Hours before students in cap and gowns were set to walk across the stage, Cal State East Bay cancelled its graduation ceremony over the unseasonable rain and thunderstorm hitting the area on Saturday, which upset many graduates who paid money to participate in the ceremony.
Cal State East Bay class of 2019 graduates and their families were supposed to gather at 6 p.m. in Concord to celebrate the milestone but they received an update from the school around 1 p.m. informing them that the graduation ceremony had been cancelled and it will not be rescheduled.
"The university regrets this cancelation, but the weather conditions have created an unsafe environment for graduates and guests," the school said on its website.
Ricardo Perez, 28, of Antioch who studied health and science at the university said he had paid around $250 to participate in the ceremony.
"We had taken the day off and got ready. [Perez] called and he was so upset. He had been there for three years, worked his butt off and paid them a ton of money to get his degree," said Brandy Stewart, the mother of Perez's girlfriend.
Cal State East Bay has another ceremony set for Sunday for graduates of the College of Business & Economics and the College of Education & Allied Studies. It is expected to continue "unless weather conditions present safety issues," the school said.
The school told students in an email that they are invited to join the Sunday ceremony, but "However, we are continuing to watch weather for this ceremony too, for the safety of guests and graduates."
One student, Cheri Conet, told NBC Bay Area that she is organizing a mock commencement ceremony at the Oakley Pavilion near city hall on Main Street at 5 p.m.
UC Berkeley also held its commencement ceremony on the same day, but the event continued on with around 6,000 students holding umbrellas and wearing rain ponchos.
Bay Area can expect widespread light to moderate rain through the weekend with isolated thundstorms, said NBC Bay Area meteorologist Rob Mayeda. The rain may get more intense on Sunday with potential hail or convective windgusts.
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