CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) will salute the Class of 2020 with a livestream celebration at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 23. The event will be held on the same day the students were to graduate, but CSUCI President Erika D. Beck stressed this will not replace the in-person graduation, which had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 crisis.

“If ever a graduating class has demonstrated their merit in realizing this singular accomplishment, it is most certainly the class of 2020,” Beck said. “Not everyone can pivot on a dime, upend their entire lives and find a path forward through unprecedented challenges, and rise to the occasion. But this class did.”

The date of the Class of 2020 in-person ceremony is yet to be determined, but Beck underscored that May 23 is the day the graduates will have officially earned their degrees and they deserved something special.

Aside from a message from Beck, the celebration will include other highlights of the customary commencement, including a congratulatory message from the faculty delivered by Gregory Wood, Academic Senate chair and professor of physics.

Student singers will perform the National Anthem and the university’s alma mater. And, as is customary, Raudel Bañuelos, director of facility support, will conduct a Chumash blessing to honor those who dwelled on this land before us.

There will be active participation from the Class of 2020 who will be sent the link for the virtual celebration. As the virtual commencement date gets closer, the link will be made available at https://www.csuci.edu/commencement/commencement-info.htm.

Each 2020 graduate who has sent an RSVP to the virtual ceremony is invited to submit a video clip and a photo for a personalized graduation slide. Additional information for graduating students is available at https://www.csuci.edu/commencement/index.htm?ref=hpslider.
“Graduates can search it and play their graduation clip, share it, download it and replay it,” said Alissa Blough, director of university events and special programs.
For graduating students who do not have a cap and gown, CSUCI has created a Snapchat filter so students can create a photo of themselves with a cap and gown.
“Include the hashtag #CSUCIgrad20, and we’ll share your photos with our CSUCI community,” Blough said. “This is a momentous occasion for our graduates, and we want to see how each of them are celebrating with their families and friends virtually, from getting ready for the big day to virtual watch parties with their loved ones.”

The virtual celebration will include remarks from Student Government president Sara Ruiz and messages from community leaders chosen to receive honorary doctorates: Ojai philanthropist Esther Wachtell, and social justice advocate and Oxnard political and educational leader Irene Pinkard.

Health science major and 2020 graduate Ashleigh Secor will read a message from Wachtell, who was one of those who helped make CSUCI a reality. And nursing major Jaelyn Anderson, who is a member of the Bedford and Dr. Irene Pinkard Multicultural Living Learning Community at CSUCI, will read a message from Irene Pinkard.

The university president will read the conferral of degrees, which is the moment the graduates are all declared to have completed all requirements for their diplomas, and there will be a turning of the tassel moment.
“We all got knocked down,” Beck said. “But instead of falling back, our graduates fell forward into the life they were meant to have. I am so very proud of their accomplishments.”