Ceremony details

  • Date and Time: Sunday, May 15, 2015 at 2:00PM
  • Location: Greek Theatre
  • Reception to follow at the Campanile Esplanade

Keynote Speaker   
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

A forceful advocate for families, children, consumers, the environment and her State of California, Barbara Boxer became a United States Senator in January 1993 after 10 years in the House of Representatives and six years on the Marin County Board of Supervisors.  Throughout her career, Senator Boxer has worked to defend our nation’s environmental laws, protect our natural heritage and address the threats of climate change.  She was the first woman to Chair the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW); a position that she held from 2007 through 2014.  She now serves as that Committee’s Ranking Member.  Senator Boxer is also the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics and serves as a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where she founded and led the first subcommittee ever to focus on global women’s issues.  

Her leadership on the EPW Committee was instrumental in reauthorizing and updating the highway bill and the Water Resources Development Act, both of which have led to significant improvements in our nation’s transportation infrastructure and supported millions of jobs nationwide.  A leading defender of women’s rights, Senator Boxer has fought vigorously to protect a woman’s right to choose and against attacks on women’s health.  She co-authored the Violence Against Women Act andhas advocated for improvements in how colleges prevent and respond to sexual assaults on campus.

Senator Boxer has been a staunch advocate for ensuring access to quality public education for all. She wrote the legislation that established the first federal funding for afterschool programs, supported funding for programs like Head Start and has worked to make college more affordable.  Senator Boxer lives in the Bay Area and Palm Springs with her husband of more than 50 years, Stewart.  They have two children and four grandchildren.

Student Speaker
Urvashi Malhotra    

Each year, the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science awards a graduating senior the Department Citation in recognition of his/her outstanding accomplishments in Political Science. 

Political Science is pleased to announce Urvashi Malhotra as the 2016 recipient of the Department Citation.

Urvashi is an American Politics concentration at Cal. She has been fortunate enough to intern in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Washington, D.C. and San Francisco offices, where she worked on immigration, healthcare, and mental health issues. On campus she has been the Director of the ASUC Student Legal Clinic for the past two years, working to provide students and other members of the Berkeley community with the information they need to resolve their legal issues, from landlord-tenant concerns to criminal cases.  This year, Urvashi completed a Senior Honors Thesis titled, "The Great Shift: Analyzing the Impact of Public Safety Realignment on Crime Rates in California Counties between 2009-2013."  Urvashi's goal is to become a career prosecutor, working her way up to District Attorney of San Francisco, and ultimately, Attorney General of California. She wants to follow the footsteps of her role model Kamala Harris and work to expand her "smart on crime" policies throughout the state.


Information for Graduating Students

A couple of important reminders

Gates will open at 1:00PM. Enter from the South Gate of the Greek Theatre.

The pavement at the Greek Theatre is uneven and sloped.  We have seen our share of students stumble. Wear sensible shoes (i.e., no 3-inch heels, flip flops).  Bring as few belongings with you as you need, as there's no place to safely store items backstage.  Also, keep an eye on the weather.  The Greek Theatre is an outdoor venue.  It could be chilly or exceedingly warm.  If it's an especially warm day, please bring water (stay hydrated) and wear sunscreen/ sunglasses.  Lastly, only graduating students and faculty are allowed backstage at any time.  Your family and friends will have a near-impossible time connecting with you once inside (receiving tickets, giving flowers).  Please decide on a rendezvous point with friends and family outside the Greek Theatre for before/after the ceremony. 

Lining up

At 1:30PM all participating students must be backstage and ready to start the procession.

Look for a table in the backstage area with index cards and pencils, legibly write your name on a card, and hold onto it. The announcer will read your name from this card as you cross the stage to receive your scroll. If you have any concerns about the pronunciation of your name, write your name the way it sounds (i.e. writing oski as os-kee). Consider including a rhyming word (i.e. rhymes with goatee). You can also say your name to the announcer. The cards are provided by GradImages, so you can order photographs by either filling out the back (or going on-line in advance to gradimages.com (external link) - click "Pre-Event Registration", type in "Berkeley", and click "University of CA Berkeley Political Science").

