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The Ceremony

CSUSM Commencement Day Information

Commencement is a time for celebration and recognition of your academic success. The conferring of an academic degree is a tradition that dates back to the 12th century and is regarded as an important rite of passage for students and their families. We ask that you respect this long tradition and approach the ceremony with the proper decorum.

For those unable to make it physically to the ceremony, you may livestream on the CSUSM website or through the CSUSM Mobile App.

We have categorized the Commencement information into different categories so that you can easily navigate to the information you need. If you have additional questions, please email the CSUSM Commencement Office.

The University will continue to monitor county and state regulations. CSUSM plans to host in-person ceremonies, rain or shine,  on the Mangrum Track on May 20-21, 2022 to celebrate the Class of 2022. Attendance and Participation will require advance regiatration and attendance will be very limited.  Due to space restrictions and health and safety guidelines, only a total of eight guest invitations may be extended per graduate. A livestream of the in-person ceremonies at Mangrum Track will be made available on the CSUSM website and the CSUSM app. 

Please continue to monitor this website for the most current details, protocols and safety measures regarding Commencement 2022. We will update the site regularly as state and local regulations continue to evolve.

We ask for your patience and understanding as we continue to find solutions that are compliant with local health orders during these unprecedented times. 

Graduate Information

  • Graduate Registration

    All graduates who wish to participate in Commencement must pre-register by May 6, 2022. No exceptions will be made.

    When you register for Commencement, you will RSVP to your assigned ceremony and enter your guest information.

  • Parking

    There is no charge for parking on May 20 and 21, and no permits are required.

    General parking - Lots C, E, and F

    ADA parking - Lot B (If you have a placcard, please have this visible when entering campus).

    Overflow - Lot X and Lot Y

    Ride share drop off - Lot Z

    Traffic Control will direct cars where to park. All graduates and guests will be subject to go through  security and bag check  prior to entering the venue. We strongly recommend that you do not bring any type of bag, backpack,  duffle bag, etc. to the event.  All bags are subject to search which may result in delays entering the venue. Gifts will be unwrapped to be checked during security search. Please only take only the essentials with you and leave your valuables in your car or leave with your guests.

  • Graduate Check-in Location and Time

    Graduates should arrive with regalia on, no later than one (1) hour prior to their ceremony time.

    Registered graduates will check-in with their ticketed guests at the main entrance. ID may be verified against name on GradPass as they are scanned by security. Your GradPass will note your assigned ceremony and will have a unique code/number.  Graduates will attend the ceremony that is assigned to them, your ticket will only be valid for the ceremony in which you are assigned.

    Registered graduates must enter the venue with their registered guests. 

    IDs may be checked with the name on the GradPass and Guest Registration and may be scanned by security at the venue entrance once. In-and-out privileges will not be permitted. Each GradPass and Guest Registration will have a unique code/number that can only be scanned one time. GradPass and Guest Registration are non-transferable and holds no monetary value. Students may not sell their unused guest registration. No additional guest registration will be provided. Graduates who did not pre-register by May 6th will not be allowed to enter the venue. No exceptions will be made.

    Those without a valid GradPass or Guest Registration (electronic or printed)  will not be permitted into the venue. 

    Registered graduates will be directed to graduate seating. Registered graduates will be seated with their major, chairs will be 6 feet apart.

    Please note that the ceremonies will start on time (rain or shine). If you are running late, please find a Commencement Ambassador ( blue polo) to assist you to the graduate seating area.

  • Regalia

    Required Regalia: All ceremony participants are required to wear full academic regalia consisting of a traditional black gown, mortarboard (cap) with tassel, and medallion (hood  for  graduate degrees).  Additional items including sashes, cords, or leis are optional. 

    Cap Decor: We kindly ask that personal modifications to the mortarboards (caps) be limited to those expressing well-wishing and gratitude or affiliation with sanctioned organizations.  Unacceptable decorations, offensive language or inappropriate images on the mortarboards will not be allowed into the venue. Decorations must also remain flat and cannot obstruct the view of the person sitting behind you, and must not contain any derogatory remarks or profanity. In order to preserve the dignity and importance of Commencement, gowns are to remain formal with no emmbellishments and decoration. Students not following these guidelines may be pulled from the graduation line up.

