FAQ for Guests

Baccalaureate Ceremony: Thursday, May 11th at 5:00 p.m. in Bovard Auditorium

Baccalaureate Dinner: Thursday, May 11th at 6:30 p.m. on Pardee Way

Commencement: Friday, May 12th with ceremony processional at 8:30 a.m. at Alumni Memorial Park and Academic School ceremonies following.


How do I know if my son/daughter is graduating?
Your child will need to check their status with Degree Progress.

Do students have to sign up for Commencement?
There is no sign-up process for participation in the main ceremony. As long as you’re on track to graduate in Fall, Spring or Summer of this academic year, you can march in the main ceremony without any registration process. Individual schools may require registration depending on the space available for guests; please check your school’s page.

When does the graduate need to arrive on campus on Commencement Day?
In order to walk in the Commencement procession, you only need to show up on Friday, May 13 by 8 a.m. to get in line with the other graduates from your school. It is recommended you arrive on campus by 7 a.m. as parking and seating is on a first come, first served basis.

When should guests arrive on Commencement Day?
The procession begins at 8:30 a.m. and the ceremony at 9:00 a.m., but we recommend guests arrive by 7:00 a.m. to secure parking and seating. Those who arrive by 6:00 a.m. will have an easier time parking and finding seating.

Will wheelchairs be available for disabled guests?
Wheelchairs are available for checkout from 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on commencement day only. There is a limited number of wheelchairs available for checkout, free of charge, behind Leavey Library on West 34th Street. If you need a wheelchair on Thursday, or on Friday after 5:00 p.m., you will need to bring your own.

Does USC have any travel recommendations?
STA Travel is the official travel agency for commencement and can be reached at 1 – (800) 495-5832. They have negotiated discounted rates with airlines, hotels and rental cars. We recommend that you contact them early to arrange for your travel needs.

I’m an international student, and I need a letter from USC to invite my parents for Commencement. How can I get it?
Talk to the Office of International Services in the Student Union (STU 300).

What is the Baccalaureate Ceremony? Are all students, families and guests invited to attend?
Baccalaureate is a non-denominational, inter-faith celebration open to all students and their guests. The highlight of the ceremony is a keynote address from a specially selected Baccalaureate speaker, as well as the participation of numerous university dignitaries and the religious directors who work with our student groups. The service itself will feature music and readings from a wide range of religious traditions, and conclude with a benediction over the graduating students. The ceremony begins at 5:00 p.m. in Bovard Auditorium and is a non-ticketed event with seating available on a first come, first served basis. Regalia for students at this ceremony is optional.

A dinner for graduates and their families follows the ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on Pardee Way. Reservations can be made online through this website. Space is limited and last year’s dinner filled to capacity, so we urge you not to delay in making your reservation. This is a pre-paid event, $40 per person, seated in tables of ten. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis.

What is the timeline of the day?
On commencement day, the main procession begins at 8:30 a.m. and the main ceremony at 9:00 a.m., but we recommend guests arrive by 7:00 a.m. to secure parking and seating. Students need to be at their designated assembly place by 8:00 a.m. to line up. Those who arrive by 6:00 a.m. will have an easier time parking and finding seating, which is first come, first served.

Following the main ceremony, there will be many satellite ceremonies taking place at various locations and times around campus. If you will be attending these and/or the school’s receptions, please refer to the Academic School Ceremonies page to determine the times and locations relevant to you and your graduate.

What time should I make lunch/dinner reservations?
Campus dining facilities will be open during Commencement for both sit-down meals and quick snacks if you would like to eat on campus throughout the day. Since satellite ceremonies for each school vary, we cannot advise an exact time appropriate for lunch or dinner reservations. We suggest you to check your students’ school ceremony time to plan your day accordingly. Some graduates will not have time in between the main ceremony and satellite ceremony to have lunch, while others will have a large break until evening ceremonies. We recommend you consider increased travel times due to heavy traffic as well as additional time needed to find parking and seating throughout the entire commencement day when making your plans.

How do I get honor cords?
Honor cords are given out only to undergraduate students who have a minimum 3.5 GPA. You will be contacted from your school’s commencement coordinator or academic advisor if you have received one. They are free of charge.

How do I specify that I graduated with honors in my announcements?
When placing your announcements order through Herff Jones and the USC Bookstore, there will be a dropdown menu to add a line for your level of honors. Honors are based on your overall grade point average. Students must meet these averages, for both USC coursework and on combined transferred and USC coursework. University honors is then determined by either the USC GPA or the combined USC and transfer GPA, whichever is lower. USC GPAs are calculated to the third decimal place, but are never rounded up or down.

3.5 minimum GPA is “cum laude”
3.7 minimum GPA is “magna cum laude”
3.9 and higher GPA is “summa cum laude”

How do I order flowers/lei’s?
Flowers and flower lei’s will be sold on campus at multiple locations on commencement day.

What is the parking situation for Commencement Day?
Please refer to the transit and parking page of this website.