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Graduation ceremony FAQ

Why are there two lines of graduates in the Exhibition Hall?
We send two lines of graduates out to the arena at the same time. The line on the right will go out the doors, and turn to the right. The line on the left will go out the door, and turn to the left. Once we take you out to the arena where the ceremony is held, both lines of graduates will converge in the middle and everyone will be taken to their seats. Having two lines helps to seat everyone faster, and creates a more professional look for the guests in the audience.

Where should I line up if I want to sit next to someone specific?
We cannot guarantee that you will be seated next to someone specific in the arena. Your best chance at sitting together is to line up together in the same line of graduates (one behind the other) in the Exhibition Hall.

My family wants to sit on the same side of the arena as I will be sitting during the ceremony. Which line should I get in?
If they are seated on the left side of the arena (left as you face the stage), you should line up in the left line of the graduates in the Exhibition Hall. You will then be seated on the side of the arena that is closest to your family.

What time does the ceremony start?
The ceremony starts at 7 p.m. sharp. The processions walk out to the arena in the following order:

  1. Mace bearer
  2. Platform Party (Board Members, Chancellor, Graduate Speaker, Distinguished Guests, and Readers)
  3. Graduates
  4. Faculty and Administrators

All graduates will be at their seats by approximately 7:15. Once you are at your seat, please remain standing for the national anthem.

How long does the ceremony take?
The ceremony goes quickly. It normally ends between 8:30 and 8:45 p.m., depending on the number of graduates. The introductions and speeches take approximately 30 minutes. The graduate procession across the stage takes approximately an hour.

Will I get to cross the stage?
Absolutely. The ceremony is first and foremost about the graduates. Everyone gets to walk across the stage and celebrate their hard earned accomplishment.

How will I know when it’s time to go up on stage?
There will be ushers on each end of the rows to guide graduates up to the stage, across the stage, and back to their seats. When you get to the stage entrance, an usher will remind you what to do. These are the steps to keep in mind:

  1. Stop at the top of the stairs
  2. Hand your card to the reader.
  3. Be ready to assist the reader if they need help pronouncing your name.
  4. PLEASE WAIT until the reader finishes reading everything on your card (this is critical for the televised broadcast of the ceremony).
  5. Walk across the stage to receive your congratulatory scroll and shake hands with the dignitaries.
  6. Walk down the steps in the center of the stage, and go back to your seat.  

Will I receive an actual diploma on stage?
You will receive a congratulatory scroll, not your diploma. Your actual diploma will be mailed to you 45-60 days after the end of the term you graduate in.

What’s the proper way to receive the congratulatory scroll?
Extend your right hand to shake hands with the dignitaries on stage. As you shake hands, extend your left hand above the right to receive the scroll.

Why does my card only list one degree or certificate?
Due to time constraints, we have to limit the amount of information read on each card. Only one degree or certificate will be read for each graduate. Please do not add information to your card; the readers will only read what was printed originally.

Is the ceremony being televised?
Yes. The ceremony is recorded and played back on the PCC cable channels. [View the cablecast schedule]

What should I do if I’m feeling nervous?
Relax, take a few deep breaths. Make eye contact with someone. Smile. Talk. It’s not a final exam, so just have fun. And be careful on those stage stairs!

What side should the tassel be on?
The tassel should be on the right side of the mortarboard. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Chancellor will pronounce you as an official graduate of Pima Community College. At that time, you can move the tassel to the left side.

Where are the rest rooms?
There are some rest rooms just outside the Exhibition Hall (the room where you line up). Go through the doors located by the front of the graduate lines. You will see the bathrooms to your right and left inside the foyer.

Please note

  • We have done everything possible to keep the ceremony lively and fast paced. The ceremony is about, and for, the graduates. Please be sure to stay in your seats until the conclusion of the ceremony. The other graduates waited for you, so please do the same for them. Besides, you won’t want to miss the exciting finale!
  • Please do not bring any Silly String into the ceremony. Unfortunately, Silly String stains the fabric of the arena seats. Repairing the seats costs the College valuable resources that could be better spent on providing services for students. 
  • We do not provide any security for purses or other personal items. We suggest you leave all personal items with your family and guests.
  • Recycling containers will be placed at the Exhibition Hall exit. Please drop any unwanted, recyclable materials into one of those containers as you leave the Exhibition Hall.

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