With COVID-19 guidelines still in place, Palomar will celebrate the class of 2021 with a special drive-through commencement ceremony.


March 5, 2021

SAN MARCOS — Graduates of Palomar College in 2021 are on track to celebrate in a historic way, with a drive-through commencement ceremony that will take eligible candidates on a lap of the San Marcos campus before receiving their diplomas.

The ceremony is scheduled for Friday, May 28 at 5 p.m., and will be live-streamed in addition to a special pre-recorded program featuring the customary schedule of speakers and awards. The recorded program will be available online starting at 2 p.m. on commencement day.

“We have been so inspired and humbled by the perseverance of our students, and we couldn’t pass up this opportunity to celebrate with them in a safe and personal way,” said Interim Superintendent/President Dr. Jack Kahn. “This is going to be an evening to remember.”

To minimize traffic congestion, the event is limited to one vehicle per graduate and vehicles without a graduate will not be permitted to enter.

Student Activities Coordinator Kelly Donaghy explained that students will need to register ahead of the event, with predetermined entry times. Eligible candidates must wear academic regalia and may bring friends and loved ones, but only in one vehicle.

The route will begin at the Comet Circle entrance off West Mission Road, just east of the main entrance to the college.

“Our team is working hard to make this event as exciting and memorable for students while still following all of the applicable COVID-19 guidelines and keeping everyone safe while on campus,” said Dr. Kahn.

Meanwhile, over the airwaves, Palomar College’s radio station, KKSM will host a special pre-event program featuring pre-recorded messages, live call-ins, music and commencement information. Listeners can tune to AM 1320 or find KKSM on their favorite radio app to listen along.

“We’re going to encourage students to decorate their cars, so it will be a fun way for them to feel more involved,” said Donaghy, adding that the college is expecting roughly 500 candidates to participate.

As the cars make their way up Comet Circle and around the Parking Lot 12, where Dr. Kahn and the Governing Board will be waiting, Palomar College Television (PCTV) will live-stream the reception line for those who cannot be present for the event.

Following the ceremony, said Donaghy, “PCTV will be combining both the pre-recorded program and the drive-through commencement ceremony and putting it together in one program video.”

In 2020, Palomar College produced a commencement video that was streamed online on commencement day. This year, with much more time to plan—and a clearer picture of the COVID-19 situation—college staff are hopeful that this year’s ceremony will be a memorable celebration.

“If I was a student right now, I’d want to celebrate,” said Donaghy. “So how can we do it safely? I’m optimistic that this is going to be a hit.”