UC Berkeley’s commencement ceremony for the spring class of 2023 is set for Saturday, May 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the California Memorial Stadium.
So far, 3,995 students have registered to participate in the campuswide graduation ceremony and 13,835 guest tickets have been purchased out of the 37,000 available, according to campus spokesperson Elizabeth Costello.
“The total is a bit difficult to predict at this stage, but we do anticipate selling out,” Costello said in an email.
Students can purchase a total of four guest tickets, a decrease from the 2022 graduation, in which students could purchase up to 10 guest tickets. Costello mentioned the reason for the decrease is to ensure an “equitable distribution of tickets” given a general increase in guest and graduate numbers.
Regarding the decrease in tickets, graduating senior Anya Lai said students often privately exchange tickets to bypass these restrictions.
“I think it’s enough due to spacing, and I know how students sell tickets to each other to help those with big families so it works out,” Lau said.
Although preparation for the spring 2023 commencement is well on its way, complaints from the spring 2022 commencement have Lai questioning how effective the ceremony will run this year.
Alicia Fusco, another upcoming graduate, showed understanding of the possible disorganization that comes with ceremonies as big as UC Berkeley’s spring commencement. She noted that many graduates gather at Kip’s Bar and restaurant prior to the ceremony, so mishaps are bound to happen.
“It’s just part of the experience,” Fusco said in a text message. “I also thing the anticipated dysfunction is so indicative of the chaos of the last 4 years at Berkeley (a blackout freshman year that canceled classes for days, Covid, the sky turning orange, wildfires, the strike, etc.) that in a way commencement being chaotic is the perfect sendoff.”
Nevertheless, both Lai and Fusco expressed their excitement surrounding the commencement, with Lai noting her anticipation to celebrate the accomplishments of her peers during her time on campus.
Within such a large campus setting, Costello explained the importance of making graduating students feel special during commencement.
“We aim to honor the hard work of Berkeley graduates by including students’ names in the printed program, by the presence of the Chancellor at the campus-wide ceremony, and by working to find speakers who are meaningful for the students,” Costello said in the email. “This all-campus commencement is the only opportunity for students of different majors to gather together in celebration.”
On the day of the ceremony, doors to the stadium open at 8:30 a.m. for guests. At this time graduates will line up on Witter Field, from where they will enter the stadium at 9 a.m.
The ceremony will officially begin at 10:30 a.m. and consist of speeches from a keynote speaker and the University Medalist, or the top graduating senior, as well as the official awarding of degrees by Chancellor Carol Christ. The event will also be livestreamed on campus’s commencement website.
“Speaker selection is still in process,” Costello said in the email. “We are currently reaching out to potential speakers who are on the approved list that was developed in consultation with the senior class council, ASUC, and the Chancellor’s office.”