FAQs for Commencement Guests
Commencement FAQ for Guests
The Rhetoric department welcomes all guests to attend our graduation ceremony on Tuesday, May 16 at 2PM.
How long is the ceremony?
The ceremony starts promptly at 2pm and lasts approximately 2 hours. The reception will follow on Lower Sproul courtyard.
What time should I arrive at Zellerbach Auditorium?
Doors open for guests at 1pm.
Will the event be live streamed?
Where is the best place to park?
Lower Sproul Garage. $11 flat rate. Debit or credit card only. No cash. Public parking is also available at the Telegraph-Channing Garage. Please note that rates and hours may differ.
There are limited designated accessible parking for vehicles bearing valid Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) disability parking placards or license plates is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Parking for Department Graduations is only available on a first-come, first-serve basis the day of the ceremony. Graduating students and their guests may use the free Bear Transit campus shuttles to travel from the lot to Zellerbach Hall.
Visit the City of Berkeley website for more information.
Is there accessible seating available?
Yes! Zellerbach Auditorium is wheelchair accessible. Seats will be roped off for guests using wheelchairs or scooters and their companions.
Zellerbach has an accessible entrance via ramps at the main entrance. There is an elevator that serves the orchestra and mezzanine levels. The Zellerbach Hall elevator dimensions: 49 inches wide x 45 inches deep. Zellerbach also has accessible restrooms.
Service Dogs are always allowed on campus grounds and in campus buildings; pets and Emotional Support Animals should not be brought into campus buildings.
Will there be live captioning?
Yes! Live Closed Captions are provided for this event by a Real-Time Captioner. To view the captions, a URL is accessible through the QR Code. (This will be posted at both entrances so people can get to the website once in the venue).
Font size, style, color, and background color can be personally customized from the options at the top of the URL window. Once the event begins, the captions will appear within the window.
To view a transcript after the event, please keep the window open and click on “Transcript” at the top of the screen. Copy and paste the transcript in your preferred word processor. While the transcription will be entered by a Real-Time Captioner, there will also be an AI translation into Spanish and Mandarin for those who need those.
Do I have to wear a mask?
Masks are recommended but not required.
Will I need a ticket for Commencement? How much are tickets?
Yes. All guests must have a ticket to enter Zellerbach Auditorium. Tickets are available for students to pick up in advance (there is a limit of 10 and priced at $5 each). Detailed emails are sent to students in regards to how to obtain tickets.
Do children need tickets?
Yes, all infants and toddlers will need their own ticket.
Are the graduating students’ names called at the Rhetoric Commencement ceremony?
Yes. All graduates will be individually recognized and called up on stage.
Are diplomas given out at the ceremony?
No. Attending the commencement ceremony does not mean that a student has graduated. Some students attend the ceremony in May and will not finish all degree requirements until the end of summer session or the following Fall semester. The ceremony is strictly celebratory.
How are diplomas received?
It takes up to four months for all of the degree checks and verifications to be processed. Diplomas are not mailed automatically because students often leave Berkeley without updating their addresses. Students can arrange for a final transcript and diploma to be sent to them by visiting the Office of Registrar’s website.
Where and when is the University Convocation?
Convocation, the University graduation Ceremony, will be held Saturday, May 13 at Memorial Stadium. All graduating students (regardless of their major) are welcome to attend this event. This is a ticketed event.
Where can I purchase gifts for my grad?
We have a flower vendor called The Commencement Group who will be the vendor at Zellerbach. They have bouquets and leis for pre-sale plus teddy bears, etc on site. Families can pre-order flowers here: https://www.thecommencementgroup.com/uc-berkeley/ and pick up the order when they arrive at Zellerbach Auditorium the day of the ceremony.
Where can I get information about dining and lodging?
For a listing of restaurants and hotels in the Berkeley area, please visit the Berkeley’s Visitor Bureau website.
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