Graduation Prep Checklist

Congrats to our 2017 graduates and parents of grads! This is the season to celebrate the momentous accomplishment of students as they cross the stage, receive their commendations and diplomas, and swish the ole tassel from one side of the cap to the other.

Then get your party started up!

In the Pismo Beach area we get to celebrate with graduates from two local higher ed schools: Cuesta and Cal Poly. The Cuesta Community College Commencement is coming up soon on May 19 and the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) Commencement weekend takes place next month over two days, June 17-18.

As both graduations fast approach, you’ll want to cross your t’s and dot your i’s to design a memorable celebration for the whole family, especially your proud grad. Here’s the 411 for an unforgettable commencement day.


Take a moment to stand in your grad’s shoes and consider who might need to be in the audience to make the day complete. Don’t forget to tell family members and friends old and new, even if they can’t travel. They can celebrate your grad with a phone call, a message or a card to commemorate the day. Take the time to reach out and invite all the right guests.

Hotel Reservations

If family members are traveling into town, give them the best of two worlds – close proximity to campus festivities and a pampered escape at the ultimate California beach getaway. You can have it all at the SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel, right in the heart of Pismo Beach. Enjoy a gorgeous oceanfront vista view, direct access to a world renowned beach, a heated pool and three hot tubs, a seaside terrace (the SeaMist Terrace) with firepits and gas barbecue grills, a RoofTop Terrace with more firepits along with a breathtaking Pismo Beach view for miles. The list goes on and the simple fact is this: the SeaCrest offers the perfect getaway to stay and play. Consider making reservations for the whole family and bring the after party to the SeaCrest, making it a true (over)night to remember. Whoever’s coming into town, grab a room fast before they’re all gone. Graduation weekend does tend to sell out.

Commencement Events


Graduation ceremony ‘commences’ at 3pm on Friday May 19, in the San Luis Obispo campus gymnasium with a reception immediately following in the gymnasium courtyard. Here’s a map with the details of where to park and where to go. Lineup for graduates is at 2:30pm.

While Cuesta doesn’t require tickets like Cal Poly, the graduation organizers do ask for you to RSVP with the number of attendees.

Cal Poly

Because of the size of the university, graduation takes place across two days at the Alex G. Spanos Stadium, with the various schools ‘walking’ according to this schedule:

  • Saturday, June 17 at 9:00 a.m.
    • College of Liberal Arts
    • Orfalea College of Business
  • Saturday, June 17 at 3:00 p.m.
    • College of Architecture and Environmental Design
    • College of Engineering
  • Sunday, June 18 at 9:00 a.m.
    • College Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
    • College of Science and Mathematics

Following each session are many on-campus celebrations. You can locate your particular school party here.  There are also numerous Cultural Commencement Events around town happening between June 9th & 16th.

Don’t forget your TICKETS (required) and arrive early to secure a parking place with ample time to walk to the stadium.


Be sure to capture your precious moments with formal or informal portraits. Because these photos tend to live on the family wall for many years, this is one graduation detail worth investing the time and money to make them great.

Flowers & Gifts

One sweet aspect of graduation day is the warm spring air filled with the fragrance of flowers, gifted to grads and parents. Friends and family may pre-order hand-crafted, locally sourced floral bouquets and leis as congratulatory gifts. You can order online from Wilder Floral Co. or call (805) 784-0415.  Mention Cuesta Commencement for a special Cuesta flourish.

Class rings are another traditional gift for a graduate, and a great way to signify a transition into a whole new chapter in life. Jostens offers a selection of Cuesta College class rings.

If you’re at a loss for a gift, downtown Pismo Beach and downtown San Luis Obispo are both lined with great unique shops filled with thoughtful gifts for any grad. If it comes down to the wire, you can always play the safe card with a gift from the alma mater.

However you spend your day, stay safe and be proud. Congratulations Graduates!

Comments are closed.

Best Rate Guarantee