Here you will find everything you and your family need to know about Spring Commencement 2024, including how to prepare and what to expect on the big day. All events are for graduating graduate and undergraduate students.
Events and Deadlines
Nominations are due Thursday, April 4, 2024. Follow the instructions provided in the Undergraduate Student Awards and Recognitions Guide.
The Bookstore Grad Fair will be held Friday, April 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, April 6, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the Fanjeaux Hall Bookstore.
The robes, hoods, caps, cords, medallions, and other accessories worn by students, faculty, and staff comprise “academic regalia.” Review Dominican’s Academic Regalia guide for details on what graduates wear for the Commencement ceremony.
Visit the Dominican Bookstore or Grad Fair to order your academic regalia. The Dominican Bookstore is our official provider of academic regalia (caps & gowns) for the Commencement ceremony. The bookstore provides students the opportunity to view and purchase regalia packages (discounted during Grad Fair), order personalized announcements and/or class jewelry, and enter the bookstore raffle for an opportunity to win prizes. After the Grad Fair students may purchase regalia through the remainder of the term during the Bookstore’s regular hours. Please note that neither the bookstore nor the University provides rental regalia for Commencement.
A professional photographer will be at the Grad Fair providing complimentary LinkedIn headshots in the student union and graduation photos in the courtyard (weather permitting).
Come to the Bertrand Hall back patio on Tuesday, April 30, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., to see friends, enjoy refreshments, and pick up tickets for your Commencement ceremony guests (six tickets per graduating student). Students receiving Latin honors and/or departmental honors will pick up their medallions and cords at this time. You will also meet Alumni Relations, who will welcome you to the Dominican Alumni community with a gift.
The Baccalaureate Mass will be held in St. Catherine Benincasa Chapel, Edgehill Mansion on Friday, May 10, at 11 a.m.
Students of all faiths and backgrounds are invited to attend this ceremony honoring the graduates and their families. The ceremony and program are developed by students with support from Alumni Relations.
On the Day
8 a.m. - 9 a.m. – Students Arrive & Gather for Processional
Come fully dressed in academic regalia (gown, hood, and mortarboard). Wear light clothing under your robes, in case the weather is warm. Go to the Conlan Rec Center (main gym) to check in and receive your name card, which you must carry with you to the ceremony; DO NOT lose your card. If you’d like, you may write your name phonetically on your card. Line up according to the school in which you are enrolled. You do not have to march in alphabetical order, but you do have to march with your school. After check-in, you will remain in the gym until the processional begins.
8:30 a.m. – Commencement Venue Opens to Guests
The ceremony will be outdoors. Gates leading to the Forest Meadows field will be closed until this time, at which point we will allow only those guests with tickets entry to the venue. BE ADVISED: Guests should plan accordingly for hot or inclement weather.
9:30 a.m. – Commencement Procession Leaves Conlan Center
Students process from Conlan to Forest Meadows Field, guided by ushers. The procession of graduating students and faculty will leave Conlan around 9:30 a.m. - with or without you - please do not be late! The procession will travel directly from Conlan to the field. After you enter the venue, please be seated.
10 a.m. – Commencement Ceremony Begins
Once the ceremony begins, students will remain seated until escorted by ushers to the stage. Onstage, you will hand your card to the academic Dean, who will read your name – then you will walk to the center to receive your diploma from President Pitchford. After you exit the stage, an usher will guide you back to your seat. Out of respect for your fellow graduates, please remain seated through the conclusion of the ceremony. The ceremony should last about 90 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Commencement will be held on Forest Meadows field adjacent to the Conlan Recreation Center. The ceremony will be outdoors and open air. Seating will not have shade. Please remind your guests to be prepared for weather and walking on turf. A livestream will be available for guests who cannot attend or who cannot sit outdoors.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m., and will end at approximately 11:30 a.m. Guests should remain seated until the ceremony is finished.
IMPORTANT: The ceremony is outdoors. Guests should dress comfortably, wear flat shoes, apply sunscreen, and bring water. If there is rain in the forecast, guests should bring umbrellas and/or ponchos. Guests who lack the stamina to sit through a long ceremony should consider their health before committing to attend.
