Durham Commencement

43rd Commencement Exercises

Saturday, May 25, 2024, at 9 a.m.

Please join us as we graduate our 43rd class of Residential students on Saturday, May 25, on the school’s historic Durham campus. The 318 accomplished candidates represent all 13 Congressional Districts across the state of North Carolina. 

Location: Watts Lawn

Guests: The ceremony is open to NCSSM seniors and their families. While we welcome the junior class to participate in Commencement, junior attendance is not mandatory. No tickets are required UNLESS inclement weather necessitates moving indoors. If Commencement is moved indoors, each senior will receive 4 wristbands: 2 wristbands for guests to attend Commencement in the Charles Eilber Physical Education Center (PEC), and 2 wristbands for guests to watch the Commencement livestream in locations around campus: the Auditorium, Lecture Hall, and Music Suite. If the ceremony is moved indoors, juniors (outside of Marshals and those performing music) will not participate in the ceremony and will move out of their rooms. Juniors and their families will be able to view livestream of Commencement from off campus. As a reminder, all students must move out of their residence hall rooms and check out with their CC no later than 2 p.m. on Commencement day. 

Seating: Guests may arrive on campus starting at 7:00 a.m. There is no assigned seating. We ask that everyone be in their seats by no later than 8:45 a.m.

Ceremony: Remarks from the Chancellor, Commencement Speaker, and Student Speakers. Awarding of diplomas will conclude the ceremony.

Post-Commencement Reception: Immediately following Commencement, there will be a small reception on Bryan Lawn. Light refreshments will be provided.

Junior Participation: The junior class has the option of remaining on campus after exams, participating in end-of-year activities and in the Commencement exercises. In order to prepare, Student Life needs juniors to complete the Junior Move Out form by May 1 to indicate when they intend to move out of their residence hall.

If you wish to remain on campus after exams to participate in end-of-year activities and Commencement, then you must move out of your residence hall and check out with your CC prior to 2:00pm on Saturday, May 25. Please note that in order to move out on May 25, students are required to commit to the following:

Juniors who do not wish to participate in Commencement will be required to move out of their residence hall room and check out with their CC no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 23.

Livestream and Professional Photographs

Commencement Livestream

The entire event will be streamed live on the NCSSM YouTube channel.

Senior Class Photo

The official class photo of the Class of 2024, made in early March, is now available for ordering online. Two versions are available: one is overlaid with a black border to focus on the students. The second does not have the overlay so as to show more of the historic Watts Hospital building. The sizes of the students is pretty much the same between the two. Orders are placed online with a credit card and prints will be shipped to the address of the buyer, NOT to NCSSM. Prices starting at $25.99 plus tax and shipping. Go to https://zenfolio.page.link/58gUh  to view and order. Email jimshawphoto@earthlink.net if you have questions.

Individual Commencement Photos

A Strawbridge Studios photographer will be on site to take each senior’s photograph as they receive their diploma. Academic Programs provides each family with a complimentary copy of the photograph that will be mailed home during the summer. Strawbridge also provides a link after Commencement for families to purchase additional copies or different sizes of the photo if they desire. Families should use their NCSSM email account to access the photo page.

Coming to NCSSM

Recommended Items to Bring


Restrooms on the Ground, 1st and 2nd floors of Watts will be open and cleaned periodically.

Inclement Weather

In the case of inclement weather, the decision to move the location of the ceremony will be made by 7 a.m. on the day of the event, and will be posted on the school’s website. The NCSSM community will also be notified via email and text message if the ceremony location and/or time changes. If inclement weather necessitates moving indoors, Commencement will be held indoors at in the Physical Education Center (PEC) on campus. Each senior will receive 4 wristbands for family: 2 wristbands to attend Commencement in the PEC, and 2 wristbands to watch the livestream from locations around campus. Note: families and friends can view the livestream from any location.

Dress code for all students

All seniors will wear their NCSSM graduation regalia including cap, tassel, gown, stole, and NCSSM medallion with acceptable clothing underneath their regalia. Students are not permitted to decorate their caps or wear any additional items with their regalia with the exception of approved cords. All juniors participating in Commencement must wear also appropriate attire. Examples are listed below:

Acceptable clothing:

Unacceptable clothing (includes but not limited to):

Cultural Cord Request Form. NCSSM will consider requests for seniors to wear a cord with their regalia to honor their cultural heritage. Interested seniors must complete the Cultural Cord Request Form. Please be mindful of two important notes:

The deadline to submit your request is April 30, 2024 – no exceptions. Academic Programs will notify seniors if their request is approved by no later than May 7. 

If a student has any questions about whether an item of clothing is acceptable or not, email Mr. Boerner (boerner@ncssm.edu) for approval.

Parking and Accessibility

Visitors may park in the main lot, which is parallel to West Club Boulevard. Additional parking will be available near campus. Broad Street from F Street to Club Boulevard will be blocked off to traffic, as will Club Boulevard from Broad Street to Iredell Street. We anticipate these streets will be closed from 8 a.m. to noon on the day of graduation, and available for parking during these hours. If you park on side streets, ensure that you are not blocking driveways, fire hydrants, or marked restricted areas.

For more information on parking, visiting campus, and nearby accommodations, see the Visit Us page. We have also provided a list of hotels in the area.

A limited number of disabled accessible parking spaces are available. Cars must have their disabled parking permit in order to utilize an accessible parking space on campus. Please complete the Disabled Accessible Parking Pass & Seating Request Form by May 13 to reserve a space. Limit one space per senior. Any requests made after May 13 are not guaranteed.

Disabled accessible seating is available upon request. Please complete the Disabled Accessible Parking Pass & Seating Request Form by May 13 to request seating in this section. Space is limited, and entire parties cannot be accommodated in the reserved seating section.


Matt Boerner

Office Manager / AP Coordinator