Frequently Asked Questions

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, including state and local guidelines regarding large gatherings, we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel the April 2020 Commencement Weekend events. We know that this is deeply disappointing, especially for 2020 graduates and their families. Many people are working hard to make the 2020 graduation experience as special as possible.

Frequently asked questions regarding the 2020 commencement:

Q: Why aren’t you holding an in-person event on campus on April 26?
A: Due to Covid-19 and local, state and federal recommendations for physical distancing, we are unable to hold an event like commencement.

Q: What will the virtual ceremony be like?
A: We know that we won’t be able to replicate a traditional in-person event, but we hope to create a meaningful virtual experience for our graduates. This will include an address from President Stoltzfus, words and music from some graduates, photos and reading the names of the 2020 graduates. More details of the virtual celebration are being determined and will be shared in the coming weeks.

Q: Will graduates still receive their diploma and a cap and gown? 
A: All graduates in the class of 2020 will be receiving a package containing their diploma cover, a cap and tassel, commencement booklets with the names of all graduates, a t-shirt and a green ribbon and pledge to sign, to “explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job” they consider. Diplomas will be mailed at a later date, as happens at a normal commencement ceremony.

Q: Why didn’t you just reschedule the ceremony for a later date?
A: Unfortunately, we don’t know how long physical distancing recommendations will be in place, so it is difficult to plan an event for the summer or fall. Since graduates will be moving all over the country (and world) and starting jobs or graduate school, it will be difficult for many graduates to return to campus after April for a full ceremony.

Q: Is this virtual ceremony a direct replacement for the usual Commencement Weekend?
A. The virtual ceremony is just one way that we’re recognizing the graduating class of 2020.

Q: What other events are being planned?
A: Administrators, staff and students are working hard to plan other events in the near future in which graduates and families can gather in-person to celebrate this momentous occasion. These include a gathering and celebration at Homecoming Weekend in Oct. 2020, as well as other dates over the course of the next year. We’ll announce these as they are finalized.

Q: Can I plan my own graduation event in the future?
A: We recommend working with the Events Office if you have ideas about an on-campus event. If you want to plan an off-campus event after Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, be sure to follow Indiana’s (or your state’s) most current recommendations to make your event as safe as possible, and let us know what you’re planning!

Q: Can I walk in the 2021 commencement ceremony?
A: Given that the commencement space is usually at capacity in a normal year, adding more graduates and guests would be difficult in 2021. We may address this on a case-by-case basis.


Frequently asked questions about graduation for other years:

Q: Who can “walk” in commencement?
A: Seniors and graduate degree candidates who are on track to complete a degree by May, August or December of this year. All must apply for a degree date through GC Online.

Q: Are seniors required to participate in commencement activities?
A: All graduates are expected and strongly encouraged to participate. Please reply to the survey sent to you via email to indicate your commencement attendance plans.

Q: Where can I buy graduation announcements/invitations?
A: Beginning in early March, they are available in the Registrar’s Office, Administration Building, Room 14. Price is $.50 per invitation.

Q: What should I wear for commencement?
A: Academic regalia (gown, cap and tassel) is to be worn by all graduates and is provided by GC.  Undergraduate gowns are made from natural wood sources and will break down in the soil within one year, should you choose to throw it away. Master’s degree graduates will receive hoods at commencement but will need to return the gown and cap immediately following the ceremony.

Q: What is baccalaureate?
A: Baccalaureate is a worship service specifically planned by and for graduates and their families. President Stoltzfus will be preaching. Graduates are encouraged to attend and sit with their families and friends. There will be no formal processional at baccalaureate.

Q: Do I need tickets for guests who attend commencement?
A: No tickets are necessary. Seating is first-come; first-served. Doors of the Recreation-Fitness Center will open at 2:15 p.m. Graduates will line up in the Union hallway for the processional at 2:40 p.m. The commencement ceremony begins at 3 p.m.

Q: Will I receive my diploma at commencement?
A: You will receive a diploma cover in the ceremony. The actual diploma will be mailed in early June for May candidates. August grads’ diplomas will be available in the Registrar’s Office during August and, if not picked up, will be mailed to your permanent address. Student accounts must be paid in full to receive a diploma. Attractive frames, specially designed for Goshen diplomas, are available for purchase in the bookstore.

Q: My family/friends are coming from out of town. Where can they locate information about lodging and find directions to campus?
A: Travel instructions, including accommodations in Goshen, can be found at For accommodations and restaurants in the area, visit the Good of Goshen website.

Q: Where should guests park?
A: Guests may park in the lots next to the Music Center or College Mennonite Church (or in any other area designated for visitor parking). The Rec-Fitness Center parking lot will be available only for handicap accessible parking, not the general public.

Q: Is child care provided during commencement weekend?
A: No, Goshen College does not provide this service.