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Commencement 2015 Information

Congratulations to our upcoming graduates of Berkeley City College.  The Berkeley City College graduation ceremony for the Class of 2015, is scheduled for Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 7:00 p.m., in the Zellerbach Auditorium at the University of California, Berkeley. Invitations / Tickets are not required to attend the ceremony.  Graduates do not need to RSVP to attend graduation.   The Auditorium will open to the public at approximately 6:15pm.  The ceremony lasts approximately 2 hours.


Please click here to download the 2015 Graduation Newsletter, click here to download a copy of the photography flyer and click here to download a copy of the graduation program.  The graduation mailing that the graduates receive will contain the graduation newsletter & the photography flier.  You will also receive a courtesy 5-pack of invitations & your honor cord (if applicable) when you pick up your regalia at the bookstore available beginning  April 20, 2015.



During her childhood, founder Rue Mapp split her time between urban Oakland, California and her families’ working ranch in the Northern woodlands, where she cultivated a passion for natural spaces, farming, and learned how to hunt and fish. As a youth, her participation in the Girl Scouts and Outward Bound broadened her outdoor experiences, such as camping, mountaineering, rock climbing, and road bicycling. But Ms. Mapp was troubled by the consistently low numbers of African Americans participating in these activities. So for two decades, she has used digital media as an important and practical tool to connect with people of color who share her outdoor interests. Outdoor Afro emerged naturally from these experiences.


Ms. Mapp, a Berkeley City College alumna, earned her  B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was inspired by her study of the artistic representation of the American forests. She is also a successful entrepreneur whose game and hobby store start-up (It’s Your Move) remains an important part of the Oakland community.


In 2010, Ms. Mapp was invited to the White House to participate in the America’s Great Outdoors Conference where President Obama signed an historic memorandum to help reconnect all Americans to the Great Outdoors, and was invited back to take part in a think-tank to inform the launch of the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative. She was also appointed program officer at the Stewardship Council’s Foundation for Youth Investment where she served for two years to manage its grantmaking program.


Recently, Ms. Mapp was named a Hero in Backpacker Magazine, honored as part of the Root 100 of the top black achievers and influencers for 2012.  She received the Josephine and Frank Dunaneck award for her humanitarian efforts. Rue is a proud mother of three active children – Seth, Arwen, and Billy, lives in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, and especially enjoys hiking, camping, biking, birding, and kayaking.


Outdoor Afro is a social community that reconnects African-Americans with natural spaces and one another through recreational activities such as camping, hiking, biking, birding, fishing, gardening, skiing — and more! Outdoor Afro disrupts the  false perception that black people do not have a relationship with nature, and works to shift the visual representation of who can connect with the outdoors. We remember our history in nature,  leverage social media, and support relevant local leadership to create interest communities, events, and partnerships that support diverse participation in the Great Outdoors.



You should plan to arrive at Zellerbach Auditorium no later than 6:15 p.m. Thursday,  May 21, 2015  When you come to Zellerbach, please check in at the reception table and pick up your announcement card. Hang on to this card — you will need to hand it to the announcer when it’s time to cross the stage during the ceremony.



Zellerbach Auditorium is wheelchair accessible, and the graduation ceremony will be sign language interpreted.  However, disabled seating is limited.  Graduates and guests with special seating needs please contact Marilyn Clausen by email : Marilyn will work with Zellerbach staff to assist you with all your accommodation needs and questions; please contact Marilyn by May 14, 2015.



There are parking garages in the area, which are likely to fill up early.  Please inform your guests to allow ample time to find parking and keep in mind the possible traffic congestion in the area. Please see the map on page 4 of the graduation newsletter for a map of UC Berkeley, which shows several parking areas.  Keep in mind that many lots will require payment in quarters.  Also, there will be construction going on around Zellerbach and due to this the MLK Garage will be closed.



You are encouraged to invite as many guests as you would like to the ceremony.  Zellerbach is a large auditorium, which should easily accommodate our space needs.  Guests will not need to produce any ticket/invitation, as there is open admission to the auditorium.  You will receive 5 courtesy announcements when you pick up your regalia at our bookstore.  If you would like to purchase more announcements, you can do so at the bookstore. The announcements are sold in packs of five (5). Our bookstore is located on the 5th floor in Room 517. They can be reach at (510) 981-1012 for more information.



