General information

Commencement Guide – 2017
Saturday, June 17, 10 a.m., Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center

Commencement 2017 WILL TAKE PLACE on June 17

All students receiving a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) in March, June, September or December 2017 are invited to participate in the June 2017 Commencement Ceremony.


Description 2017 Deadlines at 11:59 p.m. (unless otherwise noted)
Pre-Order cap and gown for delivery to GSM March 1 – April 16

Candidacy form due for June degree completion MBA

March 20
Sullivan/Smiley Awards Nominations due March 29
Student speaker selection deadline April 10
Sign-up to participate in the commencement ceremony: includes ticket allotment and lists your name in the program April 14
Candidacy form due for September MBA  degree completion (diploma) May 17
Cap and gown pick-up at GSM locations for candidates who ordered by bookstore deadline Early June (specific dates and times at locations updated the last week in May)
Student select hooder(s) – maximum of 2. Students to provide hooding instructions to hooders from GSM website.

June 16

Rehearsal and Ceremony

Description 2017 Deadline at 11:59 p.m. (unless otherwise noted)
Rehearsal, Mondavi Center June 16, 11 a.m. – noon
New Alumni Welcome, Gallagher Hall (RSVP by June 9) June 16, noon – 1:30 p.m.
GSM Commencement Ceremony, Mondavi Center June 17, 10 a.m.
Arrive for class pictures (graduates ONLY) June 17, 7:45 a.m.
Doors to Mondavi Center open (for guests) June 17, 9 a.m.
Graduates processional line-up (Studio Theater) June 17, 9 a.m.
Commencement start time June 17, 10 a.m. *Guests will not be seated 5 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony and during the processional.*
Commencement end time June 17, 12:30 p.m. (approximate)
GSM Reception (graduates and guests welcome) June 17, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. (time approximate when ceremony concludes)
GSM hood return (Mondavi lobby), bookstore gown return (Mondavi lobby) June 17 post-ceremony by 1:30 p.m.



Academic Dress

Graduates must wear appropriate apparel to participate in the commencement ceremony.

Cap and gown rentals will start on March 1. Click here to order your cap and gown.

To ensure the items are delivered to the GSM, order the cap and gown no later than April 16. If you miss this deadline, you can pick up the cap and gown at the UCD bookstore.

Academic Dress | How to Wear

The cap is worn with the long point of the shell to the rear. The tassel is worn to the left signifying the possession of an academic degree. However, when crossing the stage, wear tassel to the right for photographic purposes.

Master’s gowns are designed with an oblong sleeve, open at the wrist. Sleeves are not meant to store personal belongings (cell phones, wallets, etc.). Gown may be worn open or closed.

During the ceremony, a person of the candidate’s choice (“hooder”) will come on stage with their candidate to place hood on candidate’s shoulders. Hoods will be placed over decorative leis.

The GSM is a professional school, and previous student feedback confirms that the dignity of the ceremony is important. We therefore ask you to refrain from the undergraduate practice of hat/gown embellishment.

Academic Dress | Hoods

The master’s “hood” is actually a drape that lies over the shoulders and down the back. The color combination of the hood designates the degree and the institution.

Hoods for the ceremony are provided and owned by the GSM. You do NOT need to pre-order a hood.  

All hoods are property of the GSM and must be returned to the staff at the reception. A charge of $200 + tax will be applied if a hood is not returned to the GSM, and diplomas will be withheld until the hood is received.

Attire for Candidates

Clothing should be comfortable and light. Gowns are warm and the June weather in Davis is warm.

For men, coats are not necessary but a shirt and tie improve the appearance of the gown.

Shoes should be comfortable and appropriate for walking up and down stairs/risers (class pictures, processional, ceremony and recessional).

Accommodations/Visitor Link

Please encourage out-of-town guests to make reservations for accommodations early, especially if a Davis hotel is preferred. During commencement season, local hotels fill-up fast.  

