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President Luke Wood to preside over first Commencement, where record number of graduates will receive degrees

A record number of graduates will receive their degrees this weekend during Sac State's Commencement ceremonies, to be held at Golden 1 Center in Downtown Sacramento. (Sacramento State file/Bibiana Ortiz)

Sacramento State alumnus Luke Wood will preside over his first Commencement as the University’s president this weekend at Golden 1 Center, where thousands of graduates will cross the stage to accept their diplomas.

Friday through Sunday, a record 9,714 students are scheduled to graduate from the University’s seven colleges and celebrate with family members and friends at the downtown arena.

Wood, who received two degrees from Sac State, became its ninth president in July. He will address graduates during the ceremonies and shake each of their hands.

“It is an immense honor and privilege to stand before our remarkable graduates and their families at this year’s Commencement,” Wood said. “Our graduates truly are an inspiration. They have pushed boundaries, asked tough questions and dared to dream big even when others doubted them.”

Among those receiving their diplomas are recipients of this year’s Deans’ Awards, given to Sac State’s top graduates in each of the University’s colleges. Two honorary doctorates and three President’s Medals for Distinguished Service also will be awarded.

In addition, a posthumous degree will be awarded to Gregorio Florez Breedlove, a Sac State Nutrition student who died after collapsing at a Sacramento Kings game in December. Breedlove’s degree will be presented to his family on Saturday evening.

With a new president, a plethora of new programs and national media attention, Sac State has enjoyed an eventful academic year.

The University continues to attract new students, bucking a national trend of declining college enrollment. Sac State saw only a slight drop, less than 1%, in registered students this spring, and applications for the Fall 2024 semester are far higher than last year, foreshadowing a boost in attendance.

Officials attribute the increase in applications in part to creative marketing strategies and innovative new programs, including the Black Honors College.

Members of the Class of 2024 and their loved ones will gather for Commencement beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday, May 17. Seven ceremonies are scheduled in total:

  • 8 a.m. May 17: College of Business
  • 1:30 p.m. May 17: College of Arts and Letters
  • 7 p.m. May 17: College of Education
  • 8 a.m. May 18: College of Health and Human Services (first ceremony)
  • 1:30 p.m. May 18: College of Health and Human services (second ceremony) and College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies (first ceremony)
  • 7 p.m. May 18: College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies (second ceremony)
  • 8:30 a.m. May 19: College of Engineering and Computer Science, and College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

All ceremonies will be livestreamed and recorded, accessible to viewers across the country and the globe.

Commencement is a triumph of planning, said Kristen Tudor, the president’s Chief of Staff. Gladys Glaude, director of University Events, leads the charge.

“The process of planning the event takes all year, and kicks off in earnest in late summer with our first commencement committee meeting,” said Tudor.

“It’s a very labor-intensive process,” Tudor said. “Gladys Glaude and her team in University Events put their heart and soul into Commencement to make sure it is perfect for our graduates.”

For more information about Commencement, visit the Commencement web page

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About Cynthia Hubert

Cynthia Hubert came to Sacramento State in November 2018 after an award-winning career writing for the Sacramento Bee. Cynthia believes everyone has a good story. She lives in East Sacramento with her two cats, who enjoy bird-watching from their perch next to the living-room window.

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