SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The coronavirus pandemic shut down many in-person commencement ceremonies in 2020, but this year, Sacramento State came up with a COVID-19-conscious way to honor thousands of students in person.
Nearly 4,000 graduating students were honored in the university’s CARmencement ceremony. The graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 packed into cars with their nearest and dearest to drive across campus.
Angela Fuller, who earned a degree in child development, with a minor in anthropology, sat alongside her husband, mother and daughters during Friday’s ceremony.
“This is like a big parade party, this is great,” Fuller told FOX40.
Decorated cars cruised behind the university drumline and President Robert Nelsen, who was in a convertible.
“I’ve been in college for six years, but I made it,” said graduate Allan Moua. “So I’m really happy, not just for myself but for my parents as well.”
Friday was an even longer time coming for Steve Gorman, who was graduating at age 54 as a husband and father of five.
He said his family was his inspiration to finish. But after attending five schools on his path to graduation, the Sacramento State faculty helped him get over the finish line with a degree in environmental politics and policy, and a minor in psychology.
“There were times when I thought I would drop out and never finish, but I think just the support I received made the difference,” he said.
Graduates were allowed to bring just one car of supporters. Many stretched that as far as possible.
After a year of canceled special occasions, limousine driver Ron Magleo found himself booked twice for the commencement.
“We’ve been really slow, but it’s picking up now,” Magleo explained.
Jasmine Smith-Babcock fit everyone from her parents to her brother-in-law into the limousine, but there was one passenger who Smith-Babcock said was the root of getting to graduation day.
“My son is, honestly, my biggest drive in everything I do, whether it comes to work, school, life career, everything,” she told FOX40.
The university will also host CARmencement ceremonies on Saturday. Each day, the series of vehicle processions will start at 8 a.m. next to the Harper Alumni Center. The final processions will begin at 5 p.m.
A livestream of the CARmencement, virtual celebration and graduate slides will be available on the commencement website.