Information for Cowell Grads

This page conveys:

  • 13 Steps to Cowell Commencement (registration, cap & gown, parking, rehearsal)
  • More Event Details (admission, shuttles, photos, reception)

13 Steps to Cowell Commencement

STEP 1: Know the difference between GRADUATION and COMMENCEMENT

Your college commencement ceremony and graduation from UCSC are two separate things.

  • At UCSC, graduation is the act of conferring an academic degree – receiving your degree or diploma.
  • Commencement is a ceremony, where you walk across the stage, symbolizing the end of your undergraduate career.

Graduation and commencement have separate online processes and timelines.
 
Graduation
Apply to graduate (degree completion and diploma) for the quarter in which you will be finishing your graduation requirements. DO NOT apply to graduate for Spring if you will be finishing your final graduation requirements in a subsequent quarter.
 
To apply to graduate, you must submit an application via your Student Portal by the posted deadlines to announce candidacy. There is more information about how to apply to graduate on the Registrar’s Office website.
 
Commencement
Register to walk in your college’s commencement ceremony by Friday, May 5 (Step 2).

STEP 2: REGISTER FOR COWELL COMMENCEMENT: BY MAY 5

Cowell's Commencement is Saturday, June 17, 2017 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 can indicate an interest in offering a multilingual welcome at the start of the event. Cowell students who plan to complete all coursework and requirements by the end of Winter 2018 are eligible to participate in our June 2017 ceremony.

button saying Register Commencement

STEP 3: VERIFY YOUR MAJORS AND MINORS (at MY.UCSC.EDU) BY MAY 5

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 4: JOIN COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER COMMITTEE

Graduating seniors are invited to join the student speaker selection committee (unless you plan to audition a speech yourself). The committee work is in May and involves 6-8 hours. You can indicate interest when you register for the event (see Step 2), or you can email klea@ucsc.edu directly.

STEP 5: NOMINATE STUDENT SPEAKERS: BY APRIL 19

To nominate a student speaker for Commencement, fill out a Nomination Form by Wednesday, April 19. Feel free to nominate yourself! Speeches should be no longer than 5 minutes and must be presented orally to the Commencement Speaker Committee in mid May. Speech Guidelines and Tips are available.

STEP 6: ORDER ANNOUNCEMENTS & CAPS/GOWNS: BEGINNING APRIL 18

Order announcements, cap & gown, class ring and other items at the Bay Tree Bookstore Graduation Center beginning Tuesday, April 18. You may order many items online at the Bookstore Graduation Center website (not yet updated for 2017, please check back!). Students are encouraged to order regalia (cap and gown) by April 28. Regalia distribution week will be June 12 - June 18. Note: Wearing a cap and gown is not required to participate in the Cowell Commencement.

The Bookstore hosts a four-day Graduation Fair from April 18 through April 21 where there will be representatives available (10am-4pm) to answer your questions about memorabilia, and there will be a photographer on-site for portraits. The Bookstore's Graduation Center is open April 18 through June 9 (weekdays 9am-4pm). 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 7: DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION / SIGN LANGUAGE REQUESTS: BY MAY 5

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 5.

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 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, June 2.

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 7)
  • 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 & Tobacco Free environment 

STEP 10: PICK UP TWO COMMENCEMENT PARKING PASSES, JUNE 5 - JUNE 16

Pick up your two parking passes from the Cowell College/Advising Office between Monday, June 5 and Friday, June 16 (from 9am-5pm). Photo ID required. Only graduates who have registered online for Cowell's Commencement (via Step 2) will be issued passes. Note: on Thursday, June 15, passes will not be available from 3-4pm (during the rehearsal).

STEP 11: PICK UP REGALIA, STARTING JUNE 12

Caps and gowns that have been ordered (see Step 6) will be distributed at the Bay Tree Bookstore, 2nd floor, beginning Monday, June 12.

STEP 12: ATTEND REHEARSAL, JUNE 15, 3PM

A 60-minute Commencement Rehearsal will be held on Thursday, June 15, at 3pm in the Cowell Courtyard. We'll detail the ceremony procedures, answer last-minute questions, take a Senior Class 2017 picture (optional), process down to the field, and demonstrate how things will go as you cross the stage. 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 17, 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 indicate it on the event registration form (Step 2).

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 15, 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 2017 BBQ on June 9, 2017 and Cap Decorating events throughout finals week. 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. 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