Davis is located in Yolo County.  Please see the Yolo County Business Assocation for a listing of local and nearby hotels, restaurants and more. Davis Wiki is a great resource to find local restaurants and entertainment.

Admission to Ceremony

Guest Ticket Details

Each student may reserve four tickets by signing-up to participate in the ceremony by April 14. All guests, including infants, must have a ticket to enter the Mondavi Center.

Guest tickets will be distributed directly to students in June when students pick-up their cap and gown. Tickets are not available to the general public and can only be obtained from a graduating student.

There is no “Will Call” at the Mondavi Center for GSM commencement. Students should distribute tickets to their guests prior to the morning of the ceremony.

Guest Access to Mondavi Center

The Mondavi Center lobby will open at 9 a.m. for guests to be seated. No restroom facilities are available until the doors open. Doors to Jackson Hall, where the ceremony takes place, open at 9:30 a.m. for seating.

Only graduates will be permitted to enter the Mondavi Center prior to 9 a.m.

We strongly recommend that graduates drive separately from their guests so guests do not have to wait outside until 9 a.m., when the doors open.

The procession will begin at 10 a.m. SHARP. Guests will not be seated five minutes prior to the ceremony or during the processional.

We expect the ceremony to last approximately 2½ hours.


The GSM 2017 End-of-the-Year Award Ceremony will take place on Sunday, June 4, at 1 p.m. Logistical details coming soon.

Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society

Beta Gamma Sigma is an international honor society recognizing the outstanding academic achievements of students enrolled in collegiate business and management programs accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business International.

For over 100 years Beta Gamma Sigma has recognized outstanding academic preparation for a career in business.

The purpose is to recognize and celebrate recent inductees from the Graduate School of Management who will join an assembly of talented business professionals.

GSMAA Student Fellowship Awards

This award program is sponsored by the GSM Alumni Association board of directors and recognizes students who are outstanding leaders and contributors to the GSM community. Fellows are nominated by their peers as well as GSM staff and faculty. One student from each of the four GSM programs will be recognized for their leadership as a student, commitment to “give back” to fellow students and the School, and desire to advance and promote the School’s excellence.

Dean’s Awards

The Dean’s Awards were established by the GSM faculty to recognize outstanding academic achievement.

MBA Richard C. Dorf Award for Academic Excellence (recipient from each location): The MBA awards are endowed by Professor and Mrs. Richard Dorf.

Master of Professional Accountancy:  Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence.

Awards Based on Nominations

Students are in the best position to nominate one of their peers for their service, dedication and leadership acumen.

Please submit your nominations and votes starting March 1. Click here.

James F. Sullivan Award (service)

The James F. Sullivan Award is given to a graduating MBA student who has made a significant contribution to the Graduate School of Management, the UC Davis campus and/or the community during their tenure here. The award recognizes the importance of a student who balances many other commitments in addition to academics and yet gives back to the campus or community.

Robert H. Smiley Leadership Award

The Robert H. Smiley Leadership Award is given in recognition of a MBA student (one each from Full-Time Day, Sacramento and Bay Area programs) who has shown outstanding leadership in activities and enterprises that the individual has been involved in since becoming a student at the GSM. This student has shown leadership and initiative in starting new programs or taking existing programs to new and improved levels of operation and success.

Awards Based on Votes

Teacher of the Year Award

Graduating students in the MBA and MPAc programs may recognize a faculty member who most inspired them during their time at the Graduate School of Management. Please nominate the professor of your choice and provide the reason for your nomination.

NOTE: The past two years’ recipients of this award are not eligible to be nominated this year.

Submission of nominations coming soon.

Cap and Gown Rental, Grad Packs, Invitations and Announcements

Pre-order for GSM Delivery Cap and Gown Rental: March 1  – April 16

Students are responsible for ordering their cap and gown from the UC Davis Bookstore. Deadlines are set by the Bookstore and the GSM cannot change them.

