Graduates preparing to walk the stage during Commencement

Commencement/Transfer Ceremony 2019

Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Venue: City National Civic Theater

Address: 135 W San Carlos St, San Jose, CA 95113

See information about public transportation.

NOTE: Bags will be searched at entry. Guests are not allowed to bring in food or drink, except for one sealed plastic water bottle. Balloons, strollers, large posters, and air horns are also not allowed into the venue. There will be an area available to leave those items outside to be picked up after the ceremony. The area will not be attended by staff. Leave those items are your own risk.

Event Schedule

Time Activity
5:00 PM – 5:45 PM Students Check In
5:00 PM Doors Open
6:00 PM Procession of Graduates
6:30 PM Program Begins

Graduation Petition

Petitions for Spring Graduation are due to the Admissions and Records office by 1:00 PM on Thursday, February 14, 2019.

Grad and Transfer Fair

Student RSVPs, Cap & Gown purchases, and Commencement details will be available during the Grad Fair on Wednesday, April 10 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Students participating in the Graduation/Transfer Ceremony will need to complete an RSVP card at Grad Fair. Students may also come to the Transfer Center or the Student Development Office to ask for the RSVP Card. Parking and other information will be included.


Important Dates

Event Date
Deadline to Petition for AA-T/AS–T Degrees for Spring Graduation Thursday, February 14, 2019
Deadline to Petition to Graduate Thursday, March 7, 2019
Grad and Transfer Fair Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Commencement Ceremony Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Commencement Day Details


Parking will be provided for all Faculty, Staff, and Students. Guests will be able to use street parking, which becomes free at 6:00 PM throughout downtown San Jose. Be sure to check parking restrictions on any given street. Please see the Parking tab or the parking map and instructions for detailed information.

See information about public transportation to the City National Civic Theater.


Professional photography company Grad Images will photograph each student participating in the Commencement Ceremony. Students will receive an email from the photographer approximately 72 hours following the ceremony and can purchase additional pictures directly from the company.

Check In

Participants should arrive to check-in by 5:00 PM wearing their cap and gown. Students will be given their RSVP information card at the check-in stations set-up by last name. Please do not bring any valuables at this time.

Note: Transfer students who have RSVP'd with the Transfer Center will receive a white stole during check-in.

Tassels are worn on the RIGHT SIDE of your cap. Two lines will be formed.

Remind your guests: Bags will be searched at entry. Guests are not allowed to bring in food or drink, except for one sealed plastic water bottle. Balloons, strollers, large posters, and air horns are also not allowed into the venue. There will be an area available to leave those items outside but will not be attended by staff. Leave those items are your own risk.

Event Schedule

Line Up

Line up begins at 5:15 PM. Once you have checked in and have your information card, please proceed to the line-up area. The order of the line-up is as follows:

  • Transfer Only (Blue dots)
  • Certificate Candidates Only (Green dots)
  • Certificate & Degree candidates (Yellow dots)
  • Degree candidates Only (Red dots)

Transfer Students

Transferring students receiving a degree or certificate should line up and sit based on degree or certificate accomplishments. Students transferring only and not receiving a degree or certificate will be seated in a designated area. In lieu of cap or gown, the desired attire for Transferring students is “dressy casual” (i.e., a black dress or black shirt and slacks).

Processional into the Ceremony

Lines will be led by faculty marshals and staff ushers who will lead students into the ceremony location. Stay in a straight line and find a seat quickly. The two lines will split off once in the ceremony site, so changing seats will not be possible. Students will walk through the faculty/staff tunnel down the center aisle. Upon arrival at appropriate row and seat, students should remain standing until College President Brad Davis asks for everyone to be seated.

Presentation and Announcement of Students

When it is time to walk across the stage, a faculty/staff leader will ask students to exit their row and form a line. A picture will be taken shortly before students proceed up the ramp. Please hand information card to the readers at the bottom of the ramp of the stage. Readers will confirm the pronunciation of the full name. When a student's name is called, he or she proceed up the ramp and collect degree or certificate holder and/or transfer scroll with left hand and shake hands with the dignitaries with the right hand. Students will then have their picture taken with President Brad Davis, proceed down the ramp for another picture, and then be directed to return to their seat.

Recessional Out of the Ceremony and to Celebration

At the conclusion of the ceremony, students will be asked to turn your tassel to the left side. You will be led out of the ceremony down the center aisle by your faculty/staff leader and should keep walking in line until you are outside at the reception celebration. Do not stop. Family and friends will meet students at the reception area immediately following the ceremony.


As part of the Commencement Volunteer Team, you will be asked to attend a luncheon on Wednesday, May 15 at 12:30 PM in the Baltic Room to thank you for your contributions as a volunteer, where we will run through the basic information for volunteering at Commencement.

After the Ceremony, there will be a Reception for Faculty, Staff, and Volunteers, and we hope you will join us. Please consider volunteering, we appreciate your time and help during this important day for our students.

Volunteer Needs

  • Student Greeters: 10
  • Marshals & Ushers: 8
  • Student Check-In: 8
  • Check-in Faculty & Staff: 4
  • Stroller and Balloon Check-In: 2
  • Hospitality Room Helpers: 2
  • Program Greeters: 6
  • (Dis)Ability Seating: 2

If you are able and willing to volunteer, we would love to have you. Please reply to the Keeping Up With Commencement email to Yalem Lakew: yalem.lakewFREEWEST_VALLEY to sign up to volunteer.

Parking Information

There are two parking lots reserved for students and staff who will be participating in the commencement ceremony. Please see the parking map.

