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Steps to Graduate

The Process

The process to preparation for graduation and commencement can be confusing. Please review the steps below to make sure you are ready to graduate.

Apply to Graduate!

Submitting a “Request to Graduate” form will initiate the process for both graduation and Commencement information.

You are required to submit a “Request to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office upon receiving advisement for your final academic term, or approximately six months prior to your expected graduation. This application is located online at  or in the Registrar’s Office.

You are not eligible to graduate or attend Commencement until your “Request to Graduate” is on file in the Registrar’s Office and is processed.  As a candidate for graduation, you will receive an informational KMail as confirmation that your application has been processed (see step 2).

You must read your KMail for important announcements!

The following will be sent to your KMail:

  1. Graduation Audit Letter will be sent after your Request to Graduate form has been processed.  It will inform you if more classes are needed to complete your program or if you are on track.  Any questions should be directed to the Registrar’s Office at (989) 275-5000, ext. 251.
  2. If you have requested to participate in the ceremony, Commencement information will be emailed to your KMail in March.  This will indicate the date of Commencement as well as other important information regarding the ceremony.

Are you eligible to attend commencement?

All Fall, Winter and Summer graduates (and candidates) are eligible to attend Commencement, which is always the last Friday of the Winter semester.

Individuals who are unsure of their eligibility to participate in Commencement should contact the Registrar’s Office at (989) 275-5000, ext. 251.

Purchase and pick up your cap, gown and tickets.

You will purchase your regalia at the Kirtland Bookstore. The Bookstore will provide help with cap and gown sizing and distribution.  The deadline to order regalia is Monday, March 2, 2015.  You will be notified via your KMail when you may pick up your regalia and tickets in April.  YOU MUST NOTIFY THE BOOKSTORE EVEN IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A CAP & GOWN IF YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE.

Hoods are given to those earning an associate’s degree and you will purchase it when purchasing your cap, gown and tassel. You will wear the hood during the entire ceremony. There will be someone in the student dressing room to assist you with putting it on.

Honor cords will be given to undergraduates who will graduate with honors (cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude) who participate in the ceremony. Your g.p.a. from the Fall semester 2014 will be used to determine whether you will receive an honor cord.  If you are eligible for an honor cord, you will receive it when you check-in before the actual ceremony.

Your tickets will be included with your regalia.  Lost tickets will not be replaced. Because seating is limited for the ceremony, graduates who requested to participate in Commencement will only receive a certain number of tickets.  Check the Kirtland’s graduation website in March to see how many you will receive.  If there are any extra tickets, a lottery will be held. Each student may only win an extra 4 tickets.  More information regarding the lottery will be sent to your KMail in March.

What can I wear to the ceremony?

Academic attire is required for participation in the Commencement ceremony. All regalia must look the same. The elastic portion of the cap should be at the back.  The tassel should be placed over the right temple until the time the graduates are instructed to move their tassels from the right to the left. This will happen after the conferring of the degrees. Men should remove their caps during the National Anthem.

Professional dress is recommended for Commencement. Keep the temperature and weather in mind when choosing your clothing. Blue jeans, tennis shoes, shorts and flip flops are strongly discouraged.

Kirtland Community College allows the following adornments with the graduates’ academic regalia:

  • Honor Cords (given only to eligible graduates – see Honor Cords)
  • PTK Honor Society (stole) – you must see Terry Geary
  • Honors Program (medallion)
  • Veterans will receive a special cord

Graduates who are found to be wearing anything other than the above items will be required to remove them. Items will be kept until the conclusion of the ceremony.

The big day has finally arrived – Commencement Day!

10 a.m. – noon

A Student Leader Brunch will be held in the Student Center.  Only students who have received invitations may attend.  The brunch is for students only, sorry no guests. The brunch recognizes students who have shown leadership on campus or in their communities. Invitees include: students graduating with honors, participating PTK members, club or team captains, senate members, any student who applies for the Student Leader Scholarship. Check your KMail in February for more information regarding this scholarship.

5 – 6 p.m. – Getting Ready For Commencement

You will pick up your name/photo card at the end of the hallway by the Cosmetology/Auto departments from staff from the Registrar’s Office.  Please verify the information on the card.   DO NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES TO YOUR NAME CARD, please let the staff know if there is a problem. If you are graduating with honors (based on your g.p.a. after the Fall 2014 semester), you will receive your cord at this time.  After you obtain your name card from staff from the Registrar’s Office, you can get dressed in your regalia in the student dressing room located in room 110B.  There will be volunteers in the room to assist you dress in your regalia. The graduates will line up in the hallway for the processional.  There will be marshals and staff volunteers to direct and assist in the process.

6 p.m. – Line Up

Graduates will line up in the hallway. There should be two even rows of graduates. If you want to sit next to a friend, they should be in front or behind you – not across from you.

6:25 p.m. – Processional Begins

At approximately 6:25 p.m., with the marshals leading, all graduates will begin their march outside the CTC building to the lobby of the auditorium (weather permitting). The formal processional will begin approximately at 6:30 p.m.  Graduates will be directed and led to their seats by marshals.

6:30 p.m. – Commencement Ceremony begins

Once at their seats, all graduates will remain standing.  Instructions will be given throughout the ceremony on when to be seated and when to stand.  When it is time for the graduates to walk across the stage and receive their diploma cover, the marshals will direct them to the platform.  Each graduate will give their name and degree card to the marshal at the bottom of the stairs.  The marshal will place a numbered sticker on your card.  You will receive your card back and when you walk on stage you will give it to the faculty representative who will announce your name and degree. You will then proceed to Dr. Quinn who will shake your hand and give you a diploma cover.  Dr. Quinn will ask you to look at the photographer for a complimentary picture. On your way off the stage, Kirtland’s Board of Trustees Chairperson will hand you an alumni pin. You will exit the stage and follow the marshal’s directions back to your row.

8:30 p.m. – Recessional (time approximately)

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the graduates will be directed out of their row by marshals to outside the auditorium. We ask that all guests of the graduates remain at their seats until the conclusion of the recessional. Graduates and their families are invited back into the auditorium to take pictures on stage. Graduates and their guests are invited to attend an afterglow held at the Student Center immediately following the ceremony.


Guests are encouraged to park in lots C and D in front of the Student Center. A Kirtland van will be making rounds to help guests if needed.  If special provisions are needed for those with physical challenges, please contact Jules Brown prior to Commencement day at 275-5000, ext. 252.  Handicap parking is located in lot E. Ushers will be available upon entering and will provide assistance as needed.


The Student Senate hires a professional photographer to take a photo of each graduate as they accept their diploma from Dr. Quinn, President of Kirtland. A copy of the photo will be sent along with your diploma approximately 8 weeks after the ceremony. If you would like to purchase more copies of your picture, the photographer’s information will be on the back of the photo.

At Kirtland, diplomas are not distributed at Commencement. Instead, the diploma cover, including a note from the President, is handed out.

Diplomas are mailed to the graduated once all graduation requirements have been met and are always dated the last day of the graduating term. Because they are mailed, please be sure that we have your current mailing address on record in the Registrar’s Office.


You may contact Jo Ann Gave at (989) 275-5000, ext. 289 with any further questions or concerns.