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  • Most graduations occur in May and June, but some are as early as mid-April or as late as the first week in July. Mid-year college commencement ceremonies are typically in December.
  • Industry-wide, about 59 million graduation cards are given annually.
  • For the 2015-16 school year, about 3.2 million students are expected to graduate from high school, a projected 6% increase since 2002. Colleges and universities are expected to award 744,000 associate degrees; 1.7 million bachelor’s degrees; 757,000 master’s degrees; 104,000 first-professional degrees; and 59,000 doctorates. In each category, the majority of these graduates are women.(Source: National Center for Education Statistics’ “Projections of Education Statistics to 2015”)
  • Money is the most popular graduation gift (Source: National Retail Federation), and money-holder/gift card-holder cards are top sellers for Hallmark.
  • Increasingly, graduates give thank-you cards and gifts to parents and teachers to express appreciation for guidance and support during their years of education.
  • Hallmark has been producing graduation cards since the 1920s.

2016 Product Features

Greeting Cards

  • Hallmark offers more than 440 graduation card designs - most featuring the graduation year - and include cards for: 
    • Professions (nurse, law, medical doctor, pharmacist, veterinarian, dentist).
    • Post-graduate degrees (doctorate, master's and MBA).
    • High school and college.
    • Pre-school, kindergarten, grade school, middle school and junior high.
    • Teachers, coaches, grad-to-grad and parents of the graduate.
    • The cards range from serious, complimentary, success-oriented and inspirational to humorous. High school and college cards tend to focus on accomplishments and good wishes for the future.
  • In addition to graduation, cards are also available that recognize certifications, achievements and completions.
  • Card prices start at 99 cents.
  • The one-of-a-kind cards in the Share Their Joy, Show Your Pride Family Collection feature keepsakeable designs that celebrate family, faith and the future. 
  • The inspirational messages of Hallmark writer Keely Chace, who sees graduation as a new beginning, are featured in the Next Step, Bright Future Colleciton. 
  • Iconic imagery and design are combined with simple yet impactful phrases of optimism to make up the Life is good® Collection. 
  • Gift Card Holders are available to offer superior presentation for the ever popular gift of gift cards or cash for graduation. 
  • Hallmark Mahogany offers culturally-relevant cards for the African American graduate including cards for child, high school, historically black colleges and universities and religious.
  • Hallmark Vida cards provide a broad range that meets the Spanish language graduation needs from juveniles to adults. All of the cards are written in Spanish and feature English translations on the backs.
  • offers a range of customizable Graduation greeting cards, announcements, party invitations and thank you notes for the many gifts graduates receive that consumers can customize with their own messages and photos. Ink and Main will stamp and send the card directly to one or many recipients or back to the sender to hand deliver.
  • provides Graduation ecards to send to friends and family, available with a subscription.

Celebrations & Gifts

  • Hallmark Gold Crown stores are full of gifts designed to celebrate and commemorate the graduate and those who have supported them along the way including: 
    • The Oh, The Places You'll Go! Gift Collection takes a page from the Dr. Seuss classic to celebrate and commemorate grads - because it's their time to shine. The collection includes mugs, a luggage tag, tote bag, key chain, money holder and more.
    • The College Survival Guide is full of useful, real-world information and plenty of pockets to hold money, gift cards, stamps, and more. 
    • The Autograph Owl and Autograph Poster helps graduates remember the big day in a big way. Graduation party guests can add their warm wishes giving a way for the graduate to save and appreciate memories of the special day.
    • The Proud-of-You Pup Techno Plush congratulates younger grads and young-at-heart with his cute-as-can be "Pomp and Circumstance" song. 
    • Other commemorative items include key chains, picture frames, a tassel holder, and mugs.
    • Hallmark Gift Books make perfect presents for the graduate including God's Promise for Graduates, Stop. Put Your Pencils Down, A Guide to Surviving and Thriving After Graduation, Woo-Hoo For You!, Seize Your Dreams: Inspirations to Follow Your Heart and Now Is the Time. 
  • Hallmark also offers 2016 graduation gift wrap and gift bags, trims and gift card presenters. Designs are appropriate for high school and college graduations.

Celebration History

  • Today's graduation ceremony is the modern equivalent of the ancient rite of passage from youth into adulthood celebrated in many tribes and clans. Commencement is the contemporary way to acknowledge that an important milestone has been passed.
  • Early degree ceremonies took place in the mid-12th century at the University of Bologna, and soon after, at Paris, Oxford and Cambridge. Harvard was the first American college to hold a commencement ceremony in 1642.
  • Graduation gowns reflect the general manner of dress in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance period. Many are black, although the gowns used in many high school ceremonies reflect school colors. The sleeves of a collegiate graduation gown indicate the level of a graduate's degree.
  • The four-sided graduation cap first appeared in the 16th century in Scotland. It originally was known as a "trencher" cap because it looked like an inverted serving board – a trencher – with a bowl on it. The term "mortarboard" developed in the 19th century.
  • High-school graduates in the United States began wearing the now traditional commencement cap and gown in 1908.

In Stores & Online

Available at Hallmark Gold Crown® stores nationwide, online at, and wherever Hallmark products are sold. Use the store locator on to find the nearest Hallmark Gold Crown store.


Fun Fact

Eighteen-year-old entrepreneur J.C. Hall founded Hallmark in 1910 with little more than two shoeboxes full of postcards. Read more about J.C. Hall.