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A Commencement to Blow You Away

Graduating students at the Fall 2022 Commencement ceremony.

The rain’s determination worried many, but our Cal Poly community proved more resilient. Fall Commencement this past December experienced some potentially unfortunate weather conditions and our leadership and facility workers came to the rescue.

As Dec. 10 approached, weather forecasts called for rain throughout the day, potentially soaking graduates and their supporters. With more than 900 graduates and around 9,000 guests expected planning strategies quickly adapted.

Cal Poly ponchos were given to all graduates, guests, faculty and volunteers who requested one. The Facilities Management and Development Landscape Services team came in with leaf blowers to dry off the graduates’ seats after the morning rain. Facilities also set up mini canopies to cover and protect all the video equipment used by our partners in Mustang Media Group to film the ceremony.

“I will say that for commencement to be successful, it requires the entire campus to participate,” Senior Custodial Manager Donald Popham said. “This not only includes Facilities, but also Cal Poly Police, Transportation and Parking Services and the valued volunteers.”

The Commencement Office headed by Tessa Espinoza, senior director of External Relations and director of development for Student Affairs, and Kanani Mekekau, lead coordinator of External Relations ran the show and led the planning efforts to deal with the complexities faced with having an outdoor commencement ceremony during inclement weather.

And all of the planning and extra effort worked as the ceremony went off without a hitch and the weather cooperated, for that 90 minutes anyway. It rained right up to the start and began again after it wrapped