North County colleges ready for commencements

SAN MARCOS — More than 3,500 people in San Marcos will don cap and gowns on May 20 and 21, and more than 25,000 people will be there to cheer them on.

Those are the number of graduates and attendees expected to attend commencement exercises at California State University San Marcos and Palomar College next weekend.

The bulk of the graduates are coming from CSUSM, which will have more than 3,000 students graduating from the school’s colleges of business administration, science and mathematics, education, health and human services, and humanities, arts, behavioral and social sciences — the largest graduating class in the school’s 25-year history.

The college expects 25,000 people to attend the five, two-hour graduation ceremonies, three of which will occur May 20 and two May 21 at Mangrum Track and Field.

According to the university, 55 percent of the graduating students are the first in their families to earn a four-year college degree and 35 percent of graduates identify as underrepresented minorities.

CSUSM will also award an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree to North County resident Greg Evans. Evans, a nationally syndicated and award-winning cartoonist and creator of the comic strip Luann will receive the honorary degree May 21 at 1 p.m.

Palomar College hosts its commencement exercises at 5 p.m. May 20 on the football practice field at the San Marcos campus.

Adrian Gonzales, Interim Superintendent/President of the Palomar Community College District, will conduct the ceremonies and Garrett Chaffin-Quiray, instructor of cinema and winner of the 2014-15 Distinguished Faculty Award for part-time faculty, will speak at the Commencement ceremony.

Santos Zuniga Tavarez, who currently teaches high school Spanish in Oakland, will receive the Alumnus of the Year honor.

“We are so proud of the achievements of each and every one of our graduates,” Gonzales said. Commencement is a time we can all appreciate what Palomar College means and the importance this institution plays in people’s lives.”

More than 500 students are expected to participate in the ceremony, a fraction of the number of students who applied for associate degrees or certificates of achievement. The school received 3,965 applications for associate degrees or certificates of achievement: 1,950 associates of arts (A.A.) degrees; 1,764 certificates; and 251 associate degrees for transfer are planned to be awarded.

Individuals receiving degrees and certificates in the ceremony will meet in the Dome on the college campus at 3:30 p.m. on the day of the ceremony. Faculty members, wearing their full academic regalia, will gather on the east side of the Howard Brubeck Theatre at 4:30 p.m. prior to the ceremony.

Motorists are asked to plan ahead for traffic delays around both schools.

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