Graduation & Commencement

Evergreen's 2024 Commencement will take place in-person on Friday, June 14, 2024

Celebrating the Class of 2024

Join us to celebrate the class of 2024! The All-Campus Commencement will be held on Friday, June 14th, 2024 at 1 pm, outdoors and in-person on Red Square at the Olympia campus. This annual celebration is open to all students graduating in the 2023-24 academic year, including summer quarter.

Students may invite any number of friends and family to the ceremony; tickets are not required to attend. The ceremony takes place rain or shine, and lasts roughly three hours. Masks are welcome but not required.

You can also watch the entire ceremony online. The streaming link will be made available the week of commencement.

Instructions for Graduates

Planning for Your Commencement 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.

Apply to Graduate and Check-in Cards

First, Apply to Graduate for the 2023-24 academic year. Graduates who apply to graduate by April 15, 2024 will have their name printed in the commencement program.

Next, pick up your Check-in Card during Monday-Friday of commencement week. Times and location for pickup will be announced closer to June. You are required to have a Check-in Card to cross the stage to receive your Evergreen diploma cover.

Please spell your name phonetically on your Check-in Card to assist the name reader.

Graduate Program students: You can also pick up your Check-in Card through your program. Please contact your program’s Assistant Director for more information.

Event Details for June 14


Plan to line-up on Red Square for the commencement processional at 12:15 - 12:30 pm. Don't forget to bring your check-in card with you. The processional line will form between Purce Hall and Lab I. Use the Graduate 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.

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 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.

If you have additional accessibility needs, please contact the Graduation Office by Tuesday, June 11, 2024, at or (360) 688-8245.

Regalia and Photos

Visit the Greener Bookstore

Come to the Greener Bookstore for graduation regalia, announcements, snacks, Greener gear, gifts, 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!

A professional photographer will take pictures of graduates receiving diplomas. You can Order Photos Online after the ceremony. Graduates can Preregister for Graduation Ceremony Photos before June 14 to receive 20% off a photo purchase of $50 or more.

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 broadcast in classrooms and lecture halls inside Purce Hall.

A professional photographer will take photos of each graduate at two points on the stage and after they cross the stage. Please avoid taking pictures near the stage exit ramp, as this blocks the views for people seated near that area.

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 am - 1 pm. Shuttles will take people back to F Lot from 3 - 5 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 14, 7 am - 9 pm

Download a printable map of the Evergreen Olympia Campus Graduation Parking Map (PDF).

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 Road and the Parkway, right turns will not be 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.

Notice for Saturday, June 15

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 15, starting at 10 am. Their ceremony will conclude between Noon and 1 pm - the same road closures and traffic control will be in effect.

Parking is free all day on Saturday, June 15.

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 am - 1 pm. Shuttles will take people back to F Lot from 3 - 5 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.

ADA Features Campus Map (PNG) 


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 am - 5 pm

Additional Celebrations and Ceremonies

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

Graduate Hooding Ceremonies
Dates, Times and Locations to be Announced

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)

Master in Teaching (MiT)

Program Celebrations
Dates, Times and Locations to be Announced

Lavender Graduation

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

Multicultural Advising Graduation

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

Veterans Celebration

Paths of Study Celebration

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

Evening and Weekend Studies Celebration

Native Pathways Program Graduation

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

Tacoma Graduation

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

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 available now on our Alumni page.

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. 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.

When you cross the stage at commencement, you will receive your Evergreen diploma cover. 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 how to Apply to Graduate, your diploma or transcript, or need confirmation of your degree for graduate school or work, send an email to Registration and Records at

For questions about the All-Campus Commencement ceremony, email the Graduation Office at