The following describes a general graduation ceremony at the Oviatt Library at California State University Northridge. Look for my other articles on CSUN graduation ceremonies to find tips on how to have a pleasant experience, find good seats, and avoid being yelled at (look for “ten tips”), as well as the who & where: who to look for if you need help and where graduation ceremonies are held.
At the Oviatt
Starting at about fifteen minutes before the processional begins, major walkways are cleared entirely. At this point, if you are on the Oviatt-side (the lawn) of Matador Walk, you will not be able to exit to go to the bathroom, find your relatives, buy flowers, or leave for any reason. You will have to wait until after the processional. If you are on the opposite side of Matador Walk, or inside bleachers, you will not be allowed across to the lawn. Also, the pathway on the East side, behind the bleachers, is blocked off at the time, as it is the area from where the faculty tends to enter. For safety reasons, many areas will be cleared and blocked off at this time.
The processional sees the educators, graduates, and faculty walk enter. After a short speech by the CSUN President, followed by the National Anthem, all pathways are re-opened.
Speeches are made, and awards are given out, and finally all the bachelor and master degree recipients are called down to the stage, with their names called one-by-one, to accept their degrees. They are usually called from two sides of the stage–East and West–and they go in groups of Majors.
Both sides do not call the same Major, usually. So if Psychology begins on the East side, for instance, and then ten names down the line the person on the West side announces that she will begin calling up graduates from the Major of Sociology, it does not mean that everybody from Psychology has been called. Psychology names will still be called on the East, and Sociology will begin to be called from the West. (This is a hypothetical situation–whether Sociology will head West or Psychology East is probably arbitrary–I do not know that information).
Near the end of the commencement, before all the names have been called, the ushers, police, and Matador Patrol will begin clearing the walkways again. At this point, you will not be able to leave your seat if you are on the Oviatt Lawn–if you are allowed to, you won’t be able to get back.
After the graduates have all been called, some more speeches are made, the CSUN President instructs graduates to move their tassels to the left side, the CSUN Alma Mater “Hail to the Matadors” is performed, and the faculty, educators, and graduates walk back out. As the graduates are exiting, that is when the walkways are usually re-opened so you can go meet your graduate!