What To Expect When You Walk | May Commencement

Inviting Guests

We encourage graduating students to invite guests to join in celebrating Commencement. Tickets are free but required. Please find details for guests here. Both ceremonies also will be broadcast live online with captions for guests who cannot attend in person.


Pacific’s Commencement Ceremonies are held outdoors, rain or shine. (Exceptions may be made for extreme weather hazards.) Some guest seating in Hanson Stadium is under cover, but graduating students will not be under cover. Please dress accordingly for weather. Check the weather on campus.


Undergraduate students will get instructions for the processional and seating arrangements at the Undergraduate Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 3:30pm in McCready Hall. Readers will be present to discuss any name pronunciation concerns. Graduate students do not have a ceremony rehearsal. If you have concerns about your name pronunciation, please contact your program administrator.


Graduating students, please arrive on time and in your cap and gown to line up for the processional. Undergraduates: If you are eligible for Academic Honors, you will need to get your honor cords from the Registrar's Office when they become available. Graduate and professional students, please carry your hoods; do not wear them. Graduating students will line up in the Fieldhouse in the Stoller Center. (Map)

  • Undergraduate Ceremony: Arrive by 8 a.m.
  • Graduate Ceremony: Arrive by 12:30 p.m.

What to Bring (or Leave Home)

There is not a secure location for graduating students to store personal effects during the ceremony. Please carry as little as possible. Students are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles to fill at water stations in the Fieldhouse prior to the ceremony. (But beware: Once you begin lining up in the Fieldhouse, you will not be allowed to leave to use the restroom. Plan accordingly.) Water stations are not provided outdoors during the ceremony, but you may carry water bottles or provided boxes of water through the processional and into the ceremony. Also, don't forget your sunglasses!

Crossing the Stage

When crossing the stage to receive their diploma cover, students should shake hands with the presenter, rather than hugging. While it's an emotional day, the event is staged to get the best possible candid and formal photographs of each student. Hugs obscure your face in the photos. (Additionally, handshakes also keep the ceremony moving quickly!) 


A professional photographer will take a photo of each graduate after you receive your diploma. Digital versions will be available for free download a couple of weeks following the ceremony. Guests may also take photos or video from their seats but will not be allowed to approach the stage or stand in aisles for photos during the ceremony. A university photographer also will be on site taking candid photos throughout the day with free images available to view and download. If you do not wish to be in these images, please step out of any shots when possible or contact marcom@contact.pacificu.edu to have any photos of you removed from the albums after Commencement.

Hometown News

In the weeks following Commencement, news releases are sent to graduating students’ hometown newspapers announcing your graduation. If you do not wish to have a news release issued on your behalf, please contact Marketing & Communications at marcom@contact.pacificu.edu.