As befitting a school on the rise, Cal State University San Marcos (CSUSM) graduated its largest class ever over the weekend. Five separate ceremonies bestowed degrees to over 3,160 students — 3,012 undergraduates and 588 teacher credential candidates. It was the school’s 25th commencement.
“Notably, 55 percent of the graduating students are the first in their families to earn a four-year college degree and 35 percent of the graduates identify as underrepresented minorities,” CSUSM communications specialist Whitney Frasier said.
Luann was in the house, too, at least in the form of longtime San Marcos resident Greg Evans, who received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. Evans, a nationally syndicated and award-winning cartoonist and creator of the comic strip Luann receive the honorary degree on Saturday, May 21 at the afternoon College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences ceremony.
“First of all, hooray to all of you,” a soft-spoken and obviously happy Evans said. “You guys did it the hard way.” The audience cheered as only they seem to do at happiness-charged commencement events.
“Several of my cartoonist peers have received honorary degrees,” Evans continued. “Gary Trudeau of Doonesbury, Jim Davis of Garfield. Lynn Johnston of For Better or For Worse. And a few of my own personal heroes — Walt Disney, Dr. Seuss and Charles Schultz.
“So, this is truly a tremendous honor for me an I am profoundly grateful,” Evans said.
More than 25,000 total guests attended the five ceremonies held on Mangrum Track and Field at CSUSM. Each ceremony lasted approximately two hours.
This year graduate bonanza brings the total number of CSUSM graduates to more than 37,000 since the school’s opening.
“It makes me really proud to be a first generation college student,” said Communications major and The Cougar Chronicle Managing Editor Jasmine Demers.
“I was able to persevere through a lot of hardship in order to make it this far,” Demers said in The Cougar Chronicle. “My dad wasn’t able to make it through college and had a really difficult life, but through his mistakes, I learned the importance of education. I am determined to make a life for myself where I can be happy and secure, and also be able to provide for my family in the way that they deserve.”
Meanwhile, lest we forget, Palomar College got in the commencement action across town. Nearly 2,200 students received associates degrees or certificates at 5 p.m. Friday, May 21 at the campus football practice field.
To view videos of each of CSUSM graduation ceremonies, visit: https://www.csusm.edu/commencementlive/index.html