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Stan State kicks off graduation season
CSUS graduation 2024
This year, 3,371 graduates and 322 credential recipients will be honored during four ceremonies held over four days at Stanislaus State (Photo contributed).

The graduation season is underway in the Turlock area as California State University, Stanislaus began its 64th Commencement ceremonies on Tuesday.

This year, 3,371 graduates and 322 credential recipients will be honored during four ceremonies held over four days. It is the largest number since a record 3,562 Warriors walked the stage in 2019, the last ceremony before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, 2,988 graduates and 373 credential recipients were honored.

Tuesday morning was the ceremony for the College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Today will honor those in the College of Science. The College of Education Kinesiology and Social Work will have their ceremony on Thursday, while festivities conclude with the College of Business Administration on Friday.

Interim President Sue Borrego took a moment to reflect on her tenure at Stanislaus State and the remarkable journey of this year’s graduates. 

“As my tenure as interim president comes to an end, I am excited to celebrate the outstanding Class of 2024,” Borrego said. “Our graduates have made a powerful difference to Stan State and we look forward to their continued contributions to their families and communities. 

“The opportunity to meet and work with some of them has been a highlight of my time at the University. Congratulations to all our graduates. I am humbled and proud to have been a part of your journey.”

In March, it was announced that Britt Rios-Ellis, who currently serves as provost and executive vice president of Academic Affairs at Oakland University in Michigan, was officially appointed as the 12th full-time president in Stanislaus State’s 67-year history. Rios-Ellis will assume the university presidency on July 1.

During the Wednesday and Thursday ceremonies, the University will recognize two long-time campus community members, Donna Pierce and Wanda Bonnell, by conferring its highest honor, the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Pierce will receive the honor during the College of Science ceremony, and Bonnell will be honored during the ceremony for the College of Education, Kinesiology and Social Work.

Pierce has been a member of the Stan State community for more than 50 years. She arrived in Turlock in 1971 alongside her husband, Wayne Pierce, a professor of botany. One of Pierce’s significant contributions to Stan State and the community was the Trans-California Pathway, which was the realization of her late husband’s dream of an on-campus arboretum. Pierce nurtured the project and secured donations and in 2023, the arboretum was named the Wayne and Donna Pierce Trans-California Pathway. In addition to her work to establish the pathway, Pierce has helped raise funds for scholarships and has been an ardent supporter of the Athletics Department. She briefly coached the University’s women’s softball team, served as the clock keeper for basketball for more than 25 years and was inducted into the Warrior Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. 

Bonnell, meanwhile, is a first-generation college alumna who earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1995 and master’s in education in school counseling in 2010, both at Stan State. Her service as a university staff member spanned 24 years until she retired in 2017. She held several roles during her tenure, including counseling students as an academic advisor in the Educational Opportunity Program. However, her most notable achievement was serving as the founding director for Promise Scholars — a program that supports foster and emancipated youth in their pursuit of higher education.

Full commencement livestreams and photo galleries can be viewed at

— The Stanislaus State Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing (MarCom) contributed to this report.