Light the Beam Green: A guide to Sac State commencement

Graduation to be held at Golden 1 Center


Justine Chahal

Sacramento State seniors will be graduating May 19-21 at Golden 1 Center, as confirmed by President Robert Nelsen May 1. To prepare for commencement, The State Hornet went over the rules and regulations for entry at Golden 1. (Illustration by Justine Chahal).

Tierra Tilby

The Golden 1 Center is officially the home of Sacramento State’s spring commencement, President Nelsen confirmed May 1 after the Sacramento Kings’ lost game seven of the first round in the NBA playoffs.

Graduating Hornets have been in limbo, wondering if commencement would be at the arena or at Hornet Stadium when backup plans were announced by Sac State in case the Kings made it to the NBA’s Western Conference Finals.

All of the commencement ceremonies will be at the original date and time announced by Sac State in January.

Venue Regulations 

Security measures will be in effect for the commencement ceremonies. Kristen Tudor, deputy chief of staff for Sac State, said graduates and their guests should “expect wands and metal detectors when they enter Golden 1.”

The Golden 1 Center has a list of prohibited items inside the arena. That list includes but isn’t limited to, outside food/beverages, laptops, balloons and weapons.

Golden 1’s Arena Management may also deem other items unacceptable, according to their website.  

The list of prohibited items also includes specific types and sizes of bags. Golden 1 has a strict bag policy. Guests of the venue are only allowed to bring bags 8’’x 6’’x 1’’ or smaller.

The Golden 1 Center does not make exceptions for clear bags.

Cameras will be allowed into Golden 1 for this event, according to the Golden 1 Center’s website. Guests will not be allowed onto the floor for pictures where graduates are located.  

Graduates will be permitted to bring their cell phones with them to Golden 1.

Currently, there are no COVID-19 policies in place by either Sac State or the Golden 1 Center for commencement. 

Masks will be available for graduates and their guests at both entrances if they would like to wear one, according to the Sac State commencement website. 

“Sac State is following local city and county guidelines for commencement,” Tudor said. “If anything would change, graduates and their guests would be notified.” 

Each commencement ceremony will also be live streamed by Sac State from the commencement website. The link will be on the homepage of commencement website, the day of the respected ceremonies.

Golden 1 and the live stream will have live captioning and ASL-English interpreters. Students with accommodation questions should reach out to the Disability Access Center. Guests should reach out to Golden 1 with questions. 

Related: FAQ: The essential do’s, don’ts for graduation 

Golden 1 will allow posters into the arena for commencement if brought in by the guests — not the graduates — Tudor said. According to the Golden 1 Center’s website, posters should be “no bigger than a shoulders width apart.” 

Travel and Parking

Parking will not be provided for commencement. Golden 1 does encourage students and their guests to reserve parking spots in nearby garages and lots at beforehand. 

Light rail and bus transportation is also an option to get to Golden 1. SacRT has multiple stops near the arena. 

Tudor encouraged graduates and their guests to plan to arrive at Golden 1 around 90 minutes before their commencement ceremony to make time for parking, traveling to the arena and going through security. Vendors in the venue may be open during the ceremonies, according to Sac State’s commencement website. If available, those vendors will only accept cashless payments.  

Arrival Procedures 

Upon arrival at Golden 1, graduates will first check in at the northeast side of the arena. They will then enter at the media entrance, near the team store. 

Guests will access the grand entrance on the northwest side of the arena. 

Anyone with ADA accommodations (utilizing a wheelchair, scooter, cane or other mobility devices) may use the VIP entrance located on L Street.

Graduates should prepare for three flights of stairs to access their seats for the commencement ceremony, according to an email announcement sent by Sac State. Elevators will be available.  

“Seating [for graduates] will be by department,” Tudor said. “There will be signs on the arena floor to help guide students to their specific department.” 

As for guests, there is no assigned seating, Tudor said. Regarding tickets, it will be on a first come, first serve basis. Grad Jam will be happening before each ceremony. Music, prizes and a chance to be on the jumbotron will all be available during the pre-show of the ceremony. 

During and after ceremony

Sac State does not have a rule about graduates leaving the ceremony early, Tudor said, but she added that “the official ceremonial conferral of degrees” happens at the end of the ceremony.”

Guests will be able to meet their graduate(s) after the ceremony outside of Golden 1 in the DOCO area. 

Graduates will not receive their diploma at Golden 1 and will have to wait four to six months to get their paper degree.

The diploma will be sent to the address on the graduate’s file on their Sac State account. 

“Our commencement is known around the region as one of the best, most spectacular commencements,” Tudor said. “That won’t change no matter what.”