Spring Commencement 2023

Congratulations graduates! You made it — and we couldn't be more proud of your accomplishments.

Line of six graduates throw hands and caps toward sky in celebrating Commencement 2022

Here you will find everything you and your family need to know about Spring Commencement 2023, including how to prepare and what to expect on the big day. All events are for graduating graduate and undergraduate students.

Spring Commencement 2023 Events and Deadlines

Thursday, March 16, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. | Fanjeaux Hall Bookstore
Saturday, March 18, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. | Fanjeaux Hall Bookstore

Thursday, April 6, 2023 | Undergraduate Student Awards Guide

Tuesday, May 2, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. | Bertrand Back Patio

Friday, May 5, 2023, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. | President’s Residence, Barowsky House

Friday, May 12, 11:00 a.m. | Angelico Concert Hall

Saturday, May 13, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. | Conlan Recreation Center

Saturday, May 13, 10:00 a.m. | Forest Meadows Field
Followed by lemonade and cookies on the lawn

We are so pleased that Javier Zamora, author of the bestselling new memoir Solito, will deliver our Commencement address this May. Read President Pitchford’s announcement.

Get Ready

Please contact the Office of the Registrar for an application to graduate, graduate readiness notification (audit status), information about collecting special honors medallions and department honors cords, and information about receiving your diploma by mail. Applications were due in November, so if you have not applied yet, please reach out immediately. 

PLEASE NOTE: There have been recent changes in the eligibility to participate in graduation ceremonies.  Visit the Graduating and Degree Auditing page for the current policies and procedures

Nominations are due Thursday, April 6, 2023. Follow the instructions provided in the Undergraduate Student Awards and Recognitions Guide. 

The Bookstore Grad Fair will be held Thursday, March 16, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 18, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 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 the 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. 

Dominican has partnered with Jostens to create graduation announcements and class rings. Jostens will contact you with ordering instructions sometime before mid-March or you can also order/purchase announcements at the Bookstore during the Grad Fair. 

Come to the Bertrand Hall back patio on Tuesday, May 2, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 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 Association with an Alumni welcome gift. 

Each graduating student will receive 6 guest tickets. Persons without a ticket to the event will not be allowed entry to the venue. Graduating students do not themselves need a ticket in order to participate in the ceremony. 

To pick up your tickets you must

  • Bring your student ID. 
  • Have a clear business account (no balance) and have complied with any outstanding issues or missing documents per your degree audit. 

The President’s Reception for Graduating Students will be held on Friday, May 5, 2023, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the President’s Residence.

All graduating students (graduate and undergraduate) are invited to celebrate with President Pitchford, Trustees, and senior administrators. The alumni student awards will be presented during the reception.

The Baccalaureate Mass will be held in Angelico Concert Hall on Friday, May 12, at 11:00 a.m.

Students of all faiths and backgrounds are invited to attend this traditional ceremony honoring the graduates and their families. The ceremony and program are developed by students with support of Campus Ministry.

On the Day

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. – Students Arrive & Gather for Processional 
Come fully dressed in academic regalia (gown, hood, and mortarboard). All students should go to the Conlan Rec Center (main gym) to check-in and receive your name card, which you must keep with you during the ceremony; DO NOT lose your card. If you would like, you may write your name phonetically on your card. Line up according to the school in which you are enrolled. Students do not have to march in alphabetical order, but they do have to march with their 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. The 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 will process from Conlan to the Forest Meadows Field where ushers will provide guidance. 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 along Grand Avenue toward the field. After you enter the venue, please be seated. 

10:00 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. 


  • Arrive at the Conlan Recreation Center between 8:00 am and 9:00 am. 
  • Come fully dressed in academic regalia (gown, hood, and mortarboard) and pick up a card with your name on it at one of four tables, organized by school.
  • Line up according to the school in which you are enrolled. Students do not have to march in alphabetical order, but they do have to march with their school. 
  • When your school is called to receive your diploma, you will hand your card to the speaker, who will read your name as you walk across the stage to collect your diploma. If your name may be difficult to pronounce, please be sure it is written phonetically on your card. 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. Most seating will not have shade. Please remind your guests to be prepared for weather and walking on turf. A live stream 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/comfortable shoes, and wear sunscreen and to bring water if it is warm. 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 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.

Commencement will be live-streamed (audio and video) and radio broadcast by Penguin Radio.

Vendors will open at 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 with alumni swag. Flowers and leis will be sold by a flower vendor. Bottled water will also be available for sale on the plaza. 

We appreciate your cooperation in following our COVID safety measures, which are updated periodically. Currently, masks are optional. Attendees who are sick, having symptoms, or within their isolation period based on a recent COVID+ test, should not attend the event.

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 main campus core and will have to walk from their cars. 

Graduating students should park cars along Magnolia (near the 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 neighborhood as a courtesy to our campus 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.

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. To request accommodations for disabilities and hearing impairments, including ASL interpretation, please contact accessibility@dominican.edu

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 6 tickets for the commencement event. The venue will have enough seating for ticketed guests. 

A professional photographer will be at commencement, 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 (like in 2019) it can be 55° and pouring rain. Remind your guests to dress comfortably for the projected weather.

Because the event is on the grass field, it is wise to wear flat/comfortable shoes. If sun is forecast, bring water to drink and wear sunscreen. If rain is forecast, plan on getting very wet. 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.

Four Points Sheraton | Book here
Embassy Suites | Book directly with the hotel at (415) 499-9222 and provide our corporate number #0560042824

See our visitor guide for area directions and area information. 

If after reviewing this information you have specific questions or need additional information or clarification, please contact the appropriate office/department listed below. Please be sure to read through all of the information as there is a great deal of info – and likely the answer to your question.

  • Academic regalia and accessories
  • personalized Dominican graduation announcements 
  • Memorabilia,
  • Dominican and Alumni apparel and gifts
Campus Bookstore
(415) 485-3213
  • Application to graduate
  • Graduate readiness notification
  • Honors medallions and cords
  • Diploma information
Office of the Registrar
 (415) 458-3750
  • Request for accommodations at commencement
Accessibility and Disability Services
(415) 257-1388
  • Senior speaker
  • Outstanding student award
  • Veritas Cup
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
  • General event questions