Cal Poly Great Grads Showcase the Strengths and Diversity of the Class of 2017

Each June, Cal Poly says goodbye to thousands of graduates who are ready to dive into careers or continue on to graduate studies and address the world’s problems with innovation, technical savvy and confidence earned through their Learn by Doing education.

Each of this year’s roughly 4,500 graduates (one of the largest classes in Cal Poly history) has a unique story of success and perseverance along with thoughts on how their university experience has shaped them as they ready to make their way in the world. Meet six outstanding members of the Class of 2017:

Iris HuangIris Huang | Orfalea College of Business

Iris Huang found her footing studying business administration, with a concentration in information systems — the study of people, organizations and technology — at Cal Poly. It’s a skill set that allows her to translate information needs into technology needs and technological capabilities into new business capabilities.

“The introductory classes in the business major exposed me to a bit of every concentration,” said Huang who is graduating after just three years and who will begin graduate studies in business analytics at Cal Poly this fall. “Before college, I never saw myself working in the tech field. After taking the intro to Information Systems class with Professor Jim Burleson, I realized how fascinating and useful the discipline was.”

The 21-year-old from Monterey Park is the first Cal Poly Scholar to graduate from the Orfalea College of Business. The program for freshmen started five years ago as a part of President Jeffrey D. Armstrong’s mission to diversify the incoming Cal Poly population. It recruits and retains high-achieving students from partner high schools. Scholars receive a scholarship, a technology package (including a computer) and supportive programs that foster student success.

Huang was attracted to Cal Poly by its Learn by Doing ethos as well as its friendly campus, the allure of the Central Coast, and “some pretty cool (student) projects.”

“Cal Poly exposed me to a network of professionals, bright peers and internship opportunities,” she said. “A lot of learning is done by talking to classmates, speaking to industry people and doing impactful work during internships.”

Over the summer, Huang will complete an internship at Kaiser Permanente.

“Sometime in the near future I’d like to join the Peace Corp and go abroad to a developing country for a two-year assignment,” she said. “Afterwards, I’d like to settle down working in the creative industry or a nonprofit doing either project management or data analysis.”

•  •  •

Martin AlfaroMartin Alfaro | College or Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

It’s been a long haul for Martin Alfaro, a 26-year-old transfer student from Soledad, Calif., who had a three-hour commute to and from San Luis Obispo — sometimes up to five days a week — over the past two years in pursuit of a degree in agriculture and environmental plant science, with a concentration in plant protection and a crop science minor.

Luckily, this first-generation college student didn’t travel alone. He had two siblings along for the ride: younger brother Daniel, with whom he will graduate, and sister Maria. And another sister, Adriana, lives on campus. (His sisters plan to graduate in 2018.) The eldest of eight brothers and sisters, Alfaro said, “I never thought I would attend college with one of my siblings. I was fortunate to take courses with not just one but three.”

Alfaro will head back to work as a pest control adviser for Huntington Farms in Soledad. The job is more than managing pests that threaten lettuce and other crops; he’ll be an important resource to his employer in a wide range of concerns related to plant health.

After graduating high school in 2008, Alfaro started a family — he and his wife have a son — and took a job as a general farm laborer. He started at Huntington Farms in 2011, working his way up to become an assistant to the company’s in-house pest control adviser.

“Working at Huntington Farms sparked my interest in pest management and farming,” he said. “After three years of putting off my education, I decided to return to school.”

He completed two years in community college while working full time, obtained a pest control adviser license in 2015, and started at Cal Poly that fall.

“Before starting my first quarter, I was nervous at how it would prepare me for a career after graduation,” Alfaro said. “Today, I feel that Cal Poly has given me the foundation that I need to succeed in my career.”

Earning a 3.4 GPA, he credits the help of “amazing faculty and counselors” who were “always there for me.”

“Working full time and my daily commute took valuable time from my studies,” he said. “The faculty helped me overcome these obstacles and succeed in my education.”

