Happy Graduates

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.

Accommodations and Restaurants
View our web pages for visitors for information on accommodations, restaurants and other information. Also, the Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) offers complete information on accommodations, restaurants and maps. The CVB is located at 298 Magnolia St. in Spartanburg. You may wish to call the Visitor Center (864) 594-5050 or 1-800-374-8326 , or visit their website.  

Download the USC Upstate Visitor's Guide      

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    Family Members and Guests
    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 farther parking lots 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.

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    Severe Weather
    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 (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 7:00 p.m. (Processionals would begin at 6:40 p.m.). Graduates would report no later than 6:00 p.m. to the arena of the auditorium. 

    INDOOR TICKET REQUIREMENT      
    Due to the limited space of an indoor ceremony and the growing number of graduates, tickets will be required for an indoor ceremony. Graduates will be given six (6) tickets in total: three (3) tickets for the auditorium and three (3) tickets to the arena (the lower level of the auditorium).  Live video streaming via the web will also be available for those without a ticket or not able to attend.

    ****PLEASE NOTE****
    The three (3) auditorium tickets provide guests a live viewing of commencement. The three (3) arena tickets (located in the lower level of the auditorium) allows guest to view the live video of the event. The doors to the arena for the live video viewing will be open by 6:40 p.m. prior to the 7:00 p.m. ceremony.

    Graduation tickets will all be general admission seating. Each graduate will be issued a set number of tickets. Lost tickets cannot be replaced.  All persons attending must have a ticket.

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    Family Members or Guests with Special Needs
    Family members or guests who have special needs, including mobility impairments due to health conditions, or unable to walk moderate distances will be directed by the University Police upon entering campus and can be dropped off immediately beside the quadrangle. The driver of the vehicle will be directed to the adjacent parking lots. Seating for family members and guests with special needs will be available in the handicapped seating sections. No prior arrangements are required to secure seating in this area. One companion may accompany those guests sitting in this special seating area. Event Marshals will be present to direct these guests to the nearest accessible seating.

    Sign language interpreting will be provided for the hearing-impaired. The interpreter will be positioned on the platform.

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    Parking
    The USC Upstate campus has ample parking surrounding the quadrangle where the ceremony will be held. We anticipate a large crowd for the commencement exercises, please plan to arrive in ample time to park and walk to the quad. Parking is prohibited in fire lanes and on sidewalks.

    Handicapped parking spaces are located in all parking lots on campus. Only vehicles with handicapped license plates, disability placards or hangtags will be allowed to park in the handicapped parking area and other designated handicapped areas around campus.

    University Police officers will be directing the traffic flow when guests are both entering and exiting campus. Shuttle buses will be provided to and from parking lots located on the North side of campus. View the USC Upstate parking map.

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    Travel Routes
    Because of the large number of vehicles approaching the campus prior to the ceremony, delays of 45 minutes or more are not unusual. Please be cautious and plan accordingly.  

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    Public Facilities
    First Aid services and handicapped accessible restrooms are available both on campus and at the Auditorium. In case of an emergency, EMS will be on site and University Police will be available to assist you.

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    Professional Photographers
    Professional photographers will photograph each degree candidate as he/she is greeted by Chancellor Moore. Complimentary photograph proofs will be sent to the degree candidate at his/her permanent address approximately 30 working days after the commencement exercises. Additional photographs may be purchased upon receipt of the proof. No prior arrangements are necessary for this service; all degree candidates will be photographed during the ceremony. There is absolutely no obligation to purchase any photographs. Families and guests will not be permitted on the event floor during the ceremonies.

    There will also be a professional photographer available to take still cap and gown photographs of the degree candidates on this special day. This photographer will be located in the lobby of the G. B. Hodge Center from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. for the May Commencement exercises. For more information, contact the special events office at 864-503-5985.

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    Videos
    Professional, multi-camera commemorative videos that will include the individual recognition of each degree candidate, will be available for purchase through Media Services. For more information, or to order, you may wish to call 864-503-5564.

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    Alma Mater
    When the Chancellor closes both the commencement exercises following the awarding of the degrees, the audience is asked to rise for the singing of the first verse only of the Alma Mater. The words of the song were penned by Professor George Wauchope of the English Department in 1911 and were adopted in 1912 and are printed in the commencement program. The tune is that of Flow Gently, Sweet Afton. "Here's a health, Carolina!" is a phrase which is repeated in Carolina's Alma Mater. Over the years, the custom has arisen of raising the right hand, with the fingers cupped, when the phrase "Here's a health, Carolina!", occurs, as if offering a toast. The Alma Mater is always sung with heads uncovered.

    We hail thee, Carolina, and sing thy high praise;
    With loyal devotion, rememb'ring the days,
    When proudly we sought thee, thy children to be;
    Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!
     

    Since pilgrims of learning, we entered thy walls
    And found dearest comrades in thy classic halls;
    We've honored and loved thee, as sons faithfully;
    Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!
     

    Generations of sons have rejoiced to proclaim
    Thy watchword of service, thy beauty and fame
    For ages to come shall their rallying cry be;
    Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!
     

    Fair shrine of high honor and truth, thou shalt still
    Blaze forth as a beacon, thy mission fulfill;
    And be crowned by all hearts in a new jubilee;
    Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!
     

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    More Information
    If you have any questions regarding the commencement exercises or the convocation, you may wish to call the Special Events Office at 864-503-5985 or read the graduation Frequently Asked Questions.

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