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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are tickets required? Is there any limit on how many people I can invite?
  2. What is the difference between Commencement and the individual diploma ceremonies?
  3. Are there any restricted items and/or security requirements?
  4. Is there an indoor, air-conditioned space on campus to watch the ceremony?
  5. What campus transportation is available during the weekend?
  6. Will the ceremony be viewable online for people who cannot attend?
  7. How do F1 or J1 students obtain a Letter of Invitation?
  8. Where can I order my cap and gown, class ring, diploma frame and graduation announcements?
  9. Where can I find Commencement Information Centers on campus?
  10. What vendors and services will be available at the stadium for the Commencement ceremony?
  11. Where can I find information about lodging?
  12. What are the Gores, Dinkelspiel and Cuthbertson Awards which are given at the Commencement ceremony?
  13. What if it rains?
  14. Will there be a photographer?
  15. How do I obtain a copy of the Commencement speeches?
  16. How do I obtain a copy of the printed program?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you have a question that is not addressed on this website, contact our office.

1. Are tickets required? Is there any limit on how many people I can invite?

Tickets to most events are NOT required and generally there are no limits on the numbers of people individuals can bring. There are exceptions and some events do require an RSVP. Please see below for some weekend events.  

Baccalaureate celebration

No tickets are required, but seating is limited. Please arrive early and allow time to park and walk to the Main Quadrangle.

Commencement ceremony

No tickets are required to attend the main Commencement ceremony and there is no limit to the number of guests you may bring.

Diploma ceremonies

Generally, no tickets are required to attend diploma ceremonies; however, some departments may require tickets or reservations due to the limited capacity of a venue. Please contact your school or department for information about these events.

Senior Dinner on the Quad

This event is exclusively for graduating seniors. Reservations are required.

2. What is the difference between Commencement and the individual diploma ceremonies?

Commencement is the main ceremony in Stanford Stadium where all graduating seniors and advanced degree graduates gather from all schools with their families. This main ceremony includes the procession, President’s address, keynote speaker address and degree conferrals.The ceremony from processional start to recession of the stage members lasts approximately 2 hours. No diplomas are awarded at Commencement.

Diploma ceremonies occur after the main Commencement ceremony and at various locations across the campus. During these individual school and department diploma ceremonies, graduates will walk across the stage and be awarded their diploma. Many ceremonies are followed by a reception.

3. Are there any restricted items and/or security requirements?

Stanford University has implemented a clear bag policy to provide a safer environment for the public and expedite entry into Stanford Stadium for Commencement. Please review the clear bag policy and FAQs prior to attending the ceremony to see a list of accepted and prohibited bags and items. A printable PDF overview is also available to download.

This policy limits the size and types of bags permitted. Items must be carried or fit into a permissible bag. All bags and items are subject to search. Anyone possessing prohibited bags or items will be asked to return them to their vehicle, take them to the complimentary bag check station, or dispose of them in the garbage cans at the gate. Clear bags will also be available at the stadium.

Please note: These policies may also apply to other Commencement related events throughout the weekend. All items are subject to search upon entry to all events held throughout the weekend.  Stanford may prohibit items deemed to be a security or safety risk. These policies are subject to change without notice.

4. Is there an indoor, air-conditioned space on campus to watch the ceremony?

For guests preferring an indoor, air-conditioned venue on campus to view the main Commencement ceremony, a live video simulcast from the stadium will be broadcast inside Maples Pavilion, which is located within walking distance from the stadium and Commencement parking.  Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information regarding security, parking and accessibility, please visit the Maples Pavilion Broadcast page.

5. What campus transportation is available during the weekend?

For those attendees interested in using Caltrain, there will be limited Marguerite shuttle service after the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies.   Much of the campus is closed to vehicle traffic. Please plan early and review your diploma ceremony routes and locations as there is no shuttle service from the stadium to the diploma ceremony sites.  Please see the Parking & Shuttles page for campus shuttle details during the weekend.

6. Will the ceremony be viewable online for people who cannot attend?

Yes, the main Commencement ceremony will be webcast live on this website, and broadcast live on Stanford’s radio station KZSU 90.1FM and on kzsu.stanford.edu. A complete recording of Commencement will be available on Stanford's YouTube channel following the events. Check the main Commencement website for updates on and additional ceremony viewing.

