Essentials Information or Guests

Arrival Times and Location

Both ceremonies are held at The Commencement Lawn by the Lakes.

Info for Graduates: Report to Stevenson Hall for the processional line-up area on the north side (art building side).

    Report by 8 a.m. for the 9 a.m. ceremony.
  • School of Science and Technology
  • School of Social Sciences
    Report by 2 p.m. for the 3 p.m. ceremony
  • School of Arts and Humanities
  • School of Business and Economics
  • School of Education

Majors Listed by Academic School

Arts & Humanities American Multicultural Studies, Art, Art History, Chicano and Latino Studies, Communication Studies, English, Fine Arts, French, Liberal Studies (Hutchins School), Music, Organization Development, Philosophy, Spanish, Theatre Arts

Business & Economics Business Administration, Economics

Education Early Childhood Studies, Education

Science & Technology Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer and Engineering Science, Computer Science, Earth Science, Engineering Science, Geology, Interdisciplinary Studies/Special Major, Kinesiology, Mathematics, Nursing, Physics, Statistics

Social Sciences Anthropology, Counseling, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Cultural Resources Management, Environmental Studies, Geography, Global Studies, History, Human Development, Liberal Studies (Ukiah/Napa Programs), Political Science, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies

Guest Seating

Due to the large crowd expected (about 5,000 per ceremony) and the limited seating capacity, graduates are asked to invite no more than four guests. Seating is on a first-come basis. All guests should be seated at least 30 minutes before the ceremony or risk missing the processional as certain pathways will be closed while the graduates walk in.

Webcast Viewing of Commencement

We encourage family and friends to view the ceremonies with the live webcast. A link to the live webcast wil be available on the SSU homepage and from this page on Commencement day. Watch the ceremony in its entirety from the comfort of home.

On campus viewing locations will be noted on the Commencement map in the program. Seating in the viewing rooms is on a first-come basis.

Guests with Disabilities or Mobility Limitations

The assigned seating area is for guests who have disabilities, mobility limitations and for those needing an American Sign Language interpreter, who will be stationed nearby. 

The Commencement area is within walking distance of parking lots and guests should bring their own wheelchairs, walkers, etc. Guests needing assistance from a friend or family member may have that person sit with them.

To request an assigned seating guest pass, please fill out the form at and return by April 21.

For additional information please email: or call: (707) 664-2404. Requests should be made by April 21. If you miss the deadline, guests should go directly to the assigned seating area on the Commencement Lawn upon arrival. We will make every effort to accommodate those who have not made reservations in advance.

For close-in parking, you must have a valid disability placard to park in Lot G. A campus map will be included when assigned seating guest passes are mailed. University employees will be available to transport guests with limited mobility using golf carts or their own wheelchairs from the parking Lot G to the Commencement Lawn/assigned seating area. 

Professional Diploma Photographs

Photographers will take each graduate's photograph as he or she receives the diploma. Graduates will receive an e-mail proof of their photo within a few days of the ceremony. E-mail addresses must be written by the graduates on cards that they fill out when lined up prior to the ceremonies. Orders can be placed once photo proofs are received. Students may list a second email address for family to also receive a digital proof.

Personal Photography

Audience members are free to take photographs or to video, however they should do so from their seating area and take care not to disrupt the ceremony, block another person's view, or in any way detract from the enjoyment of the event. Professional photographs of each student receiving his or her diploma will be taken and are available for purchase (see above).

Commencement Programs

Printed programs containing the order of ceremony, names of graduates, a list of faculty, and other information about the campus and Commencement will be distributed on Commencement day. Guests will be able to pick up their programs as they enter the Commencement area.


The Sonoma State University Children’s School, a program of the Associated Students, Inc., offers a variety of flowers for sale from booths at various campus sites on Commencement day. Proceeds benefit the Children’s School.


Food and beverages are available for sale at concession booths around campus beginning at 8:00 a.m. Please see Commencement map for locations.


Consumption of alcoholic beverages is not permitted before, during or after Commencement. Drinking and misconduct by even a few would be disturbing to the graduates, faculty, and guests who expect and deserve a safe, orderly, and dignified ceremony. Any graduate who appears to be intoxicated will not be permitted to participate in the ceremony.


The Bookstore will be open Commencement day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. See the Commencement map for additional booth locations around campus where SSU memorabilia can be purchased.


Portable restrooms are located near the (closed) Student Union, Commons and Art Buildings. Restrooms are also located in Stevenson Hall, Salazar Hall, the Art Building, and the gymnasium. A map of restrooms will be available at many locations during Commencement and in the Commencement program.


In order to reduce the hazards of exposure to secondhand smoke, smoking is prohibited inside and within 20 feet of the outermost perimeter of all campus buildings, exterior ramps, stairways, and dining patios, as well as outside gathering and seating areas and any other location that unavoidably exposes others to second hand smoke.

Cell Phones

Please silent cell phones and personal electronic devices during the ceremony.


Only service animals are permitted at Commencement or on the University grounds on Commencement day. Service animals need to be clearly identified. No other animals are permitted.

First Aid

An emergency first aid station will be set up near the northeast side of the Student Union building. Look for signage on Commencement day.

Information and Lost and Found

An information and lost and found center, north of the Commons will be set up and staffed on Commencement day.

Meeting Guests after the Ceremony

Graduates are urged to make arrangements before Commencement to meet family and friends after the ceremonies at the academic School receptions or another pre-designated location. The audience must remain in their seats during the Recessional.

Academic School Receptions

Each Academic School hosts an informal reception for graduates and their guests immediately following the Commencement ceremonies. Refreshments are served. The receptions provide a good opportunity for graduates to greet faculty and introduce family and friends, and for informal photographs.