May 27, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

California State University, Bakersfield will reach some milestones at its 34th commencement exercises June 11 and 12. The university will graduate its largest class ever, and bid farewell to the man who has led CSUB for the past 21 years, in four ceremonies scheduled Friday and Saturday.

More than 2,000 prospective graduates will don their caps and gowns to participate in the ceremony, which culminates their education. Of the 2,004 people who are eligible to participate in the ceremonies this year – the first time CSUB has passed the 2,000 mark – 1,196 are from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, 310 from the School of Business and Public Administration, 322 from the School of Education, and 174 from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Last year, CSUB graduated 1,449 students. The number who actually are awarded degrees is usually somewhat less than the number eligible to participate in the commencement ceremonies. Officials expect about 1,600 will receive degrees when record verification is complete sometime in August.

CSUB Provost James George said the significant increase is a good indication of the health and vitality of the university. "The university has experienced significant growth this year in spite of budget problems, not only in enrollment numbers but also academic achievement and program development," George said. "This large graduating class is evidence of our commitment to our students and the community and the quality education that we provide at Cal State Bakersfield."

The 2004 commencement will also be the last for President Tomas Arciniega, who is retiring after 21 years at CSUB’s helm. In addition to his normal duties presiding over the CSUB’s four commencement ceremonies, Arciniega is also the commencement speaker at two of them.

The university will also host a reception for Antelope Valley graduates on Sunday, June 6, at 3 p.m. in the Convention Center at Park Plaza in Lancaster.

Each school recognizes honor graduates at separate events prior to commencement.

The School of Business and Public Administration held its honors dinner May 21, and the School of Education recognized its outstanding graduates on May 22.

Commencement speakers this year are as follows:

Speakers’ biographical sketches