CSUMB comes together for unified Commencement, May 18


Cal State Monterey Bay's May 18 Commencement will be its first single-ceremony commencement since 2015. | Photo by Brent Dundore-Arias

May 8, 2024

It has been nine years since Cal State Monterey Bay had a single commencement.

The university outgrew the limited seating in its campus stadium, requiring two separate ceremonies held on back-to-back days. Last year, Commencement moved to the Salinas Sports Complex and a single ceremony took place in the main stadium, but graduates’ names were read and diplomas were presented at three separate convocations.

This year, at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18, all graduates will take part in a unified ceremony at the Salinas Sports Complex, where the names of more than 2,000 students will be announced as they cross the same stage. A crowd of 12,000 family members and friends of the graduates is expected. 

CSUMB President Vanya Quiñones said the ceremony is doubly important for this particular graduating class.

“Commencement is always a special time as we recognize our graduating students,” Quiñones said, “but this year is especially meaningful for those students who graduated from high school in 2020. They missed out on in-person celebrations with their classmates, family and friends, so this is our opportunity to double up on honoring their accomplishments at one ceremony for all of our students. You will see the strength of our Otter Raft on display  May 18.”

For interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Andrew Lawson, the celebration is a chance to strengthen the CSUMB community and create memories.

“It's heartwarming to see our faculty and staff helping our students before the ceremony, in getting into their regalia and lining them up, and then hearing them cheer graduates on as they cross the stage,” Lawson said. “Students make connections with our faculty and staff that will stay with them long after they leave Cal State Monterey Bay.”

Both Quiñones and Lawson will address the assembly, as will two student speakers: Katie Scariot, who is receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and Ana Munoz, who will be awarded a Bachelor of Science in Collaborative Health and Human Services.

This year’s Commencement speaker is Dr. Steven Packer, president and CEO of Montage Health. Packer is being awarded an honorary doctorate for his contributions to advancing healthcare excellence for the region and helping to develop the next generation of healthcare professionals.  

A Commencement festival will follow the ceremony. It will feature food, special photo areas, music and booths selling such things as flowers and CSUMB and Otter merchandise. The Alumni Association will also have an informational table set up.

Graduates are asked to arrive by 8 a.m. to assemble at the Rabobank Stadium. The Commencement webpage has information on the Commencement program, parking, transportation and more.