2020 English Department Spring Commencement Information

DATE: Friday, May 22nd 2020
TIME: 2:00pm
LOCATION: Zellerbach Auditorium


▼Eligibility and Participation in Commencement
  • Please note: The English Department does not have a rehearsal for Commencement. It will be very helpful to familiarize yourself with the following ceremony details in advance so your commencement can run smoothly. For any questions you might have, please contact Katie Morrison-White at kschramm@berkeley.edu
  • Eligibility for Participation: All graduating students in the academic year 2019-2020 may attend this Spring's Commencement ceremony. This includes all Fall 2019, Spring 2020, and Summer 2020 graduates. Students who plan to graduate in Fall 2020 and would like to participate in this ceremony must meet with the Undergraduate Advisor between April 1st and April 30th. To check which term you are graduating in, please see your Expected Graduation Term in CalCentral. 
▼ Registration for Commencement
  • Undergraduates: To participate in the English Department's Commencement, and to have your name printed in the program, should have RSVP'd by completing the Registration Form, between April 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020. The link to the Registration Form can be found highlighted near the top of this page starting April 1st.  If you don't register before the 4/30/20 deadline but would still like to participate, please contact Katie Schramm (kschramm@berkeley.edu).

    You are welcome to check or edit your registration until April 30th using the registration form link above.

  • Graduating Ph.D. students, or those who have already graduated, and intend to participate in the English Department’s commencement, students should have RSVP'd by completing the Registration Form, between April 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020. If you don't register before the 4/30/20 deadline but would still like to participate, please contact Ken Mahru (kenmahru@berkeley.edu).

▼ Admission to the Commencement Ceremony for Graduates
  • Admission to the ceremony will be by ticket only.  Each attendee must have a ticket to be admitted to commencement, including children.  Graduates dressed in cap and gown do not need tickets.
  • Graduating students who have registered to participate in Commencement will be given two (2) free tickets which may be obtained from the English Department Office (Wheeler 319) starting May 1st. The office is open from 10-12 and 1-4, Monday through Friday.
  • Please note that the tickets must be picked up during regular business hours: 10 AM-12pm and 1-4 PM Monday through Friday.
▼ Additional Tickets
  • You, your family, and friends may purchase a limited number of additional tickets at $12 ($10 with a $2 service fee) each - we will be updating this section with more information on how to purchase tickets during the Spring 2020 semester. 
▼ Cap and Gown information
  • More to come
▼ Photography information

A banner that says: Click here to register your email and get $5 off orders of $25 or more.

GradImages is the official commencement photographer for our department. Your proofs will be ready to view online as soon as 48 hours of the ceremony. In order to notify you when your images are available, GradImages sends emails and mails paper proofs, along with optional text message notifications. Your information is never shared and privacy is guaranteed. Pre-registering is simply a way to make sure your contact information is up-to-date with GradImages, so they can provide your complimentary proofs as quickly as possible. Although there's never any obligation to order, you'll save $5 off any order of $25 or more for your participation. To pre-register for your commencement proofs, please visit https://www.gradimages.com/Preregistration/Register?ClientID=1034&OccasionRef=130156

▼ Graduating with Department Honors
  • Honors in English is granted upon the successful completion of the Honors Course, English H195A/B. All students graduating with honors in the English major may purchase Honors Cords to wear at the commencement ceremony. The Gift & Apparel section of the ASUC will have a list of all students in English H195B, Spring '20 as eligible for purchasing an Honors Cord.

    Honors distinction is marked in the commencement program.
▼ Commencement Student Speeches
  • If you are interested in delivering a student speech at the English Department's Commencement ceremony this year, please submit a proposed speech between April 1st and 30th to 319 Wheeler Hall, in the black drop box. Submissions must be typed, double-spaced, and no longer than four pages.
▼ Diploma Information
  • Diplomas are generally available about four months after your graduation date from the Office of the Registrar (120 Sproul Hall, 643-7490), or you can have it mailed to you. For more information, please visit the Office of the Registrar.

    If you need proof of completing your degree before the Registrar has processed your diploma, you may obtain a Certificate of Completion from them. More information regarding the Certificate of Completion is available on the Registrar's web site.

