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Chico State

More Than 4,000 Students Will Take Part in University’s 129th Commencement Ceremonies

New;ly graduated students return to their seats after receiving their diplomas in front of a sunset backdrop.
Jessica Bartlett / University Photographer

Graduating students in the College Of Communication And Education (CME) were honored during their Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 19, 2018 in Chico, Calif. (Jessica Bartlett /University Photographer/CSU Chico)

Over 3,760 undergraduate and 250 graduate students will participate in California State University, Chico’s 129th Commencement ceremonies this week, beginning Wednesday, May 15, and continuing through Sunday, May 19.

The University will also award two honorary doctorates to alumni this week. Debra Cannon (American Studies, ’77), co-founder of Lulu’s Fashion Lounge, a boutique in downtown Chico, will receive her Doctor of Humane Letters during Graduate Commencement ceremonies on Thursday. After Cannon and her daughter, Colleen Winter, founded Lulu’s in 1996, the store added a web sales component in 2005, then further evolved into an online-only retailer in 2008. Today, Lulus has 1.7 million followers on Instagram, boasts annual revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and employs more than 800 people. It has twice been named one of the fastest-growing companies in America.

Cannon, who was also named a Distinguished Alumna by CSU, Chico’s College of Business in 2014, is being recognized for her extraordinary commitment to the University and her ongoing philanthropic and business efforts that have benefitted our community.

Sterling Mattoon (Biological Sciences, ’60) will receive an honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) during Commencement ceremonies on Saturday morning at University Stadium to recognize his extraordinary curiosity, dedication and scientific research that have contributed so significantly to the greater knowledge of butterflies and moths within California and beyond.

Mattoon is a recognized expert in the fields of butterfly extinction, the effects of climate change of butterflies, and nuances between different species. Mattoon has contributed to the research, documentation, and writing of 20 articles in a comprehensive text titled Systematics of Western North American Butterflies, and his contributions to his discipline provide a greater understanding of moths and butterflies within a greater global context.

Cannon and Mattoon will become the 20th and 21st honorary degree recipients, respectively, in the University’s 132-year history.

CSU, Chico’s master’s degree recipients will participate in one of two Commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 16, at Laxson Auditorium. Exercises start at 4:30 p.m. with the Colleges of Agriculture, Communication and Education, Humanities and Fine Arts, and Business, and English major Mary Gibaldi serving as the featured speaker. The Colleges of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management will follow at 7:30 p.m., with social work major Amy Rhoades providing student reflections. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to each ceremony.

Bachelor’s degree ceremonies will begin Friday, May 17, at 7 p.m., with Commencement for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at University Stadium. Bonnie Lloyd, a double major in anthropology and criminal justice, will be the student speaker.

On Saturday, May 18, undergraduates in the Colleges of Agriculture, Natural Sciences, and Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management will begin Commencement at 8:30 a.m. in University Stadium. Tim O’Shea, a double major in concrete industry management and construction management, will provide student reflections. Later Saturday, Commencement for the Colleges of Business and Humanities and Fine Arts will start at 7 p.m. in University Stadium. Business administration major and outgoing Associated Students President Alisha Sharma will be the student speaker.

Commencement for the College of Communication and Education will take place at 8:30 a.m. Sunday in University Stadium. Journalism major Katelyn Gregori will provide student remarks.

In addition, there are many other special celebrations, including the Veteran Graduation Celebration on Wednesday, May 15; Asian and Pacific Islander Graduation on Thursday, May 16; School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony on Friday, May 17; Black Graduation and two Latinx Graduation Celebrations on Saturday, May 18; and a number of other special celebrations.

The entire Commencement schedule can also be viewed by major.

Graduating students received up to six tickets for Friday’s University Stadium ceremony and seven tickets for Saturday’s and Sunday’s University Stadium ceremonies. Additional tickets were released to all stadium ceremonies on a first-come, first-served basis. All undergraduate ceremonies are sold out. Ticket information is available at

To accommodate everyone who wishes to watch Commencement live, the ceremonies will be streamed for remote viewing on computers and mobile devices at, where a live-captioned version is also available.

Graduates, their friends, and families are all encouraged to share Commencement festivities on social media with #Chico2019. Students and their guests are also asked to adhere to responsible behavior expectations outlined in the Graduate then Celebrate campaign.

Several restrictions will be in place that will affect Commencement attendees and others driving in the campus area over the weekend:

  • Guests may enter University Stadium one hour prior to start time. Guests may enter 30 minutes prior for ceremonies in Laxson Auditorium. If you drive to campus, allow extra time for traffic and parking.
  • Friday evening through Sunday, the parking lot at the corner of College Drive and Warner Street is reserved for people with accessibility needs. An accessibility placard is not required, but visitors will be stopped by University Police to confirm they need accommodations.
  • On Friday, entry to the Student Health Center and University Stadium parking lots will be restricted after 3 p.m. due to the evening Commencement. The only vehicles that will be allowed to enter these parking lots will be Student Health Center patients and staff, Commencement-related vendors and staff, and ceremony attendees with mobility-related disabilities.
  • All other University lots will be available for visitors Friday evening through Sunday for Commencement parking, including the University lot at Third and Orange streets. University parking lots can be found at Parking permits will not be required.
  • Vehicles exiting the Student Health Center or University Stadium parking lots after 3 p.m. on Friday will need to exit via the gate that leads to West Sacramento Avenue; signage and University Police staff will help direct drivers to that gate.

Those who require an accommodation in order to attend any of the Commencement ceremonies or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.

Media must have a University-issued press pass for access into any of the ceremonies. For more information or to secure a pass, please contact Sean Murphy at 530-898-6492.A