University offers in-person commencement ceremonies for classes of 2020, 2021


Cougar Chronicle File Photo

3,637 graduating students from the classes of 2020 and 2021 registered to attend a 2021 commencement ceremony on the weekend of May 22-23. Pictured are graduates from a past commencement ceremony.

Anneliese Esparza, Editor-in-Chief

CSUSM will hold five separate commencement ceremonies on May 22 and 23. Since last year’s commencement ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19, both the classes of 2020 and 2021 were invited to attend.

Each of the colleges will have their own ceremony, with the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences (CHABSS) split into two ceremonies. 

The College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics will have their ceremony first, on May 22 at 9 a.m. CHABSS will have its two ceremonies at 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. The next day, the College of Business Administration and the College of Education, Health & Human Services will hold their ceremonies, at 9 a.m and 12:30 p.m. respectively.

Because of social distancing requirements, each graduate will only be permitted to bring two guests. Graduates will be spaced six feet apart from one another, and guests will be seated in pairs six feet apart from other pairs. 

All attendees will be required to wear face coverings, and seats will be disinfected in between each ceremony. The ceremonies will also be livestreamed on CSUSM’s website and app.

In addition to the commencement ceremonies, CSUSM is bringing back Graduates on Parade, a celebratory drive-thru parade that was started last year when the commencement ceremony was canceled. The parade will be held on May 21 at 9 a.m. 

Graduates who wanted to attend a commencement ceremony registered themselves and their guests earlier this month. The tickets for guests are non-transferable, and the university has asked graduates not to sell their unused tickets.

According to Scott Hagg, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management Services, 3,637 students registered to attend a commencement ceremony.

“The numbers are smaller if you consider that two graduating classes – 2020 and 2021 – were invited to attend [commencement]. We would anticipate these numbers for one graduating class,” said Hagg in an email to The Cougar Chronicle. “A reason we have heard for students not attending commencement is unease about COVID and large gatherings.”

Literature & writing studies major Angela Appel said she is excited to graduate despite being limited to two guests. “It’s unfortunate that we are allowed two guests only, but understandable due to COVID-19 health regulations. I feel a bit cheated, but I am accepting the circumstances in exchange for my B.A. degree,” she said.

Appel said that her favorite thing about CSUSM was being able to form good relationships with professors and students and added that she feels “accomplished, excited and relieved” to be graduating.

For more details on commencement 2021, visit the Commencement Office’s website. To watch the livestream on May 22 and 23, go here.