Instructions for Candidates

109th Annual Commencement Exercise
Combined Undergraduate and Advanced Degree Ceremony
Saturday, May 16, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (estimated time)
Stan Sheriff Center

All participating graduates must register by May 1, 2020 .

An instructional video for students and guests is available at


9:00 a.m. Ceremony
  • College of Arts & Humanities
  • College of Languages, Linguistics & Literature
  • College of Natural Sciences
  • College of Social Sciences
  • College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources
  • Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • School of Ocean and Earth Science & Technology
  • School of Pacific & Asian Studies
9:00 a.m. - 11:30 p.m. (estimated time) – Stan Sheriff Center
Candidates report by 8:00 a.m. to Stan Sheriff Center loading dock area (please see map below).

3:30 p.m. Ceremony
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • John A. Burns School of Medicine
  • Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, including Public Health
  • School of Architecture
  • School of Nursing & Dental Hygiene
  • Shidler College of Business, including School of Travel Industry Management
  • William S. Richardson School of Law
3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (estimated time) – Stan Sheriff Center
Candidates report by 2:30 p.m. to Stan Sheriff Center loading dock area (please see map below).

Upon arrival, candidates should check in with the student marshal standing near the school/college sign.


No tickets will be issued. All guests are welcome to the ceremonies on a first-come, first-seated basis. However, as a courtesy, graduates are asked to limit their guests to five (5) individuals. Gates will open at 7:45 a.m.. We strongly recommend that guests arrive early, as the doors to the Stan Sheriff Center will be closed when the arena reaches maximum capacity.

Balloons, large signs, and strollers are not allowed into the arena for safety reasons. Guests can take photographs and videos from their seats only.


Plan to arrive early, as considerable congestion surrounding the campus is expected.

Campus parking for guests is free but limited on graduation day. Carpooling is strongly encouraged. UH Shuttles will be available from various locations throughout the campus area. Please check the UH Commencement Transportation webpage for more information.

The road leading from the Waiʻalae gate entrance to the Stan Sheriff Center will be closed before and during the ceremony. The area near the ROTC buildings is reserved.

For disability access information for your guests, please see Disability Information Page.

Prior to Commencement

Print your Name Card page by logging into the commencement online registration system. Print and bring the name card to the ceremony. Include pronunciation hints, if necessary, for the name reader.

All candidates must have a cap and gown (and hood for advanced degrees – see below) in order to participate. Alteration of gowns is prohibited (i.e. shortening the length). We ask that you refrain from decorating your caps with items that will obstruct the view of your fellow candidates.

Advanced degree candidates: In addition to your cap and gown, please obtain the appropriate hood in advance from the UH Mānoa Bookstore.

  • Master's, JD, LLM, and MD candidates are to wear your hoods to the ceremony.
  • DArch, DNP, DrPH, and PhD candidates will carry your hoods. Your sponsor will hood you on stage.
  • For PhDs only - Dissertation titles will also be read aloud during the ceremony

A demonstration video by Herff Jones on how to wear the cap and gown is available here:




We strongly recommend participants view it before commencement day.

Day of Commencement

Caps should be worn at all times. The cap should be worn squarely on the top of the head. The front of the cap, which has the shorter point, should be centered directly over your nose. Tassels on your caps should hang on the right of your cap until after the symbolic conferring of degrees. Advanced Degree Candidates - Tassels on your caps should hang on the left of your cap.

Assemble at the Stan Sheriff Center security entrance by 8:00 a.m. for the 9:00 a.m. ceremony and 2:30 p.m. for the 3:30 p.m. ceremony. Signs will be posted along a rope originated from the loading dock gate entrance. Please check in with your school/college student marshal once you find your sign, then line up in double-file lines behind the appropriate sign for your degree and college (see Loading Dock map above). If you are uncertain where to line up, please refer to your name card. Friends who wish to sit side by side during the ceremony must line up one behind the other or they will be separated.

Traditionally, flower lei are not presented or worn until after the ceremony. No balloons are allowed into the Stan Sheriff Center.

