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UC Merced Returns to In-person Commencement

May 5, 2022

For the first time since spring 2019, UC Merced will honor the achievements of spring graduates with a traditional in-person commencement weekend this month.

“We are proud of all these young people who worked so diligently, with the support of their families, their friends and our outstanding faculty and staff, to earn their degrees,” said Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz. “This on-campus weekend will be a grand celebration of their accomplishments and a fitting start to the lives of success upon which they will embark.”

The three-ceremony weekend on campus will also feature a celebration for the classes of 2020 and 2021, which had virtual commencements because of the pandemic. Those graduates will be honored in a ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, May 13, on the new Bobcat Recreation Fields. More than 1,000 alumni are expected to attend.

Another 1,460 Bobcats of the Class of 2022 are expected to receive their diplomas at the Saturday and Sunday ceremonies.

Graduates of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts will gather with their families at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 14. Fred Ruiz, chairman emeritus of the UC Board of Regents and co-founder, with his father, of the highly successful Ruiz Foods, will speak at the ceremony.

Ruiz is a founding member of the UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees and served as a regent from 2004 to 2016. He has long been a staunch champion of access to education, particularly for residents of the Central Valley, and has been honored for his distinguished service to education by the Council of Advancement and Support ofEducation.

Graduating senior Cathryn Flores will deliver the student address on Saturday.

Graduation for the schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences and their families and friends will commence at 10 a.m. Sunday. Immediate past UC Regents Chair Cecilia Estolano will be the keynote speaker.

Estolano is the CEO and founder of Estolano Advisors and, prior to being appointed a UC regent, served as president of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. She has taught courses on equitable urban development and law and the quality of urban life at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design.

Graduating senior Maya Morris will deliver the student address.

Raynesha Candler will sing the National Anthem for Friday night's ceremony, Katrina Llanillo Johnson (’18) on Saturday and Summer Basem Aqra will sing at Sunday's commencement.

The ceremonies will be livestreamed on UC Merced’s website.