Preparations are under way as CSUSM gears up to host its 20th annual commencement, conferring degrees for 2,300 graduates and welcoming 15,500 guests to campus during the University’s three ceremonies on May 20-21 on Mangrum Track and Field.

“We are excited to be able to share this moment on our growing and picturesque campus with families and friends as we build new traditions,” said CSUSM President Karen Haynes. This year marks the return of on-campus commencement after ten years of holding graduation ceremonies offsite at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

“I’ve had so many great experiences on this campus, and I’m excited and proud to have the opportunity to show off my university, the place where I’ve spent so much of my time these last four years, to my family and friends at commencement,” said Jeff Economides, who will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy.

Economides will be among the nearly 1,800 graduates crossing the grand stage as part of the CSUSM Class of 2011. This year, more than 2,300 graduates will be conferred degrees, including approximately 2,000 degrees, 100 master's degrees, 300 teaching credentials, and ten doctoral degrees.

Commencement will kick off Friday, May 20, at 3:00 p.m., followed by two ceremonies on Saturday, May 21, at 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Each ceremony is expected to last approximately two-and-a-half hours. Friday’s ceremony will feature candidates earning baccalaureate degrees in liberal studies, education, and nursing, as well as post baccalaureate and doctoral degrees in education. The first of two ceremonies on Saturday will include bachelor's and master's degrees in the fields of business, science, and technology, with the afternoon ceremony, which will be the largest of the three ceremonies, recognizing graduates earning bachelor's and master's degrees in the arts and humanities.

Parking and guest seating will open two hours prior to each ceremony. Complimentary guest parking, courtesy of Parking and Commuter Services, will be available in lots B, C, X, Y, and Z. Guests arriving for the ceremony need to enter the campus off Twin Oaks Valley Road and Craven Drive to access those parking lots. Graduates will enter off Barham Drive, parking in Parking Structure 1 and assembling at The M. Gordon Clarke Field House/University Student Union.

Traffic congestion is anticipated in the area and surrounding streets as a result of commencement. Motorists are advised to plan accordingly and arrive on time. University Police and the Sheriff’s Department will be directing and controlling traffic flow. Guests wishing to forego traffic can utilize the Sprinter, exiting at the Cal State San Marcos station. Buses will be on hand to transport Sprinter patrons, who have purchased a $5 day pass, from the station to Craven Circle near the ceremony site.

“Taking the Sprinter to commencement is a great and convenient alternative for guests and graduates hoping to avoid the potential headaches and hassles of traffic congestion,” said Robert Williams, field operations coordinator for Parking and Commuter Services. For the Sprinter schedule, visit www.gonctd.com.

Each ceremony will also be streamed live online at www.csusm.edu/commencement, giving out-of-town relatives and guests the opportunity to watch their graduate cross the stage in real time. For more information regarding commencement ceremonies, visit www.csusm.edu/commencement.

“We are excited to be able to share this moment on our growing and picturesque campus with families and friends as we build new traditions,” said CSUSM President Karen Haynes.