Why haven't I received the e-mail to request guest tickets?
Two weeks after you submit the Application for Graduation and mark that you want to participate in the Southern Commencement you will be sent the e-mail with access to request your guest tickets. If it has been over two weeks and you still have not received the e-mail, first make sure it hasn't gone to your Spam/Junk folder. Then make sure that you are checking the e-mail address that National University has on file for you. You can log in to the Student Portal to confirm the e-mail address. If the e-mail was sent to an old e-mail address that you no longer have access to, you will need to contact the Graduation Department at Graduation@nu.edu to have the e-mail address updated in the ticket website. You will not be able to log in and request tickets unless you are using the same e-mail address that is on file on the ticket website.
What time is my school ceremony?
10:00 a.m. Morning School Ceremony
College of Letters and Sciences
School of Engineering and Computing
School of Business and Management
12:30 p.m. Full University Ceremony
Presidential Address and Keynote Speaker
2:00 p.m. Afternoon School Ceremony
School of Professional Studies
School of Health and Human Services
Sanford College of Education
What school am I in or is my graduate in?
Graduates can find their school in the ticket database when they request their tickets.
Graduates will participate in the ceremony with their school. Half of the schools will be in the Morning Ceremony and the second half in the Afternoon Ceremony. Tickets for the Southern Commencement list the school that their graduate is walking in. Graduates must make note of which ceremony their school is participating in to ensure their guests arrive for the correct ceremony.
All guests and graduates are invited to the Full University Ceremony at 12:30 for the guest speaker’s address.
Graduates line up by the school that their degree is under. The Commencement Program lists the students by their school for guests. To determine the school before the ceremony, you can review the Our Programs page to determine which school the degree is under.
Do I have to purchase/wear the cap and gown from Jostens?
Students are required to wear a cap and gown to participate in the ceremony. Military students can wear their dress uniform instead if they prefer. Students are not required to purchase the cap and gown from Jostens, but Jostens has the correct colors for our school.
Our graduates wear a black cap and gown. Undergraduate students wear a stole, which is silver with the blue National University Emblem. Graduate students wear a hood that is silver and blue for National University, and the velvet color is dependent on which degree they are earning. See the Hood Colors page for the degree colors. Students can purchase just the stole or hood from Jostens if they already have a black cap and gown. Graduate gowns are cut differently than undergraduate gowns, but the student can choose to wear either gown.
What time do I need to arrive?
Check in begins two hours before each ceremony. If you are in the Morning School Ceremony you will check in at 8 a.m. If you are in the Afternoon School Ceremony you will need to check in at 10 a.m. to be able to participate in the Full University Ceremony, then Afternoon School Ceremony will follow immediately after.
The Morning School Ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. graduates participating in this ceremony must arrive by 8 a.m. and enter through the Palm Court/Gaslamp Gate. The Morning School Ceremony will end approximately at 12 p.m.
The Full University Ceremony will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will include an address by the guest speaker. This ceremony will involve all graduates from all schools.
Graduates who are participating in the Afternoon School Ceremony should check in at the Palm Court/Gaslamp Gate by 10 a.m. Graduates who participated in the morning school ceremony will be dismissed after the full university ceremony.
The Afternoon School Ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. or immediately following the Full University Ceremony and will end approximately at 4 p.m.
For Morning School Ceremony, guests should arrive by 9 a.m.
For Afternoon School Ceremony, guests should arrive by 11:30 a.m.
How long is the ceremony?
The Morning School Ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. students participating in this ceremony must arrive by 8 a.m. and enter through the Palm Court/Gaslamp Gate. The first Morning School ceremony will end approximately at 12 p.m.
The Full University Ceremony will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will include an address by the guest speaker. This ceremony will involve all graduates from all schools. Students who are participating in the second school ceremony should check in at the Palm Court/Gaslamp Gate by 10:30 a.m. Students who participated in the Morning School Ceremony will be dismissed after the Full University Ceremony.
The Afternoon School Ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. or immediately following the Full University Ceremony and will last approximately 2 hours.
Please allow additional time after the Afternoon School Ceremony to exit Petco Park and for heavy traffic. If you make reservations we recommend 6 p.m. or later.
