Cal Poly 2023 Commencement Set for June 17-18
Contact: Matt Lazier
805-756-7109; [email protected]
Over 5,000 graduate candidates and 50,000 of their family, friends and supporters are expected at six college celebrations at Spanos Stadium
Two distinguished alumni, including former local and state lawmaker Katcho Achadjian, will receive honorary degrees during Saturday’s celebrations
SAN LUIS OBISPO — More than 5,000 Cal Poly students are eligible to be honored in this year’s six commencement ceremonies Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18, at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
The 2023 commencement will feature each Cal Poly college hosting an in-person celebration. This year’s ceremonies will be held at 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. each weekend day. An estimated 50,000 guests are expected across all the ceremonies.
“For these young women and men, commencement is their reward for years of dedication, hard work and overcoming a variety of challenges,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “These graduates-to-be adapted as the can-do individuals they are.
“So, I’m proud to welcome them into our expanding family of Mustang alumni and wish them success and happiness as they begin their journeys, whether starting careers or continuing their studies here at Cal Poly or at universities across the nation. These future leaders didn’t do this alone. Our pride and thanks extend to the thousands of their family members, friends and supporters who played equally important roles in helping these students succeed in school and in life.”
Each ceremony will last about 90 minutes, although Sunday’s College of Engineering event, with 1,254 candidates and more than 12,000 spectators, could stretch to two hours. Each event will also be streamed live, with the ceremonies available to watch later (links provided below).
California State University Trustee Larry Adamson will give brief remarks at Saturday’s ceremonies. He is part of the CSU Board of Trustees that oversees the 23-campus California State University and its nearly 460,000 students — the nation’s largest and most diverse four-year public university. Adamson served as the interim alumni trustee in 2005 and has been on the board since 2019.
Two university alumni will receive honorary degrees on Saturday: Richard Bradshaw (Mathematics, ’70); and three-term Assemblyman Khatchik “Katcho” Achadjian (Business Administration, ’76), who died March 5, 2020, at age 68.
Achadjian's wife, Araxie, also a Cal Poly graduate (Business Administration, ’90), will accept the posthumous honorary doctor of laws during Orfalea College of Business’s 8:30 a.m. ceremony.
The Arroyo Grande resident — honored as an impactful political leader and community advocate — immigrated from Lebanon to the U.S. in 1971 at age 19. He attended Cuesta College before transferring to Cal Poly. While earning his degree, Achadjian worked at an Arroyo Grande Shell gas station. In 1978, the 27-year-old bought that station, following in his father’s footsteps as a small-business owner, eventually owning three Central Coast gas stations.
Achadjian started his 18-year political career as a county supervisor from 1998 to 2010, when he was elected to the state Assembly. He served three two-year terms in Sacramento with a voting record reflecting his support of small businesses. As the descendant of genocide survivors, he co-authored the Armenian Genocide Education Act in 2014, requiring every California school district to include the Armenian Genocide in middle and high school curriculum. Some 664,000 to 1.2 million Armenian Christians living in the Ottoman Empire from 1915-16 were victims of the genocide.
A lifelong community advocate, Achadjian volunteered in support of numerous civic, service and nonprofit organizations. He served as a mentor to students through the Executive Partners Leadership Council in the Orfalea College of Business and was the recipient of the Cal Poly Alumni Association’s Sandra Gardebring Ogren Leadership Award in 2019.
He also assisted Cal Poly political science Professor Chris Den Hartog and his California Student Bill Project course in a 2019-20 Learn by Doing effort, in which students wrote and lobbied for state Senate Bill 467. The students’ proposed legislation, Postsecondary education: Cost-of-living categories, sought to require CSU and University of California campuses to post on their websites more accurate living cost estimates for their communities.
Bradshaw will receive an honorary doctor of science during the Philip and Tina Bailey College of Mathematics and Sciences’ 12:30 p.m. ceremony.
The college’s 1998 Alumnus of the Year has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and a passion for giving back to his community. The honorary degree acknowledges his outstanding achievements and contributions, as well as a decades-long commitment to his alma mater.
After graduating from Cal Poly 53 years ago, Bradshaw earned an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1972. His business career as a financial executive, which spans nearly 50 years, started at Bank of America and ended in retirement from Venrock, the venture capital firm formed in 1969 by Laurance S. Rockefeller to build on the successful investing activities of the Rockefeller family that began in the late 1930s.
