Commencement

Graduate and Ceremony Information

What is the location of Spring 2021 Commencement?
  • The Commencement Exercises will occur on the Century Campus with limited seating reserved for the platform party, faculty, graduates, and up to four seats per graduate.
Century Campus
Century Campus is our original campus quadrangle and green bordered by many of our oldest and most revered buildings, Graves Hall, Robert Hall, Sale Hall, Hope Hall, Merrill Hall, Danforth Chapel, and the Nabrit Mapp McBay Building.
What should graduates and families expect?
  • We are holding a celebration that includes a version of the traditional ceremony and adheres to CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and guests.

    Because of the pandemic, our ceremony will be a little different from past years. To help graduates plan, we’re providing this brief description of the ceremony, along with details about registration, guests, and more.
    The Ceremony

    The ceremony will include several traditional elements:  

    • President Thomas, Provost Brown, and Board Chair Woods will confer all degrees.  
    • President Thomas will deliver remarks, present awards, and recognize the graduates.  
    • All registered graduates will be recognized individually and provided their degree cover.  
    • All students will be hooded in Forbes Arena before the Processional. 
    • Graduating seniors living on campus will be issued a one-day placard for commencement day only. 

      During the recognition of individual graduates, a photographer will capture President Thomas with each graduate in a touch-free capacity.

      If you are a graduate planning to participate in Commencement, we will send a link to the email address and cell phone number on file with the registrar's office as of May 1. This includes Fall 2020 respondents and confirmed 2021 candidates. If you do not receive an email with instructions by April 30 about registering to attend, email us at commencement@morehouse.edu

      On Wednesday, May 12, we will release tickets via SMS message to all registered graduates confirming their family's four-seat pod allocation. Each graduate can then share the Ticket and Systems Tracker information with their guests. 

      We will read each graduate's name in alphabetical order. Graduates will not be seated or called by Academic Divisions this year. As we read each graduate's name, we will display a photograph on the screens and the event live stream.  

    As we call each graduate's name, he will cross the stage, be handed the diploma by the president, pose in a mask without touching, and receive his diploma cover. The Grad Images photographer takes a photo. As he exits the stage, the graduate takes his picture with the degree and exits the stage immediately. We will direct him back to his seat.

    As we read honorary doctorate names, the marshal will hood the honoree. 

    The recipient will pose with the President and Chairman and return to their seat.

How do I receive my graduation regalia?
  • We invited 2021 degree candidates who submitted a graduation application to submit their Application by April 9. Degree candidates who applied for graduation can no longer access the form. We asked candidates to provide sizing information and confirm the mailing address for shipping. The bookstore will process orders as they are received.
How do I receive my honor cord?
  • Students designated to receive Latin honors should have received an academic honor cord. The cords are in the regalia mailing.

    Latin Honors are an academic distinction based on students' cumulative grades through the end of the fall semester. Degree candidates can review their status in MyPortal and Degree Works.
Will all graduating seniors be ranked?
  • No. Morehouse only ranks the top two seniors. We designate degree candidates with the highest GPAs in the class as valedictorian and salutatorian. Only seniors who are in the process of completing all degree requirements by the end of the spring semester are eligible to be considered for the top rankings.
Will we have a baccalaureate service?
  • This year's Baccalaureate service for the Class of 2021 that be a pre-recorded video streamed live on Morehouse.edu, Facebook, and YouTube on Saturday, May 15, 2021, at 3 p.m. There will not be an in-person Baccalaureate service this year.
When will the Commencement speaker be announced?
  • Our speakers are famed Civil Rights attorney and Founder/Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan A. Stevenson. We will recognize 1619 creator and Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.
How do I order a class ring?
  • Jostens partners with us to offer class rings to graduates. Visit Jostens online for more details.
Will we have an alumni rite of passage ceremony?
  • Yes, traditions that connect you to our alumni are of major importance to the Office of External Relations and Alumni Engagement. Therefore, we determined that this activity will once again take place virtually.

    You are encouraged to upload your Passing the Torch photos here no later than April 25.
Can I request a graduation fee refund if I don’t plan to attend commencement? 
  • No, the graduation fee offsets a portion of the total cost of Commencement and related graduation activities.  It is assessed for all degree candidates, even if you elect not to participate in the Commencement ceremony. The fee is non-refundable.

