Elliot Hirshman’s Final SDSU Commencements: Bye to 10,000

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SDSU President Elliott Hirshman. Photo courtesy of SDSU News Center

Elliot Hirshman will see off more than 10,000 graduates this weekend in his final commencement weekend as president of San Diego State University.

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“We are proud of our graduates and all they have accomplished here at SDSU,” said Hirshman, leaving for the same job at Stevenson University in Maryland. “Now they join our over 300,000 alumni who are innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders. We look forward to seeing how they use their education to improve our region and our broader society.”



The three most popular degrees in 2017 were psychology, criminal justice and business administration/finance, the school said.

SDSU will host seven separate ceremonies Friday through Sunday at Viejas Arena and one ceremony Thursday at its Imperial Valley campus.

The College of Sciences will hold the largest ceremony, honoring 1,778 degree candidates. The College of Engineering will have the most intimate ceremony, awarding 849 degrees.

Among the standout students from this year’s graduating class is Anachristina Morino, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering Saturday before becoming a full-time avionic systems integration and test engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Political Science graduate Courtney Dickson, who will accept her degree Friday during the College of Arts & Letters ceremony, will work as an intern for the U.S. State Department this summer before attending law school in Washington, D.C.

On Saturday, Christopher James Walker, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, will receive his bachelor’s degree in social work with an emphasis on youth development and mentoring. In the fall, he’ll pursue his master’s degree in social work.

Commencement schedule

Thursday, May 11

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Imperial Valley Campus, 7 p.m., Rollie Carrillo Quad

Friday, May 12

College of Arts and Letters, 10 a.m., Viejas Arena

College of Sciences, 3 p.m., Viejas Arena

Saturday, May 13

Fowler College of Business, 8 a.m., Viejas Arena

College of Health and Human Services, 1 p.m., Viejas Arena

College of Engineering, 5:30 p.m., Viejas Arena

Sunday, May 14

College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, 9 a.m., Viejas Arena

College of Education and Division of Undergraduate Studies, 2 p.m., Viejas Arena

(Each ceremony will be broadcasted online. Please visit SDSU’s Commencement website for additional information.)

Parking and traffic information

SDSU will provide courtesy parking during commencement ceremonies at all main parking structures and lots. Campus visitors should be advised that the university expects Viejas Arena to reach its 12,414-person capacity during several ceremonies and alternate modes of transportation to campus are encouraged.

Honorary doctorates

Three distinguished SDSU alumni will receive honorary doctor of humane letters degrees from SDSU during the 2017 commencement ceremonies.

  • Retired Casa Familiar CEO Andrea Skorepa (’71) will receive an honorary doctorate from the College of Arts and Letters at its May 12 commencement ceremony.
  • Harold Brown (’59), the first African American to attain administrative rank at SDSU, will be recognized at the Fowler College of Business commencement ceremony on May 13.
  • And former San Diego City Manager and Padres executive Jack McGrory (’76) will be honored at the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts commencement ceremony on May 14.

SDSU has conferred more than 45 honorary degrees since 1963, when President John F. Kennedy received the first, a Doctor of Laws degree.

Top 10 degrees

The most popular degrees among this year’s graduates represent a wide variety of academic disciplines on campus. Here are the top 10 degrees of 2017:

  • 1: B.A., Psychology
  • 2: B.S., Criminal Justice
  • 3: B.S., Business Administration – Finance
  • 4: B.S., Kinesiology – Pre-Physical Therapy
  • 5: B.S., Business Administration – Marketing
  • 6: B.S., Business Administration – Accounting
  • 7: B.S., Mechanical Engineering
  • 8: B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies
  • 9: B.A., Economics
  • 10: B.A., Communication (Liberal Arts)
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