On a Roll: New CSUN Grads Celebrate at Car-mencement

  • CSUN library with cars lined up on walkway

    Cars snake across campus for CSUN's commencement parade on May 25. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Man in commencement gown handing box to person in decorated car

    CSUN Interim Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Ranjit A. Philip hands out a Grad Box to a member of the class of 2021. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Cars lined up under a CSUN banner

    Cars were allowed to drive down pathways normally reserved for pedestrians during the car parade. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Two people stand behind stacks of Grad Boxes.

    Hundreds of Grad Boxes were given out each day at the event. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Beck and Watkins stand by a white SUV with a graduate standing out of the sunroof

    CSUN President Erika D. Beck and Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students William Watkins cheered students as they drove through the route. Photo of Lee Choo

  • Graduate holds up red diploma cover in the window of her car

    Graduates had their photos taken in their cars in front of the CSUN library during the celebration. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Van decorated with photos of the graduate.

    Many families decorated their cars with images of the graduates or their name and major. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Two people handing a rose to a graduate.

    CSUN Associated Students handed out red roses, a symbol of accomplishment at CSUN, to graduates. Photo by Lee Choo

  • People cheering with pom poms next to a line of cars.

    CSUN faculty and staff cheered on the graduates as they made their way across campus. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Family in a decorated car.

    Separate vehicles allowed families to celebrate while maintaining distance from others. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Woman hands popsicles to graduate in car.

    Graduates were given goodies like popsicles and leis along the route. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Group of staff stand in front of Alumni tent.

    CSUN's Alumni Association were the last to interact with graduates as they left campus. Photo by Lee Choo

Prior to March 2020, if you walked across campus at California State University, Northridge, you might describe it as noisy. Students chatting on their way to classes, the Acasola a cappella group performing in the Sierra Quad and on a few days in May, commencement. The grounds have been quiet for more than a year, but this week’s car-mencement brought back joyful sound to campus.

CSUN welcomed students, families, faculty and staff back to campus for a socially distanced commencement car parade to celebrate the classes of 2019-20 and 2020-21. Graduates and their families drove through campus with their windows down, experiencing the sounds of a busy campus. Cars decked out with balloons, signs, photos and words of pride for their new CSUN alumni honked as the passengers inside celebrated.

Music lined the route, courtesy of DJs and booths manned by CSUN Associated Students and the University Student Union, before transitioning to “Pomp and Circumstance” as the grads drove in front of the university’s iconic library to take a commencement photo in their vehicle.

Beginning on the east side of campus, graduates received their Grad Boxes, which included a souvenir tassel and red diploma holder, a flower lei, red roses and gifts, and they stopped for cheers and congratulations from faculty and staff, including CSUN President Erika D. Beck.

Since safety was the university’s top priority, this year’s commencement programming consisted of virtual ceremonies where students could have their names read, and the car parade. CSUN is also offering the two classes participating in commencement this year the opportunity to walk the stage in a 2022 commencement ceremony.

@csun_eduOnce a Matador, Always a ##Matador! Congratulations ##CSUN Classes of 2020 and 2021! ##calstatenorthridge ##graduation ##graduation2021 ##carmencement♬ original sound – Csun_edu

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