Students at graduation ceremony.




Graduation is an exciting time. We look forward to celebrating with you at Commencement - which is held each May and December.

To ensure that you are ready to graduate, there are a few steps you'll need to complete in your final semester at Pellissippi State. You also should be aware of some processes all graduating students undertake.

It's important to remember to frequently check myPellissippi and your campus email during your last semester of college for important information regarding graduation. We'll send you lots of updates and instructions, many of which have hard-and-fast deadlines. It's your responsibility to be aware of those deadlines and ensure you meet them.

If you need help, remember you can always call Records at 865-694-6632 or 865-694-6723.


2020 and 2021 Commencement Ceremonies

Commencement ceremonies for our 2020 and spring 2021 graduates will be held in-person and outdoors at the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road Knoxville, TN 37933.


Taking public health conditions into consideration, ceremonies will be limited to 85 students per ceremony.

  • 2020 Graduates: Students who graduated during the spring, summer or fall of 2020 are welcomed back to join us on May 13 to celebrate your accomplishments.
  • Spring 2021 Graduates: Students who are completing their degree requirements as of May 2021 are invited to join us on May 14 and 15 to celebrate your accomplishments.
  • Summer 2021 Graduates: Students who will complete their degree requirements over the summer 2021 term will be invited to join us for our fall 2021 Commencement ceremonies in December 2021.

Commencement Schedule

In response to student, faculty and staff feedback, we have scheduled the ceremonies to take place according to the schedule below:

Thursday, May 13 – All 2020 Graduates

  • Ceremony begins at 7 p.m.

Friday, May 14 – Associate of Arts, Associate of Sciences, Associate of Fine Arts

  • Ceremonies begin at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Students in these degree programs may choose any ceremony to attend.

Saturday, May 15 – Associate of Applied Sciences

  • Nursing - 10 a.m.
  • Engineering & Media Technology – 1 p.m.
  • Business & Computer Technology – 4 p.m.

Students in these degree programs are encouraged to attend the ceremony aligned with their major.

Students may choose to participate in a ceremony on a different day or time that is not designated for their program of study due to personal conflicts or life commitments.


Registration will open at 8 a.m. Friday, April 16 for all ceremonies. The deadline to register is Wednesday, May 5.

2020 All Graduates Registration
2021 Spring Graduate Registration

All seats are reserved on a first come, first served basis.

The College asks that you register for Commencement by Wednesday, May 5, so that we can know how many graduates and guests we need to accommodate. Pellissippi State may need to consolidate a session with another due to registration numbers. If so, staff will contact students who would be affected to register them for another open ceremony.

Inclement Weather

Weather permitting, ceremonies will take place outdoors on the courtyard. In the event of inclement weather, ceremonies and graduates will move into the Clayton Performing Arts Center at the Hardin Valley Campus. Graduates will be notified of any changes in the location of their ceremony no later than one day in advance.

Guests will be directed to view a live stream of the event in the Goins Administration Building.

Unfortunately, space and public health guidance would prevent guests from joining the graduates in the Clayton Performing Arts Center. Guests will be seated in pairs in the Goins building and socially distanced from other guests. Masks will be required.

Arrival and Check-in

Registration will begin one hour before the ceremony is scheduled to begin.

Graduates and guests should enter campus at the Solway Road entrance and park in designated lots as directed by campus police and security. Once on campus, signage will be placed to help direct graduates and guests near the Goins Building to begin the check in process.

Face Masks, Social Distancing and COVID-19 Screening

Graduates and guests must maintain social distancing and wear masks in accordance with public health guidance while on campus during all parts of the ceremony. Individuals may be asked to leave campus if guidelines are not followed.

Graduates and their guests must complete the college’s COVID-19 screening questions the same day as the ceremony. Each graduate and guest will be asked to provide verification that the screening questions were complete and there are no known health issues. Either an electronic copy of the verification, such as an email shown on a cell phone, or a printed copy of the verification message will suffice for verification purposes.

While all individuals are strongly encouraged to complete the screening questions before arriving on campus, computer stations and volunteers will be available to assist graduates and guests with the screening process on site. Individuals who do not pass the screening process will be asked to leave campus.

Guests and Live Streaming

To provide a safe environment on our campus and provided that the ceremonies can be held outdoors, students may bring two guests each. Guests will be seated in pairs and socially distanced from other guests.
In the event of inclement weather, guests will be directed to view a live stream of the event in the Goins Administration Building. Unfortunately, space and public health guidance would prevent guests from joining the graduates in the Clayton Performing Arts Center. Guests will be seated in pairs in the building and socially distanced from other guests.

Guest attendance, even outdoors, will be evaluated continually based on public health conditions. If local conditions necessitate it, guest attendance may be discontinued. If such a decision is made, an announcement will be made with as much advance notice as possible.

All graduation sessions will be live streamed to allow other family and friends to celebrate with our graduates.



Graduates will have the opportunity to pose for a professional photo in their cap and gown as a part of the check-in process. Photography services are provided by GradImages.

Professional photos must be taken as a part of the check-in process and will not be available after the ceremony. Graduates should decide on professional photography prior to check-in to be ready when that moment presents itself.

Disability Accommodations and Requests

Graduates who are registered with the Disability Services Office and need accommodations for the ceremony should reach out to their assigned coordinator as soon as possible.

Guests in need of accommodations should reach out to or call 865-694-6411 for assistance.

