Black Graduation

Black Graduation 2020

Monday May 18th at 7:00pm, Zellerbach Hall

Online registration will close on May 11, 2020. Only people who have registered by this date are guaranteed to have their names and majors listed in the program. People who register after May 11 may still participate in Black Graduation, but are not guaranteed to be included in the program, nor are they guaranteed access to tickets.

As a registered participant you can  pick up two complimentary tickets April 16- May 11th, 2020 in 660 Barrows Hall from 9-12 and 1-4 Monday through Friday. You may also purchase 5 tickets at the Zellerbach Box Office beginning Thursday April 16th (for $5.00 each).  Beginning May 14th the remaining tickets will go on sale and students can purchase up to 5 additional tickets at the Zellerbach Box Office on a first come, first serve basis.

Graduates do not need a ticket. All guests will need tickets, including children over two years of age. Please arrive at 5:45pm on May 18th to check in for the ceremony. We need all the graduates in the venue by 6:00 pm when the doors open to the public. Looking forward to seeing you all in your caps and gowns on May 18th!

Student Participation Opportunities:

There are several ways that students can participate in Black Graduation. Students can help select a theme, nominate someone for the Fannie Lou Hamer Award, or audition to be a speaker at Black Grad.

Theme Selection: We will solicit suggestions for this year’ graduation theme in the month of March. This year you can vote for the theme via the multiple choice option on the online registration form. We will finalize the theme of the ceremony by April 24th.

Speaker Auditions: We will hold auditions during RRR week Tuesday May 4th, times TBA for the following four speaking opportunities:

  • Welcome remarks: a 2-3 minute speech; restricted to declared African American Studies majors
  • Theme address: 3-5 minute speech on the theme selected for this year’s ceremony
  • Introduction of the keynote speaker: 1-2 minute speech introducing the keynote speaker for this year’s ceremony, including some biographical details
  • Introduction of the Fannie Lou Hamer Award recipient: 1-2 minute speech introducing the recipient of this year’s award, including some biographical details

The audition committee will include faculty, staff, and AAS majors. Students selected for speaking opportunities will, if necessary, be given feedback to assist in the revision of their remarks. Student speakers will be required to submit a finalized copy of their speech by May 11th.

Background Information:

As always, Black Graduation is planned and hosted by the staff and faculty in the Department of African American Studies as the primary graduation ceremony for students earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in African American and African Diaspora Studies. While our first responsibility is to serve our majors, we are happy to open up the ceremony to students graduating from other programs as a service to the broader Cal community.


For any questions about the Black Graduation planning process, please email