Graduate holding up photo of themself with UCR's mascot Scotty the Bear

Highlights from UCR’s 70th Commencement

June 26, 2024
Author: Malinn Loeung
June 26, 2024

UC Riverside concluded its 70th Commencement season on June 18, 2024 — with UCR’s Class of 2024 walking at eight discipline or degree-based ceremonies. 

Over 6,000 graduates, 40,000 in-person guests, 40,000 online streamers, and about 350 volunteer staff participated in the celebrations, which started in late May.

Highlanders belonging to specific groups also walked at additional micro celebrations organized by various student resources, like Honor’s Cording, African Student Program’s Black Grad, Chicano Student Program’s Raza Grad, and Women’s Resource Center’s Family Grad. 

For the first time in UCR history, the Asian Pacific Student Program hosted AAPI Grad, and the School Education celebrated the graduation of six students from its new teacher education program from its Palm Desert campus, which will help meet a critical shortage of teachers in the Coachella Valley.

Ceremonies began with a video compilation of student experiences, a graduate procession to “Pomp and Circumstance,” a faculty procession led by UCR’s Pipe Band, a pre-recorded orchestral rendition of the National Anthem, a Native American land acknowledgment, a welcome by Chancellor Wilcox, intros by deans, elected student speakers, industry keynote speakers, the reading of graduate names, and the singing of UCR’s Alma Matter, “Hail Fair UCR,” and finally a recession. Scotty the Bear also made appearances dressed in a graduation gown.


Memorable moments:

  • School of Medicine: A group of medical graduates sharing a multi-language reflection read in English, Spanish, Swahili, French, Somali, Tagalog, Urdu, and Arabic. “May we leave here to cure when possible; to care always.”
  • Graduate Division Hooding: Kim Wilcox, chancellor, explaining that the hoods on the robes have pockets because community members used to drop coins in them to offer financial support to the scholars during the Middle Ages.
  • School of Education: Manuel Carrasco, master’s in education with a teaching credential, giving his dad a birthday shoutout; reminded his class to always have “ganas”, or desire; and closed his speech with a super enthusiastic Dora the Explorer quote, “Lo hicimos!” or, “We did it!” 
  • School of Public Policy: Josephine Montiel, bachelor’s in public policy, reminding graduates to embrace the moments that have gotten them here rather than just chasing the next moment.
  • College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences: Peter Atkinson, interim dean of CNAS, asking winners of the Academic Excellence Award to stand and stay standing as they were individually introduced and acknowledged with applause.
  • College of Engineering: Christopher Lynch, dean of BCOE, inviting graduates to return to campus as guest speakers to mentor, inspire, and guide the next generation of engineers.
  • College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences: Alexandra Martinez, bachelor’s in political science, sharing her journey, which started as a college dropout with a high-risk pregnancy. She said it left her feeling worthless and uncertain — until she transferred to UCR. 
  • School of Business: Sabrina Neri, bachelor’s in business administration, starting her speech with, “I am the first member of my family to go to college...” which was met with loud applause.

Watch all ceremony recordings on


More ways to celebrate with UCR’s Class of 2024:

Unforgettable Moments From UC Riverside's 2024 Commencement
Exciting Highlights from the 2024 Graduate Division Hooding Ceremony
Inspiring moments from the 2024 School of Medicine Commencement
Raza Grad Celebration 2024 Recap
Celebrating UCR’s Class of 2024: Thanking Those Who Inspire 
Heartwarming UC Riverside Class of 2024 Shoutouts
Unforgettable Memories: UCR Class of 2024 Senior Week
UC Riverside students say goodbye at 2024 graduations (Press-Enterprise)
Transfer students triumph in the Class of 2024 (UCOP)