To participate in the commencement ceremony, please register online!

New for 2018: Parking permits will be required; limit of 2 per participant. Permits will be available at your academic department office.

Watch Online! Go to the Quarry Amphitheater USTREAM page

QR code for Quarry Livestream 

    Ceremony Site Information

  • UCSC Quarry Amphitheater

    Our ceremony is held outdoors in amphitheater style seating. It is our inaugural year using the beautifully remodeled Quarry Amphitheater as a venue for UCSC Commencement Ceremonies. Guests who prefer to view the ceremony indoors will be directed to a nearby location where the event will be live-streamed. This location will also serve as overflow seating in the unlikely event that the Quarry Amphitheater reaches its seating capacity.

    The weather in Santa Cruz, while cool, can become very hot as the day goes on. There is limited shade seating and all guests should bring sun protection, including hats and sunscreen.

    Live Video of the Ceremony

    For guests who are more comfortable viewing the ceremony indoors, the ceremony will be live-streamed in a classroom on campus, and is also viewable on the internet. Please see the link and QR code at the top of the page; either one will direct you to a live video broadcast of the ceremony (only viewable during the commencement on June 14, 2018).

    Shuttles will run continuously from the parking area and drop guests off near to the ceremony site. A limited amount of walking will be required to get from the drop off area to the ceremony site.


    Tickets are not issued to attend the commencement ceremony and there is no limit on the number of guests.

    However, every graduate participant will be issued only two parking passes. Cars displaying a Grad Division Commencement parking pass will be directed to our designated ceremony parking lot. Guests may shuttle (or walk) from there to the ceremony site.

    Disability Services

    Disability Parking: Each student registered for the Grad Division ceremony can pick up their two parking passes from their program office or from the Graduate Division in Kerr Hall, room 283.

    The only benefit of a disability pass is that the lot is serviced by UCSC vans that have wheelchair-lift capabilities. Please obtain a disability pass only if your guest will benefit because they:

    • Use a wheelchair or electric scooter, or
    • Are physically unable to board the steps up into a campus shuttle, or
    • Will be driving themselves and are unable to walk from a parked car to the parking lot shuttle stop (those that are not driving themselves can be dropped at the internal shuttle stop and wait while the driver parks).

    Guests with a regular commencement pass can shuttle from their designated parking area and will disembark in the same location as the vans from disability parking. The wait for a shuttle from the main parking area is significantly shorter than the wait at the disability lot (because there are far more shuttles than disability vans), which is why a disability lot permit should only be acquired in the above circumstances. Thank you!

    Wheelchair accessible seating: There is a limited amount of wheelchair accessible seating available in the Quarry Amphitheater. Please help us accommodate everyone's needs by:

    • Noting in your registration form if you or your guest will need wheelchair accessible seat, and
    • Please plan to have no more than 1-2 people accompany a guest in a wheelchair in the accessible seating area

  • 2018 Commencement Speaker

  • Photo of Kingsley Odigie

    Kingsley Odigie, Ph.D., Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UC Riverside

    Dr. Kingsley Odigie is a University of California Chancellor’s postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). He completed his Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology at the University of California in Santa Cruz in 2014. Additionally, he holds a B.S. in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry and a B.S. in Forensic Science from San José State University in California. Dr. Odigie’s research interests encompass the use of geochemical tools (e.g., chemical speciation and isotopic composition analyses) and computer models to (1) reconstruct past environmental conditions, (2) unravel the biogeochemical processes that control the cycling of trace element contaminants and understand their associated implications for human and environmental health, and (3) predict biogeochemical cycling of contaminants in response to expected natural and anthropogenic environmental changes. He has received several recognitions for his research, including Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Fellowship, University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, and International Association for GeoChemistry (IAGC) Kharaka Award. He is enthusiastic about mentoring students from diverse backgrounds in STEM. Outside work, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends and biking.

  • Student Information

  • On the Day of Commencement

    * Plan to arrive with your regalia at the Quarry Amphitheater between 3:15 and 3:30 pm. 

    * Tell friends and family to arrive at UCSC between 3:00 and 3:30 in order to find parking; highways are typically congested on commencement day, so plan extra time if you are driving from out of town (at least one hour extra).

