Information for Cowell Grads

This page conveys:

  • How to Graduate from UCSC
  • 13 Steps to be in the Cowell Commencement (registration, cap & gown, parking, rehearsal)
  • More Event Details (shuttles, photos, reception)

If you DO want to be in Cowell's Commencement, read all three sections of this page. Make sure you not only (a) apply to graduate via MyUCSC (during the appropriate filing period), but that you also (b) complete Cowell's event registration form by the May 6 deadline (so that your name will be included in the print program).

Graduation vs Commencement

Applying to graduate from UCSC is a separate process from registering to be in Cowell's Commencement ceremony, with different deadlines.

If you DO NOT intend to be in Cowell's Commencement, read only the "How to Graduate from UCSC" section, and its links, making sure you apply to graduate via MyUCSC (during the appropriate filing period).

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How to Graduate from UCSC

PART A: VERIFY THAT YOU WILL MEET ALL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

  • Questions about general requirements = college advising
  • Questions about major/minor requirements = major/minor advising

PART B: APPLY TO GRADUATE on MY.UCSC.EDU

  • Apply to graduate on my.ucsc.edu during the filing period published in the Academic Calendar (in the Announcing Candidacy section). If you apply to graduate after the published deadline, you will be assessed a $60 late fee and may not be eligible for honors in the major.
  • When you apply to graduate via MyUCSC, you will indicate the quarter in which you will complete all requirements: this is your "graduation term." You may apply to graduate as early as one quarter prior to your graduation term (i.e. if your graduation quarter is spring, you may apply to graduate as early as winter. If your graduation quarter is fall, you may apply as early as summer quarter.)
  • Questions? Check out How to Apply for Graduation and Graduation FAQs for more information.

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13 Steps to be in the Cowell Commencement

STEP 1: REGISTER FOR COWELL COMMENCEMENT: ASAP (now that MAY 6 has passed)

Did you miss the May 6 deadline? Cowell seniors can still register to participate in the ceremony: your name can be read from the stage but it may not be listed in the print program (depending on when you register). Please register ASAP even though the deadline has passed.

Cowell's Commencement is Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 1:30pm at the East Field. To participate and be listed in the print program you must complete an Event Registration. This registration form is also where you indicate an interest in offering one of the multilingual welcomes. Cowell students who plan to complete all coursework and requirements by the end of Winter 2017 are eligible to participate in our June 2016 ceremony.

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STEP 2: VERIFY YOUR MAJORS AND MINORS (at MY.UCSC.EDU)

The majors and minors that appear on your my.ucsc.edu student portal as of May 6 are the majors and minors that will be printed in the commencement program and read aloud as you cross the stage. Login to your student portal to verify your majors and minors are showing as declared. If there is inconsistency, contact the appropriate major or minor advisor to add, drop, or change your declaration. If you have completed your declaration paperwork but it is not reflected on the portal, please contact the major or minor advisor. If you have questions related to this step, email Cowell College Advising.

STEP 3: HELP PLAN COMMENCEMENT: NOW!

Your help is needed to make Commencement a success. Areas for involvement include student speaker selection, senior celebration/party planning, printed program design, and senior mementos. You can indicate interest when you register for the event (see Step 1), or you can email klea@ucsc.edu directly.

STEP 4: STUDENT SPEAKER NOMINATION: BY APRIL 13

To nominate a student speaker for Commencement, fill out a Nomination Form by Wednesday, April 13. Feel free to nominate yourself! Speeches should be no longer than 5 minutes and must be presented orally to the Commencement Committee in mid May to be considered. Senior Speech Guidelines and Tips are available.

STEP 5: ORDER ANNOUNCEMENTS & CAPS/GOWNS: BEGINNING APRIL 12

Order announcements, cap & gown, class ring and other items at the Bay Tree Bookstore Graduation Center beginning Tuesday, April 12. You may order many items online at the Bookstore Graduation Center website (not yet updated for 2016, please check back!). Students are encouraged to order regalia (cap and gown) by April 22. Regalia distribution week will be June 6 - June 12. Note: Wearing a cap and gown is not required to participate in the Cowell Commencement.

The Bookstore's Graduation Center is open between April 18 and June 3 (weekdays 9am-4pm). In advance of this, the Bookstore is hosting a four day Graduation Fair from April 12 through April 15 at which there will be representatives available to answer questions about memorabilia as well as a photographer on-site for portraits. See the Bookstore website for more details. Note: the Bookstore would like you to know that for faster return, following the ceremony, you can include the bottom portion of Gown Rental Form (provided when you pick up regalia).

STEP 6: DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION / SIGN LANGUAGE REQUESTS: BY MAY 6

Please read the Accommodations page if you or a guest require some type of disability accommodation. Accommodations might involve: a disability lot parking permit, assistance crossing the grass field to get to the audience seating section, sign language interpretation, large-print programs, or shade seating. Note: the deadline to request sign language interpretation is Friday, May 6.

