Cal Poly Fall 2019 Commencement Set for Dec. 14

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Nearly 1,000 students are eligible to graduate in three ceremonies at Cal Poly’s 36th annual fall commencement Saturday, Dec. 14.

Ceremonies are set for 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the Cal Poly ASI Recreation Center Main Gym.

“Fall commencement is a special milestone for these Ready Day One graduates and their families,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “It’s a major transition in the lives of these members of the Cal Poly family — some who will soon embark on careers and others who will begin work on advanced degrees in the coming year.

“Our graduates have achieved a lot, but no student is an island; they didn’t get here alone. This ceremony also gives us a chance to recognize their biggest fans, advocates and supporters: family members, friends, teachers and mentors who’ll have pride in their eyes and love in their hearts.”

The ceremonies will include a “proud pinning” ceremony, a celebratory surprise and a large LED screen for all guests to see. About 10,000 visitors are expected to attend. The 90-minute ceremony will be live-streamed online with closed captioning for those unable to attend.

The keynote speaker is Ashraf Habibullah, a longtime Cal Poly benefactor and structural engineer who is president and CEO of Computers and Structures Inc., which develops software to make sure buildings and bridges stand up in earthquakes. He is a champion of the structural engineering profession and is passionate about promoting its artistic elements and fostering a deeper sense of appreciation of engineering in popular culture.

Habibullah funded the Architectural Engineering Department’s CSI Computer Lab in 2010 to help produce the next generation of California’s structural engineers. In 2016, he rededicated the lab by providing the necessary funds for a complete renovation. The sponsorship renewal will support the facility with $50,000 — $10,000 each year through 2021.

His Berkeley, California-based firm is recognized globally as the pioneering leader in the development of software tools for structural and earthquake engineering. The software, which is donated to scores of universities including Cal Poly, is used by thousands of engineering firms in more than 180 countries. Virtually every major high-rise around the world was built using CSI software, including New York’s Freedom Tower and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Habibullah also has a keen passion for the arts and social causes. He is co-founder of the critically acclaimed Diablo Ballet, the award-winning, professional dance company for Contra Costa County, and the founder of the Engineer’s Alliance for the Arts, a Bay Area organization that involves school children with technology, focusing on the artistic aspects of bridge engineering. He regularly donates time and money as a speaker to support humanitarian organizations, hospitals and educational institutions worldwide. 

The ceremonies will honor more than 850 undergraduate students and about 105 master’s students. The 9 a.m. ceremony will recognize graduate candidates from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the College of Science and Mathematics. Candidates from the College of Liberal Arts and the Orfalea College of Business will be honored at the 1 p.m. ceremony, and candidates from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design and the College of Engineering will be recognized at 4 p.m.

Immediately following each ceremony, participants and guests are invited to attend a reception in the Julian A. McPhee University Union Plaza, located across from the Recreation Center.

Permits are not required to park on campus during commencement. Parking will be available in the Grand Ave Parking Structure and Parking Structure 131, which is about a 10-minute walk from the Recreation Center. Accessible shuttles will be available for guests with mobility impairments and one companion, and will run between the Performing Arts Center and Rec Center.

For more information about the ceremonies, visit

Live Stream links:
Fall Commencement 9 a.m. ceremony:

Fall Commencement 1 p.m. ceremony:

Fall Commencement 4 p.m. ceremony:

Commencement Facts:
Total number of graduation candidates: 958
Undergraduate: 853
Graduate: 105

College of Architecture and Environmental Design (52 total)
Undergraduate: 52
Graduate: 0

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (181 total)
Undergraduate: 170
Graduate: 11

College of Engineering (370 total)
Undergraduate: 310
Graduate: 60

College of Liberal Arts (143 total)
Undergraduate: 140
Graduate: 3

College of Science and Mathematics (113 total)
Undergraduate: 92
Graduate: 21

Orfalea College of Business (99 total)
Undergraduate: 89
Graduate: 10

Top 10 undergraduate majors
1-Mechanical Engineering, 77 (CENG)
2-Computer Science and Software Engineering, 75 (CENG)
3-Business, 71 (OCB)
4-Civil and Environmental Engineering, 40 (CENG)
5-Biological Sciences, 39 (COSAM)
6-Industrial Engineering, 34 (CENG)
7-Construction Management, 32 (CAED)
8-Animal Sciences, 31, (CAFES)
9-Psychology and Child Development, 28, (CLA)
10-Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences, 26 (CAFES)

Ashraf Habibullah

Contact: Matt Lazier

December 12, 2019

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