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Cal Poly Pomona to Celebrate More Than 6,900 Grads at Commencement

Anais Hernandez smiles while standing at the old stables.

Cal Poly Pomona will celebrate its newest graduates with in-person commencement ceremonies on May 17-20, on the University Quad.

More than 6,900 members of the Class of 2024 will participate in 12 commencement ceremonies. They will be cheered on by approximately 55,000 family and friends.

For graduates who began their Cal Poly Pomona journey in fall 2020 as first-year students, the ceremony will be especially meaningful since most had their high school graduations cancelled at the start of the COVID pandemic. During an uncertain and rapidly changing world, they persevered and found their path to success.

For Anais Hernandez, a communication major who didn’t get the chance to fully enjoy her high school senior year or walk in a graduation ceremony, crossing the stage at Cal Poly Pomona will be “a culmination of all my hard work and dedication,” she said. 

“I feel proud of myself for being a first-generation educated Latina. I’m excited to begin my career and put all the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the past four years to use,” said Hernandez, a 2022-23 President’s Scholar who served as editor of the Bronco Guide Magazine and a member of the university’s Scholarship Fest marketing campaign. “Being a part of a polytechnic university, I’ve had the ‘learn by doing’ and hands-on approach that has truly prepared me with the skills needed to succeed in any job I end up with.”

Natalie Gonzales poses at the Aratani Japanese GardenCollege of Science's 2024 McPhee Scholar and co-valedictorian Natalie Gonzales, a biological sciences major, also celebrated her high school graduation online because of the pandemic. An in-person college graduation “feels surreal.”

“Having spent my last semester of high school and my first years of college online, I've felt that the last couple chapters of my life have bled into each other,” said Gonzales. “It will be nice to finally feel that sense of closure that comes with graduation, and I'm excited to celebrate this occasion with my friends, family, and fellow graduates.”

Mario A. GonzalezThe last three semesters of Mario A. Gonzalez’s studies were a marked contrast to first two semesters as a transfer student during the pandemic. In the past year, the English major met his best friend in Spanish class, took a perspective-shifting theory course that taught him “to read and view life” through cultural, historical and feminist lenses, and worked in The Poly Post’s marketing department.

“‘Eh sufrido, llorado y batallado pero nunca me he rajado!’. Translated: ‘I have suffered, cried and struggled, but I have never backed down!’” Gonzalez said.

Catherine SachsFor landscape architecture senior Catherine Sachs, “graduating after beginning college remotely feels like an accomplishment unique to others. The journey was unconventional, and at the beginning challenging, so this milestone means so much more. Graduation marks the beginning of a new chapter, filled with many more opportunities and challenges.

“Career-wise, I am excited to use my skills in a meaningful way,” said Sachs, College of Environmental Design’s 2024 McPhee Scholar and valedictorian. “As a landscape architecture student, I learned how to work through challenges during projects and the impact my work can have on the future.”

Three Cal Poly Pomona alumni are receiving honorary degrees:

Ruth and David Singelyn   Brian Jaramillo

Visit the commencement website to find the schedule and information for graduates, guests and visitors. Read more stories about the class of 2024.