November 9, 2022

Highlanders get a cooler, off-campus commencement

UCR’s class of 2023 and their guests will enjoy air conditioning, better views, and other upgrades

Author: Malinn Loeung
November 9, 2022

UC Riverside will hold most of its 2023 Commencement Ceremonies inside the air-conditioned Toyota Arena in Ontario. The new location is less than 20 miles from campus, and UCR Vice Chancellor Brian Haynes said the venue will provide a more well-rounded experience for all attendees.

Designed for concerts, sports, and other long-running and high-capacity events, the new location will replace past unpredictable and uncontrollable outdoor graduation conditions with cooler temperatures, more seats, better viewpoints, clearer audio, security, and other amenities enjoyed when attending high-profile events. 

Haynes said the commencement shift is in response to students’ top two commencement wishes: to continue having their names called individually and to invite more family and friends.

Giving graduates their deserved moment on stage made for longer ceremonies on campus— uncomfortable for attendees in Riverside’s often-harsh summer sun. The capacity of indoor campus options is limited. 

“This decision, which was discussed prior to the pandemic, is in response to feedback on the commencement experience for graduates, family members, and loved ones,” Haynes said in a Nov. 3 email to the campus community. “UC Riverside is enhancing the graduation experience.” 

The 225,000-square-foot Toyota Arena can accommodate 11,000 people and has hosted legends and icons like the LA Lakers, LA Kings, Metallica, Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Cher, and more. 

Commencement FAQs 

  • The 2023 Commencement schedule has been posted to allow ample time for graduates and their guests to plan their attendance.  
  • Ceremonies will still include the individual name reading of each graduating student.  
  • Guest tickets will range from 8 to 10 tickets per graduate depending on the college and/or school program, which matches or exceeds guest tickets for the on-campus ceremonies.  
  • The university will provide free parking to all graduating students attending the ceremonies. Guest parking information will be added to the commencement website once it is confirmed. 
  • Graduate photos will be available at the arena. 
  • School of Medicine’s Hippocratic Oath Ceremony, Graduate Division’s Hooding Ceremony, Chicano Student Program’s Raza Grad, and African Student Program’s Black Grad will remain at UCR’s Student Recreation Center.  

Visit for more information. 

UCR Graduate with Scotty
UCR graduate sitting at Scotty bench during previous year's outdoor commencement. (UCR/Stan Lim)





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