On the gown rental site, first choose your degree. Please note that there are three MBA options for the three geographic program locations, as well as MPAc. Please choose your program so that your gown will be delivered to the appropriate location.

Do not pre-order a master’s hood. The GSM provides hoods at the ceremony.

An early-bird rental cost of $56 for the cap and gown is applied until April 16. Orders placed after the deadline of April 16 have an increased cost of $71. Prices will change based on when the cap and gowns are ordered. Discounted gown rental is included in any Grad Pack, but you do not have to purchase the entire pack. For more information on Grad Pack pricing click here. (The GSM will provide a padded diploma cover to all commencement participants). The À la carte regalia rental includes the cap, gown and tassel only.

Students who meet the early bird deadline will have their academic attire (and Grad Packs, if ordered) delivered directly to the GSM. Student Services will announce pick-up times for your location (typically the first week in June). Ticket distribution will happen at the same time.

Students who do not meet the early bird deadline must pick up their attire on the UC Davis campus at dates/times/locations published by the bookstore. GSM staff cannot pick up attire for students.

Academic dress will not be available for rental at rehearsal or at the ceremony.

More information about purchasing regalia can be found on the Commencement website.

Gown and Hood Return

We will have gown and hood return tables at the reception in the Mondavi Center lobby following the ceremony.

Return gowns to the Bookstore table.

Return hoods to the GSM table.

NOTE: All hoods are property of the GSM and must be returned at the reception. A charge of $200 + tax will be applied if the hood is not returned to the GSM, and diplomas will not be released.

Cap/tassel are for graduates to keep.

Late Fee: Gowns not returned either at the ceremony or to UC Davis stores by the Monday following the ceremony will be assessed a daily late charge beginning the following Tuesday. This is bookstore policy and the GSM cannot reduce or remove this fee.

Grad Packs

You can order your cap and gown, grad packs and announcements online here.

Personalized Invitations and Announcements

Personalized commencement invitations are available for purchase at the UC Davis Bookstore and can be ordered as part of the Grad Pack. 

Purchasing a Hood

If you anticipate participating in future academic events, hoods are available for purchase at the UC Davis Bookstore for approximately $200 + tax. Allow 8-10 weeks for delivery.

Candidacy Process (Filing to Graduate)

Filing for candidacy is a separate process from “participating” in commencement. Every student must file a Candidacy Form by the posted deadline for the university to issue a diploma.  Use the links provided below for candidacy details and deadlines.

For additional information regarding receiving the diploma, see the section Diplomas.

MBA Candidacy Instructions and Forms

MPAc Candidacy Instructions and Forms

Ceremony Details for GRADUATES

For more information on general admission, see Admission to the Ceremony (Guest Ticket Details)

Arrival Time

7:45 a.m.  To be in your class (group) picture, please arrive, in academic dress, by 7:45 a.m. in Jackson Hall of Mondavi Center.

9 a.m.  Students who do not wish to be included in the class picture may arrive at 9 a.m. and proceed directly to the Mondavi Center, Vanderhoef Studio Theater.

Assembly of Candidates

9:00 a.m.  Candidates assemble in academic dress in the Vanderhoef Studio Theater. This is important as we need accurate count of candidates in ceremony (to determine correct number of seats on stage) and candidates must complete photography/hooder information cards.

Staff will instruct you on how to line up. LISTEN to them.

Once in line, you will be given a card which is used during the ceremony to announce your name and that of your hooder and is then provided to the professional photographer after the ceremony so you receive your graduation pictures.

WRITE LEGIBLY!  PRINT your name and the name(s) of your hooder(s).  If you think the name(s) may be difficult to pronounce, PRINT the name phonetically so it can be easily read. The associate dean needs to be able to read this on stage AND the professional photographer will use this to provide your proofs. 

There will be no storage for personal items. Do not bring purses, backpacks, cameras, etc. 

Your guests will not be allowed into the Vanderhoef Studio Theater before the ceremony.


