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Commencement FAQs

Help! I forgot to order my Commencement regalia (cap, gown, hood, etc.)!
If you have not yet ordered your academic regalia (cap, gown, etc.) and plan to participate in Commencement, please contact the bookstore manager Jin Zhang (jzhang@samuelmerritt.edu or 510-869-1504) at your earliest opportunity. All grads MUST have the appropriate academic regalia in order to participate in Commencement.

How do I order my Commencement/Graduation announcements?
Go to https://collegegrad.herffjones.com/index.cfm, select Samuel Merritt University from the drop down list, and follow the prompts to find the announcement for your academic program. Announcements take 2-3 weeks for delivery.

Will my family and friends need tickets for the ceremony? If so, how many tickets will each graduate receive?
No, given the capacity of the venue, the University will not need to issue tickets for guests or limit the number of guests each student may invite to the Commencement ceremonies.

Will there be a rehearsal for the ceremony?
Rehearsals will be held on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at The Paramount Theatre. Rehearsal times and additional information will be posted as the details are finalized.

How long will the ceremony last?
The Doctoral ceremony (9:30 AM) will last approximately an hour and a half to two hours. The ceremony for Masters and Baccalaureate graduates (1:30 PM) will last about two to two and a half hours.

Will there be a professional photographer at Commencement?
Yes. During the ceremony, graduates will be photographed in their regalia while being hooded and/or shaking hands with the President. The photographer may also take informal pictures of the graduates outside the Theatre before and after the ceremony. The photographer will contact graduates directly by email with information on how to view proofs and order pictures.

Where do I find directions to and/or parking information for The Paramount Theatre?
Please click here for directions and parking information on The Paramount Theatre's website.

Is there any information about Commencement I should pass along to my guests?
Please refer your guests to the "Commencement Information for Family and Friends" page.

Are there special arrangements for graduates in wheelchairs or with mobility limitations?
Please contact Veronica Paniagua in the Office of Academic Affairs (vpaniagua@samuelmerritt.edu or 510-869-6744) at least one week prior to Commencement to discuss your needs.

Are there special arrangements for guests in wheelchairs or with mobility limitations?
Contact Veronica Paniagua in the Office of Academic Affairs (vpaniagua@samuelmerritt.edu or 510-869-6744) at least one week prior to Commencement to make arrangements for special seating in the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) section of the venue for guests with disabilities/mobility limitations. Please note that seating in the ADA section of the Theatre is limited and your entire party may not be able to sit there. The guest needing the ADA access will be permitted to have one other member of their party sit with them in the ADA section.

Will there be any kind of reception for graduates and their guests following Commencement?
Due to space and time limitations, the University does not host a reception at the Theatre following Commencement. However, individual academic programs/departments often organize their own reception or party at other venues to celebrate graduation. Please contact your program Dean, Chair or Director to find out if a reception is being planned.

What is the difference between "Graduation" and "Commencement"?
Completion of the academic requirements for a given degree is referred to as Graduation. The celebration marking this achievement is Commencement. Participation in the Commencement ceremony does not guarantee graduation, nor is graduation necessarily a prerequisite for participation in Commencement.

I am not planning to participate in the Commencement ceremony and don't want my academic regalia. Do I still have to pay the "Graduation Fee"?
Yes. The graduation fee, which is charged to all students in their final term at the University, will be assessed even if you do not participate in Commencement. In addition to regalia, the fee covers the cost of other graduation related expenses. Please refer to the "Graduation Procedures" information in the 2013-2014 Catalog and Student Handbook for more details about the graduation fee.