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Students - What to Expect at Commencement


Before Commencement

  1. Find out the date and time of your college's commencement ceremony
  2. Attend grad fair in the university bookstore to purchase academic apparel for graduation
  3. Send graduation announcements to family and friends
  4. Pick up your cap and gown along with your guest tickets

During Commencement

  1. Parking
    • Free parking is offered to the public at any of the parking structures and student parking lots on lower campus during the ceremonies. The lots on upper campus designated for faculty and staff will remain gated.
  2. Arrive at least one hour early and check in
    • You will be grouped by major and directed to stand in a single-file line. Line leaders will lead you into commencement.
  3. Ceremony
    • Each ceremony will begin with a processional of graduates, faculty, and university officials. The Dean of your college will welcome the audience, give instructions, and recognize outstanding graduates.
    • You will cross the stage as your name is read from a card that will be provided to you on the day of your ceremony.
    • You will be walking on uneven surfaces (grass and stairs), so please wear appropriate footwear.
    • Professional photographs will be taken. Photo proofs will be emailed to you.
    • Participants should remain seated and wait for line leaders.
    • The ceremony will last approximately two hours long.

After Commencement

  1. Photo Opportunities
    • There are several popular places around campus that are great for photos such as Walter Pyramid, the Japanese Garden, and the Lymon Lough Fountain in Maxson Plaza.
  2. Return your gown rental
    • Be sure to return your gown and hood, if applicable, at the rental returns tent as you exit the venue.
  3. Leaving Campus
    • We recommend that you inform your guests to avoid entering the 405 Freeway from 7th Street when they are leaving, due to high traffic congestion. Alternative routes are at Palo Verde Avenue and Bellflower Boulevard from which both the 405 North and South can be accessed.
  4. Diploma
    • Diplomas are not distributed at commencement. The diplomas themselves are issued by the university after verification has been made that all degree requirements have been completed and after the diploma document is specially inscribed for the graduate. Your diploma will not automatically be mailed to you. The Office of Enrollment Services (562.985.5471) will send you an e-mail when your diploma is available (approximately 4-8 weeks after your degree has been granted).