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Graphic: General information for Commencement

Congratulations! Graduation day is near, and it promises to be a memorable day for you, your family and friends. But before that day arrives, there are a few things you must do to make sure you are properly represented at the ceremony.

This website provides information to help guide you through the process of preparing for graduationóeverything from ordering your regalia to making sure your family and friends see your proud moment.

Be sure to read our frequently asked questions below. They address many of the concerns graduates have. If you have additional questions, please contact the Commencement Office at commencement@csus.edu or call (916) 278-4724.

Donít forget to drop by the Grad FestóTues., April 2 at the University Unionófor your one-stop shopping for all things commencement. Visit SacStateAlumni.com/gradfest/ for more information.

Frequently asked questions

Before commencement

Day of commencement

Guest information

Before commencement

  • What is the deadline to sign up for graduation?
    Students receiving a bachelor’s degree must file a petition to graduate with the Office of the University Registrar by October 1 of the previous year if graduating in the spring/summer, and February 1 of the current year if graduating in the fall. Graduate students must have filed petitions with the Office of Graduate Studies by February 1 if graduating in the spring, and by October 1 if graduating in the fall.
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  • Where do I get my cap, gown and tassel?
    Caps, gowns, tassels and honor cords may be purchased at the Associated Students, Inc. business office in the University Union (3rd Floor). Purchase your cap and gown early to ensure proper size. You may also purchase regalia at the Grad Fair on Tuesday, October 30 in the University Union Ballroom or online at herffjones.com/college/graduation. All graduates participating in commencement must wear academic regalia.
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  • What are honors?

    To be recognized with academic honors, you must have a qualifying GPA prior to the semester in which ceremonies are held. If you subsequently improve your GPA, graduation honors will be posted on the official record and diploma. You will not, however, be able to acquire an honor cord for the commencement ceremonies. Graduate students are not eligible for honors.

    To find out if you are receiving academic honors or to purchase an honor cord, please check with the ASI office at (916) 278-7916.

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  • Where do I order graduation announcements?

    Grad announcement orders for spring commencement are available beginning February 18, 2013.  Visit the Hornet Bookstore for Balfour styles, order information, pricing and samples.

    Balfour graduation announcement samples, pricing and ordering information is available at The Hornet Bookstore. February 18 is the kick-off date for ordering personalized graduation announcements from Balfour.  Announcements and graduation items can be ordered individually or in value- priced packages. Place your order on-line by visiting www.balfour.com or by using Balfour’s toll free number, 877-225-3687.  In addition to convenient on-line and telephone orders, Balfour representatives will be in the Bookstore February 18-20 and April 3rd. Additional Balfour days and locations include April 1 (The Store, University Union) and April 2nd at Grad Fair in The University Union.  Visit either The Hornet Bookstore or Balfour to confirm the scheduled times.
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  • How do I verify my name will be in the printed commencement program?

    If you filed your petition to graduate with the University Registrar in advance of the deadline, your name will be printed in the commencement program booklet. Signing up with your college to participate in a commencement ceremony does not guarantee that your name will be printed in the commencement program.

    To confirm that your name will be listed in the program, email commencement@csus.edu or leave a message with the Commencement Office at (916) 278-4724. If you have changed your name since applying for graduation, please contact the registrarís office at (916) 278-7111.

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  • Who do I contact if I need special accommodations at graduation?
    Graduates with disabilities who need special accommodations should contact your college and the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities prior to the commencement ceremony.
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Day of commencement

