Frequently Asked Questions

Which day is my commencement exercise?

May Commencement (for students graduating in May or August) 

  • Tuesday, May 7, 2019 
  • Tuesday, May 5, 2020
  • Tuesday, May 4, 2021
  • Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Do we need tickets?

The commencement exercises are open to the public, and you may invite as many guests as you wish. Guest seating will be on a first-come-first-seated basis. 

What time should I arrive?

All degree candidates will report dressed in his/her academic regalia to the Hodge Arena by no later than 4:40 p.m. In the case of severe weather, please report to the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium.

How long is the ceremony?

The ceremony will last about an hour and a half.

What should we do about parking?

The USC Upstate campus has ample parking PDF Document 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/or on sidewalks.

Accessible parking spaces are located in all parking lots* on campus.

Do you have handicapped seating?

Yes. Seating for family members and guests with special needs will be available in the accessible seating section. No prior arrangements need to be made to secure seating for this area. One companion may accompany the guests sitting in this area. Event marshals will be present to direct your guests to the nearest accessible seating.

Will they read my name?

Yes. Degree candidates will receive a name card upon check-in. As the candidates approach the platform, they will hand the name card to a marshal. As the candidate crosses the stage his/her name will be read along with the degree and any applicable academic honors. Each candidate will be greeted by Chancellor Kelly and his/her Dean.

Will I receive my diploma?

You will NOT receive your diploma during the commencement exercises. Your diploma will be sent to you approximately three months after the ceremony, once the completion of all degree requirements is verified. Please note you diploma and transcript will be held if all financial obligations to the University of South Carolina Upstate are not satisfied.

How do I get my transcript?

Transcript requests must be in writing and signed by the student to whom the record belongs. To obtain an official transcript of your University of South Carolina Upstate academic record, log into SSC under the student portal. There is an $12 charge for each copy.

Should I arrive in regalia?

Yes. Degree candidates should arrive dressed in their academic regalia. Regalia consists of a mortarboard cap, academic gown, tassel and honor cords (if applicable). Graduate degree candidates will also wear an academic hood. Caps should be worn so they sit level rather than on the back or side of the head.

Where do I get my cap/gown?

Academic regalia may be purchased at the University Bookstore. You can stop by, call or access the bookstore’s website for more information.

What should I wear underneath my regalia?

Men, it is recommended that you wear a white dress shirt and tie, dark pants and dark shoes. Jeans, tennis shoes and flip-flops are not appropriate.

Women, it is recommended that you wear a skirt or dress and dress shoes. Please make sure your dress is not longer than your graduation gown. When selecting your heel height, please consider that you will be walking up and down stairs and across the stage. Jeans, tennis shoes and flip-flops are not appropriate.

Will I need to worry about photography?

No. Professional photographers will photograph each degree candidate as he or she is greeted by Chancellor Kelly. Complimentary photograph proofs will be sent to the permanent address of each degree candidate about 30 days after the ceremony. Additional photographs may be purchased upon receipt of the proof, but there is absolutely no obligation to purchase any photographs.

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 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. for the May Commencement exercises. For more information, contact Grad Images at 1-800-261-2576 or at