Graduation and Commencement

Evergreen's 2023 Commencement took place in-person on Friday, June 16, 2023.

Celebrating the Class of 2023

Congratulations to our Greener grads! The Olympia commencement ceremony was held on Friday, June 16, 2023, at 1 pm, outdoors and in-person on Red Square at the Olympia Campus.

Instructions for Graduates

Planning for your graduation ceremony

In true Greener fashion, there is no rehearsal for commencement at Evergreen. We want the ceremony to be all organic! Review this page to know what you need to do at the commencement ceremony.

Check-in Cards

First up, make sure you've applied to graduate for the 2022-23 academic year. That's how you'll get a check-in card. Cards for the Tacoma Campus and Graduate programs through your program staff.

Want your name read? you'll need a check-in card to walk across the stage and receive your Evergreen diploma cover. Pick-up your card at one of the following times:

  • Monday, June 12 through Thursday, June 15: CAB, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm each day
  • Friday, June 16: Red Square, 9:00 am - 1:30 pm

Event Details for June 16


Plan to line-up on Red Square for the commencement processional that starts at 12:15 pm. Don't forget to bring your check-in card with you. The processional line will form between Purce Hall and Lab I. Use our procession map (PDF) to learn where to line-up and where you will walk as you move toward the seating area. Staff will assist you with lining up.

Map of where to line up for processional walk to commencement

When the ceremony begins at 1 pm, faculty will lead the procession through the guest seating. Staff will direct the graduates to the designated seating area. Once all graduates are seated, the speakers will begin. After the speakers have concluded, graduates will be invited to cross the stage and receive their diploma covers. Graduate students cross the stage first, followed by undergraduate students.

Each row of students will be directed to rise and form a line up to the stage. Remain seated until staff direct you to line up to cross the stage. At the stage entrance, you will be directed into one of two lines. At the top of the ramp, present your card to the name reader. You'll then walk across the stage to receive your diploma cover where you will have your first photograph taken. After you receive your diploma cover, you'll get a second photo taken. Then return to your seat and cheer for your friends!


Chairs are set aside for disabled and elderly seating in the seating area designated for graduates. If you cannot stand for the time period of 12:15-1:00 pm while graduates are assembling for the procession, there is seating reserved in the lower left corner of general seating for you. You can remain seated there until it is time for your program to process in, then join the processional.

If you cannot stand while you are waiting to walk across the stage, there will be chairs set up by the ramp entrance for you. The stage ramps are in compliance with ADA regulations. The stage is accessible to wheelchair users and others with accessibility needs.

Learn about the accommodations we have available for all attending commencement in our information for guests tab below. If you have additional accessibility needs, please contact Graduation by Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at or (360) 688-8245.

Information for Guests

Where to park, accommodations, seating, food and beverages

Food and drinks will be available for purchase on Red Square and in the adjacent College Activities Building. Those who wish to sit inside may watch the ceremony being broadcasted in classrooms and lecture halls inside Purce Hall.

We ask that the audience remain seated until the procession has concluded. The last person recognized deserves the same support, respect and celebration as the first. Your presence is part of the graduation experience for all. Graduates, family members and friends will appreciate your thoughtfulness.


Find out where to park on campus for graduation day with maps and directions.

Parking Map for Graduation Day

Where to Park

Visitors may park in B or C lots. If B and C lots are filled, parking is available in F lot. Follow the marked paths to make your way to Red Square for the ceremony. Parking for attendees with disabilities is available in B, C and F lots.

  • Two shuttle vans will operate from F Lot to Red Square from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. Shuttles will take people back to F Lot from 3:00 - 5:00 pm. Shuttle drop-off and pick-up will be located between the House of Welcome and Seminar I.

Parking is free at Evergreen's Olympia Campus on the following days and times: 

  • June 13 through 15 from 4:00 - 9:00 pm
  • June 16 from 7:00 am - 9:00 pm

Download a printable map (PDF) of the Evergreen Olympia campus graduation parking areas.

Exiting Campus after the Ceremony

A professional traffic control company will ensure a smooth exit from all parking lots. Please follow the directions of the uniformed personnel. To help speed everyone’s departure, Evergreen Parkway will be closed briefly at the end of the ceremony to prioritize exiting traffic as follows: 

B Lot will exit via the Parkway going southbound only. Traffic will not be allowed to enter the roundabout to go north on the Parkway. 

C Lot will exit via what are normally the entrance lanes and proceed northbound on the Parkway. Signs will direct drivers to Highway 101 and Olympia City Center via Kaiser Road or Cooper Point Road.

