Here you will find general information for commencement attendees.
Travel & Transportation
There are two main airports that serve Occidental. The closest is the Burbank-Pasadena-Glendale Airport, which is less than a half-hour from campus. Los Angeles International Airport is about an hour's drive from campus, depending on traffic. Transportation is available from each airport to hotels and other accommodations in the Pasadena area.
Campus Shuttle Service
Limited shuttles for the elderly and physically challenged individuals will run from various campus locations to Hillside Theater before and after Commencement.
Handicapped parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis, but you must display your official DMV handicapped placard if you park in a handicapped parking space on campus. When you arrive, you will be directed to the closest handicapped parking area by a Campus Safety officer. Shuttles will be available from all handicapped parking areas to take you and your guests to the entrance of the theater. If you have any questions regarding handicapped parking, contact Campus Safety at (323) 259-2599.
Local hotel accommodations may be found in Eagle Rock, Glendale, Pasadena, and South Pasadena. Many hotels offer discounts for Occidental College visitors. Please inquire about discounts when making your reservation.
View the hotel information page.
Maps & Directions
Commencement Ceremony Information
Admission to Commencement
Wristbands are required to enter the theater on the day of Commencement. Children under the age of two, who will be lap sitting, do not require a wristband. Please coordinate with your student, as he or she will be given seven wristbands for the ceremony when he or she picks up his or her cap and gown during the week prior to Commencement. No one without a wristband will be allowed inside the theater.
Cap and Gown Rental
Information for prospective graduates is available on the Graduating Seniors page.
The terrain of the campus requires considerable walking to and from various events. Comfortable shoes are a must. Because Hillside Theater is an open-air venue, please use discretion and check weather reports as conditions in the theater may be uncomfortable for younger children and the elderly. If the weather is unseasonably warm, you will appreciate having water, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen during the ceremony as most seats are in direct sun. On the other hand, should the weather be overcast, you should also bring a jacket.
Flowers & Leis
Graduation Day Flowers offers fresh flower bouquets and orchid leis. Bouquets and leis will be available for purchase on campus at multiple locations near Hillside Theater on the day of Commencement; however, guests are encouraged to pre-order so that students are photographed wearing their leis when crossing the Commencement stage.
Pre-order at Graduation Day Flowers (https://www.thecommencementgroup.com/occidental/). Pre-order and pick up at any of the three booths on Commencement morning. Print your receipt and present it to the flower staff at one of the locations on the day of Commencement.
Please note that no pets are allowed in Hillside Theater (except for seeing-eye and K-9 assist dogs). Comfort animals are not allowed.
Grad Images, a commercial firm, will be at Commencement to photograph each graduate at the moment the diploma is presented. Several weeks after Commencement, proofs and an order form will be sent to your student's address as shown on the College's records.
Visit Grad Images for more information.
The taking of pictures or videos by individuals immediately in front of the platform is not allowed in an effort to eliminate crowding and confusion in that area.
The seats in Hillside Theater are concrete and have no back support. Therefore, you may want to bring a blanket or seat cushion. No strollers, umbrellas, balloons and signs bigger than 24" x 36" will be allowed inside the theater. Please note that signs must be frameless and without handles.
The doors will open for seating at 7:00 a.m. No one will be admitted before then. Everyone needs to be seated by 8:45 a.m. for Commencement to begin at 9:00 a.m. sharp.
Cushions can be purchased at the Bookstore prior to the ceremony.
The college will livestream Commencement to Choi Auditorium on campus. The livestream in Choi is a great option for family members who are sensitive to the heat, families with young children, family members without wristbands and family members with physical limitations. Please note that seating in the Choi Auditorium is on a first-come, first-served basis.