A black gown & cap with a tassel is required for all graduates.  The cap and gown will be available for purchase at our campus bookstore located on the 5th floor after April 20, 2015. The regalia purchase is $42 + tax, which includes the cap, gown, tassel and courtesy 5-pack of Announcements.  At the commencement ceremony graduates will also receive a BCC Diploma Cover and BCC Zipper Pull.  The regalia set that you purchase is yours to keep; it is not a rental.  Since there are no dressing rooms at Zellerbach, you are encouraged to arrive in your cap and gown.

Honor Students: If you are an academic honor student, your honor cord will be included in your cap & gown set.   Please refer to the section of this letter regarding “honors at graduation” to see if you are eligible to receive the honor cord (Honors pertains only to Associate Degree candidates). Your name will be on an honors list at the bookstore.

Note: The bookstore only accepts cash, credit and debit cards for payment.



The ceremony will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m.  At approximately 6:30 p.m., all graduates will be asked to form a line outside Zellerbach and will be directed to enter the auditorium.  Ushers will assist with ceremony procedures – please follow their guidance.  Reserved seating for graduates will be in the first several rows of the center section.  Upon cue from the usher, the first graduate in line will enter the first row and proceed left to the end of the center aisle; other graduates will follow.  When the first row is filled, subsequent rows will be filled in the same manner.

All graduates should remain standing until directed to be seated.

At the point in the ceremony when degrees are awarded, the first row of graduates will be asked to stand.  Graduates will follow the guidance of the usher and proceed toward the back of the auditorium in order to form a line, in preparation to begin the Degree Path.   Following the guidance of the ushers, you will then approach the right hand side of the stage one at a time and give your announcement card to the announcer.  As your name is announced, proceed across the stage to be greeted by President Deborah Budd and Vice President Tram Kumamoto.  After receiving your congratulatory certificate from President Deborah Budd, please step down the stairs and return to your original seat.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, you will be led out of the auditorium by an usher.  The first row of graduates will exit first.



GradImages will provide professional graduation photography the evening of the ceremony.  All graduates will be photographed individually at the ceremony as they receive their congratulatory certificate. GradImages is one of the world’s largest commencement photography businesses.  For more than 30 years GradImages have been capturing the accomplishments of over  1.5 million graduates each year. Please visit their website at where you will find your  photos available to share and order online.  You are not obligated to purchase any of the photographs taken by GradImages.



A reception will immediately follow the graduation ceremony in the Zellerbach Auditorium 2nd level Mezzanine area where there will be refreshments served.  All graduates, family, and friends are welcome to attend.


Associate Degree candidates with the following cumulative grade point averages at the end of the Fall 2014 semester will be recognized at graduation as follows:

3.25 – 3.49                        Cum Laude, With Honors

3.50 – 3.74                        Magna Cum Laude, With High Honors

3.75 – 4.00                        Summa Cum Laude, With Highest Honors

Please be reminded that this is a cumulative grade point average reflecting ALL COLLEGE WORK through Fall 2014.  This includes college work completed both at Peralta and other colleges. Again, Certificate recipients are not eligible for honors.

For those students graduating with Associate Degrees in June 2015, your cumulative GPA will be recalculated once grades from Spring 2015 semester are finalized.  If at that time you qualify for honors, your transcript will be appropriately noted.



Each year a class valedictorian and salutatorian are chosen from the candidates for the Associate Degree.   Certificate candidates are not eligible.

The class valedictorian is the student in the graduating class (December 2014 or June 2015) with the highest cumulative grade point average at the end of the Fall 2014 semester.  This individual will be asked to deliver a speech to the graduating class.

The class salutatorian is the student in the graduating class (December 2014 or June 2015) with the second highest cumulative grade point average at the end of the Fall 2014 semester.  This individual will be asked to lead the class in the moving of the cap tassel at the end of the ceremony.

Note:  Since Spring 2015 grades do not become final until June 2015; they are not included in the determination of the class valedictorian & salutatorian.



Diplomas and certificates are currently available in the Admissions and Records for Berkeley City College graduates who have completed all of their requirements as of the end of the Fall 2014 semester.  If you are a Spring 2015 graduate you will receive a letter from our PCCD District Office of Admissions & Records notifying you of the date your Diplomas and/or Certificates will be available for pick up at BCC’s Admissions Office.


Special Note:

Zellerbach does not allow balloons inside.  If you or your guests plan to bring balloons to the ceremony, the Zellerbach staff will keep the balloons in a separate room and they will give you a claim ticket so that you can pick them up upon your departure. 

Also, Zellerbach Auditorium/Cal Performances and Berkeley City College are not responsible for lost or stolen items.


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