Info 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.

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.

Accommodations and Restaurants

View our Visitors Information web page for 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.

Download the USC Upstate Visitor's Guide PDF Document

Family Members and Guests

Admission tickets or invitations are not required. 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.

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. 

Directions to the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium Map Location to the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium

Degree candidates, family members, and guests should designate a place to meet after the ceremonies.

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 five (5) tickets in total: three (3) tickets for the auditorium and two (2) 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 two (2) 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.

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.

Professional Photographers
Professional photographers will photograph each degree candidate as he/she is greeted by Chancellor Kelly. 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 Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium from 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. for the December Commencement exercises. For more information, contact the special events office at (864) 503-5985.

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 (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!