Bradshaw delivered the fall commencement keynote speech in 2003. He was a founding member of the Cal Poly Foundation board of directors and served as chair 2010-14. He helped start and was among the original contributors to the Cal Poly Fund for Students, which remains an active provider of emergency grants to students in need.
The honoree and his wife, Peggy, also have supported women’s basketball and volleyball, the construction of the Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics, and scholarships and student research in the college.
Although parking permits are not required for commencement weekend, campus parking will be highly impacted because of the expected large crowds. Consider using alternative transportation such as SLO Transit, Uber, Lyft, carpooling or bicycling to avoid delays.
Uber and Lyft drop-off locations are in lots C7 on the northern end of California Boulevard, via Highland Drive, and C2d accessible from the south California campus entrance via Campus Way.
Parking is available off Highland Drive in lots H1, H12, H14 and H16. Accessible/ADA parking for guests with mobility impairments will be available in lots H2a, C7 and the Grand Avenue parking structure (No. 130). All vehicles must have a valid accessible parking place card or license plate to park in accessible lots.
Shuttle buses will be increased to five this year. Shuttles will travel between parking lots/structures and the stadium throughout the day to guests with mobility impairments and one companion. Wheelchair rentals are available for guests with mobility impairments. For additional parking and shuttle information, visit https://commencement.calpoly.edu/spring.
For more on parking lot locations, visit https://maps.calpoly.edu.
2023 Commencement Schedule
Saturday, June 17
8:30 a.m. — Orfalea College of Business; Khatchik “Katcho” Achadjian, posthumous honorary degree recipient
12:30 p.m. — Philip and Christina College of Science and Mathematics; Richard Bradshaw, honorary degree recipient
4:30 p.m. — College of Liberal Arts
Sunday, June 18
8:30 a.m. — College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
12:30 p.m. — College of Architecture and Environmental Design
4:30 p.m. — College of Engineering
For additional details on commencement, including live streaming of the ceremonies, visit: https://commencement.calpoly.edu/spring.
8:30 a.m.: OCB Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgGe3V47FVA
12:30 p.m.: BCSM Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ya1klurqZA
4:30 p.m.: CLA Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiYNYownRc0
8:30 a.m.: CAFES Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Kd1nwgsn8A
12:30 p.m.: CAED Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=um_RE5gLvUw
4:30 p.m.: CENG Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxXPb6EbD-8
At a Glance: The Class of 2023
Total number of eligible graduates: 5,018 (undergraduate and grad students)
Eligible undergraduate students: 4,424
Eligible graduate students: 594
Breakdown by College
Bailey College of Science and Mathematics (BCSM): 673
College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES): 952
College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED): 420
College of Engineering (CENG): 1,254
College of Liberal Arts (CLA): 881
Orfalea College of Business (OCB): 838
Top 10 Undergraduate Majors
1 Business Administration (OCB): 644*
2 Mechanical Engineering (CENG): 198
3 Computer Science (CENG): 166
4. Biological Sciences: (BCSM): 158
5 Architecture (CAED): 150
6 Animal Science (CAFES): 138
7 Civil Engineering (CENG): 136
8 Psychology (CLA): 127
9 Construction Management (CAED): 117
9 Environmental Management and Protection (CAFES): 117
*Business Administration concentrations
(OCB offers nine subject concentrations for business administration majors; some students take double concentrations.)
1 Financial Management: 161
2 Marketing Management: 159
3 Information Systems: 115
4 Accounting: 101
5 Entrepreneurship: 53
6 Management and Human Resources: 33
7 Real Estate Finance: 32
8 Quantitative Analysis: 31
9 Consumer Packaging: 5
Top 10 Graduate Majors
1 Business Analytics (OCB): 39
2 Biomedical Engineering (CENG): 37
3 Computer Science (CENG): 37
4 Agricultural Education (CAFES): 34
5 Mechanical Engineering (CENG): 34
6 Civil and Environmental Engineering (CENG): 31
7 Engineering Management (CENG): 26
8 Electrical Engineering (CENG): 25
9 Business Administration (OCB): 23
10 Biological Sciences (BCSM): 22