    What to Wear Under Your Gown: The ceremony will be outdoors with exposure to the sun and wind (and possibly rain).  Please wear appropriate clothing under your gown.  The ceremony stage is high and graduates will access it via open steps.  Please exercise caution when selecting footwear - high heels are not recommended due to the grassy area that the graduate seating is in.

    Stoles noting majors or campus organizations are corrdinated through the campus organization and/or department chair for the major.

    Where to Purchase your Regalia: The University Bookstore is closed for in-person purchases but have made regalia available for purchase onlilne. Please allow 2-3 weeks for shipping. Shipping costs may incur, please visit the University Store Website for more information.

    University Store hours: Please check the University Bookstore Website

  • Seating

    Graduates will be seated with other graduates in their major. Chairs will be spaced 6 feet apart.

    Graduates will receive one copy of the Commencement program in the Graduate Seating area as they are seated. We ask that you are courteous to your classmates and stay for the duration of the ceremony. 

    If a registered graduate is running late, please see a Commencement Ambassador in a blue polo so that they may guide you to your seating area as soon as possible.

      Mangrum Track Map at Commencement

    Mangrum Track Map at Commencement. Please also visit: CSUSM Interactive Map

  • Having Your Name Announced

    As you approach the stage, you will scan your GradPass (printed or electronic). Your name will be announced when you hit the "marker" on the stage floor. As your name is announced,  you will appear on the big screen with your name and major. For electronic Grad Passes, please ensure that you mark your Grad Pass as a favorite or take a screen shot of it so that you can easily find it. Please make sure your phone is at it's brightest settings. If your phone screen is cracked, please have your grad pass printed at the tent by the stage prior to the ceremony starting.

    When you register by the due date, you will have the opportunity to record your name as it should be read when you cross the stage or write your name out phonetically. When registering for Commencement, please double check that the name you want listed is noted correctly on the registration form and that your degree(s) and major(s) is noted correctly as well. Once you submit your form, revisions may not be available to correct prior to you walking on stage. Also, livestream and video posted on the website will NOT be edited after the form has been submitted and you walk across the stage.

    Please follow directions provided by the Commencement Stage Staff so your image will line up with your name appearing on the screen.

  • Livestream, Photos, and Video

    Livestream: Livestream will be available on the day of your ceremony. A link will be accessible via the CSUSM Home page of the CSUSM App. No edits to the livestream video will be completed after the registration form has been submitted and the graduate walks across the stage.

    Photos and Video: This is a big day and we know you want to remember it! Every year our communications team captures all the joyful moments during the ceremony and our partner diFranco Photography captures that special moment when your graduate receives their degree. diFranco Photography will take a picture of each graduate holding their diploma cover, off stage. Graduates will be emailed their proof(s) taken by diFranco Photography to the email they received their Marching Order link. The email will note information on how to purchase your Commencement pictures. Pictures taken by the CSUSM Office of Communicatios will be posted on the Commencement Website 3-4 weeks after commencement. A recording of the livestream videos will also be posted to the Commencement Website.


Back to the Commencement Information Category List

General Information

  • Registration

    All graduates must register themselves and their 8 guests by May 6th via Marching Order, no exceptions.

    IDs may be checked with the name on the GradPass and guest registration. Grad Passes  may also be scanned by security at the venue entrance once. In-and-out privileges will not be permitted. Each GradPass and guest registration will have a unique code/number that can only be scanned one time. GradPass and guest registration are non-transferable and holds no monetary value. Students may not sell their unused registration. No additional guest registration will be provided past the allotted eight. Graduates and guests who are not pre-registered by May 6th will not be allowed to enter the venue. No exceptions will be made. 

    GradPasses will note the Graduate's assigned ceremony and guest tregistration will note their graduate's assigned ceremony. Guest registration will only be valid for the ceremony noted on the guest registration.

    Those without a valid GradPass or guest registration (electronic or printed) will not be permitted into the venue. No exceptions.