When guests exiting overflow parking or F Lot reach the intersection of Driftwood and the Parkway, left turns are permitted. Flaggers will alternate traffic to proceed straight ahead onto Kaiser Road or turn left onto the Parkway. Signs will direct drivers to Highway 101 and Olympia City Center via Kaiser Road or Cooper Point Road.

Overhulse Road will be closed during the ceremony, except for those exiting parking at the Children’s Center.

Notice for Saturday, June 17

If you live near campus or plan to come to campus on Saturday, note that Evergreen is hosting South Puget Sound Community College's commencement ceremony on Red Square on Saturday, June 17, starting at 10:00 am. Their ceremony will conclude between 12:00 and 1:00 pm – the same road closures and traffic control will be in effect.

Parking is free all day on Saturday, June 17.

Accommodations for People with Disabilities

Every guest is welcome to participate in, and enjoy, one of the biggest days of a Greener’s life.

Disabled Parking is Available

Disabled parking is available in areas of the main parking lots (B and C) closest to Red Square, as well as F lot. Two shuttle vans will operate from F Lot to Red Square from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. Shuttles will take people back to F Lot from 3:00 - 5:00 pm. Shuttle drop-off and pick-up will be located between the House of Welcome and Seminar I.

Drop-off Near the Event

Entering McCann Plaza, continue straight past the parking booth and the entrances to the parking lots. Enter the loop separated by a stand of trees and stop near the Native American Welcome Woman statue. For those using a wheelchair, there is a car ramp just before the bus stop. Evergreen staff are available to show you to seating set aside for elderly and disabled guests.

Map of many of the ADA features on campus.


Chairs are set aside for disabled and elderly seating outdoors. This accessible seating will be dispersed throughout the guest seating area. If you need assistance please see an usher. Those who wish to sit inside may watch the ceremony broadcast in the classrooms and lecture halls in Purce Hall.

Hearing Assistance

Please see a designated staff member to request a hearing assisted device.

Wheelchair Rental

Wheelchairs can be rented at a discounted rate of $25 plus tax for commencement weekend from Bellevue Healthcare in Lacey. Be sure to reference Evergreen's commencement in order to receive the June 15-19 special rate.

Bellevue Healthcare
4500 Pacific Ave SE Suite A
Lacey, WA 98503
Phone: 360-438-2955
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Additional Celebrations and Ceremonies

Tacoma Campus, Graduate Programs, Native Pathways, Lavender, Multicultural and more!

Graduate Hooding Ceremonies

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Wednesday, June 14, 2023
6:30 - 8:00 pm
House of Welcome

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)

Thursday, June 15, 2023
5:30 - 8:30 pm
House of Welcome

Master in Teaching (MiT)

Friday, June 16, 2023
10 am - 12:00 pm
House of Welcome

Program Celebrations

Lavender Graduation

Lavender Graduation celebrates and honors graduates who identify with the LGBTQ+ community.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023
4:00 - 5:30 pm
House of Welcome

Multicultural Advising Graduation

Celebrating and honoring graduates who identify with minoritized ethnic and racial identities in a culturally relevant way.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023
6:30 - 8:00 pm
House of Welcome

Veterans Celebration

Friday, June 16, 2023
10 am – 12:30 pm
Veteran’s Lounge

Paths of Study Celebration

Join faculty to celebrate and see examples of student work from across Evergreen’s interdisciplinary curriculum.

Friday, June 16, 2023
10:30 - 11:30 am 
Purce Hall

Evening and Weekend Studies Celebration

Friday, June 16, 2023
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
SEM II B 1105 & 1107

Native Pathways Program Graduation

The Native Pathways Program recognizes and celebrates the academic and personal success of their graduating students.

Saturday, June 17, 2023
5:00 - 9:00 pm
House of Welcome

Tacoma Graduation

Tacoma honors and celebrates the undergraduate and Master of Public Administration Tacoma students who worked diligently to obtain their degrees.

Saturday, June 17, 2023
1:00 - 3:00 pm
Tacoma Campus

Regalia, Printed Programs and Photos

Visit the Greener Bookstore

Graduates who apply to graduate by April 14, 2023 will have their name printed in the commencement program.

Come to the Greener Bookstore for graduation regalia, snacks, greener gear and more! Orders can be placed online for free in-store pickup or just stop by on commencement day.

A cap and gown are not required, but many graduates proudly don a traditional cap and gown as part of their regalia. Feel free to get festive and make it your own! Evergreen’s graduation is well-known for creative garb!

For other regalia, announcements, gifts and more, visit the Greener Bookstore!

A professional photographer will take pictures of graduates receiving diplomas and they can be ordered online after the ceremony. Graduates can preregister for their graduation ceremony photos before June 16 to receive 20% off a photo purchase of $50 or more.

