SF State student secures own graduation site to avoid pricey alternative 

click to enlarge SFSU psychology graduates will host a $15-a-ticket ceremony, a far cry from the official $85 cruise event. - MIKE KOOZMIN/2013 S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Koozmin/2013 S.F. Examiner file photo
  • SFSU psychology graduates will host a $15-a-ticket ceremony, a far cry from the official $85 cruise event.

It took a lot of hard work and determination, but Lea Lunden, a San Francisco State University psychology student, successfully secured an alternate graduation location.

Lunden had been searching for a place she and her 300 psychology classmates could celebrate their accomplishments with their loved ones since she heard in February that the department’s official ceremony aboard a Hornblower cruise would price many families out.

Lunden confirmed with The San Francisco Examiner that all psychology students would be able to attend a ceremony at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater at McLaren Park on May 25 after the university’s larger ceremony.

With each ticket selling at $15, and with a $1,000 donation from former state Sen. John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party,  Lunden said the costs should be covered. As many as 300 tickets have already been sold for the alternate ceremony, according to Lunden.

“This has been incredibly exciting for me,” Lunden said. “I’m really happy that we are going to be able to provide a venue to students for them to be recognized at a low cost and have the family they want there regardless of mobility issues.”

Burton reached out to Lunden after The San Francisco Examiner’s report last month about how students were trying to find another way to celebrate.

He said he didn’t think it was right for families to have to pay such expensive fees to see their children’s accomplishments.

“I couldn’t afford that when I was graduating,” he said. “Everyone in school is in enough debt; they shouldn’t have to go into debt so their parents can see them get a degree, in my opinion.”

Lunden said at the time that she began looking for alternate locations because she’d found out that her name, and the names of her fellow graduates, would not be read at the university’s large gathering earlier in the day. Then, in order to be acknowledged by her own department, she would have to shell out $85 a ticket for herself and each of her family members for the event aboard a cruise on the Bay.

At the time the price problem first arose, psychology department officials said it would take too long to secure a second graduation location. The department had made the decision to stick with the Hornblower event because it had been a tradition, though they were aware of the event’s rising costs.

SFSU President Leslie Wong had said he’d review how graduation is held next year and make any necessary changes.


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