  • Commencement Schedule

    The 2022 Commencement Ceremony Dates and Times  can be found on the Ceremony Schedule Webpage.

    Dates and times are subject to change due to weather  and local government mandated health orders.

    The University will continue to monitor county and state regulations. CSUSM plans to host in-person ceremonies, rain or shine,  on the Mangrum Track on May 20-21, 2022, to celebrate the Class of 2022. Attendance and Participation will require advance regiatration and attendance will be very limited.  Due to space restrictions and health and safety guidelines, only eight guest invitations will be extended per graduate. A livestream of the in-person ceremonies at Mangrum Track will be made available on the CSUSM website and the CSUSM app. 

    Please continue to monitor this website for the most current details, protocols and safety measures regarding Commencement 2022. We will update the site regularly as state and local regulations continue to evolve.

  • Ceremony Length

    Ceremony times are expected to run approximately 2-2.5 hours (estimate only, based on previous years' ceremonies).  If you have lunch or dinner reservations, allow at least 1.5 to 2 hours after each ceremony to give yourself time to meet your graduate, take photos, get back to your vehicles and exit from the parking lot in traffic.

  • Ceremony Program

    The order of the ceremony will be as follows:

    • Processional
    • America the Beautiful
    • Welcome and Introductions
    • University Awards
    • Special Remarks
    • Conferring of Degrees
    • Closing Remarks
    • Recessional

    Each graduate will receive 1 (one) printed copy of the Commencement Program. No printed program for guests. The Commencement Program will also be available electronically on the Commencement website. 

    Please note that the Commencement Office does not mail out printed programs.

  • Seating

    All guest seating is first come first served. All guests are required to be registered by their graduate for the ceremony they are attending, regardless of age. Guest seats will open one (1) hour prior to the start of each ceremony and each ceremony is expected to last 2-2.5 hours. Seating will be 6 feet apart.  The ceremony will also be livestreamed on the CSUSM website as well as the CSUSM mobile app.

    For the safety of our graduates, guests are not allowed in the graduate-only areas. This includes children of guests and/or graduates. Guests in the graduate-only areas will be escorted out by a Commencement Ambassador, Elite Security, and/or Univeristy Police (UPD).

    There will be a special seating area for individuals with mobility impairments. Space is provided on a first come, first served basis. Only one companion seat per mobility-impaired guest will be permitted in this area. Please keep in mind that seating is available in the grass section as well and the surface should be firm enough to allow for wheelchair access. THERE IS NO SHADE IN THIS SEATING SECTION.
    Mangrum Track Map at Commencement

    Mangrum Track Map at Commencement. Please also visit: CSUSM Interactive Map

  • Etiquette, Security, Lost and Found, Safety

    Lost and Found will be located on Mangrum Track and Field at the police tent, near the first aid tent. If you or your graduate loses any items at the event, send an email to CSUSM Commencement Office and we will contact you the week following the ceremony.

    If any issues may arise, please contact a Commencement Ambassador in a blue polo or visit the University Police Department (UPD) tent (East side of track).

    Bag Search: All bags are subject to be searched. We strongly recommend that you do not bring any type of bag, backpack,  duffle bag, etc to the event.  All bags are subject to search which may result in delays entering the venue. Also, please see the "What Not to Bring" section below.

    Etiquette: Please refrain from using cell phones during the ceremony (please silence them).

    Graduates will not be permitted to leave the ceremony early, so please use the restroom before the program begins.

    Safety: The University wil be practicing and enforcing health orders put in place by local government and the CDC. Please see Safety Protocol section below.

    Guests and children are not permitted in the graduate seating area or on stage.

    Please be aware of your surroundings and stay on designated walking/seating areas ONLY. The hills have loose gravel making it easy for one to lose their balance, slip, trip, and fall. Also, there have been snake sightings in the dirt areas.

    Please follow all directions of the Elite Security, San Diego Police Department, University Staff, including UPD (University Police Department), Parking and Commuter Services, Traffic Control,  and Commencement Ambassadors.

