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May Graduation Information for Family and Friends

This guide is provided for information purposes for prospective graduates participating in Commencement Exercises and their families; it should not be construed as evidence that degree requirements have been met. Please read this information thoroughly and save this document for future reference.

Admission tickets or invitations are not required unless there is severe weather (see severe weather policy below). The commencement exercises are open to the public, and you may invite as many guests as you wish as long as the event is outdoors. Upon the announcement of the commencement speaker, this policy is subject to change. Guest seating will be on a first-come-first-seated basis. There are reserved seating areas for the degree candidates, University faculties, honored dignitaries and special guests.

Family members and guests of the degree candidates can enter campus from multiple directions (see parking information) and will be directed to park by the University Police. There are parking lots adjacent to the quadrangle where the ceremony is held, and parking lots further away will offer a shuttle bus for guests. Families and guests are urged to be seated approximately one hour before the beginning of the ceremony. Programs will be handed out by student marshals who will be located on the perimeter of the seating area. During the ceremony, we ask that guests remain in their seat and keep the aisles clear. At the conclusion of the ceremony, family members, guests and degree candidates should remain at their seat until the recessional of the platform party, University faculties and graduates is complete. 

Degree candidates, family members, and guests should designate a place to meet after the ceremonies.

The University of South Carolina Upstate is committed to holding the commencement ceremony outdoors given no severe weather, such as lightning or heavy downpours (bring rain gear for light rain). Tickets are not usually required for an outdoor ceremony as there is ample seating. In the event of severe weather the ceremony will be moved to the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium.

The decision to implement the severe weather plan will be made by 12:00 noon the day of commencement.  Involved parties will be informed of this decision by the following communication methods:

  • USC Upstate website: any relocation announcements will be located on the homepage of the USC Upstate website ( www.uscupstate.edu) by no later than 12:15 p.m. the day of commencement.
  • Mass Email:  students, faculty and staff will be sent an email announcing the change of venue by no later than 12:15 p.m. the day of commencement
  • Electronic Message Boards: campus and highway electronic signage will announce venue changes
  • Switchboard: The university switchboard operator will have all relevant information for those wishing to call campus at (864) 503-5000 for inclement weather announcements
  • TV/Radio: Select media outlets will be asked to communicate any severe weather announcements

The ceremony time would remain the same and would begin at 6:00 p.m. (Processionals would begin at 5:40 p.m.) Graduates would report no later than 4:00 p.m. to the arena of the auditorium.