Commencement Day Procedures - Convention Center

Commencement Ceremony Procedures


Please read the instructions below carefully.

The 2023 Fall Commencement Exercises will be conducted at 7:30 p.m. on December 12, 2023, at the Waco Convention Center.

Graduates are asked to arrive by 6:30 p.m.

Prior to the Ceremony

  • Graduates should obtain caps, gowns, and tassels from the McLennan Community College Bookstore prior to the ceremony and wear these items to the ceremony.
  • Graduates should secure valuables before the ceremony begins. Graduates should not carry purses or other objects. Waiting for family members can delay your attendance in the ceremony.
  • If you are a member of an honor society, please contact your honor society advisor before December 12th to obtain your cord, medallion or stole. Please bring your cord, medallion or stole to the ceremony. Honor advisors will not be available the night of the commencement to distribute these items.  

Attire for the Ceremony 

  • Graduates should wear nice attire under their robes. We ask that you dress in business casual attire. We ask that you wear shoes that you are comfortable in walking and standing in for a small amount of time.
  • Caps should be worn with the top flat rather than slanted with tassels on the right side of the cap during the ceremony.
  • Graduates may decorate their caps. All decorations must be flat and should not extend off the top of the cap. Graduates will not be allowed to participate in the commencement ceremony if decorations do not meet the guidelines or the decorations are deemed inappropriate or offensive. Please do not attach large bows.
  • Only approved stoles, medallions, pins and cords are allowed at the ceremony. If you bring a non-approved item, you will be asked to remove prior to the ceremony. You can verify approved items here.

Arrival at Ceremony

  • Graduates should arrive by 6:30 p.m. on December 12, 2023, at the Waco Convention Center.
  • Graduates will check in at Events Office at the Waco Convention Center. (Please click here to see a diagram.) During check-in graduates will be provided with their seat number and will be directed to their seat in Brazos Ballroom North. Staff will be available to assist graduates with finding their seat.
  • Graduate name cards, honor medallions for highest honor graduates, honor and military cords will be placed in graduate seats in Brazos Ballroom North before graduates arrive. Honor cords, medallions, and military cords should be worn around the neck.
  • Graduate diplomas and programs will be placed in graduate seats in Chisholm Hall before graduates arrive.

Commencement Ceremony 

  1. Graduates will be led from Brazos Ballroom North into Chisholm Hall by staff. The procession order will be stage party, faculty/staff and graduates.
  2. Once all the graduates arrive at their seats, the presiding officer, Dr. Stephen Benson will ask everyone to be seated. He will welcome everyone. He will then ask those who are veterans or active military to stand and be recognized. Next Dr. Benson will ask everyone to stand for the National Anthem. Prior to the National Anthem, caps should be removed. After the National Anthem, Dr. Benson will ask everyone to be seated. We will proceed according to the program. After the National Anthem, the presiding officer will direct everyone to be seated, and caps should be put back on.
  3. The President of McLennan will introduce notable attendees and introduce the speaker. The speaker will then provide their challenge.
  4. At the appropriate time, the Vice President of Instruction & Student Engagement and the Chairman of the McLennan Community College Board of Trustees will direct the graduates to stand for the certification.
  5. The graduates will be certified. The graduates will be directed to be seated.
  6. The Vice President of Instruction & Student Engagement will direct the graduates to come to the stage, one row at a time.
  7. Graduates will bring their name card and diploma to the stage. If you forget these items, please don’t turn around. Just notify staff close to the stage as soon as possible.                                 Path-to-Stage-Example.jpg
  8. The name card will be given to the presenter at the podium.
  9. Once at the stage, our announcer will announce your name. You will proceed across the stage:
    1. Shake hands with the president and take a picture. Representatives from Flash Photography will photograph each graduate and free proof will be sent to you.
    2. Shake hands with a McLennan Board member.
    3. Exit the stage and return to your row as shown below:Return-to-Seat-Example.jpg
    4. Take another picture
    5. Return to your seat by way of going around faculty seating area. An usher will also be there to assist.
  10. At the end of the ceremony, will be the recognition of the Highest Honors graduates.
  11. The Highest Honor Graduate will first give their name card to the name announcer. Once their name is read they will proceed to stand with the president and board member as their information is being read. The announcer will say their name one last time and that will be their prompt to exit the stage.
  12. Graduates will return to their seats.
  13. The ceremony will be completed as listed in the program.
  14. Before the presidential stage party exits the stage, the presiding officer will direct the graduates to move their tassels from the right to the left side of their caps.
  15. The stage party will exit the stage. Graduates will exit the hall. Finally, Faculty and Staff will exit. Guests will remain seated until all three areas have exited.