•  •  •

Cameron AndrewsCameron Andrews | College of Liberal Arts

A 2013 Paso Robles High School graduate, Cameron Andrews found Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy to be a “tremendous catalyst” as he pursued a psychology degree. “It gave me hands-on experience into what it would be like in the workforce,” said the 21-year-old, “and a better understanding of the things I would like to do in the future.

“Cal Poly impacted me in a way that all colleges should. It helped me grow, mature and expand my perspective. The past four years really has shown me who I am, what I love and where I want to grow.”

Andrews plans to pursue a doctorate in psychology at the University of Michigan. But first he will head to Alaska through the AmeriCorps program.

“I will be working with veterans, who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the homeless population to help to integrate them into society,” he said.

Andrews, who competed on the track team, recalls his pride at representing Cal Poly and “what it means to be a Mustang — our tenacity, spirit and pride.” He was hampered by injuries that affected his development in the long jump and triple jump. A hamstring injury closed the door on his track career, but it didn’t end his days as an athlete.

“Whatever technical skills I lacked as a track and field athlete, I made up with raw strength,” said the 5-foot-9 Andrews. “Pound for pound, I was the strongest person on the team. I’d give some of the guys who weighed 100 pounds more than me a solid run for their money and in certain lifts beating them. I remember when everyone’s jaws dropped; me — a 155-pound dude — was squatting 405 pounds five times, for sets of five.”

His coach is training him to become an Olympic weightlifter.

“He believes I can become an Olympian and that I have what it takes to compete in the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020,” he said. “I believe that I can do it.”

•  •  •

Camile ChabotCamille Chabot | College of Science and Mathematics

Camille Chabot, 22, has crammed a lifetime into her four years at Cal Poly while earning a liberal studies degree with the goal of becoming an elementary school teacher and, ultimately, a school principal.

For a while, the dream was in jeopardy. Two weeks before the start of her sophomore year, Chabot was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma — the most advanced stage of the cancer of the lymphatic system. She was 19.

Surgery, a dozen chemotherapy sessions, a relapse, and a bone marrow transplant followed. But as her hometown of Dublin, Calif., rallied around her, she remained strong with a focus that would not be undone by what had been a “little bump in my throat.”

“There were so many family and friends who told me ‘Just slow down and graduate next year. You’ll look back in 10 years, and you’ll be happy that you did,’” she said. “But honestly it was always my goal to finish with the people that I started with (in 2013). I wanted to be able to say, ‘I had cancer twice, and I graduated in four years — with a minor in French.’”

To accomplish that, she needed help. Family, friends, neighbors and a growing group of supporters came together for what started as a plan to create supportive T-shirts and evolved into #CamilleStrong, a viral crusade to share Chabot’s story, advocate for those with childhood cancer, and raise money to help other female teens facing infertility due to cancer to harvest their eggs.

“President Obama wore my shirt,” she said. “We just had this cool, awesome support group all over Facebook. It was a great community, and they were my motivators. I wanted to put on a tough face and be a positive influence because of them.”

Chabot continued with online classes — even working on a laptop computer during chemo sessions. She missed three quarters in the classroom but remained on track academically with the help of professors and advisors.

She was attracted to Cal Poly because it was just four hours from her Bay Area home and because of San Luis Obispo’s unique small-town environment, nearby beaches, and the university’s Learn by Doing approach.

“It gave me a chance to work hands-on with elementary students and grasp the California (Common Core) elementary standards and concepts,” she said. “During my second and third year, I missed several classes and three quarters, but my advisor, Dr. M. Dolores (Lola) Berber-Jiménez, and professors were very helpful and communicative. I would not be graduating on time if it were not for them.”

Chabot plans to complete her French minor in Paris over the summer and return to Cal Poly in the fall to begin the multiple-subject credential program.

•  •  •

Carlos FloresCarlos “Charly” Flores | College of Engineering

Never underestimate the power of one person to make a difference, says Charly Flores, a transfer student from San Pedro who will receive his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with a focus on power electronics.

