10:55 AM

CSUSM to Celebrate Two Graduating Classes at Commencement

Cal State San Marcos will celebrate the graduating classes of 2021 and 2020 later this month as it holds its first commencement ceremonies in two years. 

A total of 4,592 students will graduate as part of the Class of 2021. The Class of 2020, which numbers 4,618, graduated last May, but those students will be sharing in the ceremonies this month because the 2020 commencement was postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  

CSUSM’s commencement will take place on Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23, with five different ceremonies stretched across the two days. 

This will be the first commencement for CSUSM President Ellen Neufeldt, who started at the university in July 2019. When commencement was postponed last year, Neufeldt promised the Class of 2020 that CSUSM would celebrate them and their accomplishments as soon as it was deemed safe to do so.  

More than 3,000 graduates are expected to attend commencement at Mangrum Track and Field on campus. Each graduate is permitted to bring two guests, and seats within the venue will be separated by 6 feet in keeping with public health guidelines. All attendees must wear a face covering (mask or face shield) at all times while on the campus property.  

Of the two classes participating in commencement, 57% of the graduates are the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree, and 32% are the first to attend college. The ages of the graduates range from 19 to 73.  

Each of the commencement ceremonies will be streamed live on the CSUSM website and mobile app to allow viewing by family members and friends who aren’t able to attend. 

CSUSM will award three honorary degrees during commencement: 

  • Daniel J. Epstein will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters during the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ceremony on May 22 at 9 a.m. 

  • Robert “Bob” McElroy and Steven P. Wagner will both receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree in the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences ceremony on May 22 at 4 p.m.  

Epstein is the founder of The ConAm Group, one of the top apartment management/ownership firms in the country, and a longtime supporter of CSUSM who has made multiple transformational gifts to the university. In recognition of the $1 million gift that the Epstein Family Foundation made to CSUSM’s Veterans Center in 2017, the building was renamed the Epstein Family Veterans Center.  

McElroy is the founder and president of Alpha Project, an organization with more than three decades of service to people in need. Aiming to break the cycle of homelessness, Alpha Project offers more than two dozen programs throughout San Diego County and beyond, with more than 250 employees who collectively serve in excess of 4,000 people each day. 

Wagner is co-founder and president of Stone Brewing Co., one of the biggest craft beer companies in America. He has been an annual supporter of the university’s Student Philanthropy Council since its inception in 2011, and he and his wife, Laura, have helped build a culture of philanthropy on campus through their support of CSUSM Giving Day. 

On Friday, May 21, the day before commencement weekend, CSUSM will host Graduates on Parade. This second annual event is a unique and spirited celebration in which graduates are encouraged to decorate their car and join members of their immediate household to parade the streets of campus in a route lined by faculty and staff. Almost 800 students are expected to participate this year. 

More information on CSUSM’s commencement ceremonies and Graduates on Parade is available online.  


What: CSUSM hosts commencement for the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020  

Who: More than 3,000 students are expected to participate in the ceremonies  


Friday, May 21  

9 a.m. – Graduates on Parade  

Saturday, May 22  

9 a.m. – College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics 

12:30 p.m. – College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences 

4 p.m. – College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences 

Sunday, May 23  

9 a.m. – College of Business Administration  

12:30 p.m. – College of Education, Health and Human Services  

Where: Mangrum Track and Field, Cal State San Marcos, 333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos  

Media: Members of the media who wish to attend any of the commencement ceremonies or Graduates on Parade are asked to contact communications specialist Brian Hiro in advance at bhiro@csusm.edu or 760-759-0564.  

For easy access to the ceremony site, media are asked to park in Lot Z, which is located at South Twin Oaks Valley Road and Campus Marketplace.