‘Never happened before’: Commencement tickets sell out

Photo of Cal graduation
Karen Chow/Senior Staff
Some students have been left without any tickets for their families to attend the ceremony, while some students were able to purchase the maximum 10.

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For the first time ever, guest tickets for the 2022 commencement ceremony at Memorial Stadium have sold out.

While graduating students could purchase up to 10 tickets, some students were not able to buy any at all.

“We are just as surprised as graduating students—this has never happened before at the stadium,” said Amy Cranch, a spokesperson at the University Development and Alumni Relations department, in an email.

As of Thursday, about 7,300 students registered for the commencement ceremony. Cranch said this is a significant increase, since approximately 5,700 typically participate in the ceremony.

While there was no deadline to purchase tickets, Cranch noted that tickets coincidentally sold out on April 15 the deadline for graduates to register for the ceremony.

Cranch hypothesized that some of the reasons why tickets sold out so quickly is due to the increased number of registrants and the fact that some students purchased the maximum number of tickets permitted whether they intended to use them or not.

“This is the first full, in-person campuswide Commencement in three years,” Cranch said in the email. “Students are eager to seize this opportunity to celebrate their personal accomplishments with their friends and loved ones.”

While students were allowed to purchase up to 10 tickets, Cranch said no one was guaranteed a certain amount.

Graduating senior Shams Amin said he was not able to buy any tickets for friends and family.

“Me and my roommate were trying to get tickets for ourselves, and the website crashed,” Amin said. “(My other roommate) bought 10 tickets. When I tried later that day, it only let me register for myself. It didn’t let me register to buy any more tickets.”

Amin added every graduate should be guaranteed a certain amount of tickets to ensure that some of their family members are able to attend commencement.

Other students like Wajiha Zahid were able to buy the maximum amount of tickets, but are still looking to buy more.

“I have a big family and roommates and friends I wanted to invite so even 10 isn’t really a lot,” Zahid said in an email.

While Memorial Stadium has a game capacity of 60,000, Cranch said commencement accommodates only 30,000 guests, noting that commencement planners are not able to increase capacity because they do not want to “compromise the experience for both guests and graduates.”

When asked why students had to purchase tickets for their family, Cranch said that budget constraints make it difficult to fully produce the event without charging for tickets.

“We do our best to keep ticket prices as low as possible,” Cranch said in the email. “We have supported graduates who reached out with concerns about the financial burden to the best of our ability.”

Contact Dhoha Bareche at [email protected].