Flores, who earned a reputation for community outreach and volunteering, served as an academic tutor for the Boys & Girls Club, inspired by what he had experienced growing up at the club in the Los Angeles Harbor area.

“I realized that I could set an example for young students,” said the 23-year-old, who was lauded for his work with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. “I was also personally influenced by a club mentor, an electrical engineer, who encouraged me to go to Cal Poly. He pushed me like my parents did.”

Flores served as president of Cal Poly’s chapter of the society in 2016-17. When a mother contacted the chapter of the society after her son’s college tour was canceled, Flores agreed to take the woman and her son on a Saturday tour through the aerospace and aeronautical labs, introducing him to students who were working on their projects.

“Charly, speaking to my son about his experiences as a transfer student, truly inspired my son,” the mother later wrote. “Cal Poly is (my son’s) first choice — actually his only choice in colleges.”

Flores, who was honored June 2 with the College of Engineering’s Outstanding Student Award for Service to the Off-Campus Community, takes pride in that.

“There is no bigger reward or accomplishment than knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life,” he said.

Flores was attracted to the university by its Learn by Doing approach.

“I got to an amazing education,” he said. “I got to work on really cool projects. I got to work for some great companies and live in different cities. I got the opportunity to grow as a young professional and develop my leadership skills.”

After graduation, he’ll head to Silicon Valley to work as a design engineer for Analog Devices. He may later pursue graduate studies in electrical engineering or business administration-engineering management.

•  •  •

Carla SimentalCarla Simental | College of Architecture and Environmental Design

“I look forward to graduating with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in a program that has prepared and challenged me to pursue my career in structural engineering,” said Carla Simental, an architectural engineering major in one of the most intense undergraduate building structures program in the nation.

The 23-year-old Santa Clarita resident, who was raised by a single mom, overcame significant economic disadvantages and through hard work and perseverance, emerged as “a top performer in this program,” said Professor and Department Chair Allen C. Estes.

“I defeated the odds associated with being a low-­income, first-­generation student,” Simental said, “by graduating high school at the top of my class and being accepted into Cal Poly. I was able to take laboratories for timber, masonry, steel and concrete design, which allowed me to practice designing in a variety of materials. My interest in structural engineering really grew full force within the seismic analysis side when taking structural dynamics and seismic design.”

Simental plans to obtain a structural engineering license after working professionally in the field for a few years.

“I look forward to contributing in meaningful ways as we move forward with finding effective methods for making structures safe for inhabitants during earthquakes and finding methods for ensuring less structural and nonstructural damage occurs during an earthquake in an effort to reduce the negative economic and social impact it can have for communities,” she said.

She was attracted to Cal Poly by the hands-on structure of her classes.

During her 2015-16 term as president of the campus chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Simental watched with pride as the chapter membership expanded to about 130 members and the executive board become an equal mix of men and women, “which is exciting for a male-dominated field,” she said.

Simental hopes to one day give back to assist other economically challenged individuals.

“Cal Poly provided me with opportunities to accomplish my goals thanks to the caring individuals in various departments who assisted me throughout my time here,” she said. “It’s been a place that has allowed me to discover that I am passionate about encouraging younger students to pursue higher education, hopefully in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.”

Cal Poly Announces Keynote Speakers for Spring Commencement Ceremonies June 17 and 18

Clif Bar's Gary EricksonGary Erickson, the Cal Poly alumnus who founded Clif Bar & Company, a leading maker of nutritious and organic energy foods, and Phil Bailey, the university’s long-serving dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, will deliver keynote addresses at three spring 2017 commencement ceremonies June 17 and 18 at Cal Poly.

Erickson, who graduated with a business administration degree in 1980, will address the College of Liberal Arts and Orfalea College of Business at 9 a.m. and the colleges of Engineering and Architecture and Environmental Design at 3 p.m. on June 17. Bailey will address the colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, and Science and Mathematics at 9 a.m. June 18. All ceremonies will take place in Alex G. Spanos Stadium on campus.