  • Where is commencement?
    Commencement ceremonies are held at Sleep Train Arena (formerly Arco Arena), 1 Sports Parkway, Sacramento, 95834.
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  • What time should I arrive?
    Graduates should plan to arrive 60 minutes prior to their college ceremony. Remember, there are thousands of people attending each ceremony and ceremonies begin promptly at their scheduled time. Please consider travel time, traffic, parking and security screening at the pavilion, and plan accordingly.
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  • Where do I park?
    Ceremonies are held at Sleep Train Arena. Enter the arena parking lot through Toll Plazas 5, 7 or 9. Sleep Train Arena charges $12 per vehicle at the Toll Plaza (cash only). Please inform your family and guests of the parking fee.
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  • Where do I go to line up for the ceremony?
    From the parking lot, follow the signs directing graduates to the lower level security entrance of the arena. Sacramento State commencement staff and college commencement coordinators will direct graduates on how to line up.
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  • What should I bring?
    Wear your cap and gown to the ceremony. Proper attire is required to participate. You do not need to provide proof that you are graduating to enter. For safety and security reasons, Sleep Train Arena prohibits certain items from being brought into the facility such as balloons, air horns, silly string and alcohol.
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  • Where can I leave my coat, handbag or other personal belongings?
    Please leave all personal belongings with family members or friends. There are no provisions in the assembly area for coats, handbags or other valuable personal items.
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  • Can I bring my cell phone?
    Cell phones are permitted, but please turn off the ringer once you enter the arena.
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  • Which side of my cap does the tassel go on?
    Masterís degree candidates place the tassel on the left side of the cap. Bachelorís degree candidates wear the tassel on the right side of the cap until after the conferring of the degrees. There will be oral instructions from the stage during the ceremony directing you to move the tassel to the left side.
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  • What type of hood do I wear with my academic regalia?
    The hood is only included in the academic regalia for students earning a masterís or doctoral degree. If you are earning a bachelorís degree or post-baccalaureate credential, you will not wear a hood with your academic regalia.
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  • Iím a masterís candidate. How do I wear my hood?
    Each college has its own protocol regarding hooding. Please check with your college for information on their unique customs and procedures. Commencement coordinators will also be available on the day of the ceremony to provide guidance.
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  • Can my child walk with me during the ceremony?
    No. Guests are not allowed in the assembly area or the Pavilion floor.
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  • Where can I get a commencement program?
    Commencement program booklets are available on the day of the ceremony. The University prints a limited number of commencement programs for guests. Graduates will receive a copy of the commencement program at their college ceremony.
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  • Will my name be read out loud at the ceremony?
    All students who participate in the commencement ceremony will have their name read. You do not need to fill out anything in advance or be checked off a list. You will find a card and pencil on your seat in the arena. Please fill out the card and print your name clearly (provide a phonetic spelling if your name is difficult to pronounce). Hand it to a reader as you move toward the podium. Your name will be called from this card.
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  • Will photos be taken?

    A professional photographer from GradImages will take your photograph during the ceremony. To ensure you receive your proofs, please update your address by visiting My Sac State. To order photographs, visit the GradImages website www.gradimages.com

    Please note: University staff members will also be photographing the event. Photos taken by staff are for University use and are not intended to be sold or
    given to graduates or family members.
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  • When will I receive my diploma?
    Allow three to four months for the completion of a degree evaluation, after which time diplomas will be mailed to the address we have on file. Please update your address by visiting My Sac State.
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Guest information

  • How many guests may I invite?
    You may invite as many guests as you wish. Tickets are not required. Please follow the link to RSVP for yourself and your guests.
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  • Where do guests park?
    Ceremonies are held at Sleep train Arena. Enter the arena parking lot through Toll Plazas 5, 7 or 9. Sleep Train Arena charges $12 per vehicle at the Toll Plaza (cash only). Please inform your family and guests of the parking fee.
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  • Which entrance should guests use?
    Guests will enter Sleep Train Arena through either the Southeast or Southwest entrance near lots G, H, J and K.
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  • How do I arrange special accommodations for my guests with disabilities?

    Reasonable accommodations will be made for all guests with disabilities. Prior to commencement, we ask that you contact the Commencement Office by emailing commencement@csus.edu or calling (916) 278-4724 with your name, college, phone number, email address and the names of the disabled guests. On graduation day, please have them locate the Special Guest Services Table on the second floor of Sleep Train Arena. Sacramento State commencement staff will escort your disabled guest to reserved seating. Due to space limitations, disabled seating is only reserved for the disabled guest. Family members can meet the disabled guest back at the Special Guest Services Table when the ceremony has concluded. A sign language interpreter is on the stage during each ceremony and can be viewed on the arena's video screens. Guide dogs are allowed in the pavilion. Guests should bring their guide dog’s certification and be prepared to present the certificate to arena security at the entrance. No other animals are permitted.
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  • Can my family come to see me before the ceremony?
    No. Guests are prohibited from the assembly area.
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  • What can my guests bring to the ceremony?
    For safety and security reasons, Sleep train Arena prohibits certain items from being brought into the facility such as balloons, air horns, silly string, strollers and alcohol. Signs are permitted but must not block the view of other guests. Flowers and leis can be purchased though private vendors at the arena.
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  • Can food be brought into Power Balance Pavilion?
    No. Food and soft drinks can be purchased through private concessions at the arena.
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  • Can guests take photos?

    Guests are permitted to take photographs and video from the stands only. They are not allowed on the main floor of Sleep Train Arena.

    Please note: University staff members will also be photographing the event. Photos and video taken by staff are for University use and are not intended to be sold or given to graduates or family members.
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  • Where do guests meet graduates after the ceremony?
    After the ceremony, guest and graduates can meet outside the pavilion near the west tunnel. Guests are not permitted on the floor of the arena.
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California State University, Sacramento • University Advancement
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-4724 • commencement@csus.edu