Campus, News

CSULB to bring traditional commencement ceremonies back on-campus in December

Long Beach State officials will offer spring 2022 graduates the option to attend an on-campus name reading and stage walking graduation at the Walter Pyramid in December.

President Jane Close Conoley said the walking graduation will be held in December this year or January 2023 for Beach graduates that were “unhappy” with the Angel Stadium arrangement. Conoley shared that moving forward, officials will host two traditional commencement ceremonies in May and December.

“I think it’s 99% sure that we will have a December graduation that students unhappy with Angel Stadium can attend,” Conoley wrote in an email to the Daily Forty-Niner on Wednesday.

For this year only, CSULB will give Beach graduates a choice to attend the December commencement ceremony held at the Walter Pyramid or Angel Stadium in May. CSULB will continue to hold graduation on-campus in the following years after 2022.

According to Conoley, more details will be announced after spring break, including application dates and the number of people they can accommodate in the Walter Pyramid.

“I was totally sympathetic to the desire to have names read and walk across the stage,” Conoley said. “I get it, you know, [being a] first generation student myself. It was a big deal for my family and for me.”

Several students voiced disappointment with the commencement ceremony survey that officials sent to graduating students. The survey was sent to determine if graduates preferred “traditional” or current ceremony plans. In response, some students accused the creators of the survey of including biased language.

Graduating senior Viviana Garcia said that the survey’s third option felt “skewed” because of the wording, “students have to be in direct sunlight for four hours of the ceremony and having live music taken away.”

The commencement survey was completed by 33% of graduates, and over half of respondents asked for a “traditional” name reading ceremony. Despite the survey results, Conoley announced officials would continue with the original plans at Angel Stadium.

To appease students who requested a traditional ceremony, CSULB officials will offer graduates an alternative in the Walter Pyramid.

The Pyramid, which can fit approximately 3,300 to 3,500 people, is the largest venue on the CSULB campus and is considered their most feasible option according to Conoley.

In the past, CSULB has changed venues to accommodate larger crowds, like in 2018 when they moved the commencement ceremony from the quad to the intramural fields adjacent to Jack Rose Track.

According to Conoley, part of the reason why CSULB has changed venues in the past is due to an increase in graduation rates.

“Because although we’re not admitting more students, more students are graduating,” Conoley said. “Students want to have a lot of guests and so on.”

After 2022, when the plan moves forward, CSULB will continue to hold commencement ceremonies in May and December at the Pyramid. Conoley continued, saying these plans are not a permanent fix.

“It’s really our attempt to accommodate both students who feel kind of let down and also to solve a university-wide problem going into the future,” Conoley said.

Conoley also mentioned that CSULB is only allowed to charge people graduation fees once, and to create a whole set of processes would need to happen if they conduct two ceremonies.

“Some people won’t like it. December’s a busy month, so I’m sure there’ll be some people who feel like, ‘Oh, I can’t fit one more thing into my calendar,’” Conoley said. “But I said universities all over the country do two, three ceremonies a year. So, I think if it became our pattern, we would be able to do it.”

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