Graduation FAQ


Graduation Information for Faculty & Staff

How To Apply for Graduation

In your next-to-last semester, you need to meet with your advisor to ensure you’re ready to graduate. Your advisor will make sure you have all the credits and classes you need to earn your degree. Remember: you can schedule advising appointments in myPellissippi.

Once you have met with your advisor, you’ll be given a password to apply for graduation and will be registered for an exit exam. This will be clearance to apply for graduation. Submit your graduation application at the very beginning of your last semester of college.

Apply for graduation in myPellissippi: under “Your Records,” click “Apply to Graduate/Graduation Status.” The intent to graduate application for spring 2021 must be submitted by April 9, 2021.

The graduation application lets you identify any honors society memberships you may have, as well as place your order for a cap and gown.

Graduation Confirmation

You’ll be notified through your Pellissippi State email that your graduation application has been approved. You’ll also be notified through email if you have any possible deficiencies in your records that might prevent you from graduating. It’s your responsibility to follow up on those deficiencies.

You can check your graduation status by clicking on the "Apply to Graduate/Graduation Status" link under "Your Records" in myPellissippi. If you need help, call Records at 865-694-6632 or 865-694-6723.

Updating Your Address

After graduation, we will notify you via US Mail to let you know that your diploma is ready for pick-up. In your last semester, make sure that we have the correct mailing address for you. You can check that the address we have for you is correct in myPellissippi.

If your address needs to be updated, contact our Records office at 865-694-6400 or


How to Take Your Exit Exam

All Tennessee community college graduates are required to take an exit exam. When you meet with your advisor in your next-to-last or last semester, your advisor will register you for an exit exam.

The exit exam is not part of your grade for any class, and your score does not affect your ability to earn your degree. However, you must complete the exam in order to be eligible for graduation.

The exam, called the ETS Proficiency Profile, tests your skills in college-level reading, writing, mathematics and critical thinking. The exam consists of 36 multiple-choice questions and takes about 45 minutes to complete. If you’re interested, you can view sample questions.

The ETS Proficiency Profile helps Pellissippi State assess our courses and degree programs and make improvements as we need to. We encourage you to try your best on the exam. If you try your best, we get the proper results to help us determine how well we’re doing.


How to Settle Financial Obligations

If you have outstanding financial obligations — including library fees or parking tickets — your final transcript and diploma and/or certificate will not be released. Be sure that you settle any and all financial obligations in your last semester of school.

Some students have additional financial obligations. If you received a Federal Stafford Loan through our Financial Aid office, you’re required to complete exit loan counseling before you’re cleared to graduate. Call 865-694-6400 to schedule your exit loan counseling session.


Where to Buy Graduation Announcements, Class Rings and More

The College bookstore sells graduation announcements and other items like diploma frames and gifts.

You can order class rings from Jostens.


Where to Order Your Cap and Gown

You must order a cap and gown to participate in the commencement ceremony. Our caps and gowns are black, and we encourage you to dress nicely to complement the gowns. After commencement, you’ll own your cap and gown, so there’s no need to return them.

If you need to order a cap and gown, complete a cap and gown order form. We recommend ordering no later than April 12.

Those upcoming graduates who did not order a cap and gown still can purchase one directly from our Hardin Valley Campus bookstore, which has a bulk order and extra tassels coming in next week. Caps and gowns are $36 plus tax. Store hours are posted at

Please note, entering your height/weight information on the exit exam does not order your cap and gown. If you have not ordered with payment information included; you still need to order!

If you need financial assistance to purchase a cap and gown, please send an email to with the following information:

  • Please put “Cap and Gown Assistance” in the subject line.
  • Enter your full name, PNumber, height and weight in the body of the email with your request for assistance.
  • Further instructions will then be sent to you.


Additional Stoles, Sashes and Medallions

If you are an active member of Gamma Beta Phi, Kappa Beta Delta, Lambda Epsilon Chi, and/or Phi Theta Kappa, you should identify your membership in your graduation application. You’ll be recognized for your achievements during the commencement ceremony. If you are in an honor society or have received another commendation while at Pellissippi State, you may purchase from that society's website any stoles, sashes, medallions or other items to wear with your cap and gown.

You may also be recognized for other accomplishments — as a military veteran, a participant in our Service-Learning program or for outstanding academic accomplishments.

We provide some honorary decorations to your cap and gown, and you’ll be provided those decorations prior to commencement. However, if you are a member of Phi Theta Kappa, you should purchase your own tassel or stole.


Disability Accommodations

Participants in commencement who have a disability and require special accommodations should contact Disability Services at 865-539-7153 early in their last semester of college.

If a member of the audience has a disability and requires special accommodations, please ask an usher at the event for directions to special seating on the arena floor. Please note that Thompson-Boling Arena does not furnish wheelchairs.


How To Receive Your Diploma

You will not receive your diploma during the commencement ceremony.

Your diploma will be ready for you to pick up 4-6 weeks after graduation each semester. After you graduate, we will mail you a postcard notifying you when your diploma is ready for pick-up. We will send this postcard to the address we have on file - so check with the Records Office to make sure your address is accurate the semester before you graduate.

Due to COVID-19, the pick-up process may vary. Instructions will be sent to you.

Past Commencement Programs

Spring 2021 Commencement Program (PDF)
Fall 2020 Commencement Program (PDF)
Spring 2020 Commencement Program (PDF)