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Commencement FAQs

What is the difference between the All-University Commencement ceremony and the Diploma & Hooding ceremonies?

The All-University Commencement ceremony is the event in which all degrees are conferred and outstanding student and faculty leaders are recognized. We also expect to award honorary degrees to distinguished public figures. This ceremony is for all Stockton campus schools and the College of the Pacific, with the exception of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. The school and college Diploma and Hooding ceremonies give students the opportunity for individual recognition and to be "hooded" as a graduate of Pacific. 

How many guests can I bring to my graduation?

The All-University Commencement ceremony and the Diploma and Hooding ceremonies are not ticketed events. Seating is first come, first served for all ceremonies. Please feel free to invite all of your special guests.

How long will the ceremonies take?

The All-University Commencement ceremony runs between 1.5 to 2 hours long. Each Diploma and Hooding ceremony will be approximately 60-90 minutes.  

How early should I arrive to get a good seat?

For both, the All-University Commencement and Diploma and Hooding ceremonies, it is suggested that everyone arrive 45 to 60 minutes prior to start time. 

Where should I park?

Parking is available across the entire campus. We suggest that you park in the first available spot you find. Wear comfortable shoes, because some parking lots are located on the opposite side of campus from the ceremony venue. For more information, see Maps and Parking on the Commencement website.

Are disability accommodations available?

Yes. There are a limited number of disability parking spots available on campus. You are required to have a state issued disability placard in order to take advantage of this parking. A shuttle service is also provided for the outlying parking lots for those who have difficulty walking. For more information, visit our accessibility page here.

There are designated wheelchair accessible seating areas on the mezzanine of A.G. Spanos Center as well as Faye Spanos Concert Hall.

If you have guests with disabilities, please communicate your needs with your dean's office. 

Can a family member videotape Commencement?

Families are welcome to videotape the All-University Commencement ceremony or any of the Diploma and Hooding ceremonies. Guests may set up cameras in the back of the A.G. Spanos Center (near the disability seating) at the All-University Commencement ceremony. Keep in mind you may be asked to move should someone need to utilize the disability seating.

Are there any complimentary refreshments or food for sale?

The University will provide complimentary coffee and water before the morning All-University Commencement ceremony, and there will be water available throughout the day at the information tents on campus. The Tiger Picnic provides a variety of food trucks that offer delicious food items for sale in the parking lot adjacent to the Janssen-Lagorio Gymnasium following the All-University Commenecment ceremony. All guests are invited to sit and eat their lunch inside the Janssen-Lagorio Gymnasium. Guests who have special dietary needs are encouraged to bring their own food on Commencement day. In addition, the university grocery store (The Grove) in the McCaffrey Center and The Marketplace in the DeRosa University Center, will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to purchase food, beverages and other items.

Where can I buy gifts?

The University Bookstore will have a tent set up outside of the Alex G. Spanos Center and near the Knloes Lawn, offering flowers and fun souvenir items for purchase. The University Bookstore at the DeRosa University Center will also be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to purchase clothing, gifts and souvenirs.

When should I make hotel reservations?

Hotels located in the vicinity of the University fill up very early. We suggest that you make your reservations as early as possible. For a list of hotels, see Accommodations.

Are graduating students allowed to decorate their cap and gown?

The University does not allow gowns to be decorated or altered, however the top of the graduation cap can be decorated.  Language or images that would be considered offensive or derogatory to the Pacific community are not permitted. The University will be hosting a cap decoration night(s) at the Stockton campus University Bookstore.

Are balloons and noise makers allowed at ceremonies on Commencement day?

No. Please refrain from bringing any air horns, noise makers, balloons or whistles to any Commencement day ceremonies. 

What should attending guests wear on Commencement day?

For those who attend the morning ceremonies, we suggest that you dress comfortably. The mornings usually begin very cool and then warm up by mid-day. For a current forecast, see The Weather Channel.

Where do I get my graduation pictures?

GradImages is our graduation photographer. Your pictures are available online approximately five days after graduation. You can view and order your pictures from GradImages.

After graduation my family and friends want to have lunch/dinner together. Are there restaurants that will allow big groups?

Remember there will be seating and food items available for sale at the Tiger Picnic in the parking lot adjacent to the Janssen-Lagorio Gymnasium following the morning Commencement ceremony. There are also several restaurants in Stockton that have the ability to host your post-graduation events.