▼ Accommodations and Venue Information
▼ University-wide spring and fall commencements
  • Students who complete their degree in the fall may choose to attend the December university-wide commencement in place of, or in addition to the Spring English Department Commencement.
  • There is also a spring university-wide commencement for those who complete their degree requirements in the spring. For more information regarding the University-wide Commencement, you may
    • 1) Contact University Relations at 510-642-1212, or
    • 2) Visit their website at https://commencement.berkeley.edu/

Information for the Day of Commencement

DATE: Saturday, May 19th 2019
TIME: 2:00pm
LOCATION: Greek Theater
GATES OPEN: 1:00pm


All participants should be backstage by 1:30 PM to wait for the processional to begin. Please form lines on both sides of the stage. Undergraduates will process from both the north and south.  You do not have to stand in any particular order.  Please inform friends and family that they may not enter the backstage area.

This year, we are being required to have metal detectors for our event; every person entering the theater will need to go through them. Please leave extra time for you and your family/friends/guests to get through the metal detectors. We are recommending to get there as early as possible. 

Ph.D. candidates should give their hood to the person chosen to do their hooding no later than 1:45 PM. Please open your hood to make it as large as possible so it will fit over your mortarboard/cap.

At 2:00 PM, Pomp and Circumstance will be played, signaling the start of the processional. 

Faculty will enter the stage from the south end of the theatre (the side closest to International House), and proceed to the chairs on that side of the stage.

Ph.D. candidates will enter the stage from the the north end of the theatre (the side closest to the front entrance of the Greek Theatre), and proceed to the chairs on that side of the stage.

Undergraduates will leave the backstage area in two lines, one from each side of the stage; if you see that the line that you're in is longer than the other line, move over to that side to even out the numbers.

Walk down the ramp to the seating in the cordoned off area at the very bottom of the theatre's orchestra pit; please refer to the photo of the Greek Theatre for visual guidance. Department volunteers will be there to direct you. If you are the first person to enter your row move all the way to the far end of that row. Please keep these lines moving.

Program: Following the Welcoming Address, Presentation of the Departmental Citation/Mark Schorer Prize, the Valedictory Address, the Commencement Address, and Certificates Commemorating the Commencement will take place. At this point in time, guided by staff members, graduates will walk up to the backstage area and line up in preparation to to receive their scrolls.

Name cards: Have your name cards in hand.
a) One side of the card will allow you to provide contact information for the event photographer to contact you and/or your family regarding your photos.
b) The other side will serve as your reader card, so clearly write your name here.
c) If (and only if) you know that English professors at Berkeley usually have trouble pronouncing your name, write your name a second time below the first, as follows: 1) If pronouncing your name correctly is simply a matter of putting the stress on the correct syllable(s), rewrite your name putting the stressed syllable(s) in capital letters. 2) If you worry that the aforementioned will not suffice, rewrite your name using phonetic syllables AND capital letters for stress. 3) If you are still concerned, e-mail the name-reader during the week prior to Commencement.
d) You will hand your card to the name-reader at the podium, the name-reader will call out your name as you cross the stage to receive your scroll. The name-reader will then give your card to the photographer.

The name-reader will arrive at Commencement about 30 minutes early to check name-cards. Minor issues of pronunciation can be resolved at that time.

All participants will remain standing until the last undergraduate has reached his/her seat.

Following the processional, the Chair will deliver a welcome address. This will be followed by the presentation of the Departmental Citation/Mark Schorer Prize. the Valedictory address, the Commencement Speaker, and lastly, the


Ph.D.s will be awarded first. As your name and dissertation title are read, please cross the stage to the person you selected to hood you; please bend slightly to allow him/her to get the hood over your head. You will then pose for a photograph. Two additional photos will be taken as you exit the stage on the south side.  You should then walk around the backstage and return to your seat.

Each row of undergraduates, guided by a staff member, will get up and proceed backstage north and wait in line for their turn to have their name read and cross the stage.   Each undergraduate will walk toward centerstage, hand their name-reader card to the name-reader, then continue as their name is being read to the center of the stage where they will shake hands with the faculty member who will present the scroll.  Please stop to shake hands and have your picture taken.  Two additional photos will be taken as you exit the stage on the south side.  Following your photographs, each undergraduate should proceed backstage, walk down the ramp, and return to the seating in the theatre's orchestra pit.

Please do not stay on the stage to wait for your family to take a picture, as there are other participants who need to cross the stage.

Once all names have been read, the Chair will make some closing remarks.

A recessional will lead all participants out of the Greek Theatre, cross Piedmont Avenue, and walk down through the East Gate to the Campanile Esplande for refreshments. You will stand and leave the Greek Theatre by rows, exiting past both sides of the stage. Please ask your family to meet you outside the Greek Theatre or at the Campanile Esplanade.

This ceremony should last approximately 2 hours.