caravan commencement
A graduate celebrates commencement at the Windward CC caravan.

University of Hawaiʻi campuses across the state have developed diverse and creative plans to celebrate their graduates this spring. The University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu will kick off graduation season on May 8 with a virtual ceremony, followed by a drive-through celebration. UH’s spring commencements will wrap up with a planned in-person event at UH Maui College on June 5.

Commencement plans for each UH campus:

student graduate with family behind in car

May 8, UH West Oʻahu—The Spring 2021 Commencement Ceremony, a pre-recorded video presentation, will debut at approximately at 9 a.m. for a 100% online event. This will be followed by a drive-through celebration 2–5 p.m. Students who registered ahead of time for this on-campus event will receive a diploma cover, take an official photo, have their name read and receive gift items.

May 10 and 14, Leeward Community College—The virtual commencement will open on May 10. The recording includes Ke Ala ʻIke Scholars presenting the oli, a former student government president singing “Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi,” chancellor’s speech, and two student speakers. There will be a and a drive-through commencement ceremony for registered graduates on May 14, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Graduates will be able to step out of their vehicle and have their picture taken on stage. All summer 2019 through fall 2021 graduates are eligible to participate.

May 13–16, UH Mānoa—Special messages from guest speaker Nainoa Thompson, navigator of the Polynesian Voyaging Society; student speaker Malika Dudley, MA in communicology candidate; and President David Lassner will be recorded and posted online the week after finals. In addition, students who registered by May 1 will have the opportunity to participate in an in-person diploma presentation and photo session (with two guests allowed per student). All spring 2020 through summer 2021 graduates are welcome to participate. Individual schools and colleges will be assigned a time for their photos May 13–16, with the schedule on the commencement website.

graduate taking photo

May 14, Hawaiʻi Community College (Hilo)—A drive-through ceremony will be held 9:15 a.m.–2:30 p.m. at the Manono campus and live-streamed on the Hawaiʻi CC YouTube channel. In addition, Nā Leo TV will premier a pre-recorded virtual commencement that includes a kīpaepae ceremony, student speaker, keynote speaker, graduate names and photos, and more at 6 p.m.

May 14, Honolulu Community College—The Graduation Commencement Celebration website goes live at 4 p.m. All fall 2020 through spring 2021 graduates had the option to participate and upload a personal webpage to share with family and friends. The campus also hosted Grad Photo Days in April, where graduates could take photos with Chancellor Karen Lee or with a cut out of her.

May 14, Kauaʻi Community College—A drive-through ceremony will be held starting at 10 a.m. Kauaʻi CC’s marketing department will photograph graduates and their households in front of their parked vehicles in the Daniel K. Inouye Electronics building parking lot. When the ceremony begins, vehicles will be directed to begin driving to the front of the Performing Arts Center, where they should remain in their vehicles and will receive their diplomas from Chancellor Joseph Daisy.

May 14 and 16, Kapiʻolani Community College—A socially distanced, walk-through commencement celebration will be held on campus for registered students 2–6 p.m. on May 14, according to assigned times. Graduate web pages will also go live on May 14. On May 16, a virtual celebration will take place from 5–6 p.m.

May 14, Windward Community College—An on-campus, drive-through caravan will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. There will be an on-screen ceremony that the graduates can watch from their cars before the commencement caravan begins.

chancellor handing graduate a diploma in a car
(Photo credit: Kirsten Aoyagi)

May 15, UH Hilo—Commencement begins at 8:30 a.m. with a kīhei tying ceremony via Zoom. At 9 a.m. the virtual commencement presentation will premiere on the UH Hilo YouTube channel. Drive-through commencement by alpha order of last names will begin at 10 a.m. More information at:

May 15, Hawaiʻi Community College–Pālamanui and University Center, West Hawaiʻi (Kona)—A drive-through ceremony will be held 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Graduates will be given a time to drive through, receive their diploma and have a photo taken. In addition, Nā Leo TV will present a pre-recorded virtual commencement that includes a kīpaepae, student speaker, keynote speaker, graduate names and photos, and more. The program premieres May 14 and will continue to air on Nā Leo TV for several weeks and will also be available online.

June 5, UH Maui College—The campus will hold two face-to-face commencement ceremonies—9 a.m. for University Center, nurses, dental hygienists, engineer tech and four-year UH Maui College program graduates and 5 p.m. for all other graduates.