Sesquicentennial Commencement Guide

Congratulations graduating seniors on your upcoming graduation and your many achievements! I am sure you are eager to celebrate your achievement with classmates, family, and friends at Commencement on May 5, 2019. 

Commencement is a festive time for the graduates, their families, alumni and the entire Tougaloo community. Please adhere to the information contained in this booklet to ensure that your commencement is a memorable one. You will find information about the events that celebrate senior achievements, details about attire, ceremonial protocol, parking, and helpful suggestions for making the most of this special time.

Your Tougaloo education has indeed provided the foundation you need to meet the many opportunities and challenges ahead. As you graduate and establish yourself in your chosen career or graduate or professional school, Tougaloo College will continue to support your endeavors through the Offices of Career Services and Alumni Affairs. 

My very best wishes to you during your final semester at Tougaloo College! 

Bianca L Garner, PhD

Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs

Sesquicentennial Commencement

Rain Plan  Letter to Graduating Seniors about Commencement

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Seniors’ Consecration Services

6:00 p.m. | Woodworth Chapel

Speaker: President Beverly W. Hogan

Friday, May 3, 2019

Alumni/Friends Gathering

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. | Maurice and Mavis James Courtyard

Bennie G. Thompson Academic and Civil Rights Research Center

Free Admission

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Sesquicentennial State of the College & Tailgating Celebration

11:30 a.m. | Coleman Athletic Complex

Speaker: President Beverly W. Hogan

TCNAA Annual Alumni Banquet

7:00 p.m. | Hilton Jackson Hotel

1001 East County Line Road | Jackson, MS

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Baccalaureate Services

8:00 a.m. | Woodworth Chapel

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Janet Cooper Nelson

Chaplain and Director of the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life

Brown University

Commencement Exercises

10:00 a.m. | Campus Green

Speaker: The Honorable Stacey Y. Abrams

Former Minority Leader of the

Georgia House of Representatives

Commencement 2019
Robing Locations and Line-Up Schedules



Seniors’ Consecration Services

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 – 6:00 p.m.

Graduates – Woodworth Chapel Overflow Room

Faculty – Lucille Moman Fraser Conference Room

Report for Line-up by 5:30 p.m.


Baccalaureate Services

Sunday, May 5, 2019 – 8:00 a.m.

Graduates – Holmes Hall Auditorium

Program Participants, Speaker and Faculty – Lucille Moman Fraser Conference Room

Report for Line-up by 7:30 a.m.


Commencement Exercises

Sunday, May 5, 2019 – 10:00 a.m.

Graduates – Holmes Hall Auditorium

Golden Class – Woodworth Chapel Lower Level

Silver Class – Woodworth Chapel Upper Level Over Flow Room

Trustees, Speaker, Program Participants, Faculty & Staff – Coleman Library First Floor

Report for Line-up by 9:00 a.m.

All Others Return Academic Regalia to the Library immediately following the Commencement ceremony


Commencement Rain Site
George A. & Ruth B. Owens Health and Wellness Center

Kroger Gymnasium

Robing Locations:

Trustees, Speaker, Program Participants – Health Clinic

Faculty & Staff – Boys’ Locker Room

Golden Class and Silver Class – Fitness Center

Graduating Seniors– Rear Hallway

Choir – Girls’ Locker Room

Return Academic Regalia to Owens Health Clinic immediately following the Commencement ceremony

Information for the Graduating Seniors

Preparing for Commencement

Requirements for Graduation

  1. Candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science must have passed at least 124 semester hours. The following hours will not count towards graduation: developmental or remedial courses and repeated courses.
  2. Candidates for Associate of Arts degree must have completed 27 semester hours of general education requirements to include First-Year Seminar, Effective Writing, College Algebra, Art Appreciation, Computer Literacy, Comprehensive Health, Effective Speaking, and World History.
  3. Candidates for all degrees must have earned a “C” (2.00) cumulative grade point average.
  4. Candidates must earn a “C” in all general education courses and in courses required for the major.
  5. All Incompletes (“I”) must be resolved by April 15th of the spring semester.
  6. All candidates must successfully pass the English Writing Proficiency Examination and meet the College’s reading requirement.
  7. Candidates must meet all requirements set forth in the major, including the senior thesis, comprehensive examinations, graduate and professional examination score reports (if required), etc.
  8. Candidates must have completed sixty (60) hours of community service approved by the academic advisor and dean and documented by the Office of Student Success.
  9. All candidates are encouraged to sit for a curriculum audit with their major advisors as well as with the Registrar in the Office of Records.
  10. Candidates for graduation must pay in full all current debts to the College.
  11. If you are a Federal Stafford, Federal Direct Loan Borrower, or a Federal TEACH Grant recipient, you must complete the required Exit Counseling by April 15th at Follow the instructions for Exit Counseling. Submit printed confirmation of completion to the Office of Student Financial Aid.
  12. All candidates must complete the Senior Clearance Sheet provided by the Office of the Bursar. The Senior Clearance Sheet should be completed in signature order. Signatures from the Office of Records and the Office of the Bursar may be secured after the final grades have been submitted and all degree requirements have been successfully completed and verified.

