Information for Students

Invitations, Rain Tickets, Caps and Gowns

All student participants are required to wear, and may keep, the traditional blue gowns, mortarboards and tassels.  Students may invite an unlimited number of guests to the outside ceremony. If it rains, only ticket bearers may attend the inside ceremony; however, the reception is open to all.

Regalia Distribution

The college bookstore (860-645-3140, Student Services Center, L-176) will distribute regalia (pre-measurement is not required), a maximum of four invitations, and two rain tickets per graduate per the schedule below:

Monday, April 30, 2018-Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Day Time
Monday, April 30 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Tuesday, May 1 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 2 and Thursday, May 3 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Friday, May 4 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Monday, May 7 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Tuesday, May 8 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 9 and Tuesday, May 10 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Friday, May 11 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Monday, May 14 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Tuesday, May 15 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 16 and Thursday, May 17 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Friday, May 18 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Monday, May 21 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Tuesday, May 22 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 23 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Tickets, caps and gowns will not be available on Commencement day.
Under no circumstances will extra tickets be distributed.


Graduates are allowed to invite an unlimited number of guests to the outdoor commencement ceremony.  Seating will be provided for graduates; family members and guests are asked to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets as seating is limited.  Graduates and guests are asked to remain seated until all degrees and certificates are conferred and the program has finished.

In the event of rain only two guests per student will be admitted to the ceremony with rain tickets that were picked up by the graduates along with their caps and gowns.  For more information, watch the announcements on the MCC website or contact the college’s voicemail system  at 860-512-3000 for the rain plan announcement.

Line-up and Robing

Rain or shine, all graduates participating in the ceremony are to report in regalia on Thursday, May 24, 2018 to the Student Services Center 1st floor lobby, except General Studies A-L (2nd floor lobby) and General Studies M-Z (Culinary Arts Center).  If the sun shines, arrive no later than 4:00 p.m.  If it rains, see “Rain Plans” for arrival times. Please be on time; since there is no rehearsal, we need ample time to line up in alphabetical order, by curriculum, and provide instructions before 5:00 p.m. We ask that you turn off cellular phones and do not chew gum. Do bring sunglasses and dress appropriately for the occasion. Family members and guests will not be permitted in the student robing area (see “Line-up Instructions”).


GradImages® will be photographing all graduates with the President as they receive their diplomas at the Commencement ceremony. Please visit their website,, and click on Pre-Event Email Registration. Enter your email and up to six emails of loved ones who would like to share in your accomplishment by viewing and ordering your photos. By pre-registering, you will receive a discount of $5 off an order of $25 or more.  After graduation, order online at or call 800-261-2576. During the reception photographer/s from  GradImages will be available in the Village Courtyard to take individual posed pictures of graduates. Each graduate will also receive a free 5″x7″ photograph of her/his choice as a gift from the Dean of Student Affairs’ Office through GradImages.

Diplomas and Certificates

Diplomas and certificates will be mailed in late summer to students who have met all academic and financial requirements.

Special Needs

It is the policy of Manchester Community College to ensure equal access to its events. If you need accommodations for the event, please contact Joseph Navarra, Disabilities Services Coordinator, at 860-512-3592 or email In order to provide accommodations in a timely manner, please submit the request at least two weeks prior to the commencement ceremony.


Following dommencement, a reception for graduates, families and guests will be held in the Village Courtyard.  Please join us!

Rain Plans

In case of rain, only one ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. sharp, inside the SBM Charitable Foundation Auditorium in the AST. The decision about an inside ceremony will be made by 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. The MCC website is your best source for information; please watch the Announcements on the front page or contact the college’s voicemail system (860-512-3000) for the rain plan announcement.


For questions regarding the completion of your degree or certificate requirements, contact Gail Anne Arroyo, Assistant Registrar, 860-512-3230, email or Anita Sparrow, Registrar (860-512-3222 or email Make sure the Registrar’s Office has your correct mailing address. For questions regarding the ceremony, contact K. Umesh Vig, Assistant to the Dean of Student Affairs, (860-512-3204 or email

Regalia History

The origins of academic regalia go as far back as the 12th and 13th centuries when universities were forming in Europe.  Because universities were closely associated with the church, the robes worn by instructors and students closely resembled those of medieval clerics.  Unlike today, these robes were not used just for special occasions and ceremonies.  Professors and students alike wore robes whenever they were attending classes or lectures.  Although many universities moved away from association with the church, they maintained the tradition of wearing robes.

Academic regalia has been used by those attending universities from the earliest days.  In 1895 the Intercollegiate Commission met at Columbia University to adopt a standard code of academic dress.  This commission regulated the cut, style and materials of the gowns as well as the colors which were to represent different fields of learning.  The Commission has been reconvened three times since it first met, most recently in 1986, but few changes to regalia have been adopted.  These standards continue to guide colleges and universities today.

Gowns worn by associate degree candidates are identical to bachelor gowns in style.  Both have pointed sleeves and are designed to be worn closed.  However, they differ in color.  Associate gowns are traditionally blue, bachelor gowns are black.

Those at graduation will notice a variety of gowns word by faculty and staff.  Master’s gowns have an oblong sleeve and are trimmed with various colors depending on the degree held by the wearer.  The gown also has a hood that is three and a half feet in length.