El Centro Chicano
USC Student Affairs

(FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 36th Annual Chicano/Latino Graduate Celebration?

*The 36th Annual Chicano/Latino Graduate Celebration (formerly known as the Chicano/Latino Graduation) is a beautiful event that takes place the night before University Commencement. The purpose of the ceremony is to celebrate students personal success and academic achievements in the spirit and traditions of our culture. The celebration is dedicated to our families and is bilingual. The ceremony is open to all graduating students and allows graduates the opportunity to publicly thank those who have helped them throughout their educational careers. Each graduate will have 20 seconds of time on the microphone to address the audience. ** In addition, we ask that each graduate go back to their seat after they have participated and be respectful of their fellow students who are still waiting to have their 20 seconds. YOU ARE ASKED NOT TO LEAVE UNTIL THE ENTIRE GRADUATE CELEBRATION IS COMPLETE.

When is the 36th Annual Chicano/Latino Graduate Celebration?

This year it will be held on Thursday, May 12th, 2016 from 8:00pm – 10:00pm at Cromwell Field. The ceremony will be approximately 2 hours long.

Who can participate?

Any USC student (undergraduate or graduate/doctoral candidate) completing a degree in Spring, Summer, or Fall 2016. Although this ceremony does have a cultural emphasis, it is open to all USC students.

I am NOT Chicana/o, may I still participate?

Absolutely. This ceremony is open to all USC students, but does have a cultural atmosphere. We recognize that not everyone of Latin American descent identifies as Chicana/o. However, the first students who organized the event did, and out of appreciation for history and those who came before us, we keep the term in the title of the event.

How much does it cost to participate?

Participation is Free.

How do I register?

We ask that you register at the El Centro Chicano website by Friday, March 11, 2016 by 5:00pm. By registering by the priority deadline, you will be guaranteed to be included in the Commemorative Book, although if you do not take your pictures during alotted time frame, only your blurb will be included. See below for time frame of picture taking.

What is the Commemorative Book?

There is a $15 fee (CASH ONLY; NO REFUNDS) for 1 Commemorative book given to you at the Celebration. Your payment can be dropped off at El Centro at anytime—preferably when you visit us to take your picture for the Commemorative Book or when you purchase your ethnic sash. This payment must be received by no later than Friday March 11, 2016 by 5:00pm. Similar to a yearbook, the Commemorative Program serves as a directory for graduates with photos and messages. Each graduate who registers by the priority deadline Friday, March 11, 2016 by 5:00 pm will be guaranteed to be in the book. In addition to an individual picture and message blurb, graduates and their Parents/Guardians can purchase additional dedication space. Commemorative Programs will also be sold at the ceremony for family members and friends who would like a copy themselves. For more information on how to purchase additional space in the commemorative book or to buy additional books in advance, please contact El Centro Chicano, Leticia Delgado at (213) 740-1480 or email ladelgad@usc.edu.  

How do I submit my picture for the commemorative book?

In order for your picture to be included in the commemorative book, you must stop by El Centro Chicano (STU 402) and get your picture taken by a staff member. Pictures will be taken ONLY during the following dates: Wed March 2nd - Thurs March 3rd & Tu March 8th - W March 9th. Please visit the office within the hours of 10:00am-4:30pm. You do not have to call in advance. Please arrive ready to have your picture taken. No formal attire is required (however, we suggest wearing solid colors as they tend to photograph better). This process should take no longer than 5 minutes. assuming there is not a long line of folks waiting. No personal pictures will be accepted via email.

Does EVERY graduate get time on the microphone?

Yes. Each participant will have 20 seconds of time on the microphone to address the audience/their guests. Graduates usually take this time to thank loved ones, professors, mentors, etc. The 20-second time limit will be enforced! We ask that graduates be respectful of their time as it affects other graduates and the audience. We suggest writing your message on an index card in preparation for the night.

Do I have to use my time on the microphone?

No. If you don't want to speak, you don't have to.

How many guests may I invite?