NOTE: If you expect a guest may have difficulty walking ~70 yards on a grass field (somewhat uneven ground), please convey this information and assist them with proper planning.

STEP 7: REGISTER TO RECEIVE FREE PHOTO PROOFS

Professional photographers from Grad Images will be at the ceremony to take pictures of each graduate: a head/shoulder shot and another on stage as the scroll is received. You will receive free digital photo proofs (samples) of yourself, the week following the ceremony, if you register in advance. There is no obligation to buy.

Complete this short form to receive your photo proofs taken at our ceremony.

STEP 8: INVITE A COWELL FACULTY OR STAFF MEMBER TO ESCORT YOU ACROSS STAGE

Ask your favorite Cowell faculty or staff member to escort you across the stage as you receive your diploma. Having an escort is optional, but escorts enjoy being asked even if you feel they don't know you well. Escorts are given full instructions regarding the stage logistics when they check in that day. When you, the graduate, check-in at Cowell on commencement day, you'll indicate the name of your escort on a card. If you've not arranged for an escort there will be a list of available faculty/staff to select from if you choose.

To ask a non-Cowell faculty or staff member, do so well in advance and be sure you provide them this info at the time you are asking. If they agree to escort you, then you (the student) provide us your escort's information no later than Friday, May 27.

STEP 9: COMMUNICATE REGULARLY WITH YOUR GUESTS

Keep your guests updated about important information such as:

  • How to prepare so as to ensure comfort during this midday ceremony (see recommendations on the Cowell Commencement home page)
  • Travel directions (see the Cowell Commencement page)
  • What to expect upon arriving on campus (see Parking and Campus Shuttle sections below)
  • Need to display one of your two parking passes on their dashboard when they arrive at the base of campus. Parking is extremely limited as several commencements occur on Saturday
  • Availability of shuttles (see below)
  • Seating begins at the East Field at 12:30pm, because another ceremony precedes ours
  • Be in their seats by 1:20pm when the procession arrives
  • General flow and timeline of day's activities (including reception)
  • Details related to disability parking, if pertinent (see Step 6)
  • Information about event photographs
  • Need to keep aisles clear of tripods, strollers, walkers. Airhorns and other noisemakers are not permitted, nor are aerial drones
  • UCSC's status as a Smoke & Tabacco Free environment 

STEP 10: PICK UP TWO COMMENCEMENT PARKING PASSES, MAY 31 - JUNE 10

Pick up your two parking passes from the Cowell College/Advising Office between Tuesday, May 31 and Friday, June 10 (from 9am-5pm). Photo ID required. Only graduates who have registered online for Cowell's Commencement (via Step 1) will be issued passes. Note: on Thursday, June 9, passes will not be available from 3-4pm (during the rehearsal) but will be available immediately after at 4pm at the Senior Celebration (Cowell Provost House Lawn) and again on Friday (College/Advising Office).

STEP 11: PICK UP REGALIA, STARTING JUNE 6

Caps and gowns that have been ordered (see Step 5) will be distributed at the Bay Tree Bookstore, 2nd floor, beginning Monday, June 6.

STEP 12: ATTEND REHEARSAL & SENIOR CELEBRATION, JUNE 9, 3PM

A 60-minute Commencement Rehearsal will be held on Thursday, June 9, at 3pm in the Cowell Courtyard. We'll detail the ceremony procedures, answer last-minute questions, take a Senior Class 2016 picture (optional), process down to the field, and demonstrate how things will go as you cross the stage. Immediately following the rehearsal (~4pm) we'll proceed to the Senior Class Celebration at the Cowell Provost House Lawn. Enjoy finger food, cold drinks, desserts and a toast by Provost Faye Crosby. The celebration will be a chance to chat with Cowell friends, and souvenir memorabilia will be sold. Memorabilia items include Cowell College Alumni Pint Glass ($5), Cowell College Alumni License Plate Frame ($5), Cowell College UCSC Stole ($25, gold color), Cowell College picture frame ($18).

NOTE: We understand you may have a scheduling conflict that prevents you from attending the rehearsal. If so, please ask a friend to relay the main points to you and make sure to arrive on time on Saturday to resolve any lingering questions.

STEP 13: COMMENCEMENT! JUNE 11, ARRIVE 12:30PM

Arrive at the Cowell Courtyard by 12:30pm (it really does require 45 minutes to sign-in and line up). The procession steps off at 1:15pm. There will be no available parking at Cowell, so please get dropped off or take the bus. Leave bags at home unless you want to carry them in the procession. Water will be provided at the ceremony.

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More Event Details

ADMISSION TICKETS FOR GUESTS

No tickets required/issued, no limit on numbers of guests! However, every car coming onto campus that day must have a special Commencement Parking Pass.

