This document is current as of May 10th.
Please check
here for up-to-the-minute updates
and important announcements.


When and where is Commencement?

Southwestern’s 2020 Commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 30, 2021, at the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. The ceremony will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and end by 11:00 a.m.


How many guests are permitted?

Graduates are limited to eight (8) guests (in two groups of four) Each group of four (4) guests must arrive at the entrance gate at the same time and one QR Code will be scanned for each group of four (aka a pod)) that will be seated together.. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE to this requirement. Please note pods are socially distanced from other guests/pods but guests’  will not be socially distanced from each other. Anyone over two years old requires a pre-designated seat. Children under two are considered a “lap child” and will not require a seat.

What is the ticket requirement for children?

Children under two years old are considered a lap child and will not require a ticket or have a seat. Children two years and older will require a ticket and will be counted toward the eight-guest limit.

How do I request guest tickets?

Is there a deadline to register for guest tickets?

The deadline to request tickets has passed. Send an email to to inquire or if you have questions or concerns. Please check your Southwestern email or the supplemental announcement section for further ticket request information.


How will I receive my guests’ tickets?

Each graduate will receive up to two ticket codes from Southwestern. Graduates may redeem their codes at the Ticketmaster link or they could can give the codes and link to adesignated guest who is then responsible for ordering their tickets. The graduate or designated guest will log onto Ticketmaster, enter the code, then select their four Rose Bowl Stadium seats which will be in a pod. The designated guest’s contact information (full name, phone number and email address) should be provided so that the confirmation and tickets can be emailed to them. The designated guest will receive a confirmation email providing instructions on how to download the four mobile/digital tickets for the selected seats (pod). Please note that the tickets cannot be transferred to anyone else.

On the event date, each group of four (4), aka each pod of your guests need to be at the Rose Bowl stadium gate at the same time, the venue will scan the tickets, and all four guests will be able to enter the stadium together and go to their seats/pod.

How will seating be arranged?

All guests must arrive at the entrance gate at the same time and one QR Code will be scanned for each pod of up to four guests that will be seated together. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE to this requirement. Please note pods are socially distanced from other pods, but guests within a pod are not socially distanced from each other. Anyone over two years old requires a pre-designated seat. Children under two are considered a “lap child” and will not require a seat.

Can I have more than eight (8) guests?

No. Guests will be seated in pods of four (4) seats each. Due to social distancing protocols, we are unable to adjust the seating arrangements and cannot accommodate more than eight (8) guests (in two pods) per graduate. Please understand that this is mandated by the ROSE BOWL and we have no discretion. Please comply because we do NOT want to turn anyone away on this joyous occasion.

Can I give my tickets to another graduate?

No. Tickets are non-transferable and are only issued to graduates attending the ceremony.

What else should I know about ticketing?



Will handicap seating be available?

Yes. Handicap seating will be available. Accessible seats can be reserved through the Ticketmaster link. Please note that the accessible seats provide spaces for wheelchairs and one companion seat. Additional seats will be added in order to complete a pod of four seats.

Will wheelchairs be available?

No. Wheelchairs will not be provided onsite.


What are the requirements for out of state graduates or guests?

Graduates and guests who are traveling from out-of-state may attend the ceremony if they are fully vaccinated (two weeks after a second dose in a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine). All guests must adhere to the Pasadena Public Health Reopening Protocol Outdoor Seated Live Events.

If you do not meet the above requirements you are not considered fully vaccinated and will not be permitted to attend the event.  This same rule applies to Southwestern faculty and staff.


When can we start arriving?

 What is required once we arrive?


What do I need to know about parking?


What are the COVID-19 guidelines for the in-person ceremony at the Rose Bowl?

All CDC, state, and local health and safety guidelines will be enforced to ensure the safety of those in attendance.

Do not attend the event if you are feeling sick or have any of the following symptoms:

All attendees entering the stadium will be asked to respond to COVID-19 screening questions.

Face Mask Policy:

Physical & Social Distancing: Social distance guidelines will be enforced throughout the Rose Bowl. Signage, floor markers, and other resources will remind guests to remain physically distanced at a minimum of six (6) feet.

Do I have to be vaccinated to attend commencement?

Only out-of-state graduates and guests traveling to California for the ceremony are required to be fully vaccinated, per county protocols. Please see the “Out-of-State Participant” section above.


Are food and beverages allowed?

Food and beverages are not permitted except the following:

Are we able to purchase concessions in the stadium?

Is alcohol permitted in the stadium?

Alcohol is not permitted in Rose Bowl Stadium parking areas or inside stadium gates.


Are bags permitted in the stadium?

Bags, backpacks, luggage, purses etc. are not permitted in the stadium. However, the following are permitted and will be inspected prior to entry:


What items are not permitted in the stadium?


The Rose Bowl Stadium and its surrounding parking lots are non-smoking areas. Use of electronic cigarettes (vapes) and smokeless tobacco products are also prohibited in all areas of the Rose Bowl Stadium.



Will the ceremony be livestreamed?

Yes. The in-person ceremony will be live-streamed and available on-demand for future viewing.
Use this link for both!!!


How will I get my diploma?

Graduates will receive a mock diploma at the Commencement ceremony. The Registration Office will mail graduates their actual diplomas. To inquire about your diploma, send an email to