California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) will hold its 2023 commencement at the Salinas Sports Complex this spring, the school announced on the event’s website last week. The ceremony has been traditionally held at CSUMB at what is now Cardinale Stadium.
The school is making the move so there can be just one ceremony for the entire graduating class, rather than multiple ceremonies the school has been forced to have in the past.
“We (CSUMB faculty) want all students to be able to celebrate with their friends on the same day in the same place,” said school spokesman Walter Ryce. “The football stadium is not large enough” to do that.
Many students contacted by the Lutrinae and on social media expressed feelings from confusion to disappointment about the move.
A student employee and graduating senior who wished to remain anonymous summarizes some general concerns around the change. “All of us [graduating] at once will make the day so long, and traffic will be a nightmare.”
Cardinale stadium has a capacity of 6,000 whereas the Sports Complex, where the annual California Salinas Rodeo is held, covers 90 acres and has a maximum capacity of 17,000.
CSUMB plans to utilize this increase in space to allow all colleges a same day celebration, not staggering ceremonies on consecutive days based on students’ degree, such as in years past. It will also allow more people to attend. School officials envision a widespread festival type event.
In contrast to CSUMB, some regional colleges such as Sonoma State and the University of California, Santa Cruz will have on campus ceremonies as is standard. CSUMB officials assure that, “The Salinas Sports Complex has hosted graduations for other schools and community colleges in the region so there is a precedent for hosting our commencement at this site.”
But this graduating senior says she’s fine either way. “As long as the effort is made to make us feel special. I want balloons!”