From car caravans to stadium ceremonies with socially distanced seating, this year’s California college graduations were unlike any before, as campuses attempted to balance safety with celebration amid a still-simmering pandemic.
In some cases, commencement plans were the result of hard-fought debates between students and administrators about how much in-person contact to allow. But as caps were tossed and confetti rained down, graduates from the class of 2021 and those from 2020 — who missed out on celebrating last year — said they were just happy for the chance to honor their achievements after a challenging 15 months.
“This is really nice closure,” said Riki Eijima, a kinesiology major at Occidental College.
Photographers from the CalMatters College Journalism Network captured some of those moments of catharsis at graduations across the state.
This story and other higher education coverage are supported by the College Futures Foundation.