The order of the procession: faculty marshal, candidates, faculty, stage party.

Candidates line-up in two lines. Stand behind or in front of whomever you wish to sit with. 

However, keep in mind that class speakers will  be at the end of the procession lines and MPAc students will be at the front of the procession lines.

All candidates will be seated on stage.

The only thing students should have with them during the ceremony is the photographer/hooder card. Programs will be on the chairs that are on stage.

The procession will begin at 10 a.m. SHARP. Guests will not be seated 5 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony or during the processional.

Addresses by campus officiant, GSM dean, student speakers and commencement speaker will commence.

Conferring of Degrees

At the appropriate time in the program, the marshal asks candidates to rise for the degree to be conferred. After the degree is conferred, ushers direct candidates by rows (one row at a time) to come forward.


Candidates are directed off stage by rows to prepare for hooding back stage. At that time, the candidate’s hooder(s) should proceed back stage to meet their candidate. Safety concerns and limited back stage space restricts the number of family/friends participating to no more than two.

Please respect the dignity of the ceremony and your fellow graduates by remaining quiet back stage.

Candidate and hooder(s) proceed to stage. Candidate presents photographer/hooder card to the associate dean to announce the candidate’s name and that of the hooder(s).

Hooder is handed hood and simply places it over the shoulders of the candidate.

Once hooded, candidate crosses stage to shake hands with the dean and the provost, and continues off-stage for their graduation portrait. Hooder exits stage (staff will direct) and returns to seat.

Ceremony Conclusion

Once all candidates have been hooded and are on the risers, there are a few short remarks and the ceremony is over.


Order of recessional: stage party, faculty and graduates.

Audience members should remain in their seats until the recessional has exited Jackson Hall.

For more information on photography during the ceremony, see Photographs.

Ceremony LIVe stream

A live stream will be available through ATS/Mediaworks for individuals who would like to view the commencement but are unable to attend in person. Following the live stream, the content will also be archived on the same website. To click into the live stream go here. On the left hand navigation column look for Spring Commencement – Graduate School of Management.

Commencement Speaker

Kat Taylor, co-founder and co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank


Commencement is a time to celebrate and enjoy your achievement. It is also a time to reflect on that achievement and to acknowledge the help and support provided by family, friends, faculty and staff. Please honor the spirit of this important occasion by conducting yourself in a manner that is respectful of your guests and the guests of others, of your fellow graduates and of yourself.

Any student perceived as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be detained or removed from the ceremony by staff and/or security for further investigation.

All graduates and guests are expected to be polite and respectful to all staff, GSM and Mondavi.  (It is unfortunate that we have to mention this, but based on conduct during past ceremonies, it is necessary.)

Any guest that becomes unruly or too noisy will be asked to leave Jackson Hall so other guests may enjoy the ceremony.


Diplomas are available 18-20 weeks after the end of the quarter in which you completed your degree requirements.

Diplomas are disbursed only through the Office of the University Registrar (not the GSM). You can pick up your diploma or request that your diploma be mailed by completing a Diploma Mailing form (PDF) and submitting directly to the Office of the University Registrar (not the GSM).

A certificate commemorating the ceremony is presented to each participant at Commencement.  

Full-Time MBA students MUST complete the Career Development Employment Survey in order for diploma to be released.

Employment Survey (Full-time MBA students & MPAc only)

Each graduating Full-Time and MPAc student must complete an Employment Survey for Career Development (part-time students will be asked to complete a survey three months post-graduation via email). Information is confidential. This information has a significant impact on our rankings and your thoroughness and cooperation are appreciated.

Questions about the survey? Make an appointment to meet with Career Development prior to June 11, 2017.

  • Complete the survey no later than June 11.
  • Your Class of 2017 Employment Survey is accessible in GTS under My Profile>>Add/Edit Offers.