NOTE: Students found guilty of committing illegal acts such as submitting fraudulent documents, committing plagiarism, and/or falsifying documents will be removed from the graduation list and are subject to suspension or expulsion.

Participating in Commencement

  1. All candidates applying for graduation must complete an Application for Degree in the Office of Records by February 1st. This form is available in the Office of Records.
  2. All candidates must pay a $100.00 graduation fee, which covers the rental of your cap, gown and diploma. This fee is non-refundable. Only students with a current Application for Degree on file in the Office of Records will be considered for graduation.
  3. The Office of Records will conduct a graduating senior audit for those students who have applied for graduation. However, it is the student’s responsibility to meet with his/her advisor and to observe deadlines.
  4. The Office of Records will meet with prospective graduates by appointment only, for students planning to complete degree requirements in May and participate in Commencement.
  5. Receipt of a commencement letter does not signify that you have fulfilled all of your academic and financial requirements, only that your application has been received.

Honors at Graduation

Academic achievements of graduating seniors are recognized at Commencement. Graduation with academic distinction is based on a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 to 4.00 for all undergraduate work completed at Tougaloo College prior to the awarding of degrees. Graduates who qualify for degrees with distinction wear a gold neck cord as part of their academic regalia. Tougaloo College honors students achieving grade point averages with the following distinctions:

3.80 to 4.00 - Summa Cum Laude

3.50 to 3.79 - Magna Cum Laude

3.20 to 3.49 - Cum Laude

3.00 to 3.19 – With Honors


Academic Attire

Degree candidates who wish to participate in Commencement are required to wear academic regalia.  Graduates’ regalia will be distributed from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 1, 2019, immediately following the Commencement rehearsal.

All students are required to wear academic regalia at three events during Commencement Weekend: Senior Consecration Service, Baccalaureate Service, and of course, the Commencement Ceremony.

Honor cords will be issued to eligible students with their academic regalia.  Honor cords from campus organizations are awarded from the campus organization’s advisor.

Graduation stoles may be ordered and purchased from the Tougaloo College Bookstore. All graduates should wear dark, comfortable shoes. High heels are not recommended. All gowns and shirts should be pressed and without wrinkles.

The appropriate cap for Commencement is the black “mortarboard.”  The tassel should hang to the right side until the President confers the degree onto all students. At this time, tassels are moved to the left side.  The mortarboard is worn straight on the head with the point of the cap in the center of the forehead.


Guest seating is first come, first served. Inform your family and guests to be seated by 7:30 a.m. for the Baccalaureate Service and 9:30 a.m. for the Commencement Ceremony. Establish a meeting place with family and friends for after the ceremony. Guests with disabilities will be seated in the appropriate area upon arrival.

During the procession and ceremony, guests should remain seated to keep the aisles clear. At the conclusion of the ceremony, guests should remain in their seats until the recession of ceremony participants is complete.

During the procession and ceremony, guests should remain seated to keep the aisles clear. At the conclusion of the ceremony, guests should remain in their seats until the recession of ceremony participants is complete.

During the reading of graduate names, we ask graduates and their guests to be considerate in their applause and celebration so that each and every graduate receives the full and proper recognition s/he has earned. Please do not disrupt the ceremony.

Commencement Photography

A professional photographer will take a photograph of each senior’s moment of recognition on stage.  For the convenience of everyone, you should not stop and pose, and should ask your guests to remain seated during the ceremony. The photographer will contact each graduate by mail.

Commencement Processional

Promptly at 10:00 a.m., the deans will lead all the candidates. Commencement marshals will guide you during the commencement ceremony. Everyone is to remain standing until the invocation is complete. Men are to remove their mortarboards during the invocation, the playing of the National Anthem, National Negro Anthem, or Alma Mater. 

Commencement Ceremony Protocol

The Commencement Ceremony will proceed as follows:

  • Presentation of Graduates

The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs will present candidates for degrees to the President.

  • Awarding of Degrees

Each Dean will introduce their graduates by stating: Will the candidates for XXX please stand and come forward. Please present your name card to the Dean, wait for your name to be called, and then proceed across the stage.

