MERCED — UC Merced will hold two graduation ceremonies this spring as a result of the largest class in its history.
Jane Lawrence, vice chancellor of student affairs, said it's just a reflection of the university's growth. Officials wanted to be able to accommodate the students and their families.
One of the most important aspects about graduation is celebrating students' achievement and when graduation ceremonies get large, the opportunity to really acknowledge each student kind of fades away, Lawrence said.
"You want to keep them as small and intimate as you can," she said.
As of Friday afternoon, 905 students were eligible to graduate this spring, said Brenda Ortiz, spokeswoman at UC Merced.
The keynote address for the Saturday ceremony will be delivered by retired astronaut and engineer Jose Hernandez. Hernandez unsuccessfully ran for Congress this past November.
Students in the schools of natural sciences and engineering will take part in Saturday's commencement.
The keynote speaker for Sunday's ceremony will be acclaimed author and organic farmer David Mas Masumoto of Fresno. Students in the school of social sciences, humanities and arts will march during Sunday's graduation ceremony.
Both ceremonies begin at 9 a.m.
Most universities break down their graduation ceremonies by colleges, Ortiz said, to provide a better experience for the students and their families.
Such an approach also will help alleviate parking issues at UC Merced, Ortiz said.
Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.