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More Than 1,300 Bobcats Will Cross the Stage During UC Merced Commencement Weekend

May 7, 2024
A student is congratulated by Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz on the commencement stage.
Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz congratulates students during the commencement celebrations in 2023.

More than 1,300 students plan to participate in UC Merced's Spring 2024 Commencement, celebrated with three distinct ceremonies on the campus's Recreation Field.

The first ceremony honors Graduate Division students and will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, May 10. There will be 27 master's candidates recognized and 67 Ph.D. candidates hooded.

There are 693 undergraduate students set to cross the stage during the ceremony for the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 11.

The final ceremony of the weekend will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 12. It will honor 520 undergraduate students from the School of Engineering and School of Natural Sciences. The SoE has 253 students graduating and the SNS has 267.

Graduate students will hear from UC Merced Professor Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, former director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. Berhe served as director of the federal agency from 2022-2024. She is a professor of soil biogeochemistry, the university's Ted and Jan Falasco Chair in Earth Sciences in the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, and a former associate dean of Graduate Education.

On Saturday, community health leader Cástulo de la Rocha will address students graduating from the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. As president and CEO of AltaMed Health Services Corporation, de la Rocha transformed a storefront barrio clinic in East Los Angeles into the largest Federally Qualified Health Center in California and among the top five in the nation.

On Sunday, graduates from the schools of Natural Sciences and Engineering will be sent off with a message from Charles Nies, UC Merced's vice chancellor for student affairs. Nies has mentored thousands of young scholars since joining the university in 2006 as dean of students and associate vice chancellor. Like many of his students, he was the first in his family to attain a college education. He also is graduating from UC Merced: He recently was named chancellor of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, a position he will assume July 1.

Eva Devanathan has been selected as the student speaker for the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts ceremony on Saturday, while Virginia Manandeg will deliver remarks at the Sunday ceremony for the Engineering and Natural Sciences schools.

All attendees must have a ticket to enter the Recreation Field. Tickets were distributed to students prior to commencement.

Gates to the field will open two hours before the start of each ceremony. Guests are encouraged to arrive early and allow at least 30 minutes for parking, walking to the ceremony site and ticket scanning. Seating is first come, first served. Guests must be seated before the start of the processional.

All guests will be subject to metal detector and other screenings; bag checks may be required. For a faster process, guests are asked to only bring necessary items into the venue. No backpacks or large bags will be permitted; small or clear bags are encouraged. Prohibited items found in the venue will be confiscated.

Prohibited items:

-Air horns, beach balls, signs, umbrellas or other distracting items that will obstruct the view of others

-Balloons or inflatables of any kind


-Smoking or tobacco products

-Illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia

-Weapons of any kind, including firearms and knives

-Drones (UAS - Unmanned Aircraft Systems) or other model aircraft

-Animals except for registered guide dogs

-Backpacks - diaper bags or bags carrying medical needs are approved

Guests are encouraged to check the weather forecast as all three ceremonies will be outdoors. Comfortable shoes are recommended as graduating students and guests will be walking on asphalt, cement and grass.

The venue will have designated spaces for guests who use wheelchairs. Each ceremony will have a sign language interpreter.

People unable to make it to commencement in person can enjoy a livestream of each ceremony online. The video feed will include graduating Bobcats walking through the Beginnings sculpture, signifying their transition from students to alumni.

The Spring 2024 Commencement schedule:

Graduate Division
Friday, May 10, 2024
6 p.m.

Sciences School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts
Saturday, May 11, 2024
9 a.m.

School of Engineering and School of Natural Sciences
Sunday, May 12, 2024
9 a.m.

More information about commencement weekend is available at