Valley colleges set graduation ceremonies

Local colleges and universities are preparing for annual commencement ceremonies this month.

Fresno Pacific University is first, with about 400 students expected to graduate next Saturday in outdoor ceremonies at the campus' East Hall Green.

The traditional undergraduate ceremony begins at 10 a.m., with about 150 students expected to graduate. The degree completion and graduate ceremony starts at 6 p.m. That is scheduled for roughly 250 students from the bachelor's degree completion and master's degree programs.

Commencement is set for 7 p.m. May 15 at the University of California at Merced. The ceremony will be outdoors; NBC weekend news anchor Lester Holt will be the guest speaker.

Fresno City College and Reedley College each will hold commencement May 21.

The City College ceremony is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Selland Arena. Commencement speaker will be Tom Flores, an alumnus and former coach of the Oakland Raiders.

The Reedley College ceremony is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on the south lawn. Marcus Johnson, an alum and superintendent at Sanger Unified, will speak.

Fresno State's commencement is set for 9:30 a.m. May 22 in the Save Mart Center. Two prominent agricultural leaders and the former governor of Nevada will receive honorary doctorates.

Alumni Rodger and Margaret Jensen of Fresno will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for their service to California agriculture. The Jensens met while attending Fresno State and have been married 67 years.

Margaret Jensen's parents were pioneers in developing Fresno's fig industry. After returning from World War II, Rodger Jensen turned dry farm ground into high-value tree-crop production -- planting citrus, olive and pistachio trees.

Kenny Guinn, a Fresno State alum who now lives in Las Vegas, will be honored with the same doctorate for his contributions to education and business. He was twice elected governor of Nevada -- in 1998 and 2002 -- and also served as superintendent of the Clark County School District and interim president of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

In the West Hills Community College District, graduation ceremonies are scheduled May 27 at the Lemoore campus. The Coalinga campus holds its graduation May 28 at the high school football stadium.

Both ceremonies start at 6:30 p.m.

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