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San Diego State announces in-person option for 2021 graduation commencement

The suggested dates fall from May 25 to May 27. Graduates from December 2019 to August 2020 are also invited to attend this spring's events.

SAN DIEGO — After missing out twice on an in-person graduation ceremony, San Diego State students graduating this spring, and in previous semesters during the pandemic, may finally get a face-to-face commencement with their peers. 

The announcement came as a campus-wide email on Friday afternoon, which announced the in-person option for commencement came after focus groups and soon-to-be graduate surveys.

"A majority of students have expressed a preference for an in-person event while others preferred virtual. We are committed to providing you with both options," the email read, in part.

The dates for the in-person graduation fall from May 25 to May 27.

Different schools within the university would graduate at different times, like in-person commencements in previous years before the pandemic:

  • Tuesday, May 25, 2021: 9 a.m. for College of Education and 2 p.m. for College of Sciences.
  • Wednesday, May 26, 2021: 8 a.m. for College of Arts and Letters, 1 p.m. for College of Engineering and 5:30 p.m. for Fowler College of Business.
  • Thursday, May 27, 2021: 9 a.m. for College of Health and Human Services and 2 p.m. for College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts.

SDSU announced that details about the Imperial Valley campus' commencement would come next week.

Information about the SDSU main campus graduation ceremony, as it relates to the event venue and guest policies, would come no later than April 1, 2021.

"This option is not yet final, as it is dependent on state and county public health guidelines which are soon to be updated and shared."

According to the commencement webpage, this in-person ceremony would involve students who graduated during the pandemic and lost out on in-person events.

"Students who received a degree in December 2020 or applied for May or August 2021 graduation by the February 2, 2021 deadline, will be eligible to participate in the May 2021 ceremonies. Master’s and doctoral students should visit the Graduate Studies website for information on applying to graduate. Class of 2020 graduates (December 2019, May 2020 and August 2020) are also invited to participate in the May 2021 ceremonies."

The university wrote that if public health conditions worsen due to the coronavirus, that a drive-through event would be held instead.

It's calling the event "CARmencement."

'CARmencement' would last longer than the proposed, in-person event. This would span from May 22 to May 28.

SDSU announced a virtual celebration to be held for those who don't wish to attend an in-person event but provided no dates for such an event. They did announce virtual amenities like photo galleries and video messages.

GradFest is scheduled to be held from March 22 to March 26 with more details coming on March 15, according to the university.

SDSU rolled with the pandemic throughout the last year, initially postponing spring 2020 commencement to the fall semester, and then canceling it altogether in October.

The university was the hardest hit university in the state during the fall semester. SDSU reported the most coronavirus cases out of any other university in California and its case numbers even caught the attention of local leaders vying to move San Diego County out of the state's most restrictive reopening tier.

The school says updates will come to its commencement webpage on the SDSU website.

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