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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

SDSU kicks off in-person commencement ceremonies at Petco Park

The graduation ceremonies will include the 2020 graduates who were not able to have a commencement due to COVID-19 as well as the most recent 2021 graduates.

SAN DIEGO — College graduation season is picking up and SDSU is getting in on the festivities. 

The university began its in-person ceremonies Tuesday. The ceremonies will take place at Petco Park and will run through Thursday.

The graduation ceremonies will include the 2020 graduates who were not able to have a commencement due to COVID-19 as well as the most recent 2021 graduates. However, some SDSU graduates opted to take part in virtual ceremonies.

San Diego State University will host seven separate ceremonies May 25-27 at Petco Park. The Fowler College of Business will host the largest ceremony, honoring 1,882 2021-degree candidates and 1,802 2020-degree recipients. The smallest, most intimate ceremony will be for the College of Education, which will award an estimated 964 2021-degree candidates and 825 2020-degree recipients

The graduations have a very strict set of rules including:

  • wear a mask even though outside
  • no traditional handshake
  • health screening before entering the park
  • you can bring one factory-sealed water bottle inside the park

Regardless of the pandemic related changes, graduates tell News 8 they are full of pride and accomplishment.

"Excited, overwhelmed," said Marlena Vi Wolfgramm.

She was brought to tears after graduating with her doctorate in education.

Due to COVID restrictions, the majority of Marlena's family couldn't attend the ceremony.

Depending on the college, graduates are limited to just three or four tickets a piece.

So, they waited outside, and set up a traditional Polynesian mat used for celebrations such as this.

"It's our first family member to attain such a height. This is something we do for weddings and big celebrations so this to us is a great celebration too," her uncle said.

As Marlena walked out of Petco Park Tuesday, her family cheered.

Other graduates, such as Julian West, described what it was like to graduate in person.

“I think it's impactful to be in person. It means a lot more to have your family there...celebrate with you, and of course to hear them call your name and watch you walk across the stage," he said.

Another graduate, who graduated in 2020 said, "I always dreamt about this day and with COVID it wasn't the way I imagined it, so being able to walk with my best friend is timeless."

Commencement kicked off Tuesday at 9 a.m. with the College of Education and goes through Thursday afternoon.

A full list of graduations can be found below:

Wednesday, May 26

  • 8:00 a.m. – College of Arts and Letters
  • 1:00 p.m. – College of Engineering
  • 5:30 p.m. – Fowler College of Business

Thursday, May 27

  • 9:00 a.m. – College of Health and Human Services
  • 2:00 p.m. – College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

WATCH: SDSU kicks off in-person commencement ceremonies at Petco Park