Line up single-file behind the barricade at the north end of the backstage area (look for signs posted on the wall). The faculty and Ph.Ds will proceed onto the north end of the stage first, so please allow plenty of space for them to gather.


At 2:00PM SHARP, "Pomp and Circumstance" will start and you will begin your procession from behind the stage to your seat - faculty first, followed by Ph.D.s, then Honors, and finally B.A.s. Faculty and Ph.D. candidates will be seated on the stage. All B.A.s will go down a ramp to the main seating area, where Suzanne will direct you to your seat. If you are late and miss the procession you can either join the graduates in the last seats or wait in the wings until the awarding of the degrees at the end of the ceremony. The walk from the stage to the seats and back involves a steep ramp with uneven pavement and a step off a ledge and over a grate, so please wear sensible shoes if you can and step carefully.

The Ceremony

There will be a series of speeches and award announcements, and then the conferral of degrees starting with Ph.D.s and then the B.A.s.

Ph.D.s: Arrive in your cap and gown but hold onto your hood. Stay in your seat until your name is called, then move to the center of the stage, meet your thesis advisor and give him or her your hood. Turn to face the audience while your advisor places your hood over your head from behind. Walk over to Professor Schickler to receive your ceremonial scroll — your photo will be taken at this point — and then follow the photographer's instructions about how to proceed back to your chair. Once you return to your seat onstage, attach your hood to the button at the neck of your gown.

B.A.s: After the Ph.D.s are awarded, students in the front row should watch for the signal from Suzanne to rise and approach the stage. Efrat will separate and guide you into two lines on stage, and direct you to one of two announcers. Walk up to your "designated" announcer, hand him the card with your name on it, and cross the stage to meet Professor Schickler. The photographer will take your picture as you accept your scroll from Professor Schickler and later as you leave the stage. Pace yourself and stay at least 15 feet behind the previous student, so the photographer has a clear shot of you. Proceed in the same direction to leave the stage and return to your seat. Finally, Professor Schickler will grant the degrees and invite the graduates to participate in the traditional "moving of the tassle" on their mortar boards from right to left.


Immediately following the ceremony will be a reception at the Campanile Esplanade(external link).

Information for Guests

Enter through the NORTH Gate (external link) of the Greek Theatre. NOTE: All graduating students must enter the Greek Theatre through the (alternate) South Gate.

Gates will open at 1:00PM. The ceremony generally lasts about 2 hours, and the reception 1 hour. There is no comfortable place to sit out of the sun (or rain) so guests are discouraged from arriving too early. The Greek is a large ampitheater with plenty of seating, so getting a seat won't be a problem.

Tickets on Commencement Day will be sold at the North Gate of the Greek Theatre only (the entrance closest to Hearst Avenue). For details about tickets, including how to purchase tickets in advance, please visit the Commencement Tickets section of the website.

UCPD has mandated that there will be bag searches at all Greek Theatre commencements.  Please travel lightly, leaving unncessary backpacks, etcs at home or in car trunks.  In addition, Cal Performances has issued a list of prohibited items.  Please do NOT bring any of these items to the Greek:  large bags or backpacks, alcohol, glass bottles/ aluminum cans, coolers/ ice chests, skateboards/ scooters/ bicycles,  noise-makers/ airhorns, musical instruments, toilet paper, fireworks, any items that can be remotely perceived as weapons, banners/ flags, lawn furniture/ chairs, tripods for cameras, strollers and balloons (must park/ tie off at entrance guests), and animals unless for documented service. 

Restrooms are located at both ends of the ampitheater. A wheelchair-accessible restroom is located inside the north entrance. A registered nurse is on duty backstage near the north entrance. Food and bottled water will be sold by Cal Performances inside the north entrance. Commencement Flowers will be stationed outside the north entrance. Reminder: Only graduating students and faculty are allowed backstage or onstage at any time!