Several Hospitalized As Friday High Heat Cuts UC Davis Commencement Short; Changes Made To Saturday Ceremony

Originally Published: 11 JUN 22 13:23 ET

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DAVIS, California (KOVR) -- UC Davis canceled commencement Friday after the high heat led to dozens of calls for medical help and sent several people to the hospital.

In total, 36 calls for medical help were made, 14 ambulances were called to the ceremony and seven people went to the hospital.

Only some students were able to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.

“This is a bucket list item for her,” said Marie Gregory, a UC Davis Parent.

Her son, David, was one of those who didn’t get to walk. David Gregory’s 83-year-old grandmother drove from Orange County to watch her grandson graduate.

“She has six grandsons and she wants to see them all graduate,” Marie said.

After sitting on the UC Davis football field for hours in the heat, Grandma required medical attention for her blood pressure and eventually retreated to the car.

“We had to leave the graduation,” Marie said.

Moments later so did everyone else. Mid-ceremony, UC Davis had pulled the plug on commencement.

“They were canceling all events and clearing the field,” David said.

He would have already graduated but after the pandemic canceled in-person graduations, he took a gap year.

“I realized there wasn’t going to be an in-person commencement and that’s something that’s really important to my family,” he said.

UC Davis took to social media promising students a makeup ceremony Sunday, but for the Gregory family and likely so many other families, that’s not going to work

“Our plane leaves at three.,” Marie said Friday morning. “It’s a disappointment for us but mostly for him.”

To help make up for the loss, our CBS13 crew held a quick graduation ceremony for David and his mom.

CBS13 did reach out to UC Davis to try to get specifics on Sunday’s makeup graduation. We did not immediately hear back.

Late Friday night, UC Davis announced that there were changes to Saturday’s commencement due to another day of high heat.

Saturday’s ceremony will only last from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and graduates will not get the chance to walk.

The ceremony will start immediately without a procession and graduates and families will hear from the keynote speaker, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California), a student speaker, awards will be delivered to students, and then Chancellor Gary S. May and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Mary Croughan will confer degrees to end the ceremony, though students will not be allowed to walk.

UC Davis said in a statement:

“We know that walking across the stage and having your name read is one of the most exciting and rewarding days in students’ and families’ lives. While we won’t be able to accommodate this aspect of the ceremony on Saturday, we will be inviting all of Saturday’s graduates and graduates from Friday’s ceremony who did not get to walk across the stage to return to campus at a later date. We will have more details about this make-up commencement soon.”

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