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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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All ceremonies will adhere to county and state guidelines with facial coverings and physical distancing required. All ceremonies will adhere to county and state guidelines with facial coverings and physical distancing required.

Everything You Need to Know About Attending 2021 Commencement

SDSU will host seven commencement ceremonies at Petco Park from May 25-27.
By SDSU News Team

This month, 10,815 San Diego State University degree candidates, including SDSU Imperial Valley and Global Campus students,  have the opportunity to graduate from student to proud SDSU alumni as part of the Class of 2021.

SDSU announced in April that it would host May 2021 commencement ceremonies at Petco Park from May 25-27 after conducting numerous student surveys and focus groups, and after close consultation with county public health officials. All ceremonies will adhere to county and state guidelines with facial coverings and physical distancing required. 
December 2019, May and August 2020, December 2020 and May and August 2021 graduates are invited to attend, and an event live stream will be available for those who cannot or choose not to attend. SDSU is also offering virtual ceremonies for graduates and their families. 

SDSU's commencement ceremonies at Petco Park will comply with Commencement and Outdoor Stadium Live Performance guidance (.pdf) by the California Department of Public Health. It is important to note California has travel advisories in place. As of April 1, 2021, Californians are permitted to travel more freely within the state, with the previous 120-mile advisory limit no longer in effect. However, California still discourages travel from out-of-state unless individuals first self-quarantine. It is important that all guests abide by both this and any of their local travel guidance before making plans. Additional information can be found on the SDSU Commencement site

Here’s everything you need to know about attending the 2021 Commencement ceremonies at Petco Park:

Commencement Schedule

Tuesday, May 25
9 a.m. College of Education/Faculty Advancement and Student Success (IS3D)
2 p.m. College of Sciences

Wednesday, May 26
8 a.m. College of Arts and Letters
1 p.m. College of Engineering
5:30 p.m. Fowler College of Business
Thursday, May 27
9 a.m. College of Health and Human Services
2 p.m. College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Digital Tickets

All graduates and guests must have a Petco Park ticket to enter the stadium. With SDSU Commencement being held at Petco Park, ticket reservation and access will require the use of San Diego Padres Ticketmaster and MLB Ballpark App to receive digital tickets. 

The MLB Ballpark App requires a mobile device to utilize the App Store or Google Play. If printed tickets were ordered, they can only be picked up the day of your ceremony starting 90-minutes prior to each ceremony. Graduates OR their guests should pick up printed tickets at San Diego Padres Ticket Windows 16, 17 and 18. Students who have ordered printed tickets will be receiving an email communication from the SDSU Commencement Committee.

More information about ticket reservation and delivery can be found here.


Petco Park is offering parking in two lots for SDSU Commencement.

The Parkade Lot: Located on 10th Street and J Street. Parkade Lot parking is $20. Permits for the Parkade Lot are available for pre-purchase during the Ticketmaster Ticket Reservation process using a credit or debit card.  Permits can also be purchased the day of the ceremony with a credit or debit card. Cash will not be accepted. 

The Tailgate Lot: Located between K Street and Imperial Avenue. Tailgate Lot parking is $15. Permits for the Tailgate Lot are available for pre-purchase during the Ticketmaster Ticket Reservation process using a credit or debit card.  Permits can also be purchased the day of the ceremony with a credit or debit card. Cash will not be accepted. 

A map showing the locations of the parking lots can be found here

San Diego Trolley

Petco Park is easily accessible from the San Diego Trolley. The Gaslamp Quarter Station (Sycuan Green Line) and the 12th & Imperial transfer station both are within walking distance and free parking can be found at many stations. One-way fares may be purchased without a Compass Card for $2.50, with discounts for seniors. For more information, consult the Metropolitan Transit System website.

Graduates Arrival

Graduates should plan to be in their assigned, ticketed seat 15 minutes prior to their ceremony start time. Graduates should allow enough time for downtown traffic, parking and gate entry into Petco Park. The ceremony will begin promptly at the published start time and there will not be a student processional. Graduates should arrive in their traditional, full academic regalia.

