Commencement Ceremony

*Financially supported by Student Activity Fees

Commencement is a celebration honoring your achievement of completing the program requirements to earn a degree or certificate. 

You are cordially invited to celebrate Northeast State Community College's Class of 2020 Graduates during their Commencement Ceremony.


  • Tuesday, May 12, 2020
  • 7:00 p.m.


  • Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center - ETSU Mini-Dome
  • 1081 John Robert Bell Dr, Johnson City, TN 37601

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

Spring 2019 Commencement Program

The spring commencement ceremony can be viewed here once streaming begins. 

Spring 2019 Commencement Video

Please be advised that beach balls, balloons, silly string, signs and confetti are not permitted on the Mini-Dome floor.

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). High heels and wedges are discouraged due to the artificial turf flooring of the ETSU mini-dome. We highly recommend that all students wear flat shoes. Participating students must wear regalia. It is best to take your gown out of the plastic bag and hang it up before wearing. No one other than the degree candidates will be allowed on the floor during the ceremony. Participating students are not permitted to leave during the ceremony so please be aware of this time commitment if you are planning celebration activities afterward. Please leave personal belongings with family or friends. Distracting items such as balloons, silly string, confetti, and signs are not permitted on the Mini-Dome floor.

A photographer will be present from 4:00-6:00pm for students wishing to have individual cap and gown portraits. Please arrive no later than 4:45pm to ensure adequate time for your portrait to be made. Students who do not wish to have individual cap and gown portraits made should arrive no later than 5:45pm to check in and begin lining up for the processional. The commencement ceremony begins at 7:00pm. The length of the ceremony will be approximately 2 hours, but this will depend on the number of graduates participating.

  1. Entrance: Jack Vest Drive on State of Franklin. Alternate entrance to parking garage will be closed
  2. Parking Garage: Parking is available in parking garage. Disabled parking is available on the 2nd floor.
  3. Parking Lots: Additional parking is available in these lots.
  4. Disability Drop-Off: This location is reserved for dropping off friends, family, and graduates with disabilities. Area is blocked off to general traffic.

Note: Please enter using the Jack Vest Drive entrance located on W. State of Franklin Road. It is letter A in the map pictured.

Map of Parking and Seating

Disabled Seating

  • Due to the limited number of disabled seats available at the ETSU Mini-Dome, disabled individuals are encouraged to use general seating; if possible. General seating is accessible to guests with disabilities by the ramps on the west side of the Mini-Dome. General seating offers an unobstructed view of the stage and allows all members of a party to be seated together.
  • Limited disabled seating is available at the floor for individuals who cannot negotiate the ramps or have a disability which would prevent them from accessing the general seating area. Due to the limited number of seats at the floor level disability area, only people with special needs and up to TWO other family members are allowed access. Please respect the rights of the disabled.
  • Guest requesting seating in the disabled area should be seated no later than 6:45.
  • Guests should unload on the west side of the Mini-Dome. Police/Security officers will direct you.
  • Once inside the Mini-Dome, follow the signs for the disabled seating area.
  • Ushers will be available to seat you.

NOTE: Due to the disabled seating area located below stage level, visibility is somewhat limited.

Disabled Parking

  • Due to the limited number of disabled parking spaces, you are strongly encouraged to drop off the individual with a disability on the west side of the Mini-Dome and park your vehicle in general parking, if possible.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation! Our goal is for everyone to enjoy this special evening.

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 beginning in late March. 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 the graduating ceremony. These will be taken from 4:00 - 6:00 before graduation on a background with studio lighting to provide a professional quality portrait. Please arrive no later than 4:45 p.m. 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 
Each individual graduate will be photographed while walking across the stage during the ceremony. Your online code will be sent to you via email 48 hours after the ceremony. If you do not receive your code, please contact photogenius at 1.276.386.2547 or email

PhotoGenius 2019 Order Form

Do I have to attend the commencement ceremony?

While participation is not mandatory, we encourage all graduating students to attend. This is a time for you, along with your family and friends, to celebrate your accomplishment. 

How many guests can attend?

There is no limit on guests and admission is free to the public.

Can I order invitations for the ceremony?
You can order invitations and class rings from Jostens. A Jostens representative will be on campus for our Grad Kickoff event in late March. Orders can be placed at that time or you can order online. 

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 the ceremony is approximately 2 hours, 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.