Cal Poly Pomona has announced plans for drive-in commencement celebrations at Fairplex, in addition to virtual ceremonies for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021.
The in-person, drive-in events will take place on Thursday, May 20 through Sunday, May 23 at Fairplex in Pomona. The next weekend, virtual ceremonies will take place Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30.
Similar to a drive-in movie experience, the drive-in commencement will include a stage and two large video screens. Graduates and their guests (one car per graduate) will drive to the Fairplex, park and join in the 90-minute celebration. Diploma covers would be distributed at the event. Pending county approval, grads will be able to exit their vehicles and cross the stage.
“The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, especially for our students and families who didn’t have an opportunity to celebrate on campus. We have been working hard to plan a safe, socially distanced, in-person event for our grads to celebrate with their loved ones,” said commencement coordinator Theresa Navar-Rodriguez. “We are hopeful that as positive cases and community spread continue to decrease in the region, we will have approval to allow graduates to cross the stage at the drive-in events.”
Last spring, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of commencement on campus. Due to local health and safety protocols, large gatherings and traditional in-person ceremonies continue to be prohibited. The university has worked closely with the Los Angeles County of Public Health to develop plans for the in-person, drive-in ceremonies that would meet state, county and CSU safety guidelines.
All drive-in events will feature live-stream video for additional guests to watch.
In addition, students who anticipate completing their degree in summer 2021 may be eligible to participate in spring commencement. The Registrar’s Office emailed eligible students about the guidelines and process of applying for Early Commencement Participation (ECP).
Over the past several months, the commencement team listened to feedback from the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 through surveys, focus group and individual emails. Students said their main desire is to have an opportunity to celebrate with family members in person.
Visit the Commencement website to see the tentative schedule and additional details. More information will be added to the website and shared via email to graduates in the coming weeks.
(Updated 3/11/2021: This story was updated to include details about Early Commencement Participation.)