Erickson and his wife, Kit Crawford, are co-owners and co-chief visionary officers of Clif Bar & Company. Created 25 years ago, CLIF Bar® is named after Erickson’s father, Clifford, who introduced him to wilderness adventures and encouraged him to follow his passions in life.

The inspiration for a better energy bar came to Erickson, then a baker, during a 175-mile bike ride. With his mother’s help, he refined a recipe that first caught on with cyclists. The Emeryville-based company, which remains family- and employee-owned, has since expanded beyond its original energy bar to create a range of other products, from LUNA® bar — the first nutrition bar for women — to energy gels and recovery drinks.

The couple has remained true to their values and repeatedly rejected buyout proposals — including a $120 million offer in 2000 — choosing to remain private in order to run a different kind of company, grounded by a Five Aspirations business model: sustaining business, brands, people, community, and the planet.

Erickson has visited San Luis Obispo a few times since graduating. In 2015, he returned to campus to speak to a group of Cal Poly business students “to tell them what a C student can do.” (He said he graduated with a 2.4 GPA.)

These days, the experienced outdoorsman packs CLIF Bars on adventures that have taken him around the world. He is an accomplished rock climber, cyclist, mountain biker, skier and backpacker. Erickson has cycled through the French and Italian Alps, trekked in the Himalayas and competed in 24-hour mountain bike events.

Dean Phil BaileyBailey is the longest-serving dean since Cal Poly first offered classes in October of 1903. He has led the College of Science and Mathematics for 34 years.

He oversaw the construction of Faculty Offices East building and the Baker Center for Science and Mathematics — the campus’s newest and largest academic building — and developed Study 25-35, an academic success initiative that encourages students to study two hours per unit each week, or the equivalent of 25-35 hours weekly.

Bailey joined the chemistry faculty in 1969. He became associate dean in 1973, was named had of the college in 1983, and has twice acted as interim vice president for academic affairs. Throughout his 48-year career at Cal Poly, Bailey has focused on students, teaching almost every quarter. He and his wife, Christina Bailey, former chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, co-authored a widely translated textbook and performed the chemistry magic show for more than 125,000 people.

His numerous accolades include INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine’s Giving Back Award for administrators in higher education and an Ambassador of Goodwill award for his support of African-American and other underrepresented students. He has also been honored by both Cal Poly and the California Legislature for excellence in leadership, philanthropy and student advising.

The Baileys, who have four grown children, have assisted countless students both financially and as mentors, including more than 15 underrepresented students who lived with the family while attending Cal Poly.

Cal Poly will confer degrees on nearly 4,500 graduates June 17 and 18. For more information about spring commencement, visit

Fall Commencement Scheduled for Saturday, December 17, 2016

Graduates at commencement

The Orfalea College of Business will celebrate commencement with the College of Liberal Arts on Saturday, December 17 at 1 p.m. in the Cal Poly Rec Center’s Main Gym. Graduates should line up on the west side of the Rec Center, near the Health Center, at 12 p.m. In the event of rain, graduates will gather in the Rec Center’s main lobby.

Cal Poly graduates will gather in cap and gown for a high-energy processional featuring a student-produced photographic retrospective with entertainment by Cal Poly student musicians. The program will feature brief remarks, motivational speeches, pinning of our new alumni, the conferral of degrees and a spirited closing. Graduates will receive ten (10) admission tickets that provide access to one of the university ceremonies.

The keynote speaker is Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, the Uganda-born co-author of “The Price of Stones: Building a School for My Village.” In 2001, Kaguri founded The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in response to the devastating effects of AIDS in his hometown. The organization provides free education to children who have lost one or both parents to HIV-AIDS. The organization operates two schools, a library, a community agriculture and nutrition program known as Desire Farm, a medical clinic, and a clean water system. It also offers support services to the grandmothers who care for up to 14 children at a time.

