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Instructions for Students Participating in Commencement

PLANNING IN ADVANCE

All graduating students completing their bachelor's, master's, engineer's, or doctoral degrees and planning to walk and have their names read during Caltech's commencement ceremony must register by June 1, 2019.

    • Bachelor's degree candidates: The Registrar’s Office or the Dean of Undergraduate Student’s Office will be reaching out to students to confirm their participation and name pronunciation. For questions regarding the survey, please contact the Registrar’s Office by email or at 626-395-6354.

    • Master's, engineer's, and doctoral degree candidates: If you are currently enrolled, you should complete your information within the Graduate Degree Progress link in REGIS. If you do not have access to REGIS and did not complete the marching information portion of GDP, please complete this survey to register. After June 1, please contact the Registrar’s Office by email or at 626-395-6354.

All graduating students who are participating in the commencement ceremonies must wear the appropriate Caltech bachelor's, master's, or doctoral regalia.  If you have questions or need to order regalia, contact the Caltech Store at 626-395-6161 or via email.

All Caltech graduating and separating students are expected to participate in an exit interview process with the Bursar's staff before Commencement or leaving the Institute. 

Download the 2019 Activities and Information Guide

GRADUATION DAY DETAILS

DressAssembly and Processional • Photographs and VideoEnd of Ceremony

All graduating students much check in at the designated marshaling location 75 minutes before the ceremony begins to confirm their attendance.

During the check-in process, all candidates will receive

    • A pre-printed named card for the name readers. Candidates are expected to take their name card with them while they walk.
    • A photo wristband to be shared with a designated family member. This wristband will provide access to a designated photography area along the east and west walkways of Beckman Mall.  
    • A photo card for the professional photographers shooting the event.

Aside from the name cards, candidates are prohibited from carrying purses, backpacks, or other personal items with them during the processional. If you have these items with you when you check in at the marshaling area, you will have to check them in and pick them back up from the Information Booth. 

A program and water bottle will be preset for all candidates at their chairs.

For a snapshot of the marshaling instructions, read the 2018 instructions for BachelorsMasters, Engineers, and PhD Degree candidates.  An updated version will be available in early June 2019.

Dress

Candidates for the B.S., M.S., Engineer’s, and Ph.D. degrees may purchase their caps and gowns at the Grad Fair, 10:00 a.m. – 3 p.m., and at the Caltech Store through the morning of Commencement.

Academic garb looks best when worn over dark shoes and dark lower garments. The collar of a white shirt or blouse nicely complements the academic robe. Tassels are worn on the left at all times. 

[back to Graduation Day Details]

Assembly and Processional

All candidates participating in commencement are expected to reach their specified marshaling and line up sites around Millikan Library, in cap and gown, no later than 8:45 a.m. on Friday morning. The commencement exercises will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. Latecomers may not be included in the processional.

Candidates will process in and sit with other students from their degree program; doctoral candidates will be further organized by division. All students will be lined up in alphabetical order.

There will be staff present to coordinate the assembling of the academic procession. The commencement event map denotes the specific marshaling locations for candidates by degree; candidates will form a line in each of these locations:

    • Section A (along the covered walk south of Parsons-Gates): B.S. candidates
    • Section B (along the covered walk at the south end of the bridge across from the Millikan Library reflecting pool): M.S. and Engineer’s candidates
    • Section C (along the covered walk north of East Bridge, behind the M.S. and Engineer's candidates): Ph.D. candidates

The marching order will be:

    1. Candidates for the B.S. degree
    2. Candidates for the M.S. and Engineer's degrees
    3. Candidates for the Ph.D. degree
    4. Faculty
    5. Trustees and Speaker

Candidates for degrees will follow the Marshal of their respective group to their seats on the Beckman Mall. Candidates are to remain standing until Mr. David Lee, Chairman of the Board of Trustees asks the audience to be seated at the beginning of the ceremony.

For a snapshot of the marshaling instructions, read the instructions for BachelorsMasters, Engineers, and PhD Degree candidates.

[back to Graduation Day Details]

Photographs and Video

GradImages, a commercial firm, will be at commencement to photograph each graduate as they receive their diploma. Individual and family portraits will be available at several locations and activities in advance of the ceremony (see the activities schedule for details). Within five business days of the ceremony, proofs and order forms will be made available to graduates.

The ceremony will be recorded, with DVD and Blu-Ray discs of the event available for purchase. A live broadcast and recording of the event will also be shared online for those who are not able to attend the ceremony.

Guests are not allowed to take pictures or videos in front of the stage or the graduate seating area. A designated photography area along the east and west walkways is available to individuals wiht a wristband from their graduate. The morning of commencement, each graduate will be provided a single guest wristband at check-in in the marshaling area; graduates are asked to give their wristband to a designated guest before the ceremony begins.

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End of Ceremony

Graduates should remain standing after the Alma Mater and during the recessional march of the Faculty, Trustees, and Speakers—until the recessional music stops. There is no formal recessional for graduates.

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