Cue Up the ‘Pomp and Circumstance’

Students wearing face coverings and graduation regalia.
Students at the School of Veterinary Medicine commencement pose for a photo. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Caps? Check. Gowns? Check. Big tents and a COVID-19 screening station? Check and check.

The last and largest round of UC Davis’ spring 2021 commencements starts Wednesday (June 9), and will include as many as six outdoor/indoor processional ceremonies in the same day.

On the schedule for this week: 800 Graduate Studies students will celebrate in person Thursday (June 10), followed by 4,400 undergraduates at in-person events Friday through Sunday. More than 600 Graduate School of Management students will also celebrate in person Friday.

Each event is limited to 400 students, plus two guests apiece, in keeping with public health guidelines.

Each undergraduate ceremony — along with those for Graduate Studies — will start in a tent just outside the Pavilion Parking Structure, where students and guests will be screened for adherence to COVID-19 protocols. For guests, that means vaccination, while students will need to have been vaccinated or, within the previous 72 hours, tested negative. Students traveling from out of state to attend will have to show proof of a completed COVID-19 vaccination.

Face coverings will be required for all attendees at all times, although students can remove them temporarily for photos while on stage.

After the COVID-19 screening tent, “pods” of students and their guests — spaced at least 6 feet apart from other groups — will move across Hutchison Field and into The Pavilion at the ARC. Students will get their moment in the spotlight when their names are read aloud in front of a group of campus leaders, all while guests and a professional photographer capture the moment from the floor. The ceremonies will be livestreamed on the UC Davis commencement website.


Afterward, graduates and their guests will exit from The Pavilion into an Alumni Zone tent where they can celebrate their new status with photo-ops and other activities organized by the Cal Aggie Alumni Association.

The in-person events will not have speakers or formal programs, but a virtual commencement Friday (June 11) will feature interviews with several prominent alumni, along with remarks from Chancellor Gary S. May, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan and others.

Other virtual commencements this week include the School of Education, Wednesday (June 9), and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, Thursday (June 10). Students from those schools can also opt to participate in Graduate Studies’ in-person ceremonies.

The Graduate School of Management will celebrate students graduating from its various programs with two separate Aggie Graduation Walks at the Mondavi Center on Friday (June 11). Students at these commencement celebrations will walk across the Mondavi Center stage and be hooded by their own chosen guests. Because of public health restrictions, additional guests or attendees will not be allowed at these events.

The Graduate School of Management will hold a virtual commencement the following day, with remarks by Dean H. Rao Unnava, faculty members and student speakers from each program. Those speakers will be:  Ayumi Tsurushita, Full-Time MBA; Adrees Mukhtar, Sacramento Part-Time MBA; Christine Dillman, Bay Area Part-Time MBA; Angel Melchor, Online MBA; Kelsey McCabe, Master of Professional Accountancy; and Yuthika Agarwalla, Master of Science in Business Analytics. The virtual commencement will recognize each graduate in the MBA, MPAc and MSBA programs.


  • School of Education Wednesday, June 9 (virtual). Education graduates also are welcome to participate in Graduate Studies’ limited-scale, in-person event Thursday, June 10.
  • Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing Thursday, June 10 (virtual). Nursing graduates also are welcome to  participate in Graduate Studies’ limited-scale, in-person event the same day.
  • Graduate Studies Thursday, June 10 (limited-scale, in-person); and Friday, June 11 (virtual).
  • Undergraduates Friday-Sunday, June 11-13 (limited-scale, in-person); and Friday, June 11 (virtual).
  • Graduate School of Management Friday, June 11 (limited-scale, in-person); and Saturday, June 12 (virtual).

Media Resources

Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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