If you would like to purchase flowers for a graduate, vendors will have booths outside of the Mondavi Center prior to the ceremony, or you may pre-order flowers here.

Balloons are not allowed inside Jackson Hall where the ceremony takes place.

Hooding and Selecting a “Hooder”

Who can be a hooder?

Candidates may be “hooded” by up to two people of their choice.  Students should select their Hooder prior to the day of the ceremony.

In selecting a hooder, it needs to be someone:

  • who can walk from their seat in Jackson Hall, up and down a small number of stairs and short walk across the stage. (If your hooder needs assistance, another person must be ready to provide that assistance. GSM staff will be in assigned positions and are not available to assist.)
  • who can see the stage to determine when the student’s row exits the stage for hooding.

How many hooders can I have?

Safety concerns and limited back stage space restricts the number of family/friends participating to no more than two.

Where should hooders sit in Jackson Hall?

Candidates will be visible from every seat in Jackson Hall.  Candidates exit the stage one row at a time and are directed back stage to prepare for hooding. Hooders should watch for their as each row is sent forward exits the stage. There will be plenty of time for your hooder to join you in line and your hooder should not be anxious about finding you.

When should a hooder leave their seat for back stage?

Hooders should not leave their seat in the hall until their candidate exits the stage. If you are not back stage, hooders will be asked to return to their seats.

What happens back stage?

Staff will be there to make sure candidates and hooders find one another.

Be quiet while you are in line waiting your turn to go up on stage. Please respect the dignity of the ceremony.


Candidate and hooder will proceed on stage.

Candidate presents hood card/photographer to the announcer to who will state your name and that of your hooder.

Hooder is handed the hood and simply places it over the shoulders of the candidate.

Conclusion of Hooding

Once hooded, candidate crosses stage to shake hands with the dean and the provost, and continues off stage for a formal graduation portrait before returning to the risers to be seated.

Hooder exits the stage at the direction of staff and return to their seat.

New Alumni Welcome Event – June 16, 2017, Time: NOON p.m. – 2 p.m., Gallagher Hall Foyer

  • This celebratory event is to welcome 2017 graduates into the GSM Alumni Association. Appetizers and refreshments will be served.
  • This event is an opportunity to meet fellow graduates from all programs.
  • This event is limited to graduating students, select staff, faculty and GSMAA board members and selection committee.
  • No guests please.
  • Reservations are required to attend.

RSVP by June 9.

Join the Cal Aggie Alumni Association (CAAA)

The Cal Aggie Alumni Association (CAAA) offers a lifetime membership of $425 if paid in full during the first five months following graduation. After that time period the price increases to $850. Become a lifetime Aggie today!


Parking is free. The GSM’s designated commencement parking lot is the multi-level parking structure by Mondavi Center. Handicapped parking spaces are available inside the parking structure. Map

Important Information: Directional signs reading “ARC Commencement Parking” will be placed at all entrances to the campus to direct traffic to the Recreation Hall for Commencement ceremonies at 9:00 a.m. on June 17. These directional signs are NOT for OUR commencement! Make your GSM guests aware that they should follow signs for “Mondavi Commencements.”


Professional photographers are taking class photos prior to the ceremony, individual photographs of each candidate as they are hooded and a graduation portrait.

Pre-Ceremony Pictures

Students must be at Mondavi at 7:45 a.m. in order to be included in the class picture. Pictures will be taken on time.  There is no time to accommodate candidates arriving late. (If you expect to be hungry between your arrival time and the post- ceremony reception, you may bring a snack to consume prior to the start of the ceremony. Water will be provided.) Enter through the back door for pictures (only candidates will be admitted during this time). 

Do not bring any additional items with you as there is no personal storage available.

7:45 – 9 a.m.  Pictures are taken. Do not leave after your class picture since the final photo will be an all Student Class of 2017 Picture. At the conclusion of pictures, students exit to Vanderhoef Studio Theater to prepare for the processional.