PARKING: COMMENCEMENT WEEKEND

Parking on campus will be very limited, with 10 colleges having ceremonies. Each student who registered to participate will receive only two (2) parking passes for the day; you may need to squeeze, carpool, shuttle, take the bus, walk, or be otherwise creative. Guests arriving by car should have one of your two passes, place it on their dash, and follow the signs that read "EAST" or "Cowell." Parking officials use the event-specific parking pass to direct cars to the appropriate lot for the ceremony. Once parked, guests may shuttle or walk to the East Field ceremony site. See Step 10 above regarding parking pass distribution. The Cowell lots will not be available for parking, so make sure you have someone drop you off at the Cowell circle by 12:30pm (or take the bus).

Note: Large vehicles, such as RVs, limos, and buses, are not allowed into the Commencement-area parking lots. Instead they must park in the Barn Theater lot at the Main Entrance to campus (this lot is supported by east-to-west loop shuttles that pick up passengers every 20 minutes at the bus stop across the street).

TAPS provides this general website regarding commencement weekend parking and shuttles.

CAMPUS SHUTTLES

Prior to the ceremony campus shuttles will bring guests from the designated commencement parking lots to the edge of the East Field. After the ceremony, shuttles will be available to directly transport guests either to the Cowell Circle (for the reception) or to the Commencement parking lot. The last shuttle from the reception to the lot is at 4:30pm.

Guests parking at the disabled lot (special pass required, see the accommodations page) will be transported by the campus Disability Van Service. Guests who are wheelchair or electric scooter users, or who might not be able to climb the steps of a campus shuttle, should have a disability parking pass acquired for them by their graduate.

COMMENCEMENT PHOTOS

While guests may not approach the stage during the ceremony to take photographs, professional photographers will be present and will take close-up, individual photographs of each graduate as they walk across the stage and receive a scroll from the Provost. If you would like to receive free digital proofs of your pictures, make sure you complete a short form for the photographers (Step 7).

Guests who wish to stand to take photos, or set up a tripod, must do so only from either side of the audience. This is for the safety, comfort, and consideration of all guests. Please share the information found on this photos page with your guests.

COMMENCEMENT RECEPTION

Walk or shuttle to this celebratory reception, held at the Cowell Courtyard, immediately following the Commencement. There will be light refreshments, Cowell memorabilia for sale. The Commencement ends at 3pm and the reception ends by 4:30pm. Shuttles will be available at the Cowell Circle to return guests to the parking lot.

ACADEMIC HONORS AND COMMENCEMENT

Several types of academic honors are included in the Commencement print program and announced from the stage. These include honors determined at the college level (College Service Citations), departmental honors (Honors and Highest Honors in the Major), University Honors (i.e. cum laude), the Deans/Chancellor's Undergraduate Awards, and Phi Beta Kappa nominees. Some honorees may be designated "candidate for" certain honors, when official/final designation is contingent on the consideration of spring quarter grades (not available at the time of the ceremony).

For honors to be printed and announced from the stage, they must be submitted to the Programs Office directly from the unit awarding the honors and deadlines have been communicated to the academic units. Not all departments are able to identify the honors in time to have them included in the print program and/or to be announced. All departmental honors we receive by the print deadline are included in the program, and those submitted by Thursday, June 9, will be read from the stage (even if they were received too late for inclusion in the print program). If you have questions regarding your departmental honors status, please contact your major advisor directly.

GRADS OF OTHER UCSC COLLEGES

Non-Cowell students may petition to participate in Cowell's ceremony. Details, fee and deadline information is detailed at the Affiliation Waiver Request page.

UCSC'S "NO PET" POLICY

Please remind your guests that UCSC has a "no pet" policy that is strictly enforced. (Animals utilized for disability accommodation as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act are allowed.) If you enter campus with a pet, you will be asked to leave. There are several "pet hotels" in Santa Cruz County equipped to board your pets; please check local listings.

LODGING AND DINNER RESERVATIONS

Make any reservations as soon as possible; there are ten UCSC College Commencements and many more celebrations during the weekend. Rooms/restaurants can book quickly.

ALL-CAMPUS SENIOR EVENTS (JUNE)

The Senior Class Council and UCSC Alumni Office will offer events open to all graduating seniors. They include a Class of 2016 BBQ and three drop-in Cap Decorating events. You will receive details on these opportunities in the first "update" email, sent in late May.

STAY CONNECTED

When you graduate, you will join a powerful network of more than 100,000 Banana Slug alumni, with over half of whom have graduated in the past 15 years. UC Santa Cruz Alumni have FREE access to services, networking opportunities, discounts, and events. To get information for all of our alumni programs and services, update your post-UCSC contact info, including your email and cityUpdate your contact information here and explore alumni.ucsc.edu to learn about our alumni programs and services.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Cowell Programs Office
Phone: (831) 459-2255
Email: hilker@ucsc.edu
Office: Cowell Room 133
Mailing Address: Cowell College Programs, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064