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SAN MARCOS, Calif. – Cal State San Marcos celebrated its latest crop of graduates in ceremonies held Friday, the first commencement in three years without COVID-19 restrictions.

More than 3,000 students are expected to attend the weekend festivities, which kicked off Friday morning at the school’s Mangrum Track and Field facility by honoring new degree holders from the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Graduates from two other colleges will be recognized later in the day with others coming in three separate ceremonies on Saturday.

“I got so excited coming here that I just couldn’t help greeting all the graduates as they were coming through the line to process here,” CSUSM President Ellen Neufeldt said in her address to graduates. “This is your moment. It is your day and boy have you earned it.

“When I think about all you have been through and all the resilience that you’ve had to put in front of you, it is just amazing.”

In all, 4,406 students are graduating from the university this year with more than three-quarters of them ultimately registering to attend the weekend festivities in person.

“I’m super excited,” one graduate told FOX 5’s Jacqueline Sarkissian. “It’s been too long and I’m just really excited to go and walk, you know, and get my degree.”

“I’m ecstatic,” another said. “Four years have been an emotional rollercoaster. I can’t believe I’m finally here.”

Of this year’s class, 58% are the first in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree and 34% are the first to attend college, data provided by the university shows. Graduates range in age from 19 to 69 years old.

For those not attending in person, all commencement ceremonies are being livestreamed by the university online. There, people also can share words of encouragement for grads.

The stream is available by clicking or tapping here.

FOX 5’s Dillon Davis contributed to this report.