Commencement Update

Friday, May 7, 2021, 2:45pm

TO:   Campus Community 
FR:   Commencement Logistics Committee

Commencement is fast approaching and we have a beautiful ceremony planned for all our graduates. An update was sent to our graduates today with the information below, including an overview of the drive-thru ceremonies, a schedule of events, and other important details. 

Overview of the Drive-thru Ceremony
Graduates participating in the drive-thru commencement ceremonies will enter campus through the main entrance off East Cotati Avenue and drive into Parking Lot F, where campus personnel will check them in. Commencement programs will be distributed during this time. Once checked in, vehicles will be queued to drive towards the Green Music Center (GMC), where graduates will exit their vehicles. Faculty will line the path approaching the stage where graduates will process through after exiting their vehicle. A professional photographer will capture an image of the graduate holding a diploma cover and also when they cross the outdoor stage. The stage will be viewable to those remaining in their vehicle. After descending from the stage, graduates will return to their vehicle and exit the campus via the Rohnert Park Expressway.

Per current public health guidelines, all event participants must maintain a safe physical distance from people outside their household and wear a face mask.  

Ceremony schedules 
The ceremonies are sequenced to run back-to-back, as shown in the schedule below.

Class of 2020
Ceremonies will begin at these times on Saturday, May 15, 2021
8:00 a.m. - School of Arts and Humanities
10:00 a.m. - School of Business and Economics
12:00 p.m. - School of Science and Technology
2:00 p.m. - School of Education 
4:00 p.m. - School of Social Sciences

Class of 2021
Ceremonies will begin at these times on Saturday, May 22, 2021
9:00 a.m. - School of Arts and Humanities
12:00 p.m. - School of Business and Economics
3:00 p.m. - School of Science and Technology

Ceremonies will begin at these times on Sunday, May 23, 2021
9:00 a.m. - School of Education
11:30 a.m. - School of Social Sciences

CHANGES to the types of vehicles permitted
After consulting with Sonoma County Public Health, limousines and other oversized vehicles, such as limousine buses, will be allowed for the drive-thru commencement ceremonies. While these vehicles are now permitted, all vehicle occupants must be from the same household. We have instructed graduates to contact us at commencement@sonoma.edu to let us know if they plan to arrive in one of these types of vehicles.

Vehicle Requirements and Displays
For the drive-thru ceremony, each graduate will be limited to one vehicle. Vehicles must be completely enclosed to comply with health department guidelines. The following vehicles types will not be permitted:

  • Convertibles with their top open
  • Vehicles without doors (like off-road utility vehicles)
  • Golf Carts
  • Motorcycles or other types of scooters

In vehicles with windows rolled down, occupants must maintain face masks on for the entire duration the window is down. Passengers are limited to the number of legal seats in the vehicle. Per public health guidelines, all vehicle occupants must be from the same household.

Flowers and Keepsakes
Graduation flowers and keepsakes will be available for purchase on-site during the ceremonies. The University Bookstore will have a booth with graduate keepsakes and spirit wear for sale in Lot F. Click to view and order graduation flowers.

Viewing the Livestream
On the day of the ceremonies, links to the livestream will be posted on the commencement website. Each of the ceremonies will be streamed live. Graduates can share these links with family and friends who would like to watch the commencement ceremony live.

Photographs
On the day of commencement, a professional photographer from Grad Images will capture a photo of graduates holding a diploma cover and also as they cross the stage. In addition, their family will be able to take pictures as they cross the stage from within their vehicle. There will also be a photo booth hosted by our Alumni Association where graduates can capture a photo and have it sent immediately to their phone and/or email.

Regalia
We highly encourage our graduates to wear regalia (not required). If graduates do not have access to regalia, we ask that they dress appropriately as this is still recognized as a formal and dignified occasion.