  • Meeting up with your Graduate

    Establish a meeting place for after the ceremony. You may review the CSUSM Interactive map or see the map below to decide the best location to meet after the recessional.
    Mangrum Track Map at Commencement

    Mangrum Track Map at Commencement. Please also visit: CSUSM Interactive Map

    For meal reservations, give yourself approximately 2 to 2.5 hours after the ceremony to meet your guests, take photos, get back to your vehicles, and exit campus in traffic.

  • Smoking, Drug and Alcohol Policy

    This is a smoking, drug, and alcohol free event. Tobacco products, including electronic (e-cigs), recreational drugs, and alcohol are not allowed at commencement nor on campus. The University observes a strict no alcohol, no drugs, and smoke free policy - commencement graduates and guests are prohibited from bringing these items onto the premises and may be confiscated.

  • What NOT to bring

    Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking – They are prohibited on campus at all times. This includes vaping.

    Pets – For the safety of your pet, pets are not allowed in or around the commencement venue. Those with a service animal may be required to answer a few questions.

    Bags or Backpacks – We advise graduates to only take essentials with them to the ceremony and leave large items (for example, bags or backpacks) in their car. There is no storage at the Softball Field to hold  items for graduates.

    Guests: please only take what is required for the 2-2.5 hours time for the ceremony. To ensure everyone's safety, every bag is subject to be searched. We advise that any gifts for the graduates be given at your car or at another location. Wrapped packages will be opened by security.  We strongly recommend that you do not bring any type of bag, backpack,  duffle bag, etc. to the event.  All bags are subject to search which may result in delays entering the venue.

    Other Prohibited Items:  balloons, beach chairs, bottles, beach balls, confetti and confetti cannons, noise makers, glass, fireworks, confetti, rolling coolers, wrapped gifts, inappropriate/large poster signage, and items that may obstruct one's view.

    Security may confiscate items that they deem dangerous or obstructive at their discretion, including items not specifically noted here. When in doubt, please contact the Commencement Office. Graduates and or guests will be asked to return prohibited item(s) back to their vehicles. If the graduate and or guest chooses to leave prohibited item(s) at security check, prohibited item(s) will not be returned to the graduate or guest and will not be reimbursed.

    University faculty, staff, and security will strictly enforce this policy. 

  • Directions/Map/Parking

    Traffic:  Main access to the campus is from State Highway 78 at Twin Oaks Valley Road. Take Twin Oaks Valley Road south for approximately a half-mile and you will be at campus. Follow road-signage and traffic officers to the nearest available parking. Traffic will be heavy, so please allow adequate time for travel and parking!

    Alternate Routes to Campus: Driving WESTBOUND on Highway 78 from Interstate 15, Take exit 14, Woodland Parkway/Barham Dr. and stay to the right. Take the next RIGHT (South) onto Woodland Parkway Turn RIGHT (West) onto Barham Dr. The campus is 1 mile down on the left.

    Driving EASTBOUND on Highway 78 from Interstate 5, Take exit 12 for San Marcos Blvd. Turn right onto San Marcos Blvd. Make a left onto Bent Ave. Bent Ave turns into Craven Road. Follow Craven Road 1.3 miles to the campus.
    CSUSM Mangrum Track

    Directions to CSUSM Mangrum Track via Google Maps. 

    Graduate and Gust Parking: Parking lots will open 1 hour prior to the start of each ceremony and parking is complimentary.

    • General parking - Lots C, E, and F
    • ADA parking - Lot B
    • Overflow - Lot X and Lot Y
    • Ride share drop off - Lot Z

    Traffic Control will direct you to the parking lot you will park in.

