SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Graduation weekend began Friday for nearly 9,900 students at San Diego State University, where commencement ceremonies are scheduled through Sunday.

Ceremonies were today for the School of Arts and Letters and College of Health and Human Services at Viejas Arena.

Ceremonies will continue Saturday for the colleges of Business Administration, Sciences and Engineering; and on Sunday for the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, College of Education and Division of Undergraduate Studies.

"Today is a special milestone -- reaching this milestone has required substantial sacrifice and in this process, you've grown personally, professionally and intellectually,'' SDSU President Elliott Hirshman told the graduates and their families. "For all these reasons, we pay tribute to you today."

Students in the Class of 2016 collectively will earn 7,662 bachelor's degrees, 2,189 master's degrees and 171 doctorates, according to SDSU. Irwin Zahn, who funds student entrepreneurship and innovation programs, and Susan Salka, CEO of AMN Healthcare, are scheduled to receive honorary doctorate degrees from SDSU.

Parking is free in various structures around campus. SDSU officials suggested arriving early, and allowing 20 minutes to park and walk to the arena, which is expected to reach its capacity of over 12,000 for the ceremonies.

Community colleges around San Diego County also began commencement season today. Miramar College awarded around 870 associate degrees and 484 certificates of achievement. San Diego Fire Chief Brian Fennessy was the keynote speaker.

Ceremonies are scheduled Saturday for San Diego Mesa College; and the following weekend for Cal State San Marcos, the University of San Diego, Palomar College and San Diego City College.

MiraCosta and Southwestern colleges will hold commencement on May 27.

Ceremonies for UC San Diego, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges will take place in June.