Graduation Symbolism

Traditions with meaning

Ceremonial Mace

Originally a weapon used in medieval warfare by a king or great noble, the mace has become a ceremonial symbol. Use of the mace as an academic device dates back to 16th-century England, when Queen Elizabeth I presented a replica of her own royal mace to the corporation of the University of Oxford. She ordered that it be used in all ceremonies to represent the royal presence and the authority granted to the university to issue degrees under the royal insignia. Since that time, colleges and universities have adopted the custom of using a ceremonial mace during graduation exercises.

The Evergreen State College’s mace is a gift from the late Byron Youtz, former academic vice president and provost, who donated the materials, and faculty member emeritus Earle McNeil, who gave his time and talent to create it.

The crown of the mace represents the principles of knowledge and experience. To remind us that such integration is a carefully balanced blend of diverse aspects of human nature, there are four inlaid circles symbolizing major ways of experiencing the world—thinking, feeling, intuiting and sensing— and four main characteristics of the human mind—wisdom, innocence, introspection and illumination.

College Medallion

The original college medallion was designed for founding president Charles McCann’s inauguration, which he later donated to Library archives. The medallion worn by the current college president was designed in 1994 by Joyce Attwood. It is fabricated of silver, copper, brass, gold and acrylic, featuring a moon-stone from Nepal, paua shell from New Zealand and turquoise, and is suspended on a chain from Thailand. The medallion design shows an evergreen tree with Mt. Rainier and the sea in the background.

Be a Greener Wherever You Go Next

Scholarship funding provided in part by custom Evergreen license plates. The newest design is now available.

Academic Regalia

The origins of academic dress date back to the 12th and 13th centuries when universities were taking form. The ordinary dress of the scholar, whether student or teacher, was the dress of a cleric. Long gowns and hoods were worn and may have been necessary for warmth in unheated buildings. Today, many institutions choose distinctively colored gowns. The design of the sleeve indicates the level of the degree earned by the wearer. Hoods have both the colors of the institution and a band indicating the academic discipline in which the degree was earned.

Native Pathways Program

Program students are wearing tribal, Indigenous or culturally significant regalia representative of their ancestors, lands and communities.

Tacoma Program

Tacoma graduates are wearing stoles made from Kente cloth, a type of woven silk and cotton fabric native to the Ashanti people (Ghana). Kente cloth, worn only in times of extreme importance, is a key symbol of African cultural heritage.

Evergreen Masters

Each master’s degree program graduate wears a hood edged in a distinctive color. Pale blue marks a Master in Teaching; brilliant gold signifies a Master of Environmental Studies; and deep turquoise indicates a Master of Public Administration; and Master of Public Administration Tribal Governance graduates are wearing regalia that are representative of their tribe.

Evening and Weekend Studies

Students and faculty wearing black, green and white stoles accented with a moon and sun represent Evening and Weekend Studies. They honor the nights and weekends graduates spent earning their degrees while working day jobs and supporting families.

Speedy the Geoduck, our College Mascot

Founders of the college wanted a mascot that epitomized the difference between traditional schools and Evergreen’s innovative ideas. It had to be the opposite of typically snarling, fierce or aggressive mascots. 

They chose the geoduck, the world’s largest burrowing clam, which lives on the shorelines of our beautiful Puget Sound and Evergreen's beach. The word geoduck derives from the Lushootseed gwideq, meaning “to dig deep.”

Alma Mater

Omnia Extares, Omnia Extares Alma Mater, Evergreen Omnia Extares.

Geoduck Fight Song

Go, Geoducks go,

Through the mud and the sand, let’s go.

Siphon high, squirt it out, swivel all about,

let it all hang out.

Go, Geoducks go,

Stretch your neck when the tide is low,

Siphon high, squirt it out, swivel all about,

let it all hang out. 

Graduation, Commencement and Diplomas

Graduation refers to receiving a degree once Evergreen certifies you have finished and completely fulfilled all degree requirements.

Commencement is the symbolic ceremony marking the closing of your academic career where you receive commendation for your hard work at Evergreen. It is an opportunity for you, your family, friends and the Evergreen community to celebrate your accomplishments.

Diplomas will be mailed to you once all your evaluations are turned in by faculty and your degree is certified, assuming all holds and charges have been reconciled. Deans will contact faculty with overdue evaluations to make sure they are turned in.

Also, your diploma and academic record will correctly reflect your bachelor of arts, bachelor of science or bachelor of arts and sciences, regardless of how it may be listed in the commencement program.

If you have questions about your diploma or transcript, or need confirmation of your degree for graduate school or work, send an email to Registrationa and Records at

For questions about any of the ceremonies, email Graduation at