A diploma cover and graduation cap and gown sit on the ground with a bottle of champagne.

Plan Your Commencement Party!

We can’t wait until the current state of our world allows us all to reunite and celebrate together. Until then, let’s make your virtual commencement event as exciting and Champlain-centric as can be!

Here are a few tips and tricks on how to do so, along with props to help you show off this important day. After all those hours of studying and hard work, you finally did it. And it’s time the world knows it.


Wear Your Cap and Gown.

Wherever you are watching our virtual commencement event from, we encourage you to throw on your cap and gown. Be sure to check your email to ensure you’ve ordered them to the correct address! The more aspects of in-person graduation you can mirror at home, the better! You deserve to flaunt this look, and you likely already have them at the ready, so why not? Want to go the extra mile? Maybe even throw on some dress clothes underneath, like Christine Koogle ’20 did here.

A graduate poses in their cap and gown.

Set the Scene With Props.

Members of the Class of 2020 will receive a mailer of celebratory goodies prior to May 9, including Champlain balloons! Also in the box are a few signs: One says “Let Us Dare,” another says, “#ChampGrad,” and another invites you to fill out one of the below prompts. Take a selfie of yourself holding one or more of these signs or have someone take a pic of you and/or your family members holding them.

  • I wish for my fellow graduates...
  • I graduate grateful for...
  • I graduate proud of...
  • Let us dare to...

If you are a Champlain College Online student who did not opt in to receiving this mailer, check back soon for downloadable versions of these signs! If the weather’s nice, it’s likely you might venture outside to celebrate. Think about what other props you might have laying around the house that could add to the experience! Some old birthday streamers, party hats, Champlain swag, and more. If able, think about ordering celebratory crafts from a local store.

Graduation signs, balloons, and a diploma cover can be used to help celebrate.

What’s on the Menu?

Are there certain foods and drinks that will make your celebration special? Before you head out on your next grocery store run, plan what you’d like to eat and drink on May 9. Maybe you want to bake a cake, or some cupcakes. Maybe you have a favorite meal you’d like to munch on, or if snacks and apps are more your thing, this might be the perfect time to give in to your nachos and mozz sticks cravings. Missing Vermont? Add pancakes and maple syrup to the menu, or some Cabot cheese, and top it off with a delicious pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

While you’re in the beverage aisle, grab some sparkling apple juice or a bottle of champagne. You’ve accomplished a lot, and been through so much, and now it’s time to cheers to you!

Ben and Jerry's ice cream is a great way to celebrate.

Celebrate the Traditional Moments.

A few moments of commencement are must-haves, and these moments may mean different things to different people. If they mean a lot to you, we encourage you to actively celebrate these moments. If able, have someone record you so you can reminisce for years to come (especially if you might be unable to attend our future in-person ceremony).

  •  If you're celebrating with family or friends, take some photos-whether they’re in person or screenshots on Zoom
  • We will have one main ceremony for everyone, and then each academic division will split off for their own sub-ceremonies. Have someone hold your diploma cover, or put it across the room. When your name is called in the sub-ceremony, walk “the stage” over to your diploma, and take in the moment. (Yes, it might feel silly, but acting it out will help Commencement feel more real—even if it’s taking place in your living room)
  • Flip your tassel from right to left once Interim President Laurie Quinn confers your degree
  • Throw your cap in the air at the conclusion of the virtual event, like Madison MacMahon ’20 is doing in the picture below

Graduation cap being thrown in the air.

Take Photos and Videos, and Then Post Them and Tag #ChampGrad!

There are so many possibilities for how to make your virtual commencement ceremony as exciting as possible. Share your celebration with your classmates, families, professors, Champlain staff, and the community! Snap photos of you in your cap and gown, use the balloons and signs to showcase your Champlain pride, let us know what’s on the menu, and show us pics of who you’re celebrating with—even if it’s through a Brady Bunch-like screenshot on Zoom.
Then, post your photos to Twitter or Instagram feed and tag #ChampGrad to be featured on our social media tag wall during commencement. Don’t have Instagram or Twitter? Feel free to direct message us your pictures on the @champlainedu or @champlainonline accounts, or email your photos to graduation@champlain.edu.

Graduates and their families share well wishes on the commencement social media tag wall.


Invite Your Friends and Family

Last, but certainly not least, invite your friends and family (and pets). Social distancing regulations may not allow you to invite your loved ones directly to your home, but if we’ve learned anything over the past couple months, it’s the power of Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangouts, or whatever other platform you prefer. Just because we’re secluded and isolated in our homes, doesn’t mean we have to watch the virtual event solo. Get on the phone with your peeps, and thank them for helping you get to this very moment. Because it’s one you’re going to remember forever.

A student celebrates graduation with their dog.