Pride, jubilation mark the start of 69th Commencement

Commencement was jubilant

Cal State LA alumnus and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich delivered the keynote

Cal State LA’s 69th Commencement kicked off Thursday afternoon, as jubilant graduates accepted their diplomas and celebrated the start of a new chapter in their lives.

Thousands of guests filled the University Athletics Stadium during the ceremonies for graduate students from the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Natural and Social Sciences. The stadium was emblazoned with Cal State LA banners featuring the University colors, logo and seal.

President William A. Covino shook the hand of each graduate who marched across the stage.

“Your success reminds us what matters most: students come first. Your future is at the heart of our initiatives, plans and projects,” Covino told the graduates. “Your success is our success.”

The keynote address was delivered by Cal State LA alumnus and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich (’63 and ’68).

Antonovich reminded students that success does not always come easy, citing the examples of  Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx and Abraham Lincoln.  All three, Antonovich noted, experienced repeated setbacks before becoming successful.

“They refused to be discouraged. They were all winners,” he told students and their guests.

The ceremony was the first of seven that will run through Saturday evening. A record number of Cal State LA students – nearly 8,000—will be receiving diplomas during the three days.

Commencement will also feature four recipients of an honorary doctorate degree: actor and activist George Takei; Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration; Ofelia Esparza, artist and educator; and Kent Twitchell, artist.

For a list of Commencement ceremonies and other details, please see the Cal State LA Commencement website.

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Cal State LA is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 27,000 students and 240,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the city we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State LA has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex, TV, Film and Media Center and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. For more information, visit