Angel Stadium will be hosting Long Beach State’s spring commencement for the third year in a row.
While there are students and others upset that the ceremony won’t be on campus, deans from CSULB understand that having the ceremonies at Angel Stadium is better than hosting them at the university.
Having a bigger space, better security, better parking and utilizing Angel Stadium staff to help during the ceremonies are some of the reasons why the stadium is considered the better option.
“Commencement ceremonies that have grown pretty large is no small undertaking,” said Dean of the College of Business and professor of finance Michael Solt. “A decision on the venue is really important. I think this year, we are going to have my college over 1,400 graduating students. And I think in the past, it used to be more around 1,000 or 1,100.”
During his 15 years at Long Beach State, Solt experienced ceremonies on upper campus near the library and down to the sport fields. Since the class of 2020 didn’t have a ceremony, it was joined up with the class of 2021’s commencement, which Angel Stadium hosted for the first time.
“We went to Angel Stadium, had wonderful ceremonies with stages outside so that students can have photos of themselves or with their families, or even with deans,” Solt said. “That turned out to be a good experience and I felt overall positive about the 2021 ceremony. I was supportive when the decision to go back in 2022 was made to Angel Stadium.”
Graduate recognition stages will be provided outside the stadium for students to walk across and have their name read out loud for their supporters. Solt said he feels positive about having these stages again for students.
“The process with that procedure does not allow the students to walk across the stage [during commencement] and be recognized individually. So that’s the only difference. And I understand the students concern on this,” Solt said.
Angel Stadium provides more security and is better equipped to keep everyone safe due to the larger number of participants compared to that of previous years.
“I’d hate to be the sitting president, if something happened, based on a decision I made around less safety versus more safety,” Interim Dean of College of Education Anna Ortiz said. “Unfortunately, that’s a reality that we live with right now.”
Since CSULB is next to 7th Street and a major freeway, it would be easier for people to access commencement ceremonies from a variety of vantage points, according to Ortiz.
“I think that the level of safety at Anaheim is the most compelling reason I see for it to be over at the stadium,” Ortiz said.
Parking issues are another reason why the commencement ceremonies would be better at Angel Stadium instead of the CSULB campus, according to Solt. Ortiz agrees with having better parking as an option, especially for those that need handicap spaces.
“I think parking is easy to get [at] the stadium. It’s not easy here on campus,” Ortiz said.
She hopes students decide to attend their commencement ceremonies because of the hard work that is being made to make them festive and as student-centered as possible.
“It kind of breaks my heart a little bit when I hear students who are saying they don’t want to go over there because their name is not going to be called,” Ortiz said. “There’s lots of other things that happen over there that are also festive and it means so much to families.
“They still play ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ [during the] the procession and that’s still very moving.”