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Guests of Cal Poly - congratulations to you and your family! The accomplishments of your student deserve a celebration, and we invite you to join us in beautiful San Luis Obispo for our Spring commencement ceremonies.

Cal Poly wishes graduates and guests a superior commencement experience. Commencement is an event that is personal to everyone, and the courtesy that guests show each other creates a comfortable, dignified atmosphere. We look forward to celebrating with you!

We have gathered the information you will need to have a safe and enjoyable commencement experience. Please read through our website to help you plan your visit and make the most of this memorable occasion.

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Spring Commencement Day Tips

Directions to Campus

Graduate and Guest Parking




Please read through our website to help you plan your visit and make the most of this memorable occasion.

  • Commencement will last several hours.  Please consider a meal or snack before the event.
  • Please dress comfortably and sensibly. There may be lengthy walks between venues. Campus terrain is hilly in some parts. Wear shoes that allow you to climb stairs and walk on various surfaces including asphalt, concrete, and grass.
  • Weather varies. Please check the weather as the event approaches. 
  • Spring ceremonies are generally held outdoors. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Guests will receive water bottles when they enter the Main-Commencement Ceremony.
  • Gates open one hour prior to the ceremonies. 
  • Graduates are provided with (10) ten guest tickets. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Alex G. Spanos Stadium is equipped with bleachers.
  • Coordinate a place and time to meet your graduate after the ceremony that does not inhibit the flow of guests at venue entrances/exits.
  • Be sure you have your tickets in hand before the ceremony.
  • Ultimate Exposures provides professional photography services for commencement. Photos of the ceremony can be purchased from Ultimate Exposures online.
  • Cal Poly events take place in smoke-free environments. Please plan accordingly.
  • For the safety of your pets and all guests, we ask that you please leave your pets at home. Only service animals are permitted on campus during the commencement exercises.
  • During the ceremony, medical personnel are located next to the south-east entrance.


All Commencement guests must enter campus via Highland Drive. Grand Avenue will be closed due to move-out traffic.

From Los Angeles on Route 101 North

  • Take the Morro Bay, Highway 41 exit.
  • Turn right onto Toro.
  • Turn right onto Walnut.
  • Turn right onto Santa Rosa (California Highway 1).
  •  Turn right onto Highland, entering onto the Cal Poly campus.

From San Francisco on Route 101 South

  • Take the Santa Rosa exit. 
  • Turn right onto Santa Rosa(California Highway 1)
  • Turn right onto Highland, entering onto the Cal Poly campus.


  • Permits are NOT required to park on campus during commencement.  
  • General Parking is available in lots H-1, H-12, H-14 and H-16. 
  • Grand Ave. will be closed for move-out and California Blvd. will be closed for Commencement. Guests will need to enter campus from Highland Drive. 


  • Ten (10) guest tickets were emailed to graduates in April.
  • Tickets are required for all guests attending the commencement ceremonies.
  • Students are responsible distributing tickets to their guest prior to the ceremony.
  • Each ticket is unique and will be scanned before entrance into a ceremony.
  • Duplicating tickets may result in some of your guests being turned away due to invalid tickets.
  • Additional tickets will not be available for purchase. Students who do not use their ticket allocation are encouraged to share with others.


  • Doors open one hour prior to the ceremonies.
  • Guests may enter Spanos Stadium via the facility's east and west entrances.


  • Guest seating is located in the stadium bleachers and in chairs on the stadium floor, which is a grassy field.
  • Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Accessible seating for guests who are mobility impaired or disabled is located in the west side bleachers, the south side bleachers and on the grassy stadium floor. 
  • Accessible seating is availavble for guests who are mobility impaired or disabled, and one companion.


  • Accessible restrooms are located under the west side of the stadium. Accessible portable facilities are located at the four corners of the stadium.

First Aid

  • Medical personnel located on the south end of the stadium field will be available during the ceremony.
  • Assisted listening devices are available for check out with a photo I.D. from the First Aid station. Advance reservations are not required.
  • Sign Language interpreters will be located by the stage. Guests who require sign language services should contact the Cal Poly Disability Resource Center at (805)756-1395 in advance of commencement. Please allow as much notice as possible - ideally 2 weeks. 



  • Ultimate Exposures is Cal Poly's official professional photography service for graduate photographs. Graduates receive an email message with a link to their images for purchase following the event.
  • Guests are welcome to bring cameras to the ceremony.


  • Live streaming of the ceremonies will be available. Please stay tuned for links to the live stream videos.


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