    ADA Accessible Parking: ADA parking is available for guests with disabled placards and plates in Lot B. ADA parking will open one (1) hour prior to the start of each ceremony and parking is complimentary (parking is on a first come, first serve basis). Event signage will direct guests to the Event Site (Mangrum Track and Field).
    CSUSM Mangrum Track
                              Commencement Ceremony Parking. Please also visit: CSUSM Interactive Map

    Taking Uber or Lyft? Designated Drop-Off and Pick-up location will be at Lot Z ONLY. From Twin Oaks Valley Road, enter Lots XYZ at Campus Marketplace, turn LEFT at Lot Z when directed by traffic officer to do so.
    CSUSM Mangrum Track                           Commencement Ceremony Parking. Please also visit: CSUSM Interactive Map

    Avoid the Traffic and Take the Sprinter! It is about a 15-minute walk from the Sprinter station to the ceremony site (shuttle transportation is not available). Visit the NCTD Sprinter page for schedule information.
    CSUSM Sprinter Stop to Mangrum Track

    CSUSM Sprinter Stop to Mangrum Track. Please also visit: CSUSM Interactive Map

  • How do you walk over to the Commencement Venue from the parking lots?

    Below we have a Pedestrian Map and routes to the Mangrum Track (Commencement Venue) from each of the parking lots.

                                                                        Pedestrian Map Routes to Mangrum Track

                                            Pedestrian Routes. Please also visit: CSUSM Interactive Map

  • Safety Protocols
    • All in attendance will be required to wear facial coverings and maintain physical distancing, regardless of their vaccination status.
    • If graduates or their guests are feeling ill, experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or have potentially been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, they are asked to not attend the in-person commencement ceremonies in the interest of the individual and community health.
    • 6 feet physical distancing will be practiced. Guest seating will be 6 feet apart in designated seating areas on the track. Graduate seating will be 6 feet apart.
    • The state of California still actively discourages travel from out-of-state unless individuals first self-quarantine, or are otherwise fully vaccinated. It is important that all guests abide by both this and any of their local travel guidance before making plans.
  • Weather and Site Information

    Commencement is an outdoor event.  All guest seating will be in direct sunlight with no shade available, however, the weather in May is unpredictable.  Please check the weather for Commencement weekend and dress appropriately.  In the event of rain, guests and graduates are welcomed to bring their own rain gear.

    Rain or shine, all umbrellas must be lowered prior to the start of the ceremony.

    Remember to bring sunscreen; there is limited shade on the Mangrum Field and wear appropriate shoes for walking on grass (no spiked heels).

    The venue entrance at the Mangrum Track & Field is a downhill ADA compliant ramp. Some guests may require assistance exiting the field.

    If you are unable to attend, or have concerns about the weather, we will be live streaming the event on the CSUSM website.

  • Special Accommodations

                                                                              Special Accommodations ASL Visual Accommodations

    ADA parking is available for guests with disabled parking placards and plates,. Those attending the commencement ceremony on the Mangrum Track, and have special accommodations, will park in Lot B.  Please make sure that your parking placard or Special Accommodations permit is clearly visable when driving onto campus.
    CSUSM Mangrum Track
                               Commencement Ceremony Parking. Please also visit: CSUSM Interactive Map

    Mobility ImpairedThere will be a special seating area for individuals with mobility impairments. Space is provided on a first come, first served basis. Due to seating limitations, only one companion seat per mobility-impaired guest will be permitted in this area. Please keep in mind that seating is available in the grass section as well and the surface should be firm enough to allow for wheelchair access. THERE IS NO SHADE IN THIS SEATING SECTION.

    Mangrum Track Map at Commencement

    Mangrum Track Map at Commencement. Please also visit: CSUSM Interactive Map

    Wheelchairs or motorized scooters are NOT available at CSUSM for individual use.

    The ADA parking lot is directly across the street from the Mangrum Track. Please plan accordingly.

    Ramps/Inclines/Unstable Ground: The venue entrance at the Mangrum Track & Field is a downhill ADA compliant ramp. Some guests may require assistance exiting the field. Also, some of the event parking is on loose gravel and some guests may require assistance.

    Sign language interpreters will be present on stage at all ceremonies.

    Individuals with disabilities, who would like to attend should contact Disability Support Services (DSS) by sending DSS an email regarding any special accommodation needs. It is requested that individuals requiring auxiliary aids such as sign language interpreters and alternative format materials notify Disability Support Services at least seven working days in advance. Every reasonable effort will be made to provide reasonable accommodations in an effective and timely manner.

