SAN DIEGO - Commencement ceremonies will begin Friday for more than 2,000 Cal State San Marcos students and about 9,000 San Diego State University students, with a Saturday ceremony scheduled for the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
Cal State San Marcos' ceremonies will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the College of Business Administration. At 4:30 p.m., students in the College of Education, Health and Human Services will graduate. Two more ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday.
The class of 2013 is the largest in CSUSM's history with 2,914 students eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies. Of that number, 2,010 are expected to walk in the four graduation ceremonies, according to the university.
According to university officials, one in six of the undergraduates has earned a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, and 41 percent are the first in their families to earn a bachelor's degree.
More than 18,000 people are expected to attend the ceremonies on Mangrum Track and Field, and university officials anticipated traffic congestion and backups, especially along Twin Oaks Valley Road, state Route 78, Barham Drive and Craven Road.
At 11 a.m., graduation ceremonies are scheduled at SDSU's College of Health and Human Services. Then, during the 3 p.m. commencement ceremony at the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders will be awarded an honorary doctorate.
Jack in the Box chief executive Linda Lang will receive an honorary degree during the commencement for the College of Business Administration at 8 a.m. Saturday, university officials said.
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Over the weekend, 6,794 will earn bachelor's degrees, 2,109 will receive master's degrees and 135 will accept doctoral degrees, according to the university.
"We are extraordinarily proud of this year's graduates and I offer my heartiest congratulations to them and their friends and family," SDSU President Elliot Hirshman said. "We wish them well as they continue the 116-year tradition of leadership established by our many distinguished alumni."
The 12,000 seat Viejas Arena is expected to reach capacity, and SDSU officials recommended taking the trolley or bus. Those who drive are advised to proceed with caution while merging from Montezuma Road onto Fairmount Avenue and Interstate 8 because of construction activity.
Both Cal State San Marcos and San Diego State University have commencement ceremonies scheduled for Saturday as well, as does the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, which will graduate more than 200 aspiring lawyers. SDSU's will continue Sunday.
This year's TJSL commencement at Copley Symphony Hall marks the last for Dean Rudy Hasl, who is stepping down June 30 after 32 years at four law schools, school officials said. Hasl, the country's longest-serving law school dean, will preside over the ceremony and serve as its commencement speaker, according to the school.
"Over the past 32 years, I have participated in at least 50 graduations...," Hasl said. "It is always the highlight of an academic year... It is part of what keeps up as academics engaged in the effort."