Gates open one-hour prior to the ceremony start time. There will only be two gates open at Petco Park during commencement for guests and graduates to enter.  All other gates will be closed. The Home Plate Gate is located at Park Boulevard and Tony Gwynn Drive. The Park Boulevard Gate is located at Park Boulevard and 10th Avenue. Multiple lanes will be open at each gate, and specific lanes will be marked for “Graduates.”

More information about the arrival and ceremony can be found here


Graduates should arrive at Petco Park with both their Petco Park ticket and MarchingOrder GradPass. Graduates will not need to show their RedID as long as they have both their Petco Park ticket and GradPass. Your GradPass can either be printed out or readily available on a mobile device. The graduate will scan the QR code on the GradPass prior to crossing the stage. We recommend that you print your GradPass or save it to your mobile device to avoid technical troubles as you get ready to cross the stage. All graduates must have their GradPass in order to cross the stage.

You will receive a separate email with your GradPass on Friday, May 21.

Ceremony Overview

The ceremony will include remarks by SDSU President Adela de la Torre, the dean of each college and other speakers. University leadership will also present and confer degrees during the ceremony. The entire ceremony, including graduate name reading, should be no longer than two hours.

Graduates will be required to wear a face covering during the duration of the ceremony and should be mindful of social distancing requirements. Graduates will have their name read aloud as they cross the stage. A live video of each graduate crossing the stage will appear on the jumbotron along with their name, degree/major, and honors, if applicable.

Your ceremony experience will be contactless as you cross the stage. Class of 2021 graduates received their diploma cover in their GradPack which was mailed the week of May 10. Class of 2020 graduates received their diploma covers last year. Please do not bring your diploma cover with you to Petco Park.

Graduates will have the opportunity to remove their face covering for the professional photos taken by GradImages Photography prior to crossing the stage.

Doctoral/terminal degree candidates and master’s candidates should arrive wearing their academic hood. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, there will be no physical hooding during the ceremony, but candidates will be individually acknowledged as they traditionally would be during the degree conferral. Please see this how-to video for instructions on wearing the hood. A separate email will be sent from each college coordinator to doctoral/terminal degree candidates with additional instructions.

COVID-19 Guidelines

Face coverings will be required for all guests while inside Petco Park. Guests who have a positive COVID test within 10 days of the event, or those who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, may not attend in accordance with public health guidelines.

Petco Park Policies

To minimize surface touch points between employees and guests, Petco Park prohibits bags with the exception of infant and medical bags. More entry policies can be found on the Petco Park website.

Additional policies for Petco Park can be found below:
  • Staff will enforce California face covering requirements throughout the event, including within the parking lots.
  • Tailgating is not permitted.
  • Graduates must be seated in their ticketed locations throughout the duration of the ceremony.
  • Relocating to other sections and congregating is not permitted.
  • The venue must be cleaned and disinfected prior to and after the event, particularly high touch surfaces. Students will be asked to orderly and immediately leave the stadium venue following the ceremony.
  • Petco Park will have limited food and beverage offerings available for sale. Please note all food and beverage sales are contactless and must be paid by credit card or mobile pay. Graduates will be allowed to bring in one factory sealed plastic water bottle.
  • All attendees, including graduates, school administrators, or guests, must remain at least six feet apart at all times.
  • Graduates must adhere to markers indicating  six-foot distances and people should stand on or by the markers and remain 6 feet from each other.
  • To comply with the six-foot spacing, handshaking and hugs should not occur.
  • Graduates should limit the sharing or exchanging of materials (such as throwing graduation caps).
  • There will be no processional or recessional.
SDSU Imperial Valley Graduates  

Of the 10,815 students graduating from SDSU this month, 344 were from SDSU Imperial Valley. 342 students graduated with their bachelor’s degree and two with their master’s. 

SDSU Imperial Valley has already hosted a CARmencement ceremony on the Calexico campus, which was held May 17-18 to honor the classes of 2020 and 2021. Imperial Valley graduates were also invited to attend the Petco Park ceremonies if they chose to do so.