    We assess senior fees for all degree candidates who apply for graduation. These fees offset a portion of the total cost of Commencement events, activities, and services. Some costs include, but are not limited to, caps and gowns, diplomas and diploma covers, graduation weekend activities, senior portraits, and the graduation logistics and production.
Is there a rain plan for Commencement?
  • We're holding Commencement exercises on the historic Century Campus Green and the adjacent lawn of Trevor Arnett. These are outdoor venues. Our event is rain or shine. All attendees should check the weather before coming to the campus and plan accordingly.
Does Morehouse have host hotels for Commencement weekend?
  • Yes, Morehouse has blocked a limited number of hotel options for your convenience. Please make your reservation to ensure the room rates are available to you:

    Ritz-Carlton Atlanta - $189: Book your group rate 

    Hyatt Regency Atlanta - $109: Book your group rate 
Will there be lodging accommodations on campus during Commencement weekend?
  • No, Morehouse will not accommodate lodging using on-campus housing for graduates or their guests during Commencement weekend activities.
What is Commencement attire?
  • The official attire for Commencement is comfortable and shined black shoes, a white shirt, with the black robe and tassel, cap, and honor cords if applicable. You will receive instructions on our hybrid and virtual rehearsal.
Are graduating seniors who are living on campus able to stay in their residence halls until Commencement?
  • Yes, graduating seniors will be permitted to remain in residence halls until Commencement. We expect all students to plan their departure and check out of their rooms within 24 hours of Commencement, but no later than Monday, May 17, 2021, at 1 p.m.

    Please ensure that you check with your RA or house leader before you check out of your room. 

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General Information

What time do the access areas on the Century Campus open?
  • The grounds will open to guests approximately two hours before the beginning of the ceremony.
How long does the ceremony usually last?
  • We expect the ceremony to last 2-2.5 hours.
Will you stream the ceremony online?
  • Yes. Family and friends may view our ceremony online through our live webcast. Information will appear on morehouse.edu the week before the ceremony.
Will light refreshments and water be available?
  • Yes, before the ceremony. No outside food or beverages will be allowed beyond the checkpoints.
What items are allowed or restricted in the venue?

Morehouse College strongly encourages attendees not to bring any type of bags, but Commencement attendees will be able to carry the following style and size bag into the event, with limited exceptions:

  • Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC and do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12" 
  • Buckles, grommets/hardware, or décor can be concealing any part of the bag
  • One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziplock bag or similar)
  • Small clutch bags, which cannot exceed 4.5" x 6.5" in size, with or without a handle or strap, can be taken into the event venue with one of the clear plastic bags

We will make exceptions for medical and diaper bags. Guests with medical and diaper bags must request an individual inspection from the gate supervisor.  

Additionally, each guest can bring in one sealed bottle of water of up to one liter and a three-ounce travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer.

The following items are permitted to enter Morehouse Commencement zone:

  • Sunscreen lotion 
  • Binoculars 
  • Blankets (non-electric/non-battery-powered) 
  • Seat cushion  
  • Medical assistance devices 
  • Breast pumps and supplies 
  • Baby food (with a child in arms)
What items are not allowed on the campus?

We prohibit the following items from entering the Morehouse Commencement zone and will not store any prohibited item brought to campus.

  • Weapons of any kind, including those with a permit
  • Food and beverage
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco (including smokeless and e-cigarettes)
  • Aerosol cans/sprays
  • Cans
  • Coolers or ice chests 
  • Thermos/metal bottles 
  • TVs
  • Ice bags
  • Bags (not compliant with clear-bag policy outlined above)
  • Laser pointers
  • Cameras with lenses longer than 4″ 
  • Sticks or flag poles
  • Pets/therapy animals
  • Fireworks or other explosives
  • Illegal drugs
  • Strollers
  • Personal transportation devices (skateboards, hoverboards, scooters, etc.)
  • Inflated balls of any type
  • Umbrellas that obstruct the view of others
  • Any other items deemed dangerous or inappropriate by security
Visitors and Vendors

Visitors are not Morehouse faculty, staff, or students. Vendors provide products and services to the institution and are not formally considered visitors. 

  • Visitors and vendors are required to always wear a face mask and physical distance while on campuses. 
  • Visitors and vendors are required to have their temperatures taken and answer questions (supplied by the epidemiologist) regarding their exposure to COVID-19 before provided access to AUC campuses.      
  • Visitors and vendors are prohibited from being on campus if they have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past two weeks, are exhibiting signs or symptoms of illness of COVID-19, or were in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 
  • We may require vendors to participate in COVID-19 testing protocols depending on their exposure to Morehouse students and staff.
Parking and Transportation 
How do I get to Morehouse College Century Campus?
  • Morehouse is located at 830 Westview Drive SW, Atlanta, GA 30314.

    We encourage guests to enter campus via Lee Street and Westview Drive, located off I-20 East, using exit 55B.

    Graduates are encouraged to come separately through the West End Ave and Wellborn Street access point. Please be sure to print off the 2020 Graduate or 2021 Graduating Senior placard before heading to campus. 
Will parking be available?
  • Visitor parking is available on any of the campus lots on a first-come-first-served basis. Fees vary. We will provide updates and additional information in May. Guest drop-off and handicap parking will be available.