Note: Large bags (purses, backpacks, etc.), placards or signage, beach balls, and pets (excluding service animals) will not be allowed on the arena floor. Plan to have your guests keep your personal belongings until after the ceremony.

Note to Parents and Pet Owners: Children (including infants) and pets (excluding service animals) will not be allowed to accompany graduates in the ceremony. Please plan to have your guests watch your children during the ceremony.

Candidates needing disability accommodations are required to contact the KOKUA program at 956-7511.


The student procession into the arena will begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. for the 9:00 a.m. ceremony and at 3:00 p.m. for the 3:30 p.m. ceremony under the direction of your faculty marshals. All graduates will be seated facing the stage. Refer to floor map for additional seating details.

commencement ceremony floor map**Subject to change. Layout will vary depending on number of graduates registered to participate.


All candidates except PhD, DArch, DNP, and DrPH candidates - The faculty marshal will ask you to rise when your school/college and degree are called. Follow your school/college student marshal single file up to the side of the stage. You will take your first photograph on the arena floor before going on stage. The second photograph will be taken on stage. Present your printed Name Card to the name reader (ensure that it is folded in half) as you cross the stage. As your name is read, move to stage center to receive diploma cover and congratulations, exit the stage and return to your original seat. Remain standing until you are instructed to be seated by the faculty marshal.

PhD, DArch, DNP, DrPH Candidates: You and your sponsor will be led, single file, to either side of the stage. Name reading and hooding will take place alternately on stage right and stage left. Present your printed Name Card to the name reader (ensure that it is folded in half), and stand on the place-marking in front of the podium. You will be hooded by your sponsor and the faculty marshal as the name reader reads your name (and dissertation title – PhDs only). Your first photograph will be taken here. You will proceed to the center of the stage, shake hands with the Chancellor/Vice Chancellor and administrators, receive your diploma cover, and take a second photograph with the Chancellor/Vice Chancellor. You and your sponsor will return to your seats on the arena floor via the center ramp. Please remain standing in front of your original seats until the faculty marshal instructs the entire row to be seated.

Undergraduates - When all candidates have returned to their original seats, the Chancellor will direct you to shift your tassels to the left as a symbol of graduation and then instruct you to be seated.

Please honor your fellow candidates, who have also worked hard for this moment, by treating them with dignity and respect.

After the Ceremony

Meet your guests by the appropriate alphabetical sign on the following fields:

  • A-K: Clarence T. C. Ching Complex
  • L-Z: Les Murakami Baseball Stadium

Guests with special needs may want to consider meeting graduates at a location closer to the Stan Sheriff Center.

While giving lei is a Hawaiʻi tradition, we ask that you encourage family and friends attending the commencement to help with UH Mānoa's sustainability efforts by leaving the plastic clam shell containers at home or even consider using a reusable bag to help reduce the high volume of trash that takes up our garbage cans.

Guests will be asked to clear the fields by 12:30 p.m. for the 9:00 a.m. ceremony and 7:00 p.m. for the 3:30 p.m. ceremony.


Because semester records will not be available by the date of commencement, the conferring of degrees at the ceremony is provisional, pending verification that degree requirements have been met. Diplomas will be available for pickup 10 weeks after the ceremony at the Office of the Registrar, Queen Liliʻuokalani Center for Student Services 010. To receive your diploma by mail, complete a "Request to Mail Diploma" card at that office (be sure to check on postal costs for mailing outside the United States). For further information, call 956-8010.


Audience members can take photographs from their seats only. A photographer will take a photograph of you receiving your diploma. After commencement, you will receive an email message from the photographer with a link to view your proof online at You may order additional photographs at that time. If you do not wish to have your contact information forwarded to the photographer, please submit your request in writing by December 1, 2019 to ATTN: Commencement 2019, 2500 Campus Road, Hawaiʻi Hall 209, Honolulu, HI 96822. For further information, contact the Commencement Coordinator at , or by phone at 956-GRAD.