Are tickets required to enter Petco Park for the Southern Commencement Ceremony?
Yes, tickets are required for all guests, except children two and under if they sit on an adult’s lap. The graduate will also require their printed graduate ticket and will enter Petco Park through the Graduate Door in the Palm Court/Gaslamp Gate.
Guests may print their ticket or have it scanned from a mobile/tablet device. Guests enter through the Home Plate Gate or the Park Blvd Gate, download the map of Petco Park Entrances under Related Downloads.
What is the difference between the Full University Ceremony and a School Ceremony?
The Full University Ceremony is attended by all graduates and their guests and is officiated by the President of the University, where you share the excitement and importance of your academic accomplishments with peers, family, and friends. It is also a time for the University, Board of Trustees, National University System Chancellor, senior administrators, and faculty to pay special tribute to you for the outstanding efforts you have shown in earning your degree.
The school ceremonies feature remarks from the dean and the calling of your name, upon which you will proceed across the stage and receive your certificate of participation.
Do graduates receive their diploma at the ceremony?
The diplomas are not given at the ceremony; they are mailed to the graduate’s home address four to six weeks after their conferral date (degree posting date). At the ceremony, the graduates are given a stage certificate.
If I haven’t finished my degree can I walk?
We recommend that students walk if they will be finishing their degree by the September following the ceremony. However students can walk in an earlier year if they need to and do not require any special permission to do so. Students interested in walking in a ceremony just need to submit the Application for Graduation in the Student Portal and mark which ceremony they would like to walk in. The only students not allowed to walk in the ceremony are those enrolled in credential only programs, certificate only programs, other non-degree programs, or students who have been academically dismissed.
If I haven’t finished all of my classes will I be able to receive the honors tassel for the ceremony?
Honors at the ceremony are determined by the GPA of courses completed before the ceremony. If a graduate received the gold tassel for honors, it does not officially mean that honors are awarded. Official honors will be determined by the GPA when all coursework for the degree has been completed. Graduates can view their GPA through the Student Portal.
How are honors indicated for the ceremony?
Students with honors are directed to the Tassel Table when they check in the day of the ceremony. They may exchange the black tassel they received from Jostens for a gold tassel. Students do not need to purchase the gold tassel.
What name will be read out as graduates cross the stage?
The faculty reader will read the name that is printed on the graduate’s ticket. The name printed is the full official name in National University records.
To change your name for the ceremony graduates are required to submit a Name Change Request form with a copy of their social security card or court order showing the new name to the Records Department. The Name Change form is at the Registrar's page. The Name Change must be submitted 3 weeks before the ceremony to ensure the updated name is included on the graduate's ticket. Graduates can also hand write their name on the graduate ticket at the ceremony and the Faculty reader will read the edited name written instead.
What services are available for graduates with special needs who are participating in the ceremony?
National University is dedicated to providing assistance and services to qualified graduates with a disability so that they can fully participate in the Commencement Ceremony.
The stage has a wheelchair lift for graduates who cannot walk up the stairs to the stage. A sign language interpreter is provided at each ceremony to translate the speeches, although they do not translate the graduate.
Any graduate with a disability who needs assistance or additional services can contact the Graduation Department at (858)642-8260 or Graduation@nu.edu. Graduates who are already registered with the Office of Special Services can either contact that department or Graduations to request services.
Where should guests sit to see their graduate?
Unfortunately there is not any way to predict the best viewing area before the ceremony. Graduate seating depends on the number of graduates for each school and cannot be determined ahead of time.
In the school ceremonies when graduates cross the stage they will be shown on the big screen as their name is read aloud. Please download the map of Petco Park Entrances under Related Downloads.
Are there any hotels with deals for graduates and guests of the ceremony?
There are not any pre-arranged deals. The San Diego Convention Center is located near Petco Park and has a list of hotels nearby for out of town graduates and guests.
Are family members, guests, or children allowed to stay with their graduate?
Guests, including children are not allowed in Check In or in the Graduate Seating Area during the ceremony. Guests will enter Petco Park through the Park Blvd and Home Plate Gates, while graduates will only enter through the Palm Court/Gaslamp Gate. Please download the map of Petco Park Entrances under Related Downloads.