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Commencement Day

The Ceremony - The gates will open at 1:00 on both the north and south sides of the Greek Theatre. Guests are discouraged from arriving before 1:00, as there is no place to sit and be out of the sun while waiting. The Greek Theatre is a large amphitheatre with plenty of seating, but the audience faces directly into the sun and the seats are concrete, so it is best to minimize the amount of time you have to spend there before the ceremony begins at 2:00.

Graduates should be backstage and ready to go at 1:30. PhDs should gather at the south end. The B.A. Honors graduates should gather at the north end. Faculty will be divided between the sides. Please leave plenty of space for both parties in the backstage area. The faculty will lead the procession, followed by the B.A. Honors graduates from the northside and Ph.D Candidates from the south, followed by the BA graduates.

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B.A.s - We will have cards (and pencils!) for you to write your names on. The announcer will read your name from the card, so provide a phonetic spelling if your name is tricky (you can also say your name to the announcer when you arrive onstage). These cards are then used by the photographer to contact you.

Promptly at 2:00pm, Pomp and Circumstance will start up and you will begin your STATELY procession from behind the stage to your seat, faculty first, then Ph.D.s and B.A.s. Faculty,Ph.D.s and Honors graduates will be seated on the stage. B.A.s will proceed to the main seating area, roped off for you. If you are late and miss the procession you can join the graduates in their seats. The walk from the stage to the seats and back involves a somewhat steep ramp with uneven pavement and a step off a ledge and over a grate, so you might want to wear sensible shoes and step carefully.

The degrees will be awarded after the speeches finish, starting with Ph.D.s, followed by Honors graduates and then B.A.s. Ph.D.s, when your name is called, cross the stage and meet your thesis advisor. Turn to face the audience while your advisor places your hood over your head from behind. (To avoid hood strangulation, you may wish to wear a shirt with a button at the neck to attach the hood onto.) Then walk over to Professor Roland to receive your ceremonial scroll -- your photo will be taken at this point - finally, return to your seat on stage.

Following the Ph.D.s, the Honors Graduates will rise and approach the front. When your name is called, walk across the stage to the scroll table, shake hands with Professor Olney, have Professor Romer drape your honor cord over your head, receive your scroll (smile for the camera!) and return to your seat.

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B.A.s - After the Ph.D.s and Honors graduates are awarded, students in the front row should watch for the signal to rise and approach the stage. When it is your turn, hand your index card to Professor Romer, who will read your name, and cross the stage to receive your scroll. Pace yourselves so the photographer has a clear shot of you as you shake hands and receive your scroll. Continue in the same direction to leave the stage and return to your seat.

After everyone is seated, Professor Hermalin will grant the degrees and invite the graduates to participate in the traditional "moving of the tassle" on their mortar boards from right to left. Congratulations!

We estimate that the ceremony will last 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

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Restrooms - are located at both ends of the amphitheater. A wheelchair-accessible restroom is located inside the north entrance.

A registered nurse will be on duty backstage near the north entrance if needed.

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Special Seating Needs for Handicapped and Other Guests If you request special seating, please have your guests arrive at the Greek Theater as early as possible so they can be situated before the crowds arrive. The Greek Theater will be open at 1 p.m. for our 2 p.m. ceremony.

Wheelchair Seating: The Greek Theater can accommodate 20 wheelchairs and attendants. If you will have guests that are attending in a wheelchair, please contact or call 510-642-6674 to let us know that you will have guests in need of this seating. We will keep a count so that we can make alternative plans if we approach this 20 chair limit. You will need to provide your own wheelchair, as the Greek Theater does not have any that can be loaned.
Special Seating: This seating is for people who cannot manage stairs. Unfortunately all seats at the Greek Theater are neither shaded nor padded. Please tell these guests that they may need hats, cold water, and seat cushions. People needing special seating may bring one or two people with them into the section but others in the party will need to be seated in regular, non reserved seating. If any guests will need special seating please contact or call 510-642-6674. We will make every effort to reserve enough seats in this area for your guests, if you let us know of their needs.

Handicapped Parking Guests in possession of a valid Handicapped Parking permit will be allowed to park for free in the Bowles Hall parking lot, on the south side of the Greek Theater. This lot is immediately adjacent to the Greek Theater. This permit will have to be shown to the attendant to be allowed into the lot. Guests without a permit who have mobility problems can be dropped off in this lot for easy access into the Greek Theater.

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