Commencement 2022

It is almost time to come together to celebrate with our graduating class of 2022!  PAU currently plans to hold a single in-person commencement ceremony this year. The ceremony will also be live streamed for guests who are unable to attend the ceremony in person. It is important to emphasize, however, that the ever-changing nature of the pandemic could require us to change course and we will continue to monitor public health guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, faculty, and community. The Palo Alto University 2022 commencement ceremony is scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. PDT, at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

We had hoped to share a special video greeting during commencement, but technical difficulties got in the way. We hope you'll take a moment to view the message here. It is from Admiral Rachel L. Levine, the 17th Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She was nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2021.

Regalia Update

We have been notified that some graduates did not receive their regalia hoods from our vendor Herff Jones. A limited supply of regalia pieces will be on hand on Commencement Day. Please email if you would like to reserve one.

Ceremony Details

Important COVID-19 Safety Protocals

All guests, including, faculty, staff and graduates will be required to adhere to the following COVID-19 safety protocals:

Masks will be required for all attendees and must be worn for the entire ceremony.

All participants and guests 2 years of age and older will be required to show proof of full vaccination or have proof of a negative Covid test as follows:

  • An antigen test conducted at least one day prior to the event
  • A PCR test conducted at least two days prior to the event

For more details, please visit HERE.

PAU Welcomes Commencement Speaker, S. Kent Butler, PhD

S. Kent Butler, PhD, will deliver PAU’s commencement address to the Class of 2022 on Saturday, June 18. Dr. Butler is President of the American Counseling Association (ACA), an ACA Fellow, and host of the ACA weekly vodcast, “The Voice of Counseling." He is also a professor of counselor education at the University of Central Florida and former Chief Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Officer and Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence. PAU is honored to have Dr. Butler speak at PAU’s 2022 Commencement ceremony!

Important Dates for Graduates

  • March 10: 100 Days to Commencement Countdown Begins
  • April 1: Deadline to submit Intent to Participate in Commencement Form
  • April 11: Regalia is available to purchase via Herff Jones
  • May 15: Dissertation deadline
  • May 18: Last day to order regalia
  • June 3: Last day for grads to reserve tickets via Eventbrite
  • June 18: Commencement Day

Send Congrats To the Class of 2022!

To send a message to a PAU graduate, click on their program Kudoboard below

Information for Family and Friends

Commencement weekend promises to be filled with memorable moments and opportunities to celebrate with your graduate. Please use the resources below to help you plan for this special occasion. Please note that some of these websites and resources are not maintained by Palo Alto University and may change without notice.

Event Flyer
Lodging & Dining

Below is a list of accommodations and restaurants near the Santa Clara Convention Center and Palo Alto University, Allen Calvin campus.

Lodging Dining
sweet buds logo
Order Flowers

Families and guests may pre-order flowers and leis for pick-up at the ceremony, conveniently located at a booth in front of the ceremony hall. The last day to pre-order flowers is June 11th.

Sweet Buds Floral

Past Communications

Graduates at PAU
Q & A Video Presentation

This video contains important information for graduates. Topics discussed are:
* Commencement eligibility
* Important deadlines for graduates
* Venue information, including, prohibited items
* Information for guests, including how to pre-order flowers and the Kudoboards
* Ticket information
* Regalia information
* Accommodations for guests with special needs
* COVID-19 safety protocols
* and much more!

Click Here to Watch the Video


Who can participate in commencement on June 18th?Toggle Accordion

The class of 2022 is anyone whose degree was conferred between October 2021 and September 2022.


Is there a difference between commencement and graduation?Toggle Accordion

Commencement is the ceremony to honor students whose degrees have been conferred between October 2021 and September 2022 

Graduation is the completion of degree requirements. Students’ transcripts will include their degree and major after the Registrar’s Office awards their degree.

How do I verify or change the name that will be printed on the commencement program?Toggle Accordion

When completing the Intent to Participate Form, please make sure that you double-check the entered spelling of your name. Once the form is submitted, we will use the entered name for the commencement 2022 program. Please email if you have any questions.