Preferred Lot

  • If you are using GOOGLE MAPS or WAZE, the entrance to the preferred parking lot is pinned to 255 Balbach Street, San Jose CA 95110.
  • For APPLE MAPS or any other GPS program, you’ll need to put the intersection of “Woz Way and Locust Street” as your destination.

Go to one of the machines in the parking lot and enter code: WESTV2019

After you park, walk towards the back of the parking lot and continue walking north along South Almaden Boulevard.

Turn right on West San Carlos Street. The City National Civic will be towards the end of the block on the left-hand side.

Backup Lot

The Backup Lot will only be used if the Preferred Lot fills up.

From the Preferred Lot

  1. Turn right onto Woz Way
  2. Continue past the unnamed intersection with the Highway 87 off-ramp (no turns allowed)
  3. At the intersection of Woz Way and Auzerais Avenue, make a U-turn
  4. Continue through the unnamed intersection with the Highway 87 off-ramp
  5. Immediately after going through the intersection, get in the right-turn lane and turn into the parking lot.

Go to one of the machines in the parking lot and enter code: WESTV2019

After you park, walk back out to Woz Way. You can get to the venue going either right or left.

Going right takes you back to the Preferred Lot. Follow the walking instructions for the Preferred Lot.

Going left takes you directly to West San Carlos Street, where you’ll turn right and continue until you reach the City National Civic on the left side of the street.

Students and faculty participating in the ceremony should continue around the corner towards Plaza de Cesar Chavez. Check in for students and faculty participating in the ceremony takes place around the side of the building.

Commencement Frequently Asked Questions

When is Commencement?

Commencement will be on Wednesday, May 22nd. The student processional begins at 6 PM and the ceremony will begin at 6:30 PM.

Where will Commencement be held?

It will be held at the San Jose City National Civic Auditorium located at 135 W San Carlos St., San Jose, CA 95113.

Where can I sign up for Commencement?

RSVP cards will be available at the Transfer Center in North Walk Portable 3 next to Counseling, as well as in the Student Development Office in the Campus Center.

When is the last day to sign up for Commencement?

You can sign up for Commencement up until the last day before the ceremony. You can also sign up for the ceremony at the venue during check-in on May 22nd, but we recommend that you sign up earlier.

Aren’t finals the week of Commencement? What if I have a final on Wednesday evening?

Yes, Commencement is the same week as finals. Most Wednesday evening finals have been rescheduled, but if you still have one scheduled during Commencement, please speak with your instructor about accommodations.

How do I get tickets for my guests?

We will not be having tickets this year for Commencement. All guests will be allowed entry and seating is based on a first-come, first-serve basis. A good estimate for number of guests per student would be 6-10.

Will parking be free on the day of Commencement?

Street parking in Downtown San Jose is free after 6 PM on weekdays. We have also reserved two parking lots for Commencement. Please see the Parking tab or the parking map and instructions for detailed information.

When will guests be allowed entry into the venue?

Doors open at 5:00 PM.

When can I check in at Commencement?

Check-in begins at 5:00 PM.

Are there any items that are not allowed inside the venue?

Bags will be searched at entry. Guests are not allowed to bring in food or drink, except for one sealed plastic water bottle. Balloons, strollers, large posters, and air horns are also not allowed into the venue.

I have elderly and/or disabled persons coming. How can I receive accommodations for them?

We will have special seating for guests with disabilities. Please contact Mike Scaletta of the Disability & Educational Support Programs (DESP) for accommodations by emailing him at mike.scalettaFREEWEST_VALLEY no later than Thursday, May 9th.

When and where can I purchase/pick up my cap, gown, and tassel?

You can purchase your cap, gown, and tassel at the Viking Bookstore in the Campus Center starting on May 13th.

How much does the cap and gown cost?

The package which includes the cap, gown, and tassel is priced at $49.95 plus tax.

Do I have to wear a cap and gown?

Students receiving degrees and/or certificates are expected to wear the cap and gown. Students who are transferring ONLY and not receiving a degree do not need to wear a cap and gown. The desired attire is “dressy casual” in all black.

Can I use an old cap and gown or do I have to purchase a West Valley one?

As long as your cap and gown is black, you can wear that to the ceremony.

I already have a gown. Can I purchase a cap only?

Yes. A cap costs $8.60.

I cannot afford to purchase a cap and gown. Are there any accommodations for me?

Please contact Yalem Lakew at yalem.lakewFREEWEST_VALLEY

Where can I get a tassel? How much do they cost?

Tassels will be available for purchase at the Viking Bookstore beginning on May 13th. They cost $6.80 if purchased separately from the cap and gown package.

Where can I get a stole?

The West Valley College navy and orange stoles are available for purchase at the Viking Bookstore. You can purchase them beginning May 13th for $29.98. If you checkmarked that you are transferring on the RSVP card, you will receive a white transfer stole on the day of graduation. If you are part of any special programs (EOPS, Puente, Umoja, etc.), please check with your program directors for their stoles.

Will there be any opportunity to take graduation pictures, or was that only for students who attended the Grad Fair?

The headshots were only available at Grad Fair. However, on the day of Commencement, a photographer will be taking a picture of you receiving your diploma case and shaking hands with President Brad Davis. Samples will be emailed or mailed to you after Commencement with the opportunity to purchase prints.

Will there be food at Commencement?

Limited refreshments will be provided for students at check-in and limited refreshments will also be provided for students and guests following the ceremony.

Last Updated 5/15/19