You may invite as many guests as you would like. After you have registered, go to the El Centro Chicano website, and print the pre-formatted inserts to include with your graduation announcements. They will be available in English and Spanish. Seating is on first come, first serve basis, so please advise your guests to arrive early to secure seating.

What do I wear?

Please wear your academic regalia (cap & gown).

Where can my guests park?

Parking is available on campus for $12. The closest structures to Cromwell Field are Parking Structure A (PSA) and Parking Structure B (PSB).

Map of parking structure locations can be found here 

If guests need special accommodations, who should I contact?

If you or your guests need special accommodations (wheelchair access, etc.), please inform Billy Vela at wvela@usc.edu about your needs ASAP or latest by Friday March 11, 2016.  Accomodations will be handled on a case by case basis, but please be considerate of informing us in advance so that we have proper and ample time to make preparations. If you miss the March 11th, 2016 deadline we cannot guarentee that your request will be met.

What is the Class Speaker?

One graduate will address the class and audience with a 4-6 minute speech. Graduates wishing to speak must submit an application by Friday February 26th, 2016 by 12:00pm. Finalists will audition for the graduate committee which can include students, staff and/or faculty. Only one speaker will be selected. Applications are available here: http://sait.usc.edu/elcentro/programs/chicanolatino-graduate-celebration/mc-and-class-speaker-application.aspx.

Who are the Master(s) and/or Mistress(es) of Ceremonies (MC)?

Two graduates will serve as MC for the evening. All graduates are eligible to apply. Graduates wishing to apply must submit an application by Friday February 26th, 2016 by 12:00pm. Finalists will audition for the graduate committee which can include students, staff and/or faculty. Applications are available here: http://sait.usc.edu/elcentro/programs/chicanolatino-graduate-celebration/mc-and-class-speaker-application.aspx.

How do I order an ethnic sash?

We ask that you pre-order your ethnic sash for $50 (CASH ONLY; NO REFUNDS) by Friday, March 11, 2016 by 5:00pm at El Centro, STU 402. You can place this order and bring payment on the day you come in to take your picture. All orders must be done in person at El Centro Chicano. Once ethnic sashes are received, you will be contacted when it is ready for pick-up. Sashes will be on a first come, first served basis. We will begin with a variety of colors, so the sooner you come in once you’ve been informed of their arrival, the better. If color is important to you, come early! We will do our best to select the color you preferred but do not guarentee that color. Again, if color is highly important to you, come early once you have received an email that they are available for pick up.     

Here is an example of some of the potential colors & patterns (we cannot guarentee exact colors & patterns, it just depends on what they have available, but this gives you a good idea. They are all quite beautiful):

Ethnic Sashes Picture

Who plans the celebration?

The celebration is funded by El Centro Chicano and the Latina/o Student Assembly. It is planned by a committee that meets weekly and is open to any student, staff or faculty. This semester, committee meetings are held on Mondays from 5:00pm-6:00pm at El Centro, STU 402. If you are interested in helping plan this event, join the committee! Contact us at ecc@usc.edu .

Where do we meet the day of the graduate celebration?

Check-in and lineup will begin at 6:00pm at Jacques Plaza (in front of the USC Bookstore). All graduates must arrive and be checked in by 7:00pm. If you would like to walk/sit with your friends, you must be on time. Please direct your family and friends to Cromwell Field. Your guests cannot walk in with you during the graduate procession.

When is the mandatory Informational Session?

All students planning to participate in the graduate celebration must attend one of the following two Mandatory Info Sessions on Wednesday February 24th at 12:00pm and Thursday February 25th at 6:00pm at El Centro (STU 402).  Each info session should last approximately a half an hour so please arrive on time! 

What can I do if I missed the mandatory Informational Session?

If you missed the informational session you must come by El Centro (STU 402) Monday-Friday between 10:00am-4:30pm and our student staff will set you up to see the Power Point presentation and then answer any of your questions about the Chicano/Latino Graduate Celebration.