Fresno State graduation ceremonies return to Save Mart Center

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The culmination of hard work and perseverance was realized for thousands of Fresno State graduates Friday.

President Dr. Saul Jimenez-Sandoval helped congratulate the new crop of Bulldogs to earn diplomas as the university welcomed commencements back inside the Save Mart Center since the pandemic began

"We encourage all of our guests to still wear masks but yes, vaccine and COVID tests are not required to enter the Save Mart Center. We are so excited, there is just a different energy that comes with the Save Mart Center," said Associate Dean of Student Involvement, Colin Stewart.

Commencement celebrations were held outdoors at Bulldog Stadium last year after ceremonies were canceled in 2020.

Students say they felt fortunate for the opportunity to turn their tassel inside the Save Mart Center following a couple of pandemic years and online learning.

"I'm so happy to be here and not on a Zoom. I feel bad for the last couple of classes that had to do Zoom, so it's just so nice and I'm so grateful to be here," said graduate Kaylie Griffin.

"It makes it feel more official. Like she said, I do feel bad that there were other classes that didn't get to experience that, but I do feel very fortunate," said graduate Elijah Banda.

Of the nearly 6,000 graduates, more than 60 percent are the first in their families to earn a college degree.

"Another unique thing about our campus is around 80% of our graduates stay within the Central Valley, so they are invested in giving back to the community, to working here, raising their families here, to staying and investing in the community," said Stewart.

The arena is no longer requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
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