Cowell Commencement 2020

Watch the Cowell College 2020 Virtual Commencement Videos and Slides Here

Check out the Cowell College Commencement Program 2020 


Check here to catch up on all the Commencement News we've emailed to prospective grads!

The central commencement site: is the most up-to-date resource for questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Please also read our commencement correspondence page for all updates that have been sent to graduating students.


Please thoroughly read Cowell's Information for Graduates page and register to participate ("Step 1"). There are multiple steps for grads to complete, some with firm deadlines. There are event-related "to-dos" regarding parking passes, ordering regalia, rehearsal and more.


Admission Tickets and Parking

Each graduate will receive 6 tickets to distribute to their family and friends for attendance, as well as 2 parking passes. Unless a guest has a ticket, they will not be able to join us on campus for commencement.

The most up to date information regarding tickets, parking and the ceremony will be found on the UCSC Commencement website.

If you have questions about commencement, email

Guest Seating

Seating at the East Field ceremony site begins at 12:30pm. To fully enjoy the procession please be in your seat by 1:20 pm, when the procession of students, faculty and staff arrives. The program will begin promptly at 1:30 pm, once graduates are seated.

Event Site

The ceremony is held on a grass playing field that overlooks the Monterey Bay. Guests sit in folding chairs and there are no steps involved in the audience section. There is a large portion of the seating area that is shaded. All guests should bring sun protection, including hats and sunscreen. 

Live Streaming of Commencement Ceremonies

We will offer live-streaming for each commencement ceremony so individuals who are unable to join us in person can still cheer their grad on from afar.

Details regarding live streaming of UC Santa Cruz 2020 commencement ceremonies can be found on the Livestream Page.

Print Program

To reduce waste, one program will be provided to each party of five or fewer. If your party would like more for keepsake, many programs are left at the ceremony site following the event.

Resources and Amenities

Located to one side of the audience will be a Programs & Information tent, a Disability Support tent and a First Aid tent. All campus shuttles and vans drop passengers at the edge of the grass field (no private or hired cars are allowed access to the event site). Drinking water is provided free of charge. Please bring a reusable water bottle. UCSC Catering will provide light refreshments for purchase (cash preferred), and the campus BayTree Bookstore will have memorabilia for purchase. Restrooms are available about 50 yards from the shuttle drop.

Wheelchairs and attendants will be available where the shuttles and vans disembark, to assist guests from the edge of field to the audience section. Note these wheelchairs remain at the event site to support the series of ceremonies.

Disability related accommodation for grads or guests are covered on the disability accommodation page.

Consider making your hotel or dinner reservations now! For a list of Santa Cruz County lodging, click here.

Your Comfort and Safety

  • wear light-colored clothing, but layers may be appreciated
  • wear comfortable, flat shoes
  • wear a hat with a brim that will provide shade
  • drink plenty of water 
  • use sunscreen

And just in case...bring an umbrella! The ceremony happens rain or shine. Because of visibility issues, umbrellas may not be used for shade during the ceremony unless you are seated in the last row of the audience or standing to the side/behind other guests.

The ceremony site is used for 7 events over the commencement weekend. Please help us minimize cleaning needs. For the comfort and safety of all guests, please keep aisles clear of tripods, strollers, walkers and other items. Confetti, aerial drones, air horns and all other types of noisemakers are not permitted. Thank you for your cooperation.

UCSC's "No Pet" Policy

Please note 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.

Cowell Commencement keynote speaker

Information about the Keynote Speaker for 2020 will be posted soon.


BestGrad is the official photographer for our ceremony and will take photos of each student participant. Students will have an opportunity, when registering to be in the event, to provide contact information for themselves and a family member to receive photo proofs. For more details, please visit our photography page.

International Guests

Do you need to invite extended family to the United States from another country? See the International Student and Scholar Services resource page:

Directions to UC Santa Cruz

From Hwy. 17/ Hwy. 1 Northbound
Follow signs for "Hwy. 1 North/Half Moon Bay". This section of Hwy. 1 becomes Mission St., a city street. Turn right on Bay Street (there is a directional sign and a traffic signal), up the hill to UCSC.

From Hwy. 1 Southbound
Hwy. 1 becomes Mission St. as you enter town. Turn left on Bay Street at the signal, up the hill to UCSC.

A parking permit from your graduate is required to park on campus. At the Main UCSC entrance, follow the signs to EAST and COWELL. Parking attendants will direct you to the correct lot based on the parking pass displayed on your dashboard (there are 5 ceremonies on campus on Sunday). Shuttles will take you to and from the Cowell commencement ceremony, or you may choose to walk.

A directional map to campus or detailed and interactive UCSC map are available online.