Student Affairs will host receptions in the University Union Plaza for participants and guests immediately following each ceremony. In case of rain, the receptions will occur in the Multi Activity Center within the Recreation Center.

Green Gowns
Bachelor’s program graduates must be wearing the new Cal Poly green gown to participate in the commencement ceremony. Bachelor’s program graduates arriving in a black gown will not be allowed to participate and will be asked to purchase a green gown at the bookstore before entering the Recreation Center. Master’s degree candidates will continue to wear the traditional black gowns.

Arrive Early
Doors open one hour prior to the ceremony. It may take 10-15 minutes to walk from the parking lot to the Recreation Center.

Parking will be available in the H1, H2, H12, H14, H16 and Grand Avenue Structure. Parking lots are about a 10 minute walk from the Recreation Center. Please arrive early to ensure there is plenty of time to park, walk, and find your seats.

Shuttle Service
Shuttles will pick up guests will from the “H” lots and will drop them off in front of the Recreation Center. Shuttles for guests with mobility impairments will also be available from these lots and will drop off in front of the Recreation Center.

Wheelchairs will be available for check-out throughout the day. Stations will be located at the Recreation Center and the Grand Avenue Parking Structure.

Print Your Tickets
Make sure to print out the 10 tickets you received via email. Be sure you don’t print 10 copies of the same ticket as each one has an individual bar code that can be scanned once.

Food and Beverage
Food and beverages are not allowed inside the Recreation Center Main Gym. Please consume coffee and snacks prior to entering. Food and beverages will be available at the reception immediately following the Commencement Ceremonies.

For more details, visit

Cal Poly Announces Keynote Speakers for Spring Commencement Ceremonies June 11 and 12

Leon Panetta and Margaret FortuneFormer Secretary of Defense and Central Coast Congressman Leon Panetta, and Margaret Fortune, the leader of a network of charter schools in Northern and Southern California helping young people from disadvantaged families attend college, will deliver keynote addresses at three spring 2016 commencement ceremonies June 11 and 12 at Cal Poly.

Panetta will address the colleges of Engineering and Architecture & Environmental Design at 9 a.m. and the colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and Science & Mathematics at 4 p.m. June 11. Fortune will address the College of Liberal Arts and Orfalea College of Business at 9 a.m. June 12. All ceremonies will take place in Alex G. Spanos Stadium on campus.

Panetta’s more than 60-year career in public service has taken him far from the Carmel Valley walnut ranch where he grew up and continues to call home. In 1977, he began the first of eight terms in the House of Representatives representing a district that went from Santa Cruz to Santa Maria and held constituent hours on a regular basis in San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Atascadero and Paso Robles. He was elected to a ninth term but resigned to head the Office of Management and Budget in 1993.

During his time in Congress, Panetta focused on budget issues, agricultural, education and environmental issues — particularly preventing oil drilling off the California coast. He is remembered for his legislation that nearly a quarter century ago established the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which protects the coastline from San Francisco to Cambria.

Panetta was named President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff (1994-1996) and completed five years of service in the Obama administration. As President Barack Obama’s CIA director (2009-11), Panetta ran the operation that in 2011 brought Osama bin Laden to justice and, as secretary of defense (2011-13) led the effort to develop a new defense strategy, conduct critical counter terrorism operations, strengthen U.S. alliances and opened up opportunities for everyone to serve in the military.

In 1997, Panetta joined with his wife, Sylvia, to establish and co-direct The Panetta Institute for Public Policy, based at CSU Monterey Bay. The nonpartisan, not-for-profit study center seeks to attract thoughtful men and women to lives of public service and prepare them for the policy challenges of the future. Each year, an outstanding Cal Poly student gets an opportunity with the Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program, which pairs them with members of Congress for a three-month educational experience in the nation’s capital. Over the years, 15 Cal Poly students have participated.

