LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – USC held the first of 14 special commencement ceremonies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Friday morning to celebrate both the classes of 2021 and 2020, whose in-person ceremony was postponed last summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Because of health and safety guidelines, USC will hold commencement ceremonies twice a day for the next week at the Coliseum.READ MORE: Range Fire: Firefighters Battling Small Brush Fire In Sylmar From Ground, Air
“We’re all very excited to be able to do it in person,” Harry Tseng, a graduate, said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, so we’re excited to be able to walk across that stage.”
Friday morning’s ceremony had about 1,500 graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021, the school said.
This also marks the first time since 1950 that graduation ceremonies have been held at the Coliseum.
There are over 18,000 people in the 2021 graduating class, and another 16,000 from last year.
“It’s been the challenge of my life, for sure,” Andrea Banuelos Mota, who graduated from Keck School of Medicine of USC, told CBSLA Friday.
Mota also became a mother while in medical school.
“I am the first in my family to graduate from medical school, from undergrad, from high school, and it’s a really big honor to be representing my family,” Mota said.READ MORE: Beloved Security Guard Killed In Hit-And-Run In Long Beach Is Identified
USC President Carol L. Folt and Provost Charles F. Zukoski are speaking at all 14 ceremonies, the school said.
“Each graduation ceremony is associated with one or two schools,” Zukoski said.
There is a 60-foot-wide video board in the Coliseum. The ceremonies are also being streamed online.
“I’m psyched up and ready,” Zukoski told CBSLA Friday morning. “Well, it’s joyful each time, the students, each student, it’s their ceremony.”
Bina Venkataraman, an American journalist, author and policy expert delivered the commencement address on Friday from the Coliseum. She is the editorial page editor at The Boston Globe, formerly serving as senior adviser for climate change innovation for the White House.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, pre-registration is required of graduates and guests — a maximum of two guests per graduate is allowed. Pre-registered graduates and guests will have received information with attendance requirements, which include social distancing and wearing face coverings.
Anyone who has not pre-registered will not be permitted inside the Coliseum. Gatherings are not allowed outside the stadium.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Underway In Pasadena: 'We Are Down To Our Final Days Before State Opens'
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)