Cal Poly Spring 2019 Commencement Ceremonies Set for June 15 and 16

University will host evening ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday

SAN LUIS OBISPO — More than 5,100 students are eligible to graduate in two ceremonies at Cal Poly’s spring commencement Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16. The three-hour ceremonies will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Spanos Stadium.

The Class of 2019’s 5,135 graduation candidates is about 7 percent larger than last year’s 4,803.

“Commencement is a final chance to salute our ambassadors of Learn by Doing as they get ready to fan out across the nation,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “They prepare to leave during one of most robust economic times for college graduates in years. Some will begin careers. Others will embark on advanced degree programs. Whatever the destination, we are confident that they are prepared for the future and are poised to become tomorrow’s leaders.

“But commencement is not just for those in gowns and mortarboards. Any salute to the Class of 2019 has to include their dedicated supporters who will also fill the stadium: moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings as well as family friends, professors and industry professionals. They have all provided the love, encouragement, advice and financial support that has helped our graduates get to where they are today.”

This year’s keynote speaker, Paul Wesselmann, is no stranger to this group of grads-to-be. Since 2006, “The Ripples Guy” has been the featured speaker to kick off Week of Welcome, the university’s orientation program for incoming freshmen and transfer students. He was one of the first to welcome this year’s class of graduates to Cal Poly during WOW in Spanos Stadium, and said he is honored to share in their closing experience in the same location where they began their educational journeys.

Wesselmann is an educator, writer and creator of The Ripples Project, an experiment in strengthening human connection through messages of hope. Every Monday, he sends to his more than 30,000 email subscribers inspirational quotes and catchphrases that help people remember the gigantic potential of tiny actions. He earned a bachelor’s in psychology from McKendree College and a master’s in higher education from Bowling Green State University. Over the past 20 years, Wesselmann has spoken at hundreds of colleges, conferences and corporations, sharing strategies to help people bring their best selves to school, work and life.

The university will award an honorary doctorate degree to Loren Booth, a fifth-generation Californian who was raised in the city of Pasadena and attended both Cal Poly universities: two years at the Pomona campus, and two years in San Luis Obispo (1971-75). The animal sciences major is the owner/general manager of Booth Ranches, with cattle, quarter horse and citrus divisions, which was founded in 1957 by her late father, Franklin Otis Booth Jr.

Loren Booth married in the 1970s and moved to Bakersfield, where she turned her passion for horses into action. There, she ran the ran the Rio Bravo Equestrian Center and also raised quarter horses, something still done at Booth Ranches. She credits much of her success to the California Agricultural Leadership Program, which is committed to leadership training and transformational learning experiences in partnership with four California universities, including Cal Poly and Cal Poly, Pomona. She first took farming at Booth Ranches in-house in 2000, and in 2003 purchased its first packing house. A few years later, Booth also brought sales and marketing operations under one roof. Today, Booth Ranches is vertically integrated with farms from Fresno to Maricopa, California, and has become one of the Golden State’s major citrus grower-packer-shippers.

More than 40,000 visitors are expected to attend Cal Poly’s 78th annual commencement ceremonies, which marks a change from three ceremonies held in the morning and afternoon to a pair of evening events aimed at providing cooler conditions for participants and guests.

Permits are not required to park on campus during commencement. Follow directional signs for parking. General parking will be available in lots H1, H12, H14, H16, C7 and two parking structures off of Grand Avenue, No. 130, near the Performing Arts Center, and No. 131, located next to the yakʔityutyu residence complex.

Accessible parking for guests with mobility impairments will be available in the Grand Avenue (No. 130) and the yakʔityutyu (No. 131) parking structures. All vehicles must have a valid accessible parking place card or license plate in order to park in accessible lots.

Shuttles will be available for guests with mobility impairments and one companion. For additional parking and shuttle information, visit

Parking, shuttle and other commencement-related information can be found on the Cal Poly Now app. To download and learn more, visit

The 2019 Commencement Schedule
Saturday, June 15
5 p.m.
College of Engineering — 1,246 eligible graduates
College of Architecture and Environmental Design — 377 eligible graduates
College of Science and Mathematics — 752 eligible graduates

Sunday, June 16
5 p.m.
College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences — 950 eligible graduates
Orfalea College of Business — 912 eligible graduates
College of Liberal Arts — 898 eligible graduates

For additional details on commencement, including live streaming of the ceremonies, visit:

At a Glance: The Class of 2019
Total number of eligible graduates:
5,135 (graduate and undergraduate students)

Breakdown by College (undergraduate+graduate students)
1- College of Engineering (CENG): 1,246 (1,032+214)
2- College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES): 950 (872+78)
3- Orfalea College of Business (OCB): 912 (800+112)
4- College of Liberal Arts (CLA): 898 (865+33)
5-College of Science and Mathematics (COSAM): 752 (664+88)
6- College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED): 377 (351+26)

Top 10 Majors combined:
1- Business (OCB): 725 (700 undergrads+25 graduate)
2- Biological Sciences (COSAM): 285 (270+15)
3- Mechanical Engineering (CENG): 226 (196+30)
4- Computer Science and Software Engineering (CENG): 210 (183+27)
5- Civil and Environmental Engineering (CENG): 199 (159+40)
6- Psychology and Child Development (CLA): 194 (179+15)
7- Architecture (CAED): 174 (173+1)
8- Agribusiness (CAFES): 157 (all undergrads)
9- Animal Sciences (CAFES): 153 (all undergrads)
10- Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences (CAFES): 150 (145+5)

Top 10 Undergraduate Majors:
1-Business (OCB): 700
2- Biological Sciences (COSAM): 270
3-Mechanical Engineering (CENG): 196
4- Computer Science and Software Engineering (CENG): 183
5- Psychology and Child Development (CLA): 161
6- Architecture (CAED): 173
7- Civil and Environmental Engineering (CENG): 159
8- Agribusiness (CAFES): 157
9- Animal Sciences (CAFES): 153
10- Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences (CAFES): 145
Total number of eligible undergraduates: 4,584

Top 10 Graduate Majors
1- School of Education (COSAM): 53
2- Agricultural Education and Communications (CAFES): 41
3- Civil and Environmental Engineering (CENG): 40
4- Biomedical Engineering (CENG): 37
5- Mechanical Engineering (CENG): 30
6- Computer Science and Software Engineering (CENG): 27
7- Business (OCB): 25
8- Aerospace Engineering (CENG): 21
9- Agriculture (CAFES): 16
9- Engineering (CENG): 16
Total Number of eligible graduate students: 551

Note: Reporters and photographers planning to cover commencement will need credentials. Please contact University Communications before Friday, June 14, to arrange for credentials.

Contact: Matt Lazier

June 12, 2019

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