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With graduation right around the corner, graduating seniors are expected to know exactly what the weekend entails. But here you are, days before the ceremony realizing you don’t know much.

We’re here to help; here’s what you need to know about commencement:

You’ve already paid for this

As of last year, the Commencement Fee was enacted to automatically charge students when they reach 75 percent completion on their degree progress, Commencement Coordinator Anthonia Edgren said. Once students reach the 75 percent mark, they start to receive some of the services related to commencement.

“We start looking at your progress, and we start working to get your name in the program,” Edgren said.

University-wide ceremonies are on different days and times, depending on your college

According to the commencement website, the College of Engineering and the College of Architecture and Environmental Design have their ceremony on Saturday, June 11 at 9 a.m. The College of Science and Math and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences will have theirs on the same day at 4 p.m.

On Sunday, June 12 at 9 a.m., the College of Liberal Arts and the Orfalea College of Business will celebrate.

All ceremonies take place in Alex G. Spanos Stadium, and last approximately two and a half hours.

Graduates arrive at assembly sites

According to Edgren, graduates will need to arrive at their assembly sites an hour before their ceremony.

The College of Engineering meets on Dexter Lawn, and the Orfalea College of Business meets in the Business (building 3) breezeway. The College of Architecture and Environmental Design will meet at Mott Gym, with the College of Liberal Arts nearby at the Recreation Center. The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences will be between Alan E. Erhart Agriculture (building 10) and English (building 22), at the Ag Patio. And the College of Science and Math will meet on the lawn just behind Administration (building 1), Edgren said.

Name cards are the key for graduates during commencement

Once graduates arrive at their assembly site, they need to pick up their name card, which has been pre-printed with their name.

“Graduates must have a name card, otherwise they will not be allowed to walk across the stage and have their name read,” Edgren said in an email to Mustang News.

Graduates can still attend separate department events

Departments host their own post-commencement events at their discretion. According to the commencement website, 43 departments are listed to be hosting separate events.

“Those are fully run and planned by each individual department or college,” Edgren said. “So it’s up to them whether they want to do another ceremony, or if they do a reception or whatever they want to do.”

Tickets are still available for graduates

Students should have already received 10 e-tickets for graduation. While additional tickets are not available for purchase, if attendees want more tickets, the Commencement Office encourages them to contact friends who are not using all 10. If that doesn’t work out, attendees can contact the Commencement Office, as Edgren said they’ll try their best to get them extra tickets. 

All names will be called out this year

This year, names will be called individually at the main ceremony, which has not been done in the past.

Edgren said that this was a conscious decision.

“Every year, we survey all the graduates, parents and faculty, and we received an overwhelming demand to have name reading take place at the main ceremony.”

This way, she said, students and their supporters get the whole experience, all in one package.

Names will also be called individually at department ceremonies.

Two keynote speakers are set for commencement

This year, Cal Poly will have two speakers. Leon Panetta and Margaret Fortune will both be speaking at the main ceremonies.

Panetta was the White House Chief of Staff under President Bill Clinton, as well as the Director of the CIA and the Secretary of Defense under President Barack Obama.

Margaret Fortune is a big leader in the education world, Edgren said. Fortune sits on the California Charter Schools Association Board of Directors, and served on the CSU Board of Trustees for eight years.

“So students have that to look forward to,” Edgren said.

How to tackle the parking situation

As for parking, permits are not necessary for commencement.

But Edgren did have some words of warning.

“All guests and graduates should enter on Highland Drive as Grand Avenue will be not be accessible due to residence hall move-out traffic,” she said.

Parking will be available in the H1, H12, H14 and H16 lots.

Accessible parking is available in H1, H7 and C2 lots for guests who have trouble getting around, as well as a shuttle service to and from the main ceremony.

Graphic for each college will be attached 

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