Ceremony Pictures – Hooding and Portrait  

Please respect the dignity of the ceremony. Family and friends wishing to take photographs of candidates are requested to do so either from their seats or before and after ceremony. It is disruptive to have numerous people rushing the stage during hooding. If a guest taking pictures moves to a location where the view of other guests is blocked, they will be asked to move immediately.

Professional photographers will take individual photographs of each candidate as they are hooded and a portrait off-stage before returning to risers to be seated for remainder of ceremony.

Important advice!  For photographic purposes, wear your tassel to the right when you are on stage. Many photographs are undeliverable due to hair or tassels blocking the face. Hair should be styled or placed over the shoulders so it will not block the face from the camera’s view when proceeding across the stage.

GradImages® is the official photographer for commencement. Graduate proofs will be available after the ceremony. To view your proofs online, please click here.

  • Enter your Last Name and select 2017 from the drop down menu. Once you see your name, click on the link to view your photos.
  • Pictures may be ordered online, by phone, or by mail. If you have any questions please contact Customer Service at (800) 261-2576 or at
  • Pre-register with GradImages by clicking here. Choose Pre-Event Registration at the bottom of the page. This provides the most correct and up-to-date contact information and ensures the delivery of graduation proofs in a timely manner. You may register your email and up to six emails of loved ones who would like to share in your accomplishment by viewing and ordering photos.

Or, Contact Your Program Manager

Frances Lessman, Sacramento MBA Program Manager

Crissy Lyles, Program Manager, Master of Professional Accountancy

Jacqueline Romo, Assistant Director for the Full-time MBA Program & MBA Program Manager

Eva Zhang, Bay Area MBA Program Manager

Reception (after Ceremony)

Graduates, family, friends, staff and faculty are invited to a reception of light refreshments immediately after the ceremony in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center.

If you have a family party or lunch reservations, we invite you and your guests to attend the reception for a short time prior to departing.

Gowns and hoods should be returned at the reception.

Rehearsal – June 16, 2017, 11 a.m. – NOON, Mondavi Center

Please add this event to your personal calendar (link coming soon).

You are strongly encouraged to attend and do not need academic dress at rehearsal.

Candidates will be briefed on the entire ceremony including walking through the processional and practicing hooding.  Candidates will be more at ease on Saturday morning if they attend rehearsal.

Hooders do not need to be present at rehearsal.

NOTE: The Office of Student Services will be closed Friday.

Special Accommodations

Guests with mobility issues, may be dropped off directly in front of the Mondavi Center and wheelchair access is available. 

For guests with limited/no hearing, assisted listening devices are available to check out at the patron’s services desk located in the lobby. A driver’s license or credit card is required as security until the device is returned.

Student Speakers – Deadline April 10

ASM, Dean’s Student Advisory Councils and MPAc students are responsible for coordinating student speaker selections for their respective programs. April 10 is the deadline for student speakers to be selected and names submitted to Student and Academic Services.

Student Participation in Ceremony and Reserving Tickets – Deadline April 14.

Commencement participation sign-up here.

All students receiving a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) in March, June, September or December 2017 are eligible to participate in the June 2017 Commencement Ceremony.

All students who wish to participate in the ceremony must sign-up by April 14. Your sign-up automatically reserves up to four tickets for your commencement guests. All guests, including infants, must have a ticket to enter the Mondavi Center.

Tickets will be distributed in June when students pick-up caps and gowns. Tickets are not available to the general public and can only be obtained from graduating students.

If students miss the April 14 participation deadline, there is no guarantee of tickets although we have typically been able to provide two (2) tickets for late participating requests.

If there are extra tickets available, they will be distributed at rehearsal on Friday, June 16.

For additional information see Admission to Ceremony (Guest Ticket Details).

NOTE: Signing-up for commencement is different from completing the candidacy process (or Filing to Graduate) which gets you your diploma. For additional information on applying for candidacy, see Candidacy Process (Filing to Graduate).