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Press Release

Cal Poly Commencement 2024 Ceremonies Set for June 15-16

Commencement stage officials holding college banner including a man carrying the ceremonial mace enter the stadium for the 2023 Cal Poly commencement

Contact: Cynthia Lambert
805-234-4402; [email protected]

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly will celebrate 6,300 students who are eligible to graduate at the university’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16, at Spanos Stadium.

The six college ceremonies will be held at 8:30 a.m., 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. each weekend day. An estimated 50,000 guests are expected across all the ceremonies. Each ceremony will last roughly 90 minutes and be streamed live online.

The Class of 2024 will join more than 225,000 Cal Poly Proud alumni making an impact in their communities, in California and across the nation and the world.

“At Cal Poly, everything is ultimately about student success, and this year’s graduates have succeeded brilliantly,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “They are prepared to show the world what they can do.”

Honorary Degrees
The university will award honorary degrees to three individuals: award-winning leader and educator Bradford Parkinson; Cal Poly alumnus and Athletics Hall of Fame member Ted Tollner; and innovative leader Hansjörg Wyss.

Bradford Parkinson

Parkinson will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree on June 15, during the College of Engineering ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

Parkinson was the chief architect for the Global Positioning System (GPS) as a U.S. Air Force colonel. He became the first director of the GPS Joint Program Office and led the original development of many types of related equipment. Parkinson retired from the Air Force in 1978 and in 1984became a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University, where he is currently the Edward C. Wells professor emeritus in the School of Engineering. He is also first vice chairman for the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing advisory board.

Parkinson was named co-recipient of the Charles Stark Draper Prize in 2003 for his contribution to the development of the GPS. The Draper Prize is considered by some to be the engineering profession’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. In 2004, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2016, Parkinson received the Marconi Prize, recognizing his achievement and advancements made in the field of communications. In 2019, Parkinson and the co-creators of GPS were awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

Ted Tollner

Tollner will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters during the Philip and Christina Bailey College of Science and Mathematics ceremony at 12:30 p.m. June 16.

Tollner (Physical Education, ’62; M.S., Education, ’65) is a retired college and NFL football coach. He coached at various colleges, including College of San Mateo, San Diego State University, Brigham Young University and the University of Southern California. In 1987, he began coaching in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and went on to coach with the San Diego Chargers, the Los Angeles Rams, the San Francisco 49ers, the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders.

While at Cal Poly, Tollner was the starting quarterback for two seasons and pitcher on the baseball team for four seasons. He was an all-conference selection in both football and baseball and represented the USA baseball team in the 1962 Pan American Games. He is one of 26 survivors of the 1960 Cal Poly football team plane crash. In 1989, he was inducted into the Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame and has served on the Cal Poly Athletic Director’s Council since 2010.

Hansjörg Wyss

Wyss will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree June 16, during the Orfalea College of Business ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Wyss was the founder and chairman of Synthes, a global medical device company that today is part of Johnson & Johnson. He created the Wyss Foundation to help ensure that the iconic Western landscapes that inspired him are protected for everyone to experience and explore. Today, the Wyss Foundation’s philanthropy supports projects in areas from conservation and education to economic opportunity and social justice.

In 2000, Wyss purchased Halter Ranch Vineyard and Winery in Paso Robles, California. The ranch spans over 2,000 acres, with 281 acres of Sustainability in Practice (SIP)-certified wine grapes, 15 acres of walnuts and 10 acres of olives. Halter Ranch and the Wyss Foundation have supported Cal Poly’s Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Scholarship in Wine and Viticulture as well as the Sustainable Energy Lab in the Electrical Engineering Department and the Cal Poly Plant Conservatory.

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 placard or license plate to park in accessible lots.

Shuttles will travel between parking lots/structures and the stadium throughout the day to transport guests with mobility impairments and one companion. Wheelchair rentals are available for guests with mobility impairments. For additional parking and shuttle information, visit

Members of the media can park in the C-2 lot off Campus Way. Media badges can be picked up at the southeast entrance in the soccer locker room.

For more on parking lot locations, visit

Safety and Security
A clear bag policy will be in effect in Spanos Stadium for graduates and guests. This limits individuals to one clear bag or small clutch per person (12 x 6 x 12 clear bag, 12 x 12 Ziploc, or 4.5 x 8.5 clutch). Diaper bags and medically necessary items/bags are permitted but will go through a thorough search process.

This year, the university has upgraded from handheld security wands to move-through metal detectors at all entrances to speed up the entry process. All graduates and guests will be subject to metal detector screening prior to entering Spanos Stadium.

For additional safety and security information, including a list of prohibited items, visit

Ceremony Schedule

Saturday, June 15

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; Bradford Parkinson, honorary degree recipient

Sunday, June 16

8:30 a.m.
Orfalea College of Business; Hansjörg Wyss, honorary degree recipient
12:30 p.m.
Philip and Christina Bailey College of Science and Mathematics; Ted Tollner, honorary degree recipient
4:30 p.m.
College of Liberal Arts

For additional details, including live streaming of the ceremonies, visit:


At a Glance: The Class of 2024

Total number of eligible graduates: 6,312 (undergraduate and grad students)

Total number of eligible degrees: 6,705 (includes students receiving multiple degrees)

Eligible undergraduate degrees: 5,920

Eligible graduate degrees: 78

Degree Breakdown by College

Bailey College of Science and Mathematics (BCSM): 822
    Undergraduate degrees: 724
    Graduate degrees: 98

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES): 1,223
    Undergraduate degrees: 1,112
    Graduate degrees: 111

College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED): 513
    Undergraduate degrees: 473
    Graduate degrees: 40

College of Engineering (CENG): 2,023
    Undergraduate degrees: 1,644
    Graduate degrees: 379

College of Liberal Arts (CLA): 1,071
    Undergraduate degrees: 1,028
    Graduate degrees: 43

Orfalea College of Business (OCOB): 1,053
    Undergraduate degrees: 939
    Graduate degrees: 114

Top 10 Undergraduate Degrees

  1.     Business Administration (OCOB): 819*
  2.     Mechanical Engineering (CENG): 380
  3.     Computer Science (CENG): 278
  4.     Animal Science (CAFES): 206
  5.     Biological Sciences: (BCSM): 172
  6.     Construction Management (CAED): 161
  7.     Civil Engineering (CENG): 160
  8.     Architecture (CAED): 157
  9.     Psychology (CLA): 157
  10.     Agricultural Business (CAFES): 147

*Undergraduate Business Administration Concentrations

(OCOB offers nine subject concentrations for undergraduate business administration majors; some students take double concentrations.)

  1.     Financial Management: 192
  2.     Marketing Management: 170
  3.     Information Systems: 156
  4.     Accounting: 140
  5.     Entrepreneurship: 62
  6.     Management and Human Resources: 30
  7.     Real Estate Finance: 39
  8.     Quantitative Analysis: 21
  9.     Consumer Packaging: 9

Total: 819

Top 10 Graduate Degrees

  1.     Computer Science (CENG): 68
  2.     Biomedical Engineering (CENG): 61
  3.     Electrical Engineering (CENG): 55
  4.     Agricultural Education (CAFES): 53
  5.     Mechanical Engineering (CENG): 52
  6.     Engineering Management (CENG): 45
  7.     Business Analytics (OCOB): 43
  8.     Civil and Environmental Engineering (CENG): 38
  9.     Environmental Sciences and Management (CAFES): 32
  10.     Business Administration (OCOB): 28