FAQs for Graduates and Guests

Where will Commencement be held?

All Commencement ceremonies will be held on the Sonoma State University campus at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall and Lawn. See the Commencement homepage for specific ceremony dates and times.

Who is eligible to walk in the ceremony?

You are eligible to participate in Commencement 2023 if you:

  • Graduated in Fall 2022
  • Have applied for graduation in Spring 2023
  • Have applied for graduation in Summer 2023

Get more information about how to apply for graduation under the "Eligibility" section of the Commencement home page.

When will tickets become available? Do I need a ticket and how many tickets can I get?

The full schedule of ticket distribution and all other information about tickets and commencement can be found on the Ticketing and MarchingOrder webpage

Will there be video of the Commencement ceremonies?

We will live stream all six ceremonies.

Is there a separate ceremony for master's degree recipients?

Master's and baccalaureate degrees are awarded during the same school ceremony.

When should graduates arrive?

Graduates should arrive one hour prior to their ceremony time and enter through the Schroeder Hall lobby doors, at the south end of the Music Education Building. Graduates will line up by Schroeder Hall in preparation for the processional. Please refer to the Commencement map for locations.

Do graduates have to wear a cap and gown?

Yes, all graduates are required to wear the academic regalia that is associated with the degree to be conferred upon them at Commencement. If you are receiving a bachelor’s degree, you will wear the traditional black cap and gown. Master’s degree recipients should order the cap and gown, in addition to the hood associated with their discipline.

All graduates are encouraged to order regalia early to ensure correct size. You may order at the University Bookstore or online at the HerffJones website.

Can graduates decorate their caps?

Commencement is a very festive day and many graduates express their excitement by decorating the mortar board, or graduation cap. Decorations should be safe and respectful of other graduates and the guests. Glitter is not permitted inside Weill Hall and caps with glitter will not be allowed in the hall.

How long will the ceremony last?

There will be six separate commencement ceremonies, and each ceremony is scheduled to last no more than two hours.

Are there special safety and security guidelines?

Yes. No pets (service animals excepted), alcohol, drugs or weapons are allowed in the Green Music Center.

There is a zero-tolerance policy at Commencement for alcohol and drugs. Guests determined to be impaired will be removed from Commencement.

Out of respect to all candidates and their families and guests, we ask that you remain in your seats until the conclusion of the ceremony.

How will graduates order graduation announcements?

You can place an order for graduation announcements either online at HerffJones website or at the University Bookstore in the Student Center.

What about graduation day flowers?

Graduates, family and friends may pre-order graduation flowers online. Flowers also may be purchased at the Commencement site. Please refer to the Commencement map for locations.

Will graduates’ names be called at Commencement?

At Commencement 2023, each graduate’s name will be proudly announced as part of the ceremony, and every graduate will walk across the stage of Weill Hall. 

Will there be a photographer?

There will be a professional photographer from GradImages at every ceremony to take a photo of each graduate receiving the diploma cover. Graduates will receive an email proof of images within 48 hours of the ceremony. GradImages provides graduates the opportunity to preregister for their graduation photos, which gives them a 20 percent off coupon for a graduation order of $50 or more and a chance to win $5,000.

Where should guests park?

Parking is free on Commencement day. The lots directly adjacent to the Green Music Center (Lots L, M, N, O) provide the closest general and disabled parking. Lots G and H are also within walking distance. There will be carts circulating through the parking lots to assist with those that need a ride up to the commencement site. Please see our campus map.

What if guests or family need lodging in the area?

Sonoma State Commencement is a big event and local hotels tend to book quickly. Please encourage family and friends to make reservations early. Our webpage with information about local cities includes guidance about hotels and restaurants in the area.

What happens if it rains on Commencement day?

Each school’s Commencement ceremony will be held at the specified date and time, rain or shine. Those guests who will be seated in the outdoor, general admission area on the Weill Lawn and Terrace should come prepared for the forecasted weather in Rohnert Park that day.

Will there be disabled seating available?

There are many locations outside to accommodate guests needing handicapped/disabled seating. These areas include cement pads on the Row H, Row P, and Row GG terraces. Ushers on site will be able to direct, and assist, all guests to these areas. There will be sign language interpreters at all ceremonies.

If you are a graduate needing accommodation, please email Brent Boyer with Disability Services for Students.

Will food and drinks be available at Commencement?

Food and drinks will be available for purchase at the concessions area during Commencement. Please see the menus for breakfast and lunch.

Questions and Comments?