How do I verify or change the name that is printed on my diploma?Toggle Accordion

Once you have completed all degree requirements and have received a final grade for all of your courses, the Registrar's Office will confer your degree.  Upon the conferral of your degree, you will be sent a Diploma Request Form asking for your name as you would like it to appear on your diploma as well as the address to send it to.  Please make sure that you double-check the entered spelling of your name before submitting this form. For additional questions about your diploma, please contact the Registrar's Office at

What do I need to do in order to participate in commencement?Toggle Accordion

In order to participate in the ceremony on June 18, 2022, you must complete the Intent to Participate form by the April 1st deadline. You will receive a confirmation email from if you qualify to participate (please do not order regalia until you have received your confirmation email). If you do not qualify, you will receive an email from the Registrar's office explaining why.

Please note that dotoral students are required to defend their dissertations by May 15th in order to qualify to participate in the 2022 ceremony.

Is there a limitation on the number of guests I can invite?Toggle Accordion

Yes. Each graduate is able to invite up to 8 guests for the in-person ceremony. There is no limit to the number of guests who can attend the ceremony virtually. Graduates are required to request there in-person and virtual tickets via Eventbrite here.

Will the commencement ceremony be viewable for people who cannot attend?Toggle Accordion

Yes! The 2022 commencement ceremonies will be live streamed. Details about how to join the ceremonies virtually will be posted as the date approaches. Graduates who request virtual "tickets" for their guests via Eventbrite, will automatically receive an email with a link to join the ceremony live. Please check the commencement webpage frequently for updates. 

How do I request an accommodation for a disability?Toggle Accordion

Please send an email to and indicate the accomodation needed. Please send your requests by May 1. 

Where can I find information about nearby lodging?Toggle Accordion

The Commencement webpage will have resources to help you plan for your visit, including, lodging, dining, transportation and parking. If you need additional assistance or information, please contact

What COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place for the ceremony?Toggle Accordion

Palo Alto University (PAU) is committed to the health and safety of its entire community, particularly as COVID-19 remains among us. In accordance with State and County guidelines and recommendations, including the State of California’s recommendations for Indoor Mega Events, Palo Alto University will require the following safety precautions for anyone attending the commencement ceremony at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Guests who do not comply or produce the proper documentation listed below, will not be allowed to enter the venue.

Masks will be required for all attendees. 

All participants and guests 2 years of age and older will be required to show proof of full vaccination or have proof of a negative Covid test as follows:

  • An antigen test conducted at least one day prior to the event *

  • A PCR test conducted at least two days prior to the event *

All attendees will be screened at the Convention Center upon arrival. Guests who would like to download a copy of their vaccine card can do so by visiting the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Card Portal.

If you are feeling symptomatic or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please do not attend commencement – even if you feel fine.  

It is important to emphasize that the changing nature of the pandemic may require a change in plans at any time. Please check HERE for any Indoor Mega Event Restrictions at the time of the event. 

We appreciate your compliance and understanding as we work to create a safe environment for PAU’s 2022 graduates and their guests!

* image of a negative test or copy of a negative lab result


Is registration necessary for family and friends who wish to attend the commencement ceremony?Toggle Accordion

Yes, tickets will be required. Graduates will need to request tickets for their guests who plan to attend the in-person and/or virtual ceremony. Please visit Eventbrite here:

The last day to reserve tickets is June 3, 2022.

What protocols apply to international travelers who want to attend commencement?Toggle Accordion

COVID Protocols: As of December 2021, "Air travelers aged two and older, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, are required to show documentation of a negative viral test result taken within one day of the flight’s departure to the United States before boarding. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight. That includes all travelers – U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and foreign nationals.

If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country, and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).  Click HERE for more information.

Visas:  If your guest is a citizen from a country on the visa waiver list, then no visa is necessary to enter the U.S.  For visitor visa application information, guests can click here for application steps and links to their local U.S. Embassy
If you have additional questions email Lisa Harris at

Is a cap and gown (regalia) required to attend Commencement?Toggle Accordion

Yes. Regalia can be purchased through the Herff Jones website. The purchasing window is from April 11- May 18. Here is a link to order your regalia:

Where can I find COVID-19 travel information?Toggle Accordion

Please visit the CDC COVID-19 Travel webpage HERE.