    Guests with a valid handicap parking tag may park on the first level of the Morehouse and CAU parking decks, located next to Westview Drive or Atlanta Student Movement Boulevard (CAU Parking Deck).
Can I use public transportation to reach the Commencement venue?  
  • Two MARTA transit stations serve the campus.
    • West End Station - This is the closest station to the Commencement ceremonies
    • Ashby Street Station - This is the closest to the Century Camp
What do I do if someone in my party becomes separated from our group?
  • Please see any usher, safety marshal, police officer, or Morehouse event support staff member for assistance.

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Tickets

How many tickets will each graduate receive?
  • Each graduate will receive four electronic tickets. More details will be available closer to the event date.  
How will I receive the tickets I requested?
  • Tickets will be released after we receive the final list the night of May 13. After students upload their PCR test, they will be sent their symptom tracking information before the ceremony on Saturday.
Can I request extra tickets?
  • Unfortunately, we will be unable to accommodate requests for extra tickets. However, we will live stream the event on morehouse.edu, so that family, friends, and supporters can celebrate with you wherever they may be.
Are tickets for a specific seat? 
  • Yes. Seats are non-transferable once you reserve your tickets during registration. Tickets are available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Do family members and guests need tickets to attend the Commencement ceremony?
  • Yes. We require tickets for all ceremonies.
Do infants need a ticket for Commencement?
  • We do not require tickets for children under the age of two seated in an adult's lap for the duration of the ceremony. Per the Fulton County Fire Marshal, children older than two years must have a guest ticket to attend. At the time of registration, you will be able to enter the name of your eligible child.
Can parents request tickets on their own?
  • Unfortunately, no. All ticket requests must come from the graduate. The registrar's office is unable to track individual ticket requests. The Commencement Planning Committee uses Full Measure as our digital ticketing partner.
What if I am unable to secure the number of tickets I need for all my guests?
  • The ceremony will be streamed live on the Morehouse website. We invite you to celebrate with us virtually. If your guests more need than your allotted number, please ask them to join us virtually.

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Health and Safety

Your health safety is paramount to our Community. We're holding the ceremonies in a manner that is safe and compliant with COVID-19 safety protocols. Each ceremony will be limited to the student and four pre-registered guests. Everyone must register through the Graduation App powered by Full Measure and comply with health and safety protocols to participate in the ceremony.

All students and guests must agree and abide by all federal, state, local, and Morehouse college mandates, policies, protocols, and procedures related to COVID-19. To protect everyone, all attendees must adhere to the following expectations, as directed by Morehouse. The expectations will be based on recommendations by public health authorities and are likely to change depending on the spread of COVID-19 and changes in medical knowledge.

All guests agree to: 

  • Maintain appropriate (currently 6 feet) physical distance from others.
  • Regularly self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 (new or worsening) and stay home if sick.
    • Fever greater than or equal to 100F
    • Shaking or chills
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Sore throat
    • Muscle aches
    • Headache
    • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Comply with any screening protocols or safety measures that may be in place for the event.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds regularly throughout the day and use hand sanitizer when hand washing stations are not available.
  • Comply with the applicable contact tracing protocols of both Morehouse, Fulton county, and state of Georgia health departments.
  • Always wear an approved face mask in all locations while on the Morehouse College campus. 
What steps are you taking to protect participants against COVID-19 exposure? 
  • To create a safe ceremony for our graduates and guests, we follow recommended COVID safety guidelines for events. These guidelines include the following:
    • Hosting our ceremony outside
    • Seating all graduates six feet apart and providing seating clusters of four guests that are six feet apart
    • Increased campus grounds cleaning and disinfecting high touchpoints throughout the ceremony
    • Limiting touchpoints with mobile ticketing, contactless entry, and a digital Commencement program
    • Requiring face coverings
  • We require face coverings for entry into Forbes Arena for graduates and to the Campus Green all guests. You must wear a mask for the duration of the event unless you are actively eating or drinking in your seat.

    Approved face coverings must have at least two layers of breathable material, fully cover the nose and mouth, secure under the chin, fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, and secure without being held in place with hands.

    Based on guidance from health officials, open-chin triangle bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material, and or holes of any kind are not acceptable face coverings.

    Additionally, costume masks are also not considered appropriate face coverings and are prohibited from being worn onto the campus. We are attempting to preserve your memories with an in-person, limited engagement, reduced capacity event. Please help us keep each other safe. 

    All graduates and guests are encouraged to test at a site provided by your state's Department of Public Health before coming to Atlanta. We also encourage you to use your best judgment. If you are sick, please stay home and enjoy the live stream.

