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CSU San Marcos To Hold Parade For Graduates With Commencement Canceled By Coronavirus

CSU San Marcos will host a parade for graduates Friday, May 15 at 9 a.m.

Credit: CSU San Marcos

Above: CSU San Marcos will host a parade for graduates Friday, May 15 at 9 a.m.

More than 4,000 college students at CSU San Marcos will earn their degrees this week, but they won't be walking across the stage in front of a big crowd of friends, family and faculty. Instead, the university will host a parade on campus in place of the commencement ceremony that was canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a video announcing the alternative celebration, university president Dr. Ellen Neufeldt said commencement for the class of 2020 will be held at a time when it's safe to do so. Neufeldt said it's also important to honor those who have achieved their academic goals through an unprecedented disruption.

“We don’t want to forget to celebrate your accomplishments right now," Neufeldt said. "So what we’re going to do is have a graduation parade just for you. Graduates on parade right here at CSUSM.”

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Michelle Tran, a graduating senior majoring in global studies with a minor in political science, said she will attend Friday's parade.

“I’m really excited and I think it’s a nice gesture,” Tran said.

Reported by Bennett Lacy

Tran just wrapped up her term as an executive on the CSUSM student government body with a focus on outreach to students in need. As COVID-19 forced the closure of campus, Tran said there was a spike in demand for services like the university food pantry. She said the added obstacles take a mental toll on students who are already struggling to meet their academic goals.

“For me, I have accepted that the way I am ending my college career isn’t going to be the same or the way I had envisioned it initially," she said. "But for a lot of students it’s a big loss for them.”

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This week, the CSU system announced classes for the fall semester will mostly be conducted online, further extending a period of uncertainty for students. Tran said she hopes the added disruption doesn’t become a barrier. She wants students to know there is a support system available.

“This is not the time to do this alone," Tran said. "And this is not the time to take a step back or drop out of your college career because of these unexpected changes.”

Friday's grad parade will be held at 9 a.m. CSU San Marcos says it will be limited to those who RSVP for the event. Family members will be allowed to ride with graduating students. Staff and faculty will line the streets to cheer participants.

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