Information for Cowell Grads

This page conveys:

  • How to Graduate from UCSC
  • 13 Steps to be in the Cowell Commencement (registration, regalia, 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 apply to graduate via MyUCSC (during the appropriate filing period), but that you also complete Cowell's event registration form by the May 19 deadline (so 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 = Department advising

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

  • Apply to graduate on my.ucsc.edu
  • File your application during the filing period published in the Academic Calendar. If you apply to graduate after the published deadline, you will be assessed a $60 late fee and may not be eligible for department honors.
  • Only apply to graduate during the quarter you are completing all requirements needed to graduate. Please note - If you are not able to complete all the requirements for graduation, you will need to reschedule your graduation by completing the Reapply for graduation form found at http://reg.ucsc.edu/graduation_announcerequest.htm. This form must be submitted by the last day of the quarter.
  • Still confused? Check out the Graduation FAQs for more information.

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13 Steps to be in the Cowell Commencement

STEP 1: REGISTER FOR COWELL COMMENCEMENT, BY MAY 19

To participate in the Cowell Commencement Ceremony and be listed in the print program you must complete an Event Registration. This form is also how 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 2015 are eligible to participate in our June 2014 ceremony.


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STEP 2: 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 Kara Snider.

STEP 3: STUDENT SPEAKER NOMINATION, BY APRIL 16

To nominate a student speaker for Commencement, fill out a Nomination Form by Wednesday, April 16. 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 4: ORDER ANNOUNCEMENTS & CAPS/GOWNS, BEGINNING APRIL 15

Order announcements, cap & gown, class ring and other items at the Bay Tree Bookstore Graduation Center beginning Tuesday, April 15. You may order many items online at the Bookstore Graduation Center website. Students are encouraged to order regalia (cap and gown) by April 25. The Graduation Center closes on Friday, June 6. Regalia distribution week will be June 9 - June 15. Note: Wearing a cap and gown is not required to participate in the Commencement.

The Bookstore's Graduation Center is open between April 21 and June 6 (weekdays 9am-4pm). In advance of this, the Bookstore is hosting a four day Graduation Fair from April 15 through April 18 during 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.

STEP 5: RSVP TO ATTEND THE MAY 4 GRADUATING WITH GRATITUDE BRUNCH WITH YOUR GUEST (RSVP DEADLINE: MONDAY, APRIL 28)

Join us at the Cowell Provost House for a free brunch, on Sunday, May 4, 11am-1pm to celebrate your collegiate journey. Every Cowell graduating senior is invited to come and to bring as a guest a UCSC faculty, staff, or grad student who has made a significant difference in their success at UCSC. This event is a chance to say thank you to someone who has helped you in your time at UCSC, and tcelebrate your graduation together; but please come even if you do not have a guest to invite. RSVP is required.

The invitation, with details on how to RSVP, may be viewed here.

STEP 6: DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION / SIGN LANGUAGE REQUESTS BY MAY 8

Please read the Accommodations page if you or a guest need some type of disability accommodation. Accommodations might involve: access to a disability lot parking permit, assistance crossing the grass field to get to the audience section of the field, sign language interpretation, large-print programs, or shade seating. Note: the deadline to request sign language interpretation is Thursday, May 8.

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 can receive free digital photo proofs 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 30.

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)
  • Information about event photographs
  • 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
  • That seating begins at the East Field at 12:30pm, because another ceremony precedes ours
  • To be in their seats by 1:20pm when the procession arrives
  • The general flow and timeline of day's activities (including reception)
  • The details of disability parking, if pertinent (see Step 6)
  • That UC is now a Smoke & Tabacco Free environment. 

STEP 10: PICK UP TWO COMMENCEMENT PARKING PASSES, JUNE 2 - 13

Pick up your two parking passes from the Cowell College Office between Monday, June 2 and Friday, June 13 (from 9am-5pm). Bring photo ID. Only graduates who have registered online for Cowell's Commencement (via Step 1) will be issued passes. Note: on Thursday, June 12, passes will NOT be available from 2:55-4pm (during the rehearsal) but WILL be available from 4-5pm at the Senior Celebration at the Cowell Provost House Lawn. Passes will again be available at the College Office on Friday, June 13, from 9am-5pm.

STEP 11: PICK UP REGALIA, STARTING JUNE 9

Caps and gowns that have been ordered (see Step 4) will be distributed at the Bay Tree Bookstore, 2nd floor, beginning Monday, June 9 (8:30am-5:30pm).

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

A 60-minute Commencement Rehearsal/Q&A will be held on Thursday, June 12, at 3pm in the Cowell Courtyard. We'll detail the ceremony procedures, answer last-minute questions, take a Senior Class 2014 picture (participation is optional), process to the field, and demostrate 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 and desserts. The celebration will be a chance to chat with Cowell friends, and souvenir "Class of '14" memorabilia will be available to purchase.

NOTE: We understand you may have a scheduling conflict and can not attend 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 14, 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.

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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 Side Commencements" and "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 a general website regarding commencement weekend parking and shuttles here.

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 Step 6) will be transported by the campus Disability Van Service. Guests who are wheelchair users or who might not be able to climb the stairs of a campus shuttle should have a disability parking pass acquired for them by their graduate, as not all campus shuttles are wheelchair or scooter accessible.

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 on the 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, and one last chance to take your picture with fabulous Sammy the Slug! 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 yet be available at the time of the ceremony).

For honors to be printed and announced, they must be submitted to the Programs Office directly from the unit awarding the honors--deadlines for inclusion have been communicated to the academic units. Not all departments are able to identify the spring quarter 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: those submitted by Thursday, June 13, will be read from the stage (even if they were received too late for the inclusion in print program). If you have questions regarding your departmental honors status, please contact your department directly.

GRADS OF OTHER UCSC COLLEGES

Non-Cowell students may petition to participate in Cowell's ceremony. Details, fee and deadline information is described on the Affiliation Waiver 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.

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