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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to commonly asked questions about the June commencement event and surrounding activities can be found below.

Still have questions? Contact the offices supporting commencement.

Commencement information will be distributed to students eligible to graduate via email communications and on commencement.caltech.edu beginning mid-March 2022. This will include reservation instructions for the President's Garden reception, Senior Banquet and post-Commencement Luncheon. As with seating at the ceremony, there are no restrictions on the number of guests a student may bring.

Printed commencement invitations will be mailed to students in mid-April. Each student will receive two invitations. All email communications sent to graduating students will also be published to the News and Announcements page of the commencement website.

Please contact the Commencement Office at commencement@caltech.edu with questions about commencement events and activities. Questions related to completion of degree requirement and eligibility to graduate should be directed to the Registrar's Office.

Caltech's 128th Commencement event will follow the Institute's guidelines for on-campus events.

GradImages is available to take graduate and family photos in April at the annual Grad Fair, and on campus, both in the assembly area and at the President's Reception, the day before the ceremony. To view the proofs of these images and order proofs, go to www.gradimages.com and enter the graduate's last name, "California Institute of Technology," and the graduation year in the search fields.

GradImages takes photos of each graduate receiving his or her degree during the ceremony. To view the proofs of these images and order proofs, go to www.gradimages.com and enter the graduate's last name, "California Institute of Technology," and the graduation year in the search fields.

The ceremony will be livestreamed on Caltech's Commencement website beginning shortly before 10:00 a.m. PST on commencement day. That afternoon, going to that same URL will allow you to view a recording of the ceremony. Within a day or so, Caltech's commencement ceremony will be featured on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/caltech

We often receive calls about what type of clothing to wear for each event or how to dress for the weather. The important thing is that you feel comfortable. Below is suggested attire.

Thursday: Graduate Studies Luncheon, President's Reception, Senior Banquet and Student Concert

Cocktail attire is appropriate. A nice pant suit, cocktail dress or skirt, for example. A suit and tie is not required, but a sport coat and nice slacks is appropriate. The reception is held on a lawn, so you may want to wear comfortable shoes. You may wish to bring a sweater or jacket, as some of the banquet seating is outdoors and evening temperatures may drop.

Friday: Commencement Exercises and Luncheon

Graduating Students
Wear your cap and gown to the ceremony as well as any cords or hoods you have received. It is a good idea to iron the gown beforehand; wear the tassel on the left. You may want to bring bobby pins to secure your cap.

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.

Note: Purses, flowers, water bottles, laptops, backpacks or other large items may not be carried by graduates during commencement. Please make arrangements for someone to hold these items for you or leave them at the information booth which will be located at the south end of the Beckman mall. A water bottle and program will be under your seat.

Parents and Guests
As these events are held outdoors on the lawn, keep in mind both the sun and the changing temperature when selecting your attire. You may also want to wear shoes appropriate for walking on grass. It may be chilly in the morning and then very warm in the direct sunlight toward the afternoon. Layering, sunblock, and hats are all good choices.

The weather is almost always sunny and warm to very warm for commencement with the exception of the early morning and evening hours, which can be chilly. To check the forecast in advance, visit www.weather.com and use the campus zip code 91125.

You do not need tickets to attend the June 10 commencement ceremony, Caltech is pleased to accommodate all parents and guests of graduates for the ceremony. Seating in chairs on the lawn is provided on a first-come, first-served basis (there is no reserved guest seating). Any number of guests can also be accommodated at the various commencement celebrations; reservations are required.

Specific information for guests with accessibility needs can be found at the Visitors page on this site. For all the events listed, arrangements for persons using wheelchairs, for those who are hearing or sight impaired, or for those who have other accessibility needs may be made by contacting commencement@caltech.edu.

Special services—such as large-type programs, American Sign Language interpreters, and assistive listening devices—will be available. The large-type programs can be found at the information booth on the south side of Beckman Mall.

Please note that only one person may accompany the guest requiring accessible seating.

Yes, if reserved in advance, Caltech is happy to offer alternate menu options for these events. Simply indicate your dietary requirements or restrictions when making reservations.

Parking is available in lots and structures throughout the campus. As a courtesy, the Caltech Parking Office will not be charging for guest parking on commencement day. The two-hour parking limit on surface streets surrounding campus will also be lifted that day. More detailed information, including a parking map, is available on the Visitors page.

There are many fine restaurants for lunch and dinner within walking distance of campus along the South Lake Avenue shopping district or near Old Town Pasadena.

Hotels with discounted Caltech Commencement rates can be found on our Visitors page. You must ask for the Caltech commencement rate when you book your stay at one of these hotels. Several of these hotels offer shuttle service around the Pasadena area. Inquire about shuttle availability when checking in to the hotel.

The city of Pasadena is a beautiful destination, and there are several on-line sites that provide information on transportation, accommodations, attractions, weather, and more.

Planning a Visit to Pasadena

City of Pasadena on the web

Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Caltech Store is the source. You may order graduation announcements, class rings, diploma frames through the Caltech Store. Regalia may be purchased online March 17 through April 17. All graduating students are encouraged to attend the Grad Fair on April 13 in front of the Caltech Store, where diploma frames, Caltech rings and more will be available for purchase.

Flowers have been available for purchase from The Commencement Group. You can pre-order and pick up your bouquet on site at the Information tent before the ceremony begins. As a reminder, students cannot process with a bouquet, but you will have the opportunity to present the gift following the ceremony.

Flowers will also be available for sale at the ceremony at the same prices, but the availability of colors and size of bouquets cannot be guaranteed.

No, there are no limits. Caltech is pleased to provide ample space for you to celebrate your graduation with your friends and family. Any number of guests can be accommodated for the Graduate Studies Luncheon, President's Reception, Senior Banquet, Student Concert, and post-Commencement Luncheon. Reservations for these events open on April1 15.

Caltech Alumni Association (CAA) counts every Caltech graduate as a member. Through CAA, you can request a Caltech email address to use long after graduation, find professional and personal connections around the world using the Alumni Portal, take 15 percent off on many items at the Caltech Store, receive Techer alumni magazine and e-news, and attend special events including Seminar Day, Reunions, and In Conversation with Distinguished Alumni. Contact the Caltech Alumni Association for information.

As a graduate, you are also eligible to apply for membership to Caltech's Faculty Club, the Athenaeum. Visit its website for an application form and more information.

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Image of students at Commencement.
students at Commencement with confetti