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Virtual Commencement FAQ's

Now that the decision has been made to move to virtual commencement ceremonies, what does this mean for physical ceremony for my class?

In order to comply with governmental directives and to ensure the safety of the Touro University California community and its families, the leadership of the university has decided to shift from an in-person ceremony to a virtual one. This decision is consistent with most California institutions as well as many other institutions across the nation.   Although there is nothing that can substitute for the actual ceremony, the university has searched widely to identify a platform that allows us to honor our graduates and shows the pride we share with you and your family for your achievement. 

This decision means that we have canceled our contract with the Zellerbach Auditorium for the 2020 ceremonies and instead, will be contracting with MarchingOrder to produce virtual ceremonies for our colleges.  The leadership of the university and your college are mindful that a virtual ceremony is a pale substitute for “the real thing.”  The Provost, Deans and Program Directors are continuing to look into alternatives and they will be reaching out to you soon with more details on the 2021 commencement  ceremonies in which you and your classmate may participate.

Although no virtual gathering can possibly match the splendor of our usual festivities, what is most important in these challenging times is that we will come together as a TUC community and with our families and friends to award the degrees you have worked so hard to earn.  Each college within Touro University California will host its own special online event and afterward deliver diplomas through the mail.  We recognize and acknowledge that this is another sacrifice that you all are being asking to make to ensure the well-being of our community. We are deeply saddened that this is our ask of you at such an important milestone in your lives.  

Will the date of our ceremonies change?

Virtual ceremonies for each college will occur on their originally scheduled dates as noted below and on the commencement website.  Specific times will be updated when that information is available:

  • College of Pharmacy: Tuesday, May 26th
  • College of Education and Health Sciences: Tuesday, May 26th
  • College of Osteopathic Medicine: Wednesday, May 27th 

Are programs being represented in the planning process for these virtual ceremonies?

Each program has student representatives on the commencement committee, and we encourage you to reach out to your student representatives and share your ideas.  By joining together in this planning process, we sincerely hope Commencement for the Class of 2020 will be unique, but only because it will be among the most meaningful and heartfelt commencements in the history of the University.

Are we able to have gowns shipped directly to us?

We have been working with Josten’s to find alternatives to allow you an opportunity to share in the pomp of this special achievement.  Josten’s has informed us that they do not ship rental regalia separately to individual addresses.  They will only ship them in bulk to a single address.  Therefore, the university will purchase “one-time use" robes, tams/mortarboards, and a high quality hood which will be mailed to you directly form Josten’s.  You will be able to keep these regalia and will not need to send them back.

Can we receive a refund of costs for the production of commencement?

It is truly fortunate that Touro University California does not and has never charged a fee to graduate nor to attend/produce commencement ceremonies.  All funds expended for the ceremonies are provided from our operating budgets and are not tied to tuition or fees.  As such, there are no funds that can be refunded.  Though we realize that nothing can adequately substitute for an actual commencement celebration, all monies that are saved by not paying for a formal ceremony at an off campus venue are being redirected to fund the virtual ceremonies and to provide each graduate with as memorable and meaningful a graduation experience as we possibly can.

All funds “saved” are redirected at this time to support your virtual ceremony as well as offsetting other costs incurred as a result of maintaining operations under COVID-19 restrictions.   Graduates at TUC have never been charged separate fees for graduation and it is not our intent to add these at this time. 

Can our commencement ceremony be postponed for a later date?

The university and each program have been examining this possibility and will make this decision within each college and program.  Each program will communicate any decision in this regard directly to the class of 2020.  Specific answers as to which programs/colleges and exact days for such a plan are still being researched.  That said, if no other live/face to face ceremony can be arranged prior to our Commencement 2021 ceremony, you and your classmates will be invite to participate in the 2021 ceremony and be acknowledged in person just you would have been at your own individual ceremony.

How do I log in to participate in the virtual ceremony?

At this time we are still in negotiation with the vendor.  Once the agreement has been finalized, we will be reaching out to each graduating class with details for accessing the virtual commencement.  Additionally, each graduate will have the opportunity log in to the vendor’s website and create a slide that will contain a photo uploaded by you and any message you might wish to convey to your family and peers.  More details as the process moves forward.  Please stay tuned and keep your eyes on this website.