This is a ticketed event. Each graduating student will receive up to 6 guest tickets for the Commencement event. Guests without tickets will not be allowed entry to the venue. Lap children 3 years old and younger may attend without a ticket. Graduating students do not themselves need a ticket in order to participate in the ceremony. We encourage your guests to arrive prior to 9:30 a.m. to ensure they find an available seat. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m.
Each graduating student will receive up to six tickets for guests. Unfortunately, we cannot offer tickets in excess of six per student due to limited capacity in the venue and to be fair to all students. The Registrar’s Office will only know if there are extra tickets available after most students have come in to pick-up their tickets. Students may ask about extra tickets at the Registrar’s office between noon and 3 p.m. on the Friday preceding the event or inquire at the information table at Conlan Plaza on the morning of the event. We also encourage students to network with their graduating peers. Often there are students who cannot use all their tickets. Alternatively, loved ones without tickets can tune into the ceremony via the livestream.
If someone else will pick up the tickets, please email firstname.lastname@example.org in advance with your name and the name of the person picking up the tickets.
Commencement will be live-streamed (audio and video).
Vendors will open on Conlan Plaza by 8 a.m. The Campus Bookstore will have a sales booth and be able to help if you forget a piece of your regalia or wish to purchase alumni swag. Flowers and leis will be sold by a flower vendor.
Parking will be difficult. We encourage your guests to carpool or take public transportation. If driving to campus, we recommend budgeting ample time for parking (which is very limited) and walking to the event site. The Conlan Recreation Center lot is closest to the ceremony site, but it will fill up early in the morning. Guests should expect to park along Grand Avenue or within the campus core and walk from their cars.
Graduating students should park cars along Magnolia (near Magnolia House and Caleruega) or in the residence hall lots at Edgehill Village and Fanjeaux Hall so that guests can use the Conlan parking lot.
All other on-campus parking is reserved for staff, faculty, and trustees. We discourage guests from parking in the immediate residential area as a courtesy to our neighbors.
There are limited accessible spaces on the Dominican campus. If you have a guest with mobility needs, we recommend driving the guest to Conlan Recreation Center and then parking your vehicle. Guests with limited mobility should consider a wheelchair, for which special seating will be available in the venue on a first-come, first served basis.
Whereas the pathways leading to the venue are paved, the grass field itself may be challenging for some guests - especially those who use assistive walking devices (cane, walker, etc.). Guests in wheelchairs will be able to access the seating area - but may need assistance in moving across the lawn.
Please complete the Commencement Accommodations Request form if you are a guest or will accompany a guest in need of accommodations.
Please complete the Commencement Accommodations Request form if you are a guest or will accompany a guest in need of an ASL interpreter.
Because of the high demand for sign language interpreters, we must confirm if an interpreter will be needed as soon as possible. Please let us know by March 1 if an interpreter is needed.
We recommend arriving early, especially if your guest requires a seat in our accessible section, as these tend to fill up quite quickly. "Saving" blocks of seats for guests arriving late is not allowed. Each graduating student will receive up to 6 guest tickets for the event. The venue will have enough seating for ticketed guests.
A professional photographer will document the event, shooting candid photographs and photographing students as they cross the stage. Only the official Dominican photographer will be allowed inside the venue to capture the event. We do not allow guests to leave their seats or block aisles to take photos.
We hope all graduating students will participate in Commencement when they become eligible, but it’s not required. If you participate, regalia is required and we ask that you stay through the duration of the ceremony out of respect for other graduates and their families.
Unpredictable! Some years, it can be over 100°, and other years it can be 55° and pouring rain. Remind your guests to prepare accordingly. Because the event is on the grass field, it is wise to wear flat shoes. In case of high temperatures, bring water to drink and wear sunscreen. In case of rain, bring an umbrella and/or poncho. Guests who lack the stamina to sit outdoors through a long ceremony should consider their health before committing to attend.
When you cross the stage, you will receive a diploma cover with a letter inside stating that your diploma will be mailed to you in late summer. Please make sure the Office of the Registrar has your correct (non-campus) mailing address.
Book accommodations (hotels or home-stay sites) as soon as possible. There are often competing events that take place in/around Marin the same weekend as Commencement.
See our visitor guide for area directions and area information.