7. How do F1 or J1 students obtain a Letter of Invitation?

The Office of Special Events & Protocol and Bechtel International Center are no longer providing letters of invitation. Instead, students are advised to write their own invitation letters, along with providing supporting documents.  

8. Where can I order my cap and gown, class ring, diploma frame and graduation announcements?

Academic regalia is ordered through the Stanford Bookstore. Order instructions, dates and deadlines will be posted on the Graduates and Faculty pages in winter quarter.

Class rings, diploma frames and graduation announcements can also be ordered through the Stanford Bookstore in early March.

9. Where can I find Commencement Information Centers on campus?

As you make your way from the stadium to individual diploma ceremonies across campus, on Sunday, Commencement Information Centers will be available along the way to help. Locations and hours may be subject to change. Information centers are marked on the map in the back of the program and on this interactive map.

Location

Friday Hours

Saturday Hours

Sunday Hours

Stanford Stadium
Gates: 2, 4, 6 & 7

   

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Maples Pavilion

   

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Stanford Visitor Center
(Galvez & Campus Drive)

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Arrillaga Alumni Center

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sam MacDonald Mall

   

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Main Quadrangle,
Front Steps

   

11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Memorial Way and
Galvez Street

   

11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Serra and Galvez Streets

   

11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Serra and Lasuen Streets

   

11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Hoover Tower Lobby

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

12:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Tresidder Union 2nd floor
(Stanford Ticket Office)

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

   

10. What vendors and services will be available at the stadium for the Commencement ceremony?

A small selection of vendors will be located around the stadium on Sunday until just after the ceremony concludes. Vendor list and locations subject to change.

Flowers for Purchase – Flowers and leis will be available for purchase at gates 2, 4 and 6. You may also arrange flower pickups in advance. More information will be added in the spring quarter.

Stanford Bookstore – The Stanford Bookstore will have a variety of Stanford apparel and more available for purchase at gates 4 and 6, and inside the stadium in sections 108 and 118.

Stanford Daily – Pick up the special Commencement edition of the Stanford Daily at all gates.

Stanford Quad Yearbook – Purchase a copy of the Stanford Quad Yearbook from their tables in front of Gate 2.

Stanford Student Store – This student-run non-profit will be selling Stanford apparel at their tables located in front of gate 2.

Other services:

Bag Check – Complimentary bag check will be located at Cobb Track/Angell Field.

First Aid – A first aid station is located at gate 2.

Lost and Found – The lost and found table is located at gate 2.

Stroller Check – Stroller check will be located outside of gate 3. Strollers are not allowed inside of the stadium.

11. Where can I find information about lodging?

We recommend making reservations early. Links to listings of accommodations in the Bay Area can be found on our lodging page. While there is no official discounted Commencement rate, many hotels in the immediate vicinity may offer a special rate for Stanford visitors.

12. What are the Gores, Dinkelspiel and Cuthbertson Awards given at the Commencement ceremony?

These awards acknowledge excellence in various contributions made by Stanford faculty, students and staff. Visit the Registrar’s Awards page for more information.

13. What if it rains?

The Commencement ceremony is scheduled to occur rain or shine. In the case of severely inclement weather, information will be posted on the Commencement Weekend homepage with further details regarding rain plan locations of events. Ceremony seating in the stadium and Maples Pavilion will be available and the live webcast of the ceremony can be viewed online.  Announcements will be made before the ceremony and as information becomes available should rain be in the forecast. The Stanford University website, Commencement website, and the Stanford radio station KZSU 90.1FM, will all provide information about weather planning and event options.

14. Will there be a photographer?

University communications will have photographers at the Baccalaureate celebration and the main Commencement ceremony. Images will be shared on Stanford social media channels and Stanford News site.

Many school and department diploma ceremonies will have professional photographers on hand to take photos of individual graduates as they are awarded their diplomas. We suggest contacting the school or department for more information and details.

15. How do I obtain a copy of the Commencement speeches?

Links to the recordings of keynote speeches will be available in the weeks following Commencement.

Stanford YouTube – Videos of keynote speeches, as well as highlights of the entire weekend, will be available on Stanford’s YouTube channel.

Stanford Radio – KZSU 90.1 FM, Stanford’s radio station, will provide a live broadcast of the main Commencement ceremony on Sunday.

16. How do I obtain a copy of the printed program?

Printed Commencement programs listing the names of the degree candidates will be available at all main entry gates of the stadium on Sunday. Limited extra copies may be obtained by contacting the Registrar’s Office.