  • Receiving Your Degree

You will receive a degree cover only during the ceremony. Actual diplomas will be issued immediately following the ceremony by the Office of the Registrar.

  • Recessional

Following the recessional, the graduates should report to Woodworth Chapel Lower Level Conference Room to return their academic regalia and obtain their degree.

Information for the General Public

Commencement Etiquette

The Commencement Exercises is a formal academic ceremony. We ask that all guests respect the ceremony, seniors and other guests by behaving in a dignified manner. In keeping with decorum and the Tougaloo College tradition, we ask that guests adhere to the following guideline:

  1. Plan to arrive early and allow ample time to find parking and seating.
  2. Confetti, balloons and noisemakers are not permitted.
  3. Rude and disruptive behavior will not be permitted. Security personnel will be on-site to enforce these restrictions.
  4. Cellular phones should be turned off, on vibrate, or to their silent modes.
  5. During the reading of the graduates’ names, guests are asked to be considerate in their applause so that all names are clearly heard and ceremony audio taping is not disrupted.
  6. Please remain in your seats for the duration of the ceremony, which includes the recessional. Please do not block the aisles or passageways by attempting to greet or take photos with graduates.

Commencement Weekend Parking and Transportation

During Commencement weekend, arrangements are made for parking and shuttle transportation.

Disability Parking

Individual marked disability parking spaces are located throughout the campus. These spaces will remain reserved for vehicles displaying state-issued (any state) disability placards or license plates. All others will be cited. Temporary disability parking permits for mobility-impaired guests will be available from the Office of the Public Safety.  These Tougaloo-issued permits will only be valid in specially designated lots for the Baccalaureate and Commencement Ceremonies. If you have a state issued permit you DO NOT need a Tougaloo College temporary permit.

Parking on Campus

To manage the significant congestion expected during commencement weekend, drivers will be directed to the appropriate parking lots by the Office of Public Safety based on the traffic and parking conditions at the time of their arrival.  Please use caution while traveling through this area of campus and allow extra time to reach your destination. 


Guest seating is first come, first served. Inform your family and guests to be seated by 7:30 a.m. for the Baccalaureate Service and 9:30 a.m. for the Commencement Ceremony. Establish a meeting place with family and friends for after the ceremony. Guests with disabilities will be seated in the appropriate area upon arrival.

Rain Site

If it is determined due to severely inclement weather that we must utilize the rain plan, it will be announced by Friday, May 4th on the local television stations (WAPT, WJTV, and WLBT) and other available stations in the area. In case of inclement weather, all graduates and family members, faculty, staff, guests and alumni attending Commencement should report to the Kroger Gymnasium. EVERYONE MUST HAVE a complimentary “rain plan” ticket to enter Kroger Gymnasium. All degree candidates will receive their tickets when they pick-up their cap and gown.  All graduates are encouraged to pick up their tickets in advance of Commencement so that they may have plenty of time to distribute them ahead of time to their guests.  Lost tickets cannot be replaced.

Hotel Accommodations

Tougaloo College has made arrangements at a special rate for Commencement at the preferred hotels listed below. Room availability is limited, and space is not guaranteed, so make your reservations early. This list is provided as a courtesy to those seeking accommodations during Commencement Weekend. Tougaloo College does not endorse any hotel listed, or provide reservation assistance.


Preferred Hotel List for ALUMNI
Effective: IMMEDIATELY FOR MAY 2-6, 2019


Cabot LodgeCode: Tougaloo College 150th Celebration
120 Dyess Road
Ridgeland, MS. 39157
Singles / Doubles – $79.00
Reservations open immediately


Courtyard MarriottCode: Tougaloo
6280 Ridgewood Court Drive
Jackson, MS 39211
King / Double Queens – $99.00
Reservations open immediately


Drury Inn & Suites Jackson Ridgeland – Code: 2368419
610 East County Line Rd
Ridgeland, MS 39157
Single/Double Queen King Deluxe – $94 | Triple - $104 | Quad - $114

(Subject to change depending on availability)
Reservations must be received by April 2, 2019


Residence Inn by Marriott Jackson/Ridgeland – Code: Tougaloo Commencement
855 Centre Street
Ridgeland, MS 39157
Singles – $99.00
Quads – $154.00
Reservations must be received by April 18, 2019


Hilton Jackson – Code: TCGRAD
1001 East County Line Road
Jackson, Mississippi 39211
Double Queen/King – $114.00
Reservations must be received by April 12, 2019
Online Reservations:

Event Date: 

Sunday, May 5, 2019 (All day)
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