Graduate FAQ

All Commencement ceremonies will be held on the Sonoma State University campus at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall and Weill Lawn and Terrace. View the at-a-glance page for specific ceremony dates and times.

The deadline to obtain tickets for seating inside Weill Hall has passed. Guests without tickets can choose to sit outside or wait in the standby line at the Green Music Center. All ticketed guests must be in their seats 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony, Commencment staff will select guests in the standby line to fill any open seats in the reserved seating areas. Guests interested in sitting in the reserved seats who do not have a ticket and choose to be standby should check in with an usher or way finder at the Green Music Center when they arrive.

Absolutely! The Weill Hall Lawn and Terrace can accommodate more than 3,000 guests, and friends and family who do not receive tickets to sit inside the hall will find ample seating outdoors. No tickets will be required to view Commencement from the Lawn and Terrace, and seating will be first-come-first-serve. Just like patrons who attend concerts at the GMC in the summer, those on the Lawn and Terrace will have a “front row” view of what takes place on the stage via the jumbotrons located outside the hall, and the state-of-the-art sound system will assure that each graduate’s name will be heard by all. Approximately 3,000 chairs will be provided for everyone in the outdoor Commencement audience.

Guests without tickets may also get in the standby line to possibly get a reserved seat inside Weill Hall. Approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony, Commencment staff will select guests in the standby line to fill any open seats in the reserved seating areas. Guests interested in standby seating should check in with an usher or way finder at the Green Music Center when they arrive.

We encourage all graduates' family and friends to attend Commencement, but because of limited seating inside Weill Hall, each graduate will be allocated two tickets for reserved guest seating either in the hall itself or the first few rows of outdoor seats.

The Weill Hall Lawn and Terrace can accommodate more than 3,000 guests, and friends and family who do not receive tickets to sit inside the hall, will find ample seating outdoors. No tickets will be required to view Commencement from the Lawn and Terrace, and seating will be first-come-first-serve. Just like patrons who attend concerts at the GMC in the summer, those on the Lawn and Terrace will have a “front row” view of what takes place on the stage via the jumbotrons located outside the hall, and the state-of-the-art sound system will assure that each graduate’s name will be heard by all. Seats will be provided for everyone in the outdoor Commencement audience.

No, only guests who will be seated inside Weill Hall or in the first few rows of the Weill Lawn and Terrace will need tickets for entry to this reserved seating area.

Tickets will be available for pick up in Seawolf Plaza on a school-by-school basis between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. from April 24-28 and May 1-5. In the case of rain, ticket distribution will be held inside the Student Center. To pick up tickets, students must provide a photo ID and sign for them. Graduates also should be prepared to indicate if any of their guests sitting inside Weill Hall are wheelchair-bound and/or in need of an American Sign Language interpreter.

  • Monday, April 24: School of Business and Economics
  • Tuesday, April 25: School of Social Sciences: Ceremony A (Anthropology, Counseling, Cultural Resources Management, History, Human Development, Political Science, Psychology, Public Administration)
  • Wednesday, April 26: School of Social Sciences: Ceremony B (Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies, Environmental Studies and Planning, Global Studies, Geography, Liberal Studies Ukiah, Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies)
  • Thursday, April 27: School of Science and Technology
  • Friday, April 28: School of Arts and Humanities and School of Education
  • Monday, May 1: School of Arts and Humanities and School of Education
  • Tuesday, May 2: School of Business and Economics
  • Wednesday, May 3: School of Science and Technology
  • Thursday, May 4: School of Social Sciences: Ceremony B (Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies, Environmental Studies and Planning, Global Studies, Geography, Liberal Studies Ukiah, Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies)
  • Friday, May 5: School of Social Sciences: Ceremony A (Anthropology, Counseling, Cultural Resources Management, History, Human Development, Political Science, Psychology, Public Administration)

Should circumstances prevent graduates from getting tickets at these dates and times, they should email the Green Music Center Box Office to request an appointment to either pick them up them by May 15 or to retrieve them at Will Call the day of Commencement. The email must include a copy of a photo ID of the graduate, number of tickets needed and the name of the individual picking up the tickets. Graduates should include special seating notes (i.e., guest is wheelchair bound, guest will need ASL interpretation, etc.)

Tickets cannot be replaced so they should be kept in a safe location.

You are eligible to participate in Commencement 2017 if you graduated in December 2016, have applied for graduation in May 2017 or applied for graduation in August 2017.

There will be six separate commencement ceremonies, and each ceremony is scheduled to last no more than two hours.

Graduates should arrive one hour prior to their ceremony time and enter through the Schroeder Hall lobby doors, at the south end of the Music Education Building. Graduates will line up by Schroeder Hall in preparation for the processional. Please refer to the Commencement map.

Parking is free on Commencement day. The lots directly adjacent to the Green Music Center (Lots M, N, O, P) provide the closest general and disabled parking. Lots G and H are also within walking distance.

Yes. No pets (service animals excepted), alcohol, drugs or weapons are allowed in the Green Music Center.

There is a zero-tolerance policy at Commencement for alcohol and drugs. Graduates who appear to be intoxicated will be directed to the Student Conduct Officer and may not be permitted to walk in Commencement.

Out of respect to all candidates and their families and guests, we ask that you remain in your seats until the conclusion of the ceremony.

At Commencement 2017, each graduate’s name will be proudly announced as part of the ceremony, and every graduate will walk across the stage of Weill Hall. Each graduate will be given a name card while in line prior to the start of the ceremony to fill out in the exact manner in which they want their name read aloud. Names will then be read from those cards as graduates cross the stage and receive their diploma cases. This card also serves to identify each graduate for the Commencement photographers.

There will be a professional photographer from GradImages at each ceremony to take a photo of each graduate receiving his/her diploma cover. Graduates will receive an email proof of images within 48 hours of the ceremony. GradImages provides graduates the opportunity to preregister for their graduation photos, which gives them a 20 percent off coupon for a graduation order of $50 or more and a chance to win $5,000.

Yes, all graduates are required to wear the academic regalia that is associated with the degree to be conferred upon them at Commencement. If you are receiving a bachelor’s degree, you will wear the traditional black cap and gown. Master’s degree recipients wear a hood in addition to the cap and gown.

All graduates are encouraged to order regalia early to ensure correct size. You may order at the University Bookstore or at the HerffJones website.

Commencement is a very festive day and many graduates express their excitement by decorating the mortar board, or graduation cap. Decorations should be safe and respectful of other graduates and the guests. Glitter is not permitted inside Weill Hall and caps with glitter will be not be allowed in the hall.

Graduates, family and friends may pre-order graduation flowers, or they may be purchased at the Commencement site.

Unlike past years, the Commencement ceremonies will not be streamed on the Internet and video will not be available afterwards.

You can place an order for graduation announcements either online at HerffJones website or from the University Bookstore in the Student Center.

During Grad Fair 2017 graduates have the opportunity to take care of many details related to Commencement. It will be held Tuesday, Feb. 21, and Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., in the University Store lounge on second floor of the Student Center.

    Graduates can:
  • Get graduation portrait taken in cap and gown with a free sitting fee from GradImages
  • Receive special discounts on diploma frames and class rings from HerffJones
  • Order graduation announcements
  • Order caps and gowns
  • Learn about benefits of the Sonoma State Alumni Association and how to become a member

Any questions or comments should be sent by email to the Commencement Coordinator.