Could Bulldog Stadium be the new location for Chicano/Latino graduation?

The sun sets on Bulldog Stadium during a homecoming game against Colorado State on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Armando Carreno/The Collegian)

Bulldog Stadium is currently being considered to host Fresno State’s Chicano/Latino graduation ceremony, according to an article from Vida en el Valle.

In a November article, Vida en el Valle reported that Fresno State President Dr. Joseph I. Castro announced the consideration of moving the Chicano/Latino graduation to Bulldog Stadium during an hour long meeting with The Fresno Bee editorial board. This is due to the rapidly growing attendance, which led to last year’s graduation in the Save Mart Center (SMC) having to close its doors.

“We’ve had conversations with the Chicano/Latino commencement committee about the future of that commencement because, as you might recall, the fire marshal required us to shut the doors,” Castro said in the article.

Castro went on to say the committee is also thinking about limiting the number of guests per graduate, however, he expressed concerns that “the number of graduates is going to continue to go up fast.”

President Castro’s concerns are legitimate. According to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Fresno State’s demographics show that since the fall semester of 2015, the Hispanic population added 1,740 students, which is a 7 percent increase (45.8 percent to 53 percent).

Dr. Víctor Torres, organizer of the Chicano/Latino graduation, believes that there are about 13 family members and friends for each graduate. When the math is done, that adds an approximate 1,300 for attendees every additional 100 graduates.

Last year’s graduation drew 13,276 to the SMC — the SMC can seat roughly 15,000 — to watch a record of 1,140 graduates walk the stage with their names being announced to the crowd.

Bulldog Stadium can seat more than 40,000 and has been used for Fresno State’s regular graduation and Chicano/Latino graduation ceremonies.The stage faced east in the morning event and was then switched to face the west side for the Chicano/Latino graduation.

Castro added that recently, promoters had inquired about using the stadium for professional boxing and a Paul McCartney concert and said non-university uses of the stadium would need “some process of consultation with the neighborhood,” Vida en Valle reported.

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