    We will have increased health and safety precautions such as physical distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene stations, and first aid areas. Directional signage will all be in place to create a safe environment for those in attendance. Common areas will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day and between ceremonies.
Do I have to take a COVID-19 test?
  • We will only clear students for campus entry who take a negative PCR-based COVID-19 test no more than five days before they arrive.

    We will scan students upon arrival at the upper level of Forbes arena. Please present your green Full Measure symptom tracker result to enter the campus and facility. We will not permit entry with a positive result or red indicator.

    We recommend every participant and attendee get vaccinated. All people age 16 and older are now able to receive the vaccine.

    If you would like to get vaccinated, appointments are available at the Morehouse School of Medicine, Delta Museum, and Mercedes-Benz through May 15. You must receive both shots by May 14 to be fully vaccinated.
Is there first aid available during Commencement?
  • Yes, medical personnel are on-site and ready to assist guests in need. Please see any usher, public safety official, police officer, or Morehouse staff member for assistance

Accessibility

Where is ADA seating located?
  • ADA seating is in the area closest to Danforth Chapel. The nearest entry to the ADA seating is from the CAU entry gate of Atlanta Student Movement Blvd. All our ADA seating is located on the right side of the small Chapel, looking onto the stage.
Does Morehouse provide wheelchairs to rent or borrow on the morning of Commencement?
  • Unfortunately, Morehouse cannot provide wheelchairs for your guests, but we have a list of area vendors who offer this service.
What are the wheelchair rental services available nearby?

The following vendors are provided as a service to Commencement guests to assist you with locating a wheelchair rental company. Morehouse does not endorse any vendor.

Accucare Medical Equipment
11 Dunwoody Park, Ste 130
Atlanta, GA 30338
Phone: 770-512-0090
mistermorton@mindspring.com 

Alpha Medical Equipment & Supplies, Inc
1652 Church Street
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 373-8160
livikas@bellsouth.net 

Heavenly Wheels Inc. Medical Supply
2080 Defoors Ave., Ste. 105
Atlanta, GA
(678) 257-1786 

Power Wheelchair Services, Inc.
467 85 Circle Ste. B
College Park, GA 30349
(404) 478-7148  

Is there a limit for ADA seats for each party?
  • We do not enforce a strict limit, as we recognize different families have different needs. Each ADA request will receive one companion (buddy) seat. However, we ask that guests do not request more than they need to help us accommodate as many people as possible. Companions may be relocated within the ADA section to help us accommodate ADA guests.
I want my guests to be seated together, can this be arranged?
  • Yes, you should request ADA seating at the time of registration, as these will also be in four-person pods to accommodate wheelchairs. It will become one of your four seats.

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Professional Photography and Senior Portraits

How do I order photos taken at the ceremony?
  • Grad Images is proud to be your official graduation photographer. Proofs of your photos will be sent via email the week after your Commencement. You can also view and order your images directly online a few days after the ceremony.
Are there professional photographers at the diploma ceremonies?
  • Yes. We partner with Grad Images to capture each student receiving their diploma. They provide proofs to view before purchase. For more information, visit Gradimages.com.
Will there be complimentary senior photos for the Class of 2021?
  • Yes. Photo sessions will be available for those students who live in Atlanta or the surrounding area. The dates for senior photos are March 31, April 16, and May 14, 2021. You must register to set an appointment for your picture.
How do I register to take senior photos?
  • We sent an email indicating "Senior Class Photo Registration" by our vendor, Grad Images, and the Office of Commencement Planning. Students will be able to select a date and time May 14, 2021 between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We will set up for photos in the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center.
Is there a fee to take senior photos?
  • No, the photo sessions are complimentary. Grad Images will offer Packages for your senior photos. Students are not required to take photos. In the past, some students decided to hire a photographer in a private location.
What is the location of the photoshoot?
  • Graduating seniors with a negative PCR test will take their photos in Ray Charles Performing Arts Center. Students will be able to take an additional photo near the Arch on the Oval with a second photographer. Your complimentary photo session includes these locations.
What should I wear?
  • If you are taking your cap and gown photo, you will be required to bring it with you. Due to COVID-19, there will be no sharing of clothing between students.
Can I schedule senior photos when I come to Atlanta for Commencement if I live out of town?
  • Due to the need to uphold Morehouse’s safety protocols, the final session for senior pictures will take place on May 14, 2021, for those who were unable to upload a photo or attend one of the earlier photo sessions. We will not hold make-up days outside of this scheduled session. The last day to upload photos to the Grad Images link is April 27. To safely accommodate students, we took 2021 senior pictures for one full day in March, April, and May.

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