  • Vendor Information

    CSUSM Commencement Vendor information can be found on the Commencement Contact Page.

    Due to the campus closure to in-person services, phone lines are not currently being monitored by all departments and in-person meetings are not being scheduled.

    The Commencement Office is here to answer any and all commencement questions for students and guests. Our office hours are 8am – 4:00pm, Monday through Friday in Cougar Central. We can be reached via email.  Please note that email communications may be best during the week of commencement due to our staff setting up for the ceremonies. Questions regarding diplomas or graduation applications should be emailed to the Office of the Registrar .

    Alumni Association The CSUSM Alumni Association is a committed partner of the University. Our mission is to support and encourage the advancement of the University while fostering lifelong Cougar pride, loyalty, and involvement between alumni, local businesses, and the community at large. Alumni Association dues are $40 per year or $360 for a Lifetime Membership. NEW GRADUATES will be offered a one-time deal of two years for $40. Check out the Alumni Association website to learn more! Contact us by email with any questions

    CSUSM University Store The CSUSM University Store is pleased to serve as the University’s official academic regalia provider for all graduates and participating faculty. The University Store will be on hand at all ceremonies to sell regalia items, diploma frames, Alumni products and gift items. For regalia pricing and information, and store hours, please visit CSUSM University Store Online. For stoles with majors or organization names, please see department chair for the major or organization leaders.

    Jostens Jostens is a leading provider of graduation products for CSUSM. Please check the Jostens website for exact dates and times when a Jostens representative will be available on campus to answer any questions. For any questions regarding graduation regalia and diploma frames please contact the University Store, for Class Ring and Announcement information please  visit the Jostens website (enter name of school: “California State University San Marcos”).

    diFranco Photography diFranco Photography is the photographer that takes senior portraits during GradFest and will be present at Commencement. At Commencement, two photographs will be taken of each graduate; one on stage as you are walking across, and one off stage with your diploma cover. There are a variety of packages available for purchase; however, there is no obligation to buy. For more information or questions email diFranco Photography or visit diFranco Photography Website.

    The Commencement Group - Flowers and Class T-Shirt The Commencement Group offers orchid leis and modern fresh flower arrangements for graduate gift giving. All Commencement Group flower bouquets are wrapped in elegant, environmentally friendly wrappings, and last at least a week. Orchid leis are offered as a wearable floral alternative that looks great in graduation photos. Products are available for pre-order (to be picked-up by the graduate at the Commencement Group Tent at the South end of the track, after Gate 6-main entrance) or for purchase on-site on commencement day. All pre-orders will be available for pickup by the graduate only, located at the south end of the track, after Gate 6 (main entrance). Guests who are placing an order will need to inform their graduate so that they may pick it up at the Commencement Group tent. Delivery is currently not being offered. 

  • Pictures and Videos
    Visit the CSUSM Commencement Website two weeks after the ceremonies for commencement day images and videos taken by the CSUSM Office of Communications.
  • CSUSM Emergency and Evacuation Procedures

    The safety of our graduates, guests, faculty, staff, and students are of our hightest concern. Any issues should be taken to Commencemetnt Ambassadors (blue polo), Elite Security, University Police (uniformed), or to the UPD/Security tent on the East side of the track.

    In the event of an emergency or evacuation, please follow all instructions that will be announced over the PA system and those given by Commencement Staff. Emergencies will also be communicated via the CSUSM App (if notifications are turned on).


Back to the Commencement Information Category List

Dates and times are subject to change due to weather  and local government mandated health orders.

The University will continue to monitor county and state regulations. CSUSM plans to host in-person ceremonies, rain or shine,  on the Mangrum Track on May 20-21, 2022, to celebrate the Class of 2022. Attendance and Participation will require advance regiatration and attendance will be very limited.  Due to space restrictions and health and safety guidelines, only eight guest invitations may be extended per graduate. A livestream of the in-person ceremonies at Mangrum Track will be made available on the CSUSM website and the CSUSM app. 

Please continue to monitor this website for the most current details, protocols and safety measures regarding Commencement 2022. We will update the site regularly as state and local regulations continue to evolve.