Mikah Boyd’s passion for journalism led her to Sam Houston State University’s mass communications department as a transfer student. Once she arrived at SHSU, she soon found her sense of belonging, a strong support system, and things began to improve.
Fall 2020 Commencement
Fall 2021 Commencement Schedule
Fall 2021 Graduation Ceremonies are scheduled for December 10 and December 11 at the Sam Houston State University Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. The complete schedule is posted below.
9:30 a.m., Friday, December 10, 2021
- College of Health Sciences (Except Nursing)
- College of Science & Engineering Technology
2:30 p.m., Friday, December 10, 2021
- School of Nursing
- College of Business Administration
9:30 a.m., Saturday, December 11, 2021
- College of Education
- Humanities & Social Sciences
2:30 p.m., Saturday, December 11, 2021
- College of Criminal Justice
- College of Arts & Media
Friday, 9:30 a.m.
Friday, 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
Sam Houston State University graduates have made remarkable strides in their lives to reach commencement day. Here are a few examples of Bearkats graduates, who have demonstrated a “can-do” spirit through challenges and service, and remind us of the many ways Sam Houston State is preparing students for meaningful lives of achievement.
Emily McMillen will be using her degree in Human Resource Management with an HR consulting firm, Achilles Group, after graduation. In her new role, she is hoping to improve the lives of employees by working with businesses on bettering employee accommodations.
As a first-generation student from Lagos, Nigeria, adjusting to college life wasn’t easy for Kismot Kamal. Although finance and transportation difficulties made it hard while working several jobs, that didn’t stop her from fulling her dream of earning a degree in healthcare administration from Sam Houston State University.
“My biggest supporter has definitely been my husband. He was there with me going through the same experiences as a college student, and we encouraged each other not to give up.”
“The School of Music, The College of Education, and Sam Houston State as a whole, have helped me accomplish the soul, the musician, the student, and the educator that I was meant to be.”
After completing 47 hours of core curriculum through Brazosport College, Gaona continued his educational journey at SHSU in 2019 and just two years later, he is happy to be graduating. While his studies at SHSU may have been brief, he certainly made an impact with the campus community, recently earning the ‘Outstanding Freshman Leader’ Sammy Award.
“Coming all the way from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, I was happy to find a family in the School of Music here at Sam. I will never forget the connections and memories I've made here with the incredible faculty and students.”
As a first-generation student starting out a SHSU, Jonathan Owens was faced with the many challenges of navigating through a brand-new world with little experience. Despite the struggles, he found the support he needed and the spirit of perseverance to pull-through and earn a degree.
“Service toward the wellbeing of others is not a switch that can be turned on or off. It is something one must choose to embrace. It is during disastrous times and experiences such as these, that the meaning of, "The measure of a Life is its Service" is truly understood.”
“I was very impressed by the representation and diversity of the faculty in the Counselor Education program. This was instrumental in my decision to apply and attend the graduate program. It was the first time that I was taught and, ultimately, mentored by professors who shared my ethnic and cultural background, and who understood the intricacies of being bilingual and providing services in languages other than English.”
“Learning more about myself has really helped me understand my work ethic and transformation from a kid with ideas, but was too self-conscious and insecure, to someone who speaks up as a leader.”
“My mother taught me that the adversity can bring perspective, and my grandmother showed me the strength found in humility. After I graduate, I hope to live a life that is worthy of their sacrifices.”
Jordan Johnson has been the Sam Houston State University student body president since May 2020. During her time at SHSU, she was also a part of the Orange Pride, served as co-executive director of the Center for Diversity & Intercultural Affairs, was the 2020 Miss Piney Woods Pageant winner, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Alpha Kappa Psi.
Katie Willard currently serves as an inventory specialist with SHSU Facilities Management. She is the recipient of the Wood Matthews Scholarship Fund, the Loretta J Hankins Endowed Scholarship, the John C. and Wilma McAdams Memorial Scholarship, the Joe M. MacKenzie Scholarship, and the Jim Stevens Information Technology Scholarship.
Coliseum Clear Bag Policy
There is a clear bag policy in place at the Johnson Coliseum (clear bag no larger than 12x12x6 or purse no larger than 4.5x6.5) and there will be a security bag check prior to entering.
List of Prohibited Items
- Outside Food and Drinks
- Large Bags
In accordance with CDC guidelines and the University’s COVID-19 Work Group, face coverings are no longer required, but recommended, along with social distancing, for those not vaccinated.
