Information for Guests

The Oakes College 2017 Commencement Ceremony will take place on:

Saturday, June 17, 2017
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Lower West Field (a.k.a. Oakes Lower Lawn)

Congratulations to those who are participating in the Oakes Commencement Ceremony! Our ceremony takes place on Saturday afternoon of Commencement Weekend here at UCSC. We are proud to host our ceremony on the West Field, within Oakes College itself. Our ceremony, as with all commencement ceremonies on the UCSC campus, is outdoors. We will feature a keynote speaker, one or two student speakers, and the awarding of ceremonial scrolls. Part of the Oakes Commencement tradition is that students write a short personal statement that is read as they walk across the stage. 

Information for Graduates:

Please review our detailed 8-step guide to register for Commencement. This is a very proud and celebratory moment in your college career. Carefully reviewing this guide and all commencement related emails will help you and your guests to best enjoy the ceremony. 

Information for Guests:

Congratulations! We recognize that this is a fantastic occasion for you to see your student acheive a milestone in their lives. Below are some things to keep in mind as you start planning your participation at your student's commencement ceremony.

Ceremony Site:

Our ceremony is held outdoors on a grass field overlooking the Monterey Bay. The weather in Santa Cruz, while cool, can become very hot as the day goes on. There are no steps but a limited amount of walking will be required to get from the parking lot to the ceremony site and there will be uphill slope from the ceremony site to the shuttle pick up area. There is limited shade seating at the rear of the audience available on a first-come, first-served basis. All guests should bring sun protection, including hats and sunscreen.


Tickets are not issued to attend the commencement ceremony and there is no limit on the number of guests. However, every graduate participant will be issued only two parking passes. Cars displaying an Oakes Commencement parking pass will be directed to the Core West Parking Structure or the next available lot. Guests may shuttle (or walk) from there to the ceremony site. Cars without an Oakes Commencement parking pass will not be allowed to park on campus. 

Graduating students who have registered for the commencement ceremony may pick up their two parking passes between June 12 and June 16. If a student has registered for disability parking, they may exchange one (or both) of their standard commencement parking passes with a pass for the disability parking lot, as needed.

We recommend that your graduate be dropped off or arrange their own transportation prior to their guests arriving. Guests may try to carpool or make multiple trips to accommodate the parking situation. Public transportation is also an option and the Santa Cruz Metro will be operating a free city bus to and from campus throughout the day. 

For more information on Parking and Transportation at UC Santa Cruz on Commencement Day, visit:

Disability Services:

Cars displaying an Oakes Commencement Disability Parking Permit will be directed to West Remote Parking Lot. From there, a van with wheelchair-lift capabilities will be available to transport small groups to the commencement site. Guests wishing assistance upon drop-off may visit the attendant at the tent marked "Disability Support" near the shuttle/van drop; the attendant will have a wheelchair available. The wheelchairs are available only to transport guests to/from the seating area and/or restroom and cannot be left with any one guest (it is needed to support all attendees). Please identify a person in your group who will be able to assist the wheelchair down a sloped hill and across the lawn to your seating. 

If your guest will need use of a wheelchair for more than transport to/from the seating area, they should arrive with their own wheelchair. Wheelchairs may be available for rent from local pharmacies. Restrooms are ~150 yards from the audience seating area.

UCSC's "No Pet" Policy:

Please note that UCSC has a "no pet" policy that is strictly enforced. (Animals utilized for disability accommodation as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act are allowed.) If you enter campus with a pet, you will be asked to leave. There are several "pet hotels" in Santa Cruz County equipped to board your pets; please check local listings. Thank you!

Print Program

To reduce waste, one program will be provided to each party of five or fewer. If your party would like more for keepsake, rest assured that many programs are left at the ceremony site following the event. 

Your Comfort and Safety

  • wear light-colored clothing, but layers may be appreciated
  • wear comfortable, flat shoes
  • wear a hat with a brim that will provide shade
  • drink plenty of water 
  • use sunscreen

For the comfort and safety of all guests, please keep aisles clear of tripods, strollers, walkers and other items. Air horns and other noisemakers are not permitted, nor are aerial drones. Because of visibility issues, umbrellas may not be used for shade during the ceremony unless you are seated in the last row of the audience or standing to the side/behind other guests. 

Thank you for your cooperation.


We ask that throughout the ceremony, guests stay clear of aisles and the stage for the safety and comfort of all attendees.

GradImages is the official photographer for our ceremony and will take photos of each student participant. Students will have an opportunity, when registering to be in the event, to provide their contact info. These students will receive free proofs via email from GradImages within 5 days after the event.


From Hwy. 17/ Hwy. 1 Northbound
Follow signs for "Hwy. 1 North/Half Moon Bay". This section of Hwy. 1 becomes Mission St., a city street. Turn right on Bay Street (there is a directional sign and a traffic signal), up the hill to UCSC.

From Hwy. 1 Southbound
Hwy. 1 becomes Mission St. as you enter town. Turn left on Bay Street at the signal, up the hill to UCSC.

At the UCSC entrance, follow the signs to WEST and OAKES. You will be parking in the West Remote Parking Lot. The ceremony will be held on the West Field. Shuttles will take you to and from the Oakes ceremony and reception, or you may choose to walk.


It's never too early too start planning for your out of town guests (including off-campus pet care). Visit the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council at for travel information.