HAYWARD (KPIX 5) — Cal State East Bay says that for the first time this weekend, rainy weather forced officials to cancel and delay graduations for the safety of the university’s guests and students.
“We usually come out of here and it’s always sunny and gorgeous, and the one time we want the sun, it’s raining,” said Chris Leuteneker.
The Leutenekers flew in from Maui for their daughter’s graduation. It was supposed to take place at the 10 a.m. Sunday, but school officials made the call to push it back 7 hours. Cal State East Bay also invited students from its Concord campus to join the commencement after it was canceled altogether Saturday because of the rain.
“We understand that family and friends of graduates plan to be here in advance, they come from all over the country to be here and they make plans, they make reservations, so the decision was not made lightly,” said Cal State East Bay Spokesperson Kimberly Hawkins.
Crews were drying off chairs on the soggy AstroTurf Sunday afternoon. About 800 graduates and thousands of their family and friends attended, many of whom wore ponchos.
“It’s not as glamorous as we wanted to be,” said Winter Leuteneker.
The weather did lighten up by the time students from the College of Business and Economics and the College of Education and Allied Studies crossed the stage.
“I got a party going on right now and they’re all waiting for me, we’re livestreaming it, so everyone can watch me walk,” said student Javier Pena of Hayward.
Katie Walzer also had to change her family’s plans.
“My dad flew in from the Midwest, my sister flew in from Seattle and we had a celebration planned for this evening, we were doing a barbecue after the ceremony, and we had to scramble and reorganize it,” she said.
Cal State East Bay says this is the first time the school has held graduation in May, since it changed from a quarter to a semester system this past fall.
The last time it rained on this same weekend in Hayward was 2011.