Graduation FAQs

Congratulations, Graduate!  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:

When and where is the commencement ceremony? Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 11 a.m. on the Harper College main campus located at 1200 W. Algonquin Road, Palatine. The ceremony will take place outdoors near the Pavilion behind Building D.

  1. Who is eligible to participate in the ceremony? All fall 2018 graduates and any student who has applied to graduate for the spring or summer 2019

  2. Is there a guest speaker at the ceremony? Yes, the guest speaker is Martha Kanter. Dr. Kanter leads the College Promise Campaign’s national initiative to increase college access, affordability and completion in American higher education, starting in the nation’s community colleges.

  3. When can I pick up my cap and gown? You may pick up your cap and gown from HarperStore (L260) beginning May 6. 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.

  4. Will my name be in the Graduation Program? An Application for Degree or Certificate must be submitted by April 21, 2019 to have your name included in the Graduation Program.

  5. Is there a graduation rehearsal? There will not be a graduation rehearsal. Information can be found from this list of FAQs and the graduation web site at Graduates must arrive at 10 a.m. in order to line up for the procession.

  6. Have I graduated if I walk in the ceremony? Graduation is confirmed once all credit is awarded, grades are confirmed and degree/certificate requirements are met. The ceremony is simply a celebration.

  7. What time should I arrive at the ceremony and where should I park? Please arrive no later than 10 a.m. Procession will begin promptly at 10:45 a.m. Parking is available in lots 8-14 and parking lot G. There is no charge for parking in lot G (parking garage).

  8. Where do I go once I've parked? Go directly to Building D. Only graduates are allowed in Building D. Family and friends must go to the guest seating area. Graduates will line up according to degree or certificate – AA, AS, AGS, AES, AFA, AAS, Certificates and Health Career graduates. Signs will be placed throughout the line-up area and volunteers will be there to assist with the line-up.

  9. How early will my guests be seated and where should they park? We will begin seating guests at 10 a.m. Guests should park in lots 8-14. There will be signs and Harper Police directing graduates and guests to designated parking areas. Individuals with disabilities should park in any adjacent accessible parking spaces. Additional seating for guests to view the ceremony indoors will be located in Building D near Starbucks.  Starbucks will be selling coffee and refreshments from 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

  10. Is there a limit to the number of guests I may invite? Do they need tickets to attend? Although there is no restriction on the number of friends and family members you can invite, we ask that you limit your total number of guests to no more than five. Guests do not need tickets to attend.

  11. What do I need to bring to the ceremony? You will receive your name card and photo card when you pick up your cap and gown at HarperStore beginning May 6. Please do not forget to bring your name card with you as this will be used to announce your name at the ceremony. You will hand the name card to a designated faculty name reader 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 is 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.

  12. Will pictures be taken of graduates as they cross the stage? Harper College has made arrangements with a graduation photography company to photograph you as you are shaking hands with the President and as you exit the stage. The company, 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.

  13. You will receive a graduation photo card when you pick up your cap and gown from HarperStore. Be sure to fill out the card and bring it with you to the ceremony. The card will be collected as you walk to the stage.

  14. Can guests purchase flowers at the ceremony? Yes, Harper College has made arrangements with a florist to purchase flowers and they will be available near the guest seating area.

  15. How long is the ceremony? The ceremony will last approximately one and a half to two hours.

  16. I have a guest who requires accommodations for a disability, who should I contact regarding this? Contact Access and Disability Services at 847.925.6266. A sign language interpreter and closed captioning will be available at graduation. Please note that Harper College does not provide wheelchairs. There will be a drop off area for guests with special needs outside Building W, the Wojcik center.  Guests will be transported to the Pavilion from this area.

  17. When will I receive my diploma? Official certification of graduates will start when all grades are final. Diplomas will be mailed out 6-8 weeks after the end of the semester.

  18. What should I wear? The ceremony will be held in an uncovered area outdoors, near the Pavilion behind building D. Along with the standard graduation regalia that you have ordered from HarperStore, we suggest comfortable shoes for walking. Guests should also dress appropriately for weather.

  19. What should I do in the event of inclement weather such as lightning or a tornado? Please make sure to check the Harper web site for the most up-to-date information about weather conditions and the commencement ceremony.

  20. Whom should I contact if I have additional questions? Contact the Registrar's Office by phone 847.925.6500 or email