FAQ: Get informed on the first in-person commencement in 3 years

The ceremony is returning to the Golden One Center


Casey Rafter

Graduating hospitality major Hannah Rowles dons her graduation gear outside of the Athletic Center on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Following commencement guidelines, Rowles has decorated her cap to read “And so the planning begins,” with a line of sports balls to line up with her future career plans, she said.

Casey Rafter

Graduates, grab your caps and gowns and get ready to kiss Sac State goodbye!

With just 11 days left until the first ceremony, The State Hornet has all of the most important information you’ll need to successfully plan and attend the upcoming spring commencement.

Walking the stage

Question: Who qualifies to participate in this spring’s commencement?

Answer: According to the Sac State commencement page, students who graduated in fall 2021 and those who are qualified to graduate this spring or summer are invited to attend the May 2022 commencement ceremonies.

Q: Can double majors participate in multiple ceremonies?

A: No. According to the commencement page, the fee students pay for graduation covers only one ceremony. Graduates will receive information about their primary academic college or major.

Q: What kind of information is there about American Sign Language and accommodations for those with disabilities?

A: There will be ASL interpreters present for the ceremonies. Guests who require wheelchairs, walkers or canes can access the stadium via the “Crown” entrance. For more information, check Golden One’s ADA page.


Question: How many tickets are each graduate allowed to request?

Answer: Six.

Q: How do students attending commencement get tickets?

A: All tickets will be in digital form with a QR code that can be scanned at entry. On the commencement office page, there is a link with a step by step guide for claiming tickets and to RSVP for commencement.

Insider tip: If you’re a graduate, you don’t need your own ticket.

Q: What if more tickets are needed?

A: Graduates can exchange unused tickets, but purchasing or selling graduation tickets is prohibited. Interim chief of staff of President Nelsen Kristen Tudor said for those who might still need additional tickets, a few of the colleges may have an additional capacity of up to three tickets. According to her, as updated availability opens up, graduating students will receive that information via email.
Insider tip: The commencement ceremonies will be live streamed for anyone who can’t attend.

Starting last week, graduating students received emails like this one indicating that they may be able to reserve 1-3 additional tickets for commencement. Communications major Adrian Piñon said he not only received this email, but texts from his girlfriend and other graduates excited to be able to expand their guest lists. (Image courtesy Adrian Piñon)

Location and Schedule

Q: When and where will graduation commencement happen?

A: For the first time in three years, Sac State graduation ceremonies will be held at the Golden One Center downtown. There are seven commencement ceremonies spread across the weekend of May 20-22.
Insider tip: Guests and graduates should arrive one hour early to be checked in.

Hannah Rowles, a senior hospitality major, said she plans to beat the sun on the morning of her graduation ceremony by making it to the Golden One Center an hour before the 8 a.m. start time. She’ll be up at 5:30 a.m. to get ready on time, she said.

The breakdown of which major lands on which day and time is shown below:

Q: Is there designated parking for guests or students?

A: According to Tudor, there will not be designated parking for graduates or their guests. There is, however, a section of the commencement page dedicated to directions and parking and information about SAC Park, where parking spots can be pre-booked now for commencement.

Rowles and Communications major Adrian Piñon said they feel well prepared and informed about the upcoming commencement, but both cringed when thinking about parking in the busy streets near the Golden One Center. 

Rowles said she plans on taking an Uber while Piñon, who lives close to the venue, plans on getting his guests there in style.

“My family is mostly Latino; a lot of them don’t go downtown or know where that’s at,” Piñon said. “So I rented out a limousine that’s gonna pick them all up at my mom’s house and then drop them off in the front.”

Q: Will students and guests enter Golden One Center from the same entrance?

A: According to Tudor, guests enter at the venue’s Grand Entrance and graduates check in at the northeast entrance. She said students will see the grad check in when walking into DOCO from 7th Street. After checking in, they’ll enter the stadium via the Jerry Reynolds media entrance.

“Do I know where to enter? Kind of; not really,” Rowles said. “I’m sure there’ll be people outside saying ‘Go here.’”

Insider tips:

Bring your OneCard to verify your identity at check-in.

-Clutches and wallets no larger than 8” x 6” x 1” will be permitted.

When graduating students arrive at the Golden One Center May 20-22, they’ll first need to report to the northeast entrance of the venue. After checking in, they’ll be able to enter the stadium through the Jerry Reynolds media entrance. (Image courtesy of CSUS president’s office, modified in Canva by Casey Rafter)

Q: How long is each ceremony?

A: The ceremonies are two and a half hours long, but guests and graduates are supposed to start checking in an hour before ceremony time.

Cap and Gown

Q: How can graduates obtain their caps and gowns?

A: All graduation supplies are available via the ASI store. There are several options for stoles, caps, tassels, gowns and hoods.

Q: If grades aren’t posted, how can I qualify and receive my honors cords?

A: The list of students who qualified for honors for spring 2022 was released on March 15. To verify eligibility, graduating students are encouraged to contact the ASI Student Shop. To receive honors cords, students must satisfy the following requirements:

  • First time bachelor’s only 
  • Must have at least 30 units completed at Sac State (not including transfer units)
    • Cum Laude: white (GPA 3.5-3.749)
    • Magna Cum Laude: silver (GPA 3.75-3.899)
    • Summa Cum Laude: gold (GPA 3.9-4.0)

Tudor said that for students who will qualify after graduation, the honors status will be retroactively added to their diploma and indicated on the final transcript.

Q: Can students customize their caps and gowns?

A: Custom caps and stoles are fine, but gowns should not be decorated. “We want people to be respectful when decorating their caps, but we want them to have fun,” Tudor said.

Piñon said he is busy planning three outfits for his graduation: a latin-themed outfit to attend the Chicano graduation group, an outfit for his photoshoots and another for commencement.

“I’m still designing [my graduation cap] but right now, I’m thinking about doing one that says —  in bold — ‘Trust God,’” Piñon said. “Or, since I’m like a marketing guy, I feel like putting a QR code with like a link tree to my LinkedIn or all my social platforms or like a Venmo; there’s gonna be a lot of people.”

Tudor said everyone involved in executing the upcoming ceremony is “vibrating with excitement.” This spring’s graduation ceremonies will be the first in-person commencement to resemble previous pre-pandemic routines since spring 2019.

“It’s the highlight for everyone who works at Sac State because this is what we’re here for,” Tudor said. “You know, we’re here to watch everyone graduate and so we’re super excited.”

She said planning for such a ceremony begins more than a year in advance. Coordinating three semesters worth of graduates over a three-day period also requires a huge group of volunteers and workers.

“We have to have hundreds of volunteers,” Tudor said. “Those are faculty and staff from Sac State who volunteer the weekend or part of their weekend to go out there and do this. They do it because the highlight for us of what we do is watching folks graduate.”