Sonoma State Celebrates Largest Graduating Class

May 16, 2018

Sonoma State University will confer degrees to its largest class in its 57-year history this weekend. In all, 2,706 graduates will be taking part in commencement ceremonies on May 19 and 20.

“It has been a challenging year for our campus community,” President Judy Sakaki said in reference to the October firestorms that decimated Sonoma County and the events of this past week. “But no group reflects our resilience better than our graduating seniors. All of their hard work and perseverance have paid off, and we look forward to celebrating with them this weekend.”

For the second consecutive year, the ceremonies will be held at the Green Music Center inside Weill Hall. Family members and friends of the graduates also will be watching the ceremonies from the lawn area outside Weill Hall. A video broadcast of all six ceremonies will be streamed live online at “We want everyone to be able to share in this important and memorable event,” said Sakaki.

Here is a breakdown of the schedule of ceremonies this weekend along with the degrees that will be conferred:

Saturday, May 19, 2018

School of Business and Economics – 8 a.m.

Business Administration


School of Science and Technology – 1 p.m.

Applied Statistics




Computer and Engineering Science

Computer Science

Earth Science

Electrical Engineering


Interdisciplinary Studies/Special Major







School of Arts and Humanities – 5 p.m.

American Multicultural Studies
Art History
Chicano and Latino Studies
Communication Studies
Fine Arts
Liberal Studies (Hutchins School)
Organization Development
Special Major: German Cultural Studies
Theatre Arts


Sunday, May 20, 2018

School of Social Science A – 8 a.m.

Cultural Resources Management
Human Development
Political Science
Public Administration


School of Social Science B – 1 p.m.

Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies
Environmental Studies and Planning
Global Studies
Liberal Studies
Women’s and Gender Studies


School of Education – 5 p.m.

Early Childhood Studies

Honorary Doctorates

This year's honorary doctorates are retired Professor of Education H. Andréa Neves and a longtime Northern California advocate for the underserved, George L. Ortiz. Each will be honored during Commencement ceremonies on Sunday.

“Both serve as shining examples of the human capacity to elevate others through service,” said Sakaki.

Ortiz’s degree will be conferred by CSU Trustee Chair Adam Day at the School of Social Sciences ceremony at 1 p.m., and Neves’ conferral will be at the School of Education ceremony at 5 p.m. that evening.

Banner Carriers

Each of Sonoma State University's five schools selects a student as its banner carrier for the annual commencement ceremony. The banner carriers are students who have made significant contributions to their major department and their school. This year's banner carriers are: Jun Young (Arts and Humanities); Vanessa Aguillard (Business & Economics); Carolyn Samples-Alarie (Education); English Knowles (Science and Technology); Zachary Faerber and Sherri Davenport (Social Sciences).

School: Arts and Humanities

Student: Jun Young

Major: BA in English


School: Business and Economics

Student: Vanessa Aguillard

Degree: BA in Business Administration


School: Education

Student: Carolyn Samples-Alarie

Degree: MA in Education (concentration in Special Education)


School: Science & Technology

Student: English Knowles

Degree: BA in Nursing


School: Social Sciences- Ceremony A

Student: Zachary Faerber

Degree: BA in Anthropology, BA


School: Social Sciences- Ceremony B

Student: Sherri Davenport

Degree: BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies, BA

Student Speakers

School: Arts and Humanities

Student: Cedric De Rosas

Major: BA in American Multicultural Studies


School: Business and Economics

Student: Vanessa Aguillard

Degree: BA in Business Administration


School: Education

Student: Maya Thompson

Degree: BA in Early Childhood Studies


School: Education

Student: Leila Myers

Degree: Credential Candidate


School: Science & Technology

Student: Emma Townslee

Degree: BA in Biology


School: Social Sciences- Ceremony A

Student: Maria Nolasco Ramirez

Degree: BA in Anthropology,


School: Social Sciences- Ceremony B

Student: Sastra McGinley

Degree: BA in Environmental Studies

Cultural Graduation Ceremonies

Sonoma State is hosting cultural graduation ceremonies prior to the weekend commencement ceremonies, including Raza Grad, Black Grad, API (Asian Pacific Islander) Grad, and Rainbow Grad (LGBTQ).

A reception follows the individual ceremonies, welcoming all cultural graduation participants, friends, allies and families to celebrate this momentous occasion with a dinner buffet and performances from ensembles representing the different cultures in attendance.

Rainbow Grad
Thursday, May 17, 3 p.m., Student Center Ballroom B

Raza Grad
Thursday, May 17, 3 p.m., Weill Hall in the Green Music Center

Black Grad
Friday, May 18, 4 p.m., Person Theater

API Grad
Friday, May 18, 4:30 p.m., The Cooperage

Cultural Graduation Reception (with refreshments and entertainment)
Friday, May 18, 6 p.m., Student Center Ballroom

Social Media

The official commencement hashtag is #SonomaState. Check out Sonoma State University on Facebook, Twitter (@SSU_1961) and Instagram (@SonomaStateUniversity) for updates and to follow the day's events.

For further information, visit the commencement website at

Media Contact

Paul Gullixson