    * Please ask your family and friends to go directly to the Amphitheater's seating area.

    * Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Bring your sunglasses and sunscreen if you are sun sensitive - there is limited-to-no shade in the stands. The late afternoon sun can be hot, and the ground uneven for those with high heels. 

    * We will have water stations available. 

    * Doctoral candidates should make sure that their chosen professor will be present for the hooding ceremony, or arrange for a substitute. 

    * Staff will help students and faculty with the line up and regalia. 

    * Students should plan to leave their personal belongings with family, friends, or in their car; there is no place to securely store these items at the Amphitheater.

    * To be courteous and show respect for fellow graduates, students are expected to stay for the duration of the ceremony, and march out in the academic processional.
    * Please silence phones and devices during the ceremony.

    Participation Instructions:

    • Assemble beginning at 3:15 pm.

      Name cards: Go to one of the tables set up by degree to pick up the prepared name card, which will be used by the announcer to introduce you on stage. Included is a space for a phonetic spelling of your name to aid in pronouncing it correctly. Please review and make any changes you think necessary. Pens will be provided at the sign in tables.

      Line-up and robing:  Participants will line up by degree; look for the signs posted or ask a staff member to assist you. Masters candidates should wear the hood.  PhD candidates should carry the hood.  The tassel is placed on the left side of the mortarboard to signify the award of an undergraduate degree.  It does not get moved to the right side at any time during the ceremony. Staff will be available to assist you.

      Marching and seating: There will be two lines marching together to the seating area and then splitting to enter the bleachers on either side of the stage. Staff will direct you at strategic points in the processional.

      Awarding degrees: Graduates will be called to the stage by degree: MA, MFA, MS, DMA and Ph.D. Students will proceed up the ramp to the stage and hand the name card to the announcer. (If your name is difficult to pronounce, you can pronounce it for them while you are waiting to cross.)

      Master’s candidates: When your name is called, walk to the center of the stage where the Chancellor will present you with a graduation certificate and shake hands; you then continue across the stage, down the stairs on the other side and return to your seat.

      Hooding of Doctoral Candidates: The faculty member who is hooding you will join you on stage. Hand your hood to the Emcee, who will pass it on to the person hooding you. After the hooding, Chancellor Blumenthal will present you with your certificate and shake your hand. Proceed down the stairs and around the back of the stage to your seat.

      Photographs: Professional photographers will take two pictures of each graduate. The first picture is taken at the bottom of the ramp before you go on stage, posed in front of a UCSC banner. The second picture is taken on stage as you receive your certificate or hood.

      When all the students in each degree have been announced, Dean Miller will ask each group to rise and the Chancellor will announce the conferral of the degree. You will then be seated for the rest of the ceremony.

      At the conclusion of the ceremony, the academic processional will leave the amphitheater in the following order: stage party, graduates, and faculty. Staff members will direct you.

  • Regalia Rental

  • Participants are required to wear cap & gown (regalia). Orders for regalia will be open March 1st, due April 28th before late fees apply.

    Order regalia through the bookstore by 4pm on April 27th (late charges apply thereafter).

    The Bookstore's Commencement website has information about ordering regalia, as well as announcements and other commencement-related items. 

  • Photography

  • Professional photographers from Best Grad Photo will take two pictures of each graduate. The first picture is taken before you go on stage. The second picture is taken on stage as you cross the stage. Proofs will be available 5 to 7 days after the ceremony.

    We will provide a link to view photos on this webpage a few days after the commencement ceremony. 

  • General Information for Students, Faculty and Guests

  • Seating and Parking

    • If you are sun sensitive, please plan to arrive early to secure shaded seats.
    • Parking for participants and guests will be available in the East Remote lot. Permits are required; contact your academic department for permits. Two permits will be permitted per participant.

    • Shuttle buses will be available for those guests who prefer not to walk to the site.

    • Students, faculty or guests with hearing, sight or physical disabilities who may need special assistance should contact Veronica Larkin at vlarkin@ucsc.edu.

    • Pets Not Allowed on Campus: UCSC has a "no pet" policy that is strictly enforced. Service animals (as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act) are welcome; emotional support animals are not allowed unless previously authorized. If you enter campus with a pet (non-service animal) or non-authorized emotional support animal, you will be asked to leave campus.

