Hood College to Host 127th Commencement Ceremony Saturday, May 18

Learn more about the class of 2024, speakers, honorary degree recipients and other Commencement week events

Frederick, MD –Hood College’s 127th annual Commencement ceremony will be held outdoors on Saturday, May 18, at 10 a.m. on the College’s residential quadrangle. Hood College President Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D. will confer degrees upon 495 undergraduate and graduate students in the Class of 2024. The ceremony will be livestreamed via the Hood College YouTube channel

In the case of severe weather, the ceremony will be moved to Woodsboro Bank Arena within the Ronald J. Volpe Athletic Center with limited, ticketed seating for guests. Severe weather tickets are available for pick-up at the Whitaker Campus Center switchboard. Graduates will be allotted three tickets (graduates themselves will not need a ticket).

The Class of 2024

Hood College Mascot Blaze greets graduates

Hood’s undergraduate Class of 2024 totals 274 students from 13 different states and Washington, D.C., as well as 10 different countries. The top three most popular majors for the undergraduate Class of 2024 are business administration, nursing and psychology.

The undergraduate class includes 28 “legacy” graduates, which indicates that a direct relative also graduated from Hood. Additionally, three members of the undergraduate class are veterans, and four are active-duty service members. 

Hood’s 2024 graduate class totals 221 members, with students hailing from nine different states and Washington, D.C., as well as 15 different countries. The class features 38 students who have received a prior degree from Hood, five Hood employees, five students who are veterans and/or active-duty service members, and 15 “legacy” graduates. 

The class also includes 13 graduates from Hood’s doctoral program, with four receiving their Doctor of Business Administration degree and nine receiving their Doctor of Organizational Leadership degree. 

Commencement Speakers

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin has been selected as the speaker for the Class of 2024. Senator Cardin’s political career began after being elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1966. He was then named the Speaker of the Maryland House in 1979 and served in that role until his election to Congress as a member of the House of Representatives in 1986. Twenty years later, in 2006, Cardin was elected to represent the State of Maryland as U.S. Senator, a position he was reelected to in 2012 and 2018.

Additional speakers include Hood College President Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D., who will give a presidential address to the graduating class, as well as Senior Class President Noah Turner ’24 and graduate student Maria Guiza, M.S.’24, who will address their peers.

Honorary Degrees

During the ceremony, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree will be awarded to Dr. Christine McHenry ’73, and an honorary Doctor of Law degree will be awarded to Senator Cardin.

Trustee Emeritus Dr. Christine L. McHenry ’73 graduated from Hood with a degree in biology before earning her M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1977 and an M.A. in theological studies from the United Theological Seminary in 1998. McHenry served on Hood’s Board of Trustees from 1997-2005.

Dr. Christine McHenry ’73

McHenry’s dedication to Hood and its students is evidenced by her endowment of the dean of the chapel position, which stemmed from McHenry’s desire for the College to have a full-time chaplain available for students and staff. At the time of its establishment, the McHenry Dean of the Chapel was the single-largest endowed chair at Hood.

Cardin is a strident defender of the Chesapeake Bay and has been a leader on federal policies to improve the economy and the environment, create job opportunities, make college more affordable and support small businesses. He has taken the lead on reviving the Equal Rights Amendment, believes affordable, quality healthcare is a right of all Americans and has secured resources to fix Maryland’s transportation and water infrastructure. He has worked to ensure human rights and anti-corruption measures are integrated into America’s foreign policy.

Cardin was also key in securing funding for Hood’s Marlene Grossnickle Young and Michael S. Young Data Driven Frederick Center, as well as the Biomedical Research and Training Center, allowing Hood to offer more STEM training opportunities for Hood students, students from other regional colleges and employees of local companies.

Other Commencement Week Events

In addition to the 2024 Commencement ceremony, multiple events are scheduled on Wednesday, May 15; Thursday, May 16; and Friday, May 17.


Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Doctoral Hooding Ceremony
Doctoral Hooding Ceremony
5-6:30 p.m., Coffman Chapel

This is a special event in which a doctoral hood is placed on a student’s shoulders to formally recognize the completion of their doctoral program. Doctoral students will wear their full regalia and doctoral hood during the Commencement ceremony, where their degree will officially be conferred.

Graduate Degree Recipient Reception
7-8:30 p.m., Coblentz Dining Hall

Hosted by April Boulton, Ph.D., dean of the graduate school, this event for faculty, graduate degree recipients and their guests includes the presentation of Graduate Student Awards and Graduate Teaching Excellence Awards.


Thursday, May 16, 2024

The Senior Class Luau and Gift Check Presentation
ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
1 p.m., Whitaker Campus Center, Commons

Graduating members of the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at Hood are formally commissioned as Army officers with the rank of second lieutenant and the intent to serve on active duty, either in the Army Reserve or with the National Guard.

Senior Class Luau and Gift Check Presentation
5-6:30 p.m., East Cottage

Members of the graduating class are invited to join President Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D., for a celebration at her home featuring food, drink and the presentation of the class’s senior gift to Hood.


Friday, May 17, 2024

The Nursing Pinning Ceremony
Nursing Pinning Ceremony
10 a.m., Coffman Chapel

The annual Nursing Pinning ceremony is a symbolic welcoming into the nursing profession of newly or soon-to-be graduated students from Hood’s nursing program. Nurses are presented with pins by either faculty members, family or a person of significant importance to them.

Baccalaureate Service
1 p.m., Coffman Chapel

Graduating students, their families and community members are invited to an annual Baccalaureate Service, which includes a multi-denominational service as well as a celebration and farewell of the graduating class.


Saturday, May 18, 2024

Strawberry Breakfast
Strawberry Breakfast
7:30-9 a.m., Coblentz Dining Hall

Strawberry Breakfast is a Hood tradition dating back to 1928 which invites graduates and their families to a breakfast buffet that includes strawberries, ice cream and sticky buns on the morning of Commencement.

A ticket is required for all attendees, including the graduating student. Each graduating student is entitled to one complimentary ticket. Complimentary tickets are available online until 12 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15. Additional tickets will be available for purchase by card (cash not accepted) at the door in Coblentz Hall Dining Room the morning of Commencement or online. Children aged five or younger eat free. 


For frequently updated information regarding the ceremony, visit hood.edu/commencement.

Media Contact

Mason Cavalier

Media Manager

  • Graduate
  • Undergraduate
  • Events

Related News