San Diego State University plans to offer in-person commencement this spring

SDSU awarded more than 10,000 degrees in May 2019.
(Howard Lipin / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

San Diego State University said it will hold an in-person commencement ceremony in May for this year’s graduates and students whose celebration was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ceremony also will be open to an unspecified number of guests at an outdoor, off-campus venue. The site of the event will be disclosed later this month.

University officials also said the campus will produce a virtual presentation for students and guests who can’t or don’t wish to attend in person.


Details for commencement at SDSU’s Imperial Valley campus will be released next week.

“If vaccination and public health conditions worsen or reverse, and we are unable to move forward with the preferred in-person commencement option, SDSU will instead host a drive-through commencement celebration, called a ‘CARmencement’,” according to a statement issued by the SDSU Commencement Committee.

Commencement will be spread over a three-day period, starting on May 25. Each ceremony will be tailored to students from different SDSU programs. The university did not announce a list of graduation speakers.

The three-day event could draw very large crowds. SDSU has been awarding upwards of 10,000 diplomas a year, and the ceremonies are popular among family members.

“This is a sign of hope,” said Devin Whatley, a journalism major who will graduate this year. “A lot of people died from COVID. It’s heartbreaking. This is welcome news that shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”