    Hotel Reservations

    • Reserve early as hotels and motels fill up well in advance of commencement.

      Dinner after the Ceremony: Students and their families wishing to eat at a local restaurant after the ceremony are urged to plan ahead and reserve early; make reservations for 7:00 PM or later. Be prepared for heavy traffic, both on the highway and surface streets.

      For information on lodging and dining, visit the Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors’ Center http://www.scccvc.org


  • Guest & Visitor FAQ's

  • 1. Is there a limit to the number of guests who can come to commencement? NO

    • UC Santa Cruz recognizes that our students reach graduation day because of the support of many individuals. Therefore, we do not limit how many people each graduate can invite to the ceremony.


    2. Do I need a parking pass? YES

    • Participants should request their two (2) parking passes from their academic departments.

    • Graduates and their families and guests should park at the East Remote Parking Lot below the East Field.  We encourage carpooling to reduce traffic in and around campus. A shuttle service will be available to take you directly to Quarry, or you may walk the distance of about a 1/3 of a mile.  Shuttles will also run after the ceremony.


    3. Is the ceremony site accessible for those with disabilities? YES

    • Graduation parking is in the East Remote Parking Lot. This lot will be served by campus shuttles for those who cannot or do not wish to make the short walk to the ceremony. These shuttles may not be wheelchair accessible. Graduates or their guests who have special parking needs or who require a wheelchair-lift-equipped shuttle should contact Veronica Larkin (vlarkin@ucsc.edu) for instructions. All shuttles drop off at the same place near the Quarry Amphitheater. 

    4. How long is the ceremony? Approximately 1-½ hours

    • The ceremony is scheduled to begin promptly at 4:00 p.m. and last about an hour and a half. If you are considering dinner afterwards, it is never too soon to make your reservations for this popular weekend.


    5. Will I be able to get close to the stage to take a picture as my student walks across? NO

    • Only graduates and participating faculty are allowed around the stage area during the ceremony. A professional commercial photographer has been contracted to take individual photographs of the graduates as each receives a commemorative certificate. Within 10 days after graduation, students will receive a "proof," at no cost or obligation to buy.


    6. Is there a reception afterwards? NO

    • As there are department events as well as private celebrations planned for shortly after the ceremony, the Graduate Division is not sponsoring a reception after the commencement.

    7. Is smoking allowed on campus? NO

    • A friendly reminder to our guests that, as of January 1, 2014, the University of California is a Smoke & Tobacco Free environment.

  • Faculty Participants

  • Regalia & Robing

    • If a student registered for commencement and listed you as a “hooder” you will receive an email from the graduate division.

      Regalia Rental: You are responsible for ordering your own regalia. Please see the Bookstore web site for details. 

    Assembly & Procession

    • Assemble beginning at 3:30 p.m.  At the Registration Area, your graduate student will pick up a pre-printed card with his or her name and major, as well as your name, which will be used to introduce you. Staff will be available to assist with regalia and answer any questions. The student-faculty procession will leave at approximately 3:55 p.m. 
    • The procession will be led by the Chair of the Academic Senate, followed by the Stage Party, Faculty and Graduates. Faculty other than the Stage Party will be seated in the front rows of the audience. Staff will direct you to your seats.
    • Faculty participants will leave the ceremony after the stage party and the graduates have left.
    • Water stations will be available for all participants at the gym and behind the stage. Please bring your own sunscreen.



    • Doctoral students will be lined up by department. As you face the stage, the graduates will enter the stage from the right and the faculty will come on stage using the stairs on the left side. Approach the stage shortly before your student’s turn and join him/her center stage. Student will hand the hood to Prof. Brenneis, who will make sure it is open and facing the correct way and pass it to you. Hood the student as your name is read. The student will then proceed over to the Chancellor to receive a handshake and certificate; then you both exit by the stairs. Please return to your seat right away to avoid congestion around the stage area.

      If you are hooding more than one candidate, stay on stage and follow the same procedure for each student; leave the stage when all your students have been hooded.

      If you are one of two faculty who will be hooding a student, we suggest that you both discuss with the student ahead of time how they wish the hooding to be arranged.

Students who earned graduate degrees since the 2017 Commencement Ceremony are invited to participate.