Commencement Ceremony

*Financially supported by Student Activity Fees

picture of Northeast State graduates 

The Spring 2023 commencement ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at the outdoor amphitheater located on Northeast State's Blountville campus and will be divided into three ceremonies by academic divisions. 

Date and Times

  • Tuesday, May 9, 2023
  • Times TBD

Commencement Information

The spring commencement program will be available in digital PDF form prior to the ceremony. Hard copies will be available on the day of the ceremony.

All graduates are expected to dress professionally and comfortably. Gentlemen wear dark dress pants and dress shirts. Ladies wear dresses or blouses with skirts or dark dress pants. Wear comfortable but nice shoes (no flip flops or tennis shoes). Participating students must wear regalia. It is best to take your gown out of the plastic bag and hang it up before wearing. Graduates will be allowed to carry personal items such as cell phone, car keys and wallets as long as they are secured under regalia. Students are encouraged to leave personal items in their vehicles.

A photographer will be present prior to each ceremony for students wishing to have individual cap and gown portraits. Please arrive at least one hour prior to your ceremony to ensure adequate time for your portrait to be made. Students who do not wish to have individual cap and gown portraits made should still arrive 30 minutes prior to their ceremony to allow adequate time to check in and begin lining up for the processional.  

Please contact the Center for Accessibility Services if you have any questions regarding accessibility accommodations. Office location: General Studies Building Room C2311. Phone: 423.279.7640. Email: 

The processional and recessional of students and faculty dressed in academic regalia is a traditional part of these commencement exercises. This history of academic dress goes back to the medieval universities. In the 12th and 13th centuries, when universities were taking form, they were under the jurisdiction of the church. Those studying wore a habit or a cloak to which was attached a cowl or hood. This could be pulled up over the head or thrown back, according to weather conditions. Later, the gown served the dual purpose of providing warmth in the unheated halls as well as uniformity of dress.

Please Note: Students are required to wear their graduation cap, gown, and other graduation regalia. Students may pick up their cap and gown at Grad Kickoff or in the Office of Admissions and Records. Students will receive an email notification with the date regalia will be available for pick up.

PhotoGenius will be providing individual cap and gown portraits for any graduate prior to each ceremony. These will be taken on a background with studio lighting to provide a professional quality portrait. Please arrive at least one hour prior to your ceremony to ensure adequate time for your portrait to be made. Graduates will be able to view portraits at time of sitting and also at after graduation. You may purchase your individual cap and gown portraits at this time or online. If you would like a proof to be mailed to your home address, there will be a $5.00 sitting fee. Proofs and order forms will be mailed to each graduate's home address. If you have any questions, please call: 1.276.386.2547 or email Your online code will be sent to you via email 72 hours after the ceremony. If you do not receive your code, please contact photogenius at 1.276.386.2547 or email 


Do I have to attend the commencement ceremony?

While participation is not mandatory, we encourage all graduating students to attend.  

How many guests can attend?

The spring 2023 ceremony will take place at the outdoor amphitheater. There is no limit on how many guests each graduate can invite to attend.   

Is there a rehearsal prior to the commencement ceremony?
No. Northeast State does not have a rehearsal. Please arrive early and you will receive instructions from staff when you check in. 

How long will the commencement ceremony last?
The length of each ceremony is approximately 1 hour, but this will depend on the number of graduates participating.   

Will I receive my diploma at the commencement ceremony?
Diplomas are not distributed at the commencement ceremony. Diplomas for fall, spring, and summer will be available for pick up in the Office of Admissions and Records approximately 4-6 weeks following each graduation semester. Email notifications will be sent to students with the date diplomas will be available. 

Does my participation in the ceremony mean that I have been awarded a degree or certificate?
Attending the commencement ceremony in no way confirms official graduation. All program requirements must be completed before the credential can be placed on your transcript or diploma.

Fall 2022

Spring 2022

Fall 2021

Spring 2021

Spring 2020

Spring 2019

Spring 2018

Spring 2017

Spring 2016