Fortune was recently named a trustee emerita after eight years as a trustee for the 23-campus California State University system. She sits on the California Charter Schools Association Board of Directors. The graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government has served as an education advisor to two California governors — Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Fortune heads Fortune School and launched a network of tuition-free, college preparatory, public charter schools in Sacramento and San Bernardino counties. The K-12 school system focuses on closing the African-American achievement gap and preparing youngsters for college — starting while they are still in kindergarten. The network includes K-8 and 6-8 campuses with enrollment of more than 1,500 students. She also operates a graduate school of education, credentialing teachers and school administrators with a focus on charter school leadership called Fortune School of Education.

Fortune has found a partner in Cal Poly. Since 2014, Fortune School students experience hands-on science in Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing Lab. In 2017, Fortune will open a Middle College High School, in partnership with Cal Poly and Cosumnes River College, located in Sacramento. Focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), students will earn a high school diploma and an associate of arts degree in just four years. The school will be the first of its kind in the state capital and is among Cal Poly’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Cal Poly will confer degrees on more than 4,200 graduates June 11 and 12. For more information about spring commencement for the Orfalea College of Business, visit

Cal Poly Orfalea College of Business Spring 2016 Commencement Information


Graduate Programs Friday, June 10, 2016

The Orfalea College of Business’ Graduate Programs will celebrate commencement during a private ceremony on Friday, June 10, 2-4pm at the Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre for accounting, economics and MBA graduates.

The ceremony will include a keynote address by Tammy Kiely, global head of the Semiconductor Investment Banking Practice in the Technology, Media and Telecom Group of the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs.

Graduates can invite four guests. Seats are general admission. We will share ticketing information in April. Graduates can request additional tickets by contacting Doors open at 1:30pm.

All graduates will have their names read in a hooding ceremony. Following the ceremony, there will be light refreshments served on the Spanos Patio, which is shaded. Guests are welcome to take photos.

Orfalea graduate students should not attend the undergraduate ceremony.

Undergraduate Programs Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Orfalea College of Business has announced its spring 2016 commencement schedule. The college will host a joint commencement ceremony for its undergraduate programs with the College of Liberal Arts on Sunday, June 12 at 9 a.m. in Spanos Stadium.

All students will line up at 8:00 a.m. before the ceremony in the Business Building breezeway.

At the event, each graduate’s name will be read. The commencement address will be given by Margaret Fortune, a trustee emerita of the CSU system and an education advisor to two past California governors.

All Orfalea College of Business graduates and their families are invited to recess to O’Neill Green after the ceremony for light refreshments and photos with faculty. The Orfalea College is not hosting any other college or department ceremonies that day.

Download Cal Poly’s Commencement Guide for Students with information regarding parking, attire, seating in Spanos Stadium, and more.


Cal Poly has gathered the information you will need to have a safe and enjoyable commencement experience. Please read through our website to help you plan your visit and make the most of this memorable occasion.

  • Commencement will last several hours.  Please have consider a meal or snack before the event.
  • Please dress comfortably and sensibly. There may be lengthy walks between venues. Campus terrain is hilly in some parts. Wear shoes that allow you to climb stairs and walk on various surfaces including asphalt, concrete, and grass.
  • Weather varies. Please check the weather as the event approaches.
  • Spring ceremonies are generally held outdoors. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Guests will receive water bottles when they enter the university-wide ceremony.
  • Gates open one hour prior to the ceremonies.
  • Graduates are provided with (10) ten guest tickets. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Spanos Stadium is equipped with bleachers.
  • Coordinate a place and time to meet your graduate after the ceremony that does not inhibit the flow of guests at venue entrances/exits.
  • Be sure you have your tickets in hand before the ceremony.
  • Ultimate Exposures provides professional photography services for commencement. Photos of the ceremony can be purchased from Ultimate Exposures online.
  • Cal Poly events take place in smoke-free environments. Please plan accordingly.
  • For the safety of your pets and all guests, we ask that you please leave your pets at home. Only service animals are permitted on campus during the commencement exercises.
  • During the ceremony, medical personnel are located next to the main entrance.


