Resources for Graduation Event Professionals

Graduation Ceremonies in COVID-19:  Clemson University

On November 14th, 2020, Clemson University hosted a series of in-person ceremonies at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. All told more than 1,800 graduates participated in 7 ceremonies over the weekend, all socially distanced and with safety measures permeating the arena. The graduates for these ceremonies were degree recipients completed their degrees in Spring and Summer 2020.

Topics: Best Practices Commencement Preparation COVID

Graduation Ceremonies in COVID-19:   University of Tennessee Knoxville

Across four days at the end of November, the University of Tennessee held a series of graduation ceremonies to celebrate their spring, summer and fall graduates. They hosted their ceremonies on campus in their Thompson-Boling Arena. After evaluating restrictions of the venue and distancing measures, the University wisely capped attendance of graduates and their families to help maintain social distancing. Over 1,200 graduates celebrated this milestone achievement across 10 ceremonies.

Topics: Best Practices Commencement Preparation COVID

Graduation Ceremonies in COVID-19: University of North Georgia

On September 19th, 2020, the University of North Georgia executed a day long series of Commencement exercises in their UNG Convocation Center. The University set up the event space with socially distanced "boxes" for 9 graduates and their families to occupy. UNGA then set up a schedule giving each college a block of time, and then allowing graduates to book a spot within their college's allotted time. 


When the day arrived, graduates would park at the arena and bring their family (up to 4 members) to registration. Once they were checked in, the group would be escorted to a waiting room where the Commencement speeches were played on a television. Once the speeches concluded, the group was escorted to the event floor.

Topics: Best Practices Commencement Preparation COVID

Graduation Ceremonies in COVID-19:  University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida has established an innovative way for each graduate to safely celebrate graduation and receive live individual recognition in front of his or her family. The UCF “Grad Walk” events have successfully happened for multiple days in mid-November for Fall 2020 graduates and will continue in mid-December for Spring and Summer 2020 graduates. Their idea was simple…graduates come to a student union ballroom with up to four guests during a specific time slot they have registered for in advance. The graduate gets to have their name read, walk across a stage, receive their diploma cover, and take an official commencement portrait – all while their guests cheer them on!

Topics: Best Practices Commencement Preparation COVID

The proper attire for commencement ceremony staff

Commencement is a distinctive occasion.  Graduates will normally be dressed in caps & gowns, as will faculty as many institutions.  However, for individuals not wearing graduation regalia but with a visible role on the ceremony floor, conventional wisdom dictates that they be wearing conservative, professional business attire.  It's a sign of respect to the graduates, their families, the school, and the dignity of the event.

Topics: Best Practices Commencement Preparation GradImages Etiquette

Why a handshake photographer's position really matters at commencement

In three previous articles, we have discussed the best position for a photographer while taking handshake pictures of graduates being individually recognized on stage.

Topics: Best Practices Commencement Photography Commencement Preparation GradImages

The best angle for a handshake photographer at commencement

What is the best angle for a photographer to stand in order to capture great handshake photographs at commencement?  Although the answer is somewhat subjective, years of purchasing data suggest one angle in particular is overwhelmingly favored by graduates and their families.  That is what we will discuss today.

Topics: Best Practices Commencement Photography Commencement Preparation

A look inside GradImages' photographer training

Each year GradImages hosts photographer training in over 50 cities.  This purpose of this training is to provide our photographers with hands-on recurrent instruction, discuss new policies & procedures, reinforce best-practices, and of course to share ideas.

Topics: Commencement Photography Commencement Preparation GradImages Commencement Staff

3 reasons why commencement handshake photographers should be on-stage

At commencement ceremonies, there are a number of factors that go into trying to capture the best possible handshake photographs.  In an earlier article, we wrote about the appropriate distance between the graduate and photographer (click here to read the full article).  Today, we will examine whether the photographer should ideally be standing on the elevated stage with the graduate and administrator for the handshake photograph, or should be several feet lower down on the ceremony floor.

Topics: Best Practices Commencement Photography Commencement Preparation