UC Irvine will bestow more than 11,000 degrees this year, with a weekend of celebrations ahead as it hosts commencement ceremonies from Friday, June 14, through Monday, June 17, at the Bren Events Center.

This academic year, UCI will grant more than 9,300 undergraduate degrees, 1,100 master’s degrees and 550 doctorate degrees.

Nearly half of those receiving bachelor’s degrees are first-generation college students, university officials said. In addition, UCI, a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution, will grant bachelor’s degrees to more than 2,200 Latino students, a number that has steadily increased for the past decade.

“This graduating class highlights how well UC Irvine is serving the people of our state by offering a world-class education to the best and brightest students, regardless of their financial circumstances, and acting as a powerful engine of upward economic mobility,” Chancellor Howard Gillman said in a statement.

For students like Valentina Toledano, a graduate profiled by the university in postings about the Class of 2024, a UCI degree is a step toward making an impact in Orange County.

A first-generation college student from Santa Ana, she graduates from UCI with a double major in political science and language science and a minor in anthropology, her profile said. Having worked at UCI’s University Art Gallery and completed thesis research related to Latinx museum spaces in Santa Ana, Toledano aspires to be a local museum director. Through her work at museums, Toledano wants to highlight the narratives and experiences of marginalized identities, her profile said.

“Eurocentric curatorial practices have dominated the U.S. for many centuries,” Toledano said in the profile Q&A. “But now there’s a shift in emerging artists and curators who want to make art galleries and museums more community-based.”

After commencement, she will continue to work with Crear Studio, an art gallery in Santa Ana that focuses on emerging artists from minority communities, the post said.

Kanomé Jones, a first-generation college graduate from Little Rock, Ark., is another student profiled by the university. She was the first Black woman to serve as editor-in-chief of the UC Irvine Law Review and will move to New York City to work in the litigation practice group at law firm Fenwick & West.

An actor in Chicago for nearly 10 years before making the leap to the UCI School of Law, Jones said in her profile that she’s looking forward to her second act.

“I’m looking forward to maximizing change and impact in serving my organization and doing good in the world,” she said. “I’m looking forward to doing that now as a lawyer.”

UCI’s main commencement weekend – the schools of medicine and law graduated in May – kicks off in the shadow of Palestinian solidarity protests and a recent strike by graduate student workers that affected not only the Irvine campus but multiple University of California campuses.

In May, protests disrupted commencement ceremonies at universities nationwide, including more locally, Pomona College. USC canceled its main-stage commencement ceremony, citing unspecified security threats following that administration’s decision to revoke speaking privileges for valedictorian Asna Tabassum, who had been opposed by pro-Israel groups.

At UCI, tickets are required to attend each ceremony inside the Bren Events Center. A university spokesperson said the school is unaware of any planned protests and has not made any changes to normal commencement protocols. He advised families planning to attend a ceremony at the Bren Events Center to arrive earlier than they think they need to because traffic around campus tends to back up around the time of the ceremonies.

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