From Los Angeles on Route 101 North

  • Take the Morro Bay, Highway 41 exit.
  • Turn right onto Toro.
  • Turn right onto Walnut.
  • Turn right onto Santa Rosa (California Highway 1).
  • Turn right onto Highland, entering onto the Cal Poly campus.

From San Francisco on Route 101 South

  • Take the Santa Rosa exit.
  • Turn right onto Santa Rosa(California Highway 1).
  • Turn right onto Highland, entering onto the Cal Poly campus.

Click HERE for map to Highland Drive


  • Permits are NOT required to park on campus during commencement.
  • Parking is available in lots H-2 A, B and C, H-12, H-14 and H-16.
  • Grand Ave. will be closed for move-out and California Blvd. will be closed for commencement. Guests will need to enter campus from Highland Drive.


  • Ten (10) guest tickets are distributed to graduates in April. Date is still TBD.
  • Tickets are required for all guests attending the commencement ceremonies.
  • Students are responsible distributing tickets to their guest prior to the ceremony.
  • Each ticket is unique and will be scanned before entrance into a ceremony.
  • Duplicating tickets will result in some of your guests being turned away due to invalid tickets.
  • Additional tickets will not be available for purchase. Students who do not use their ticket allocation are encouraged to share with others.



  • Accessible parking is located in the Lot C-7 on California Boulevard off of Highland Drive and lot H-2.
  • A disabled placard is required to park in accessible lots.
  • Please click here for a map.

Accessible Drop-Off Point

  • Guests with mobility impairments can be dropped off at a designated loading/unloading area on California Boulevard. It is located on California Boulevard at the Northwest corner of the stadium.
  • California Boulevard can be accessed from the Hwy. 1/Highland Drive entrance to campus.

Accessible Shuttle Service

  • Accessible shuttle service through RideOn is provided for guests who are mobility impaired or disabled, and one companion.
  • Shuttle services serve Spanos Stadium and the various departmental event venues.
  • Please note that there is a limited number of shuttles available for guests with mobility impairments.
  • Click HERE for a map of the shuttle stops.


  • All commencement venues are wheelchair accessible. Since there are significant distances between the venues, and our campus is very hilly, we encourage guests to bring a wheelchair with them.
  • Mobility Equipment Rentals can be arranged prior to commencement day through the list of providers.
  • A limited number of manual wheelchairs will be available for loan around the campus.
  • Assisted listening devices are available for check out with a photo I.D. from the First Aid station. Advance reservations are not required.
  • Sign Language interpreters will be located by the stage. Guests who require sign language services should contact the Cal Poly Disability Resource Center at 805-756-1395 in advance of commencement. Please allow as much notice as possible – ideally 2 weeks.


  • Doors open one hour prior to the ceremonies.
  • Guests may enter Spanos Stadium via the facility’s east and west entrances.
  • Access for guests who are mobility impaired or disabled is provided through an entrance located at the southwest corner of the stadium.


  • Guest seating is located in the stadium bleachers and in chairs on the stadium floor, which is a grassy field.
  • Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Accessible seating for guests who are mobility impaired or disabled is located in the west side bleachers, the south side bleachers and on the grassy stadium floor.
  • Accessible seating is provided for guests who are mobility impaired or disabled, and one companion.


  • Accessible restrooms are located under the west side of the stadium. Accessible portable facilities are located at the four corners of the stadium.

First Aid

  • Medical personnel located on the south end of the stadium field will be available during the ceremony.



  • Ultimate Exposures is Cal Poly’s official professional photography service for graduate photographs. Graduates receive an email message with a link to their images for purchase following the event.
  • Guests are welcome to bring cameras to the ceremony.


  • Live streaming of the ceremonies will be available. Please stay tuned for links to the live stream videos.