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Elation, emotion mark the start of Commencement 2017

May 20, 2017

By Cal State LA News Service

California State University, Los Angeles’ Commencement 2017 kicked off on a sun-splashed Saturday morning, as jubilant graduates accepted their diplomas and began a new chapter in their lives. 

Thousands of guests filled the University Stadium during the first ceremony, which was held for graduate and undergraduate students of the College of Natural and Social Sciences. The stadium was emblazoned with Cal State LA banners featuring the University colors, logo and seal. California State University Trustee Silas H. Abrego participated in the ceremony.

Students, family and friends were welcomed by Cal State LA President William A. Covino. He congratulated the Class of 2017, telling students they are poised to become ambassadors for the University and join the ranks of distinguished alumni who have made lasting contributions.

“Through you the world will see the character, fierce drive and intellect that define Cal State LA students. And you will need all that you have learned and experienced to make your way in the world,” Covino said.

“You’re graduating during a time of great uncertainty,” he added. “For some of you, changes since November have had a very personal impact, and the future seems unclear.”

Covino then reaffirmed what he has said repeatedly since the November election: “Cal State LA is a richly diverse community that values and supports all students.”

His comments prompted hearty applause: “You are all Golden Eagles, and you all will soar!”

The May 20 ceremony was the first of nine that will run through Monday evening. More than 4,700 Cal State LA students will receive diplomas during the three days.

Commencement will also feature an honorary doctorate recipient: Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund).

Distinguished alumnus George L. Pla will receive a Cal State LA Presidential Medallion, the University's highest honor. The Presidential Medallion is bestowed upon individuals who have displayed outstanding leadership and extraordinary service to the students and faculty of Cal State LA.

The ceremonies take place as the University celebrates its 70th anniversary.   

“And today we look back on seven decades of student success and forward to the future that you will create,” Covino told students.

For a schedule of the ceremonies and other details, please see the Commencement webpage.

Photo credit: Tyrone D. Washington/Cal State LA.

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Cal State LA is ranked number one in the nation based on the upward mobility of its students. Founded in 1947, Cal State LA is the premier public comprehensive university in the heart of Los Angeles and is dedicated to the mission of engagement, service, and the public good. The University serves more than 27,000 students and more than 247,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the region we serve. 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 and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit