CSU, Long Beach, News

Graduation 2024: Students will walk the stage at Angel Stadium

Long Beach State students are expected to experience a more traditional ceremony during the 2024 commencement ceremony. The CSULB commencement ceremony is returning to Angel Stadium, complete with walking the stage and name reading.

According to University President Jane Close Conoley, the plan for commencement was finalized just last week after multiple discussions with administration and ASI.

“Students have expressed that hearing their names read and having the opportunity to walk is a top priority for them, so I made the decision that this should be our priority too,” Conoley said. “Deans have agreed to shorten their ceremonies so that students can have this opportunity.”

She said the decision to return to Angel Stadium was not a choice that was made lightly; three different locations were discussed. These locations were: Angel Stadium, on-campus and the Long Beach Pacific Arena. Although many students expressed interest in attending an on-campus ceremony, the advantages of Angel Stadium prompted administration to return to that venue instead.

Graduating students and their loved ones gather at Angel Stadium during the spring 2023 commencement ceremony.
Graduating students and their loved ones gather at Angel Stadium during the spring 2023 commencement ceremony. Photo credit: Kaitlyn Rowell

“When we have to build our own stage, it takes approximately three weeks to build it and take it down, we just don’t have the staff for that at this point in time,” she said. “Angel Stadium and the many different factors outweighed the pros of the two other venues because of the staff included, parking, accessibility and the number of tickets students are offered.”

At Angel Stadium, 12 tickets will be provided per graduate, as opposed to the six to eight tickets that graduates would have received at the two other locations. The stadium also better accommodates the growing number of graduating students.

“The emotional choice would be hosting the ceremony on campus, but due to our growing size, Angel Stadium was the better logistical choice,” Conoley said.

Last year, students protested against the commencement ceremony because they felt their voices weren’t being heard. More than 19,000 supporters signed a petition urging administration to reassess the plan for the 2023 commencement ceremony and allow students to walk and hear their names. However, no changes were made to the 2023 commencement ceremony. Officials had previously moved graduation to Angels Stadium in 2021 to allow students and guests to distance due to COVID.

Associated Student Inc. President Mitali Jain expressed her excitement for the ceremony this year and the changes made.

“I think every student working towards a degree should get the proper graduation that they desire,” Jain said.

Jain and other ASI executives were involved in the discussions around commencement, their goal was to represent the students and share the student perspectives with President Conoley before the final decision was made.

“It was very important for student voices to be heard in this decision,” Jain said. “It was really last year’s students who protested and voiced their concerns to ASI, they united and this is one of the reasons why we’re able to walk the stage this year.”

According to Christopher Reese, Associate Vice President of University Relations at California State University, Long Beach, CSULB is returning to a more traditional style for commencement in 2024 as a direct result of student preference.

“The goal is to celebrate the students and their meaningful accomplishments in the way they see fit,” Reese said. “We want to welcome them to their lifelong journey with us. Graduates are Beach alumni for life and we want a relationship with them throughout their lives.”

Another change to the ceremony will be the removal of the mini stages for personalized slides. Since these were added as a result of students not being allowed to walk the stage, these mini stages will not be featured at the upcoming commencement ceremony.

Reese hopes that this ceremony will be a positive experience for graduates and their families. The exact number of ceremonies that will be held has not been set yet, options are still being weighed by administration.

“We have Angel Stadium reserved for May 19-23, we are still taking the number of ceremonies into consideration,” he said. “We may have several different ceremonies depending on the college, but we have no set number of ceremonies yet.”

Both President Conoley and Associate Vice President of University Relations Reese urged graduating students to plan for commencement ahead of time. Students graduating in spring 2024 need to apply for graduation on their MyCSULB Student Center by Sunday, Oct. 15 for a fee of $125. Students that apply for graduation late will need to pay an additional $10 fee.

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