Through Thick and Thin, Mother and Daughter Set to Graduate Together

Casey Schmidt and her daughter Chloe Schmidt
Beaming with pride, Casey Schmidt (Nursing), who is graduating with her daughter Chloe Schmidt (Dance Studies) from Cal Poly Humboldt on Saturday, May 14.
Each May, more than a thousand Cal Poly Humboldt students take part in Commencement. For two students, the ceremony will be particularly meaningful as they walk across the stage to receive their diplomas on Saturday.

Each May, more than a thousand Cal Poly Humboldt students take part in Commencement. For Chloe Schmidt and her mother Casey Schmidt, the ceremony will be particularly meaningful as they graduate together in Redwood Bowl on Saturday.

“We have been working hard and the fact we get to celebrate that on the same day is special,” says Chloe (Dance Studies).

>>Times, receptions, cultural celebrations, check-in requirements, and parking info below<<

The Schmidts are among the nearly 1,700 students who will earn credentials, undergraduate and graduate degrees in the 2021-22 academic year, and more than 1,250 who are registered to participate in the ceremonies. The annual event brings thousands of guests to campus.

The pair will also be part of many firsts. Casey will graduate in the first cohort of the RN to BSN Nursing program, which launched in Fall 2020. She is the first among her own siblings and parents to earn a college degree. Both are also part of the first graduating class of Cal Poly Humboldt.

“I could not be more thrilled to get a science degree from Cal Poly Humboldt at my age,” says Casey. With deep roots in Humboldt County, she has been a nurse and lactation consultant at Mad River Community Hospital's Birth Center in Arcata, and she was drawn to the Nursing program’s emphasis on rural medicine, tribal health, and mindfulness.

Commencement includes ceremonies for each of the three colleges. Chloe and Casey will walk in different ceremonies, which means they can cheer each other on from the stands with their family.

“We also get to share a gown,” says Casey. “But we bought our own caps and personalized stoles and it’s been fun to go through it together.”

For the mother-daughter duo, sharing regalia is part of a shared experience, made even more profound during a pandemic.

Chloe drew strength from her family and other students when her courses transitioned online. “I’m thankful to have supported each other through the process of going to school,” she says. “It has also been rewarding to share my degree and college experience with a close-knit group of people in my program.”

Casey found life-changing academic and personal support in the Nursing program. 

“The program was transformational for all 12 of us. Professors have helped us personally and professionally to reach our own goals. At the same time, navigating school and the healthcare field during COVID required us to support one another,” she says. “It feels powerful to complete this degree at the tail end of a global pandemic. I have so much admiration for Chloe for sticking it out and graduating, and I'm excited to graduate. She put the work in and I think she’s capable of so many amazing things and it's such a great step for her.” 

Nearly 1,700 students will earn credentials, undergraduate and graduate degrees in the 2021-22 academic year, and more than 1,250 who are registered to participate in Commencement.

Commencement at Cal Poly Humboldt

Saturday, May 14 at Redwood Bowl (w/ livestream). Ceremonies will last between 1.5 and 2 hours. See the Spring 2022 Commencement Program.

  • 8:30 a.m. - College of Arts Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Noon - College of Natural Resources & Sciences
  • 3:30 p.m. - College of Professional Studies

Alumni Speaker
Hon. Abby Abinanti (’70, Journalism), Chief Judge for the Yurok Tribe, the first Native American woman to pass the California bar and the first Native American woman in California to become a state judge.

Honorary Degree Presentation (3:30 p.m. ceremony only)
Awarded the
Presidential Citizens Medal by former President Barack Obama, renowned local activist Dr. Betty Kwan Chinn, will receive a Doctorate in Humane Letters. (Read more.)

Academic Colleges Receptions
The Deans and departments of the Colleges of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, Natural Resources & Sciences, and Professional Studies invite you to Spring College Commencement Receptions to honor and celebrate the graduates and their families. Meet the faculty and enjoy light refreshments.

  • CAHSS—Balabanis Art Quad; Immediately following the Ceremony
  • CNRS—Balabanis Art Quad; Immediately following the Ceremony
  • CPS—Upper & Lower Quad; 1:30–3:00 p.m.
Cultural Graduation Celebrations
  • Thursday, May 12
    Native Graduation Celebration: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Van Duzer Theatre
  • Friday, May 13
    Black Graduation Celebration: 1-3 p.m. at Founders Hall Courtyard/Green & Gold Room (166) 
    —Latinx Graduation Celebration: 3–5 p.m. at Kinesiology & Athletics Building, Lumberjack Arena
    —ADPI+MENA Graduation Celebration: 5:30–7 p.m. at Nelson Hall East, Goodwin Forum (102)

Read more here

Health and Safety Requirements and Parking Information

All guests will need to show proof of vaccination (including a booster shot if eligible) or a negative test result in the previous 72 hours. Face masks are encouraged but not required.

Guest check-in locations are at the tunnel entrance west of the Recreation & Wellness Center (RWC), the tunnel entrance in between RWC and Forbes Gym, and at the top of Union Street near Kinesiology & Athletics.

Graduates and guests may park for free in most lots on campus, but G11, FS9, G13, G14, and G14 are recommended. Shuttles for those with mobility issues will run continuously from the FS9 lot by Gist Hall at the end of Rossow Street and will drop off behind the Forbes Gym Building. 

The green lots shown on this campus map are open for guest/general parking and the blue lots are recommended for ADA and shuttle access. No parking is allowed past the barricades at 17th and Union Streets.

For full details, go to