Information for Guests

Image of Grads at the Quarry Amphitheater, c/o 2004

Oakes College 2018 Commencement Ceremony will take place on:

Saturday, June 16
10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
UCSC Quarry Amphitheater 

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 in amphitheater style seating. The weather in Santa Cruz, while cool, can become very hot as the day goes on. There is limited shade seating and all guests should bring sun protection, including hats and sunscreen. For guests who are more comfortable viewing the ceremony indoors, the ceremony will be live-streamed in Classroom Unit 2, which neighbors the Quarry Amphitheater.

Shuttles will run continuously from the parking area and drop guests off near to the ceremony site and indoor classroom location. A limited amount of walking will be required to get from the drop off area to the ceremony site. 

It is our inaugural year using the beautifully remodeled Quarry Amphitheater as a venue for UCSC Commencement Ceremonies. Guests who prefer to view the ceremony indoors will be directed to Classroom Unit 2 where the event will be live-streamed. This location will also serve as overflow seating in the unlikely event that the Quarry Amphitheater reaches its seating capacity.


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.

All guests attending the Oakes College Ceremony enter through the West Entrance. Cars displaying an Oakes Commencement parking pass will be directed to our designated ceremony parking 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. 

As each grad will only receive only two parking passes, we recommend that they carpool, bus, or arrange their own transportation prior to their guests arriving. Public transportation is an option available to all guests and graduates. The Santa Cruz Metro will be operating a free city bus to and from campus throughout the day. 

Traffic should be expected. It can take as long as an hour from downtown Santa Cruz to get up to the UCSC campus during peak times. Leaving the campus after ceremonies can take equally long. Please plan accordingly.

Please visit Commencement Parking and Transportation Information for more detailed information.

Disability Services:

Disability Parking:

Each student registered for the Oakes ceremony can pick up their two parking passes from the Oakes College Student Life Office beginning Monday, June 11, 2018. Students may swap out one or both of these event parking permits for a disability lot parking permit (no special request or advance notice is needed).

The only benefit of a disability pass is that the lot is serviced by UCSC vans that have wheelchair-lift capabilities. Please obtain a disability pass only if your guest will benefit because they:

  • Use a wheelchair or electric scooter, or
  • Are physically unable to board the steps up into a campus shuttle, or
  • Will be driving themselves and are unable to walk from a parked car to the parking lot shuttle stop (those that are not driving themselves can be dropped at the internal shuttle stop and wait while the driver parks).

Guests with a regular commencement pass can shuttle from their designated parking area and will disembark in the same location as the vans from disability parking. The wait for a shuttle from the main parking area is significantly shorter than the wait at the disability lot (because there are far more shuttles than disability vans), which is why a disability lot permit should only be acquired in the above circumstances. 

Staff will be available with wheelchairs and electric carts at both the shuttle and van drop-off areas to provide further assistance to seating locations.

Wheelchair accessible seating:

There is a limited amount of wheelchair accessible seating available in the Quarry Amphitheater. Please help us accommodate everyone's needs by: 

  1. Noting in your registration form if you or your guest will need wheelchair accessible seat 
  2. Planning to have no more than 1-2 people accompany a guest in a wheelchair in the accessible seating area
American Sign Language

If you or someone in your party will require sign language interpretation, please have your graduate contact Mary Simms (, 831-459-5619) no later than Friday, May 4. Though we will make every effort, we cannot guarantee assistance if a request is made after May 4, due to the high demand for university-approved interpreters during the commencement season.

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 and balloons will not be allowed in audience seating. 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.

Our official ceremony photographer 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 the photographer within 3 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, have your parking pass displayed on your dashboard. Parking and traffic monitors will be ready to direct you where to park. Shuttles will take you from the parking lot to the Oakes ceremony, or you may choose to walk. There is a limited amount of walking from the shuttle drop-off location to the ceremony site.


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.