More than 1,200 Merced College students are eligible to cross the stage at a pair of historic commencement ceremonies this month.

For the first time, a full commencement ceremony will be held at the Merced College Los Banos Campus on Thursday, May 25. Then on Friday, May 26, the college will host its 60th commencement at the main campus in Merced, on Don Odishoo Field at Stadium ’76. Both ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

“Commencement is always a special time for our students, their families, and our entire campus community,” President Chris Vitelli said. “We are proud to continue our rich tradition of celebrating Merced College graduates as they begin the next chapters of their lives, and we are overjoyed to give our Los Banos students a commencement experience all their own.”

The Los Banos ceremony is the latest in a series of investments and initiatives to grow the campus and give Westside students a complete educational experience close to home.

The campus will soon gain an outdoor gym, allowing the addition of three in-person kinesiology courses. A new campus café will provide hot meals and alleviate food insecurities. New faculty will be added in high-demand fields like welding, computer technology and information systems, and the college’s well-regarded, popular agriculture programs. Construction of a new Child Development Center, for both childcare and training, will be completed this summer.

The Los Banos commencement will replace a smaller merit and awards celebration in which students received scholarships and faculty recognized the Student of the Year. Until now, Westside students looking for a traditional graduation experience could only walk in the Merced ceremony.

“Our students already get a top-quality, reasonably priced education right here in their community, and now they can celebrate their graduation here, as well,” Los Banos Campus Dean of Instruction Jessica Moran said. “This will be an inspiring moment for our graduates and their families, and a milestone for the growth and development of our community.”

About 200 students are eligible to participate in the Los Banos ceremony, which will be held in the campus’s quad.

All told, more than 3,000 degrees and certificates have been earned by Merced College students for the 2022-23 academic year, with 1,600 degrees and 1,489 certificates being awarded to 1,726 students in this year’s class—the highest totals since before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The Class of 2023 includes 425 students who are graduating with honors, having earned a grade-point average of 3.50 or better with a minimum of 45 units completed. And 31 of those students have earned Superintendent’s Honors by maintaining a GPA of 4.0 with at least 36 units completed.

“On behalf of the Merced College Board of Trustees, I want to congratulate all of our graduating students and express my gratitude to their families and friends who supported them on their journeys,” Board President John Pedrozo said. “Merced College provides high-quality education and training that empowers community members of all ages to improve their lives and enhance their careers, and I have no doubt the Class of 2023 is going to do great things for our region.”

Both commencement ceremonies will be available via livestream on the Merced College YouTube channel.

For information on attending commencement, including a list of FAQs for graduates and guests, visit our Graduation webpages.

Merced College does not discriminate, and prohibits harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Media Contact: James Leonard, [email protected], 209-681-1061