairs. Ushers will be available to direct guests to this seating area. 
NOTE: The NOW Arena does not provide wheelchairs at the Commencement Ceremony.

The Registrar’s Office will begin to review all graduation applications when final grades are submitted at the end of term. Diplomas for graduates will be mailed out 6 to 8 weeks after the end of term. 

Along with the standard graduation regalia that you have ordered from HarperStore, we suggest comfortable shoes for walking. 

Contact the Registrar's Office by phone 847.925.6500 or email evaluation@harpercollege.edu

Prior to entering the building, graduates and faculty will pass through metal detectors. We ask that you keep gowns unzipped during this security screening.

Screening will also be enhanced at the Main Entrance for guests. We recommend that guests leave any unnecessary bags at home. This additional security should not substantially effect or delay accessing the Arena.


Last Updated: 9/1/23