“Graduates, welcome home!”

William Watkins, CSUN’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students, greeted thousands of Matadors with this warm welcome in front of the University Library on Friday, May 20. The university’s first two Commencement ceremonies of the spring were reserved for students who graduated in fall 2019, spring 2020, summer 2020, fall 2020, spring 2021 and summer 2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic kept everyone home.

The morning ceremony opened with a land acknowledgement and video greeting from leaders of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, offering their congratulations and blessings. Then, CSUN President Erika D. Beck welcomed the graduates back to campus. “We have missed you,” she said.

Beck led a round of applause for families and friends gathered in the bleachers around the University Library lawn and praised the graduates for their talent and dedication.

“You have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to your academic success,” she said. “In many cases, balancing work, family and community obligations while weathering a global pandemic.”

Among the graduates at the morning ceremony was Perla Colin, who graduated in 2020 with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and communication studies. She said coming back to campus two years after finishing her studies was a surreal experience.

“You know, the first time around, when I graduated, I turned in the final, that was it,” she said. “It was a very lonely experience to just kind of graduate behind a screen.” Colin took part in a virtual ceremony, but she said returning for an in-person ceremony was a dream. “To walk across the stage, and for my parents to be here, it’s an honor,” she said.

Roberto Pasquariello graduated with his master’s degree in music industry administration back in 2020. Returning to campus, he said, was a fulfilling experience. “It was interesting,” he said. “It’s like a homecoming.”

Here are some photo highlights from this special day.

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