- Commencement is a ceremonious occasion honoring important educational accomplishments. Decorum and courtesy are important to you and your family, as well as your fellow degree candidates and their families. Students and guests are expected to maintain a measure of decorum consonant with the occasion.
- Out of respect for all degree candidates, once seated, all participants are expected to stay until the conclusion of the ceremony which is marked by the candidate recessional.
- Adherence to the university’s alcohol policy is expected.
- Improper attire, signs and insignia will be monitored and may be removed.
- Cell phones and other electronic equipment should be silenced.
- All candidates should plan to meet their guests outside Johnson Coliseum following the ceremony. Guests are not allowed on the arena floor or the stage and will be asked to exit the coliseum quickly to meet your graduate.
- Students are expected to wear appropriate clothing beneath their regalia.
- Students and guests are expected to refrain from disruptive behavior.
- Students are expected to return to their seats after the on-stage presentation and remain seated for the duration of the ceremony.
- Sam Houston State University maintains the proud and historic tradition of permitting degree candidates to shake hands with the President as their name is spoken. However, graduates should not feel compelled to shake hands if they are uncomfortable doing so.
- Family members and/or guests are not permitted on the arena floor.
- The last degree candidate is equally as important as the first, so please be considerate.
- We ask that all guests remain seated for the entire ceremony.
Fall 2021 FAQs
What should graduates bring or not bring to Commencement?
What to Bring and What Not to Bring
- Bring your graduation cap (with tassel), appropriate gown, and appropriate hood (masters and doctoral candidates), and hat (doctoral candidates).
- Purses and backpacks are not permitted on the coliseum floor. Items left unattended in the line-up rooms of the HKC are not the responsibility of the graduation personnel.
- Where will the December Commencement ceremonies be held?
I am graduating. When should I arrive?
Graduates should check-in at the Health and Kinesiology Center at least one hour prior to their scheduled ceremony. Signage will be posted in the general area to follow to the check-in location.
- How do I know which college ceremony to attend?
Will tickets be required for guests?
Tickets are required for Commencement and eligible graduates will receive an initial guest ticket allotment of 8 tickets per graduate. No additional guest tickets will be available at a later time. Graduates may reserve tickets using their SAM ID beginning October 26 at noon CST until December 3 at midnight at GoBearkats.com. Graduates will not need to claim a ticket for Commencement; however, all guests must present a ticket to gain admittance. A live webcast will be provided for all ceremonies for those who are unable to attend.
To Claim Guest Tickets
- Visit GoBearkats.com and under the Buy Tickets Tab, select Commencement Tickets
- Click Register Your Student Account and enter SAM ID
- Update your account information and create a password. Your account is now active*
*If prompted for a PIN, contact 936.294.1729 for assistance.
- Log in to your account. Click Find Tickets next to Fall 2021 Commencement
- Select the number of seats, then click Continue
- Select your delivery method: Mobile, Print-at-Home or Will Call. If you select a digital method, your tickets will be sent directly to your SHSU email
- Click Add Package
- Your account information will be displayed. Ensure your email address is correct and click Place Your Order
- You will receive a confirmation email with your ticket information
How can I request disability accommodations for the Commencement ceremonies at the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum?
Graduates may request reasonable accommodations through the Office of the Registrar.
Do I need to wear regalia to the ceremony?
Yes, SHSU approved regalia can be ordered through Herff Jones prior to the commencement ceremony.
To ensure you have regalia in time for the ceremony, purchase your regalia by November 11, 2021.
When should my guests arrive?
Guests should arrive approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour prior to the ceremony.
Will the December ceremonies be livestreamed?
Yes, the ceremony will be live and immediately available for on-demand viewing. After the ceremony, the video will be archived on the university’s Commencement website.
When will I receive my diploma?
Actual diplomas will be mailed to the permanent legal address on record (check your permanent legal address) approximately eight weeks after commencement. Students should confirm address information prior to the last day of the term in order to ensure diplomas are mailed to the correct address.
Are there established social media hashtags?
#SHSU21. We would love for you to share photos of yourself in your regalia, with your family, making commencement memories. You can share those with us on social media using our hashtag.
Are noise makers allowed?
As a courtesy to all graduates, we do not allow noise makers during the graduation ceremonies.