To the Class of 2020

While we wait to celebrate your graduation in person, let’s honor your time at CCA with sentiments from across our community, a showcase of your work, myriad notes on the moment, and a roll call of each new graduate. Congratulations! We are so proud of you.

Congratulations From Here

Celebrating an extraordinary group of students

This was supposed to be your moment. The tam and gown, the walk across the stage, the diploma, the photos with family, the parties with friends. Then the shutdowns came, the shelter-in-place orders, the cancellations. Sure, you had been training for surprises. You’d been learning how to navigate an unknowable future, practicing how to formulate creative solutions in the face of mounting challenges.

But this? This was sudden and unexpected. This was heartbreaking. You went home and prepared to close out your CCA journey with a click, instead of a cheer.

Then you remembered: Throughout your time in the Bay Area, the tenor of our world’s cultural conversations has shifted almost constantly. You’d already carried the weight of chaos and faced solving it head and heart first. So you decided this was a pause. Not an end.

You looked around and found ways to give your gifts to those who needed you most. You held one another from a distance. You made space for each other to rage, to laugh, to grieve. You gave your all, despite all that you’d lost. Through your resilience, you proved that it’s still your moment, and you will rise to any challenge again and again. We are in awe of you.

The pandemic may have changed everything, but it couldn’t change this:

You are the CCA Class of 2020.

And you are extraordinary.

Community Messages

With love from the Bay Area and beyond

We may be physically distanced, but the CCA community is more united than ever by our belief in the potential of art and design—and by our belief in one another.

Students, alumni, faculty, and staff gathered from around the world to record video messages and write well wishes for the Class of 2020. Our intention is not to replace what was lost in a postponed commencement ceremony, but to shout, “You did it!” as loud as virtually possible. (And, as soon as humanly possible, we hope to say it all to you again in person.)

NOTE: As we collectively cheer your graduation online through videos and letters, the celebration continues! Your commemorative booklet, new alumni gift, and diploma will be mailed to you over the course of the summer.

A video compilation for reflection, celebration, and, of course, Zoom shenanigans. Special thanks to Lamont Lamar (BFA Film 2020) for his awesome work on this video tribute.

Notes on the Moment

Get to know CCA’s 113th graduating class

Celebrating 358 undergraduate and 181 graduate students

Graduation marks the culmination of hard work, persistence, drive, and dedication each student showed in order to earn their CCA degree and prepare for a lifetime of creative achievement.

In keeping with the college’s legacy and values, the class of 2020 is a diverse, talented, and passionate group. But, unlike anything we’ve seen before, these students experienced a close to their college careers that was completely unexpected, finishing their final coursework, making thesis presentations, and saying goodbye to their classmates and professors through a computer screen.

The kindness and resilience, thoughtfulness and resourcefulness, that these students brought to handling such a difficult situation will inspire the rest of us for many years to come.

Class of 2020 by the numbers

  • Youngest graduate: 20 years old
  • Oldest graduate: 56 years old
  • Countries represented: 30
  • U.S. states represented: 19
  • First-generation college students: 29%
As artists, writers, designers, architects—creative individuals coming out of this shared experience—the Class of 2020 will transform the world in a way that no other class could.”
Stephen Beal
CCA President

Class of 2020 Showcase

Featuring work from our core divisions

In light of the shelter-in-place orders to contain the spread of COVID–19, our traditional commencement exhibitions and events were reimagined for virtual presentation, interaction, and enjoyment. The showcase demonstrates an expansive range of work from across the college and represents our four core divisions: Architecture, Design, Fine Arts, and Humanities + Sciences.

Divisional Curator’s Picks

A faculty curator from each division chose students to receive special recognition for their contributions to the Class of 2020 Showcase. These Curator’s Picks demonstrate outstanding work in the discipline.

Virtual events and happenings

Experience some of our end-of-year events, modified for remote viewing, as well as new instances inspired by the circumstances.

Bachelor’s Degree Candidates

Awarding Bachelors of Architecture, Bachelors of Arts, and Bachelors of Fine Arts


Carl Edward Mongan

“We will not return to normal after this. And that’s good. Don’t just fill those cracks. Build on top of them. Remember why you started this journey in the first place. Acknowledge that there is humanity in the act of making. We use our varying perspectives and backgrounds to interpret that human experience. As artist-citizens, we use our collective creativity to build a better, more equitable world. Your work can solve a problem, or pose a new question. It’s more important now than ever that you take care of your health—mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Stop pulling all-nighters—you’ve graduated. Drink some tea, wash your face, draw an inchworm wearing a cowboy hat—do what you need to take care of yourself. And remember that you have a community of artists to turn to when that alumni life gets tough. … United in tradition, we now craft the future.”

— Carl Edward Mongan (BFA Animation 2020), Undergraduate Student Speaker

Master’s Degree Candidates

Awarding Masters of Architecture, Masters of Advanced Architectural Design, Masters of Arts, Masters of Fine Arts, Masters of Business Administration, and Masters of Design


Santino Gonzales

“The thing I have loved most about my graduate experience is getting to meet all the wonderful people that are now a part of my life, forever. The conversations with instructors and friends, the critiques, the vulnerability that we all share in our work—all of this has value beyond capital. As times are tough, I hope we can all continue to recognize the power in making work outside of this system. We must remember what we are inspired by; what stories we haven’t told; and how we can recognize the past, present, and future through our individual voices. These are the things that we excel at, and as we adapt to this changing environment, our roles as artists will change and we cannot forget about the amazing things we have to share with one another.”

— Santino Gonzales (MFA Fine Arts 2020), Graduate Student Speaker

Social Media Spotlights

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May 29, 2020

A round of applause to BArch students @cerayeo and @emmallens9! 👏👏👏 Their project "Waterline" was selected as one of this year's ACSA Top Ten Student COTE sustainability awards! This marks the fifth year in a row that one of the Buoyant Ecologies studio projects has been honored in this competition.⁠ 🏆⁠⠀
PROJECT INFORMATION: "Waterline" proposes a strategy for architectural adaptation to climate change for low-lying islands. Sited in the Maldives, the project integrates a mangrove nursery and advanced water recycling systems into a phased plan for a self-sustaining floating community. The project created a new model for economic development which integrated tourism, food security, and coastal protection. The studio sought to integrate a deployable anaerobic wastewater treatment and other renewable energy infrastructures within the cultural fabric of the island. Each project within the studio benefited from online collaboration with Maldives National University’s architecture students and government planners.⁠⠀
For more, follow the link in our bio! #CCArts #californiacollegeofthearts #chimeramade

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May 25, 2020

Taking a moment to admire the work from Fine Arts students selected for Curator’s Picks. Swipe to view work from @johnrobertroy,, @antonio.vidal.l, @samsoooooooon, and @mbbunny, along with thoughts on each piece from #CCAfaculty Glen Helfand!⁠⠀
To learn more about Curator's Picks from the Fine Arts division, follow the link in our bio! #californiacollegeofthearts #CCArts #chimeraMADE

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May 24, 2020

Meet some of the students selected for Curator’s Picks in the Fine Arts division! Swipe to view work from @yaloha_ym, @maia.gradient, @annabeeen, and @enlowphotos along with a statement from #CCAfaculty Glen Helfand.⁠⠀
To learn more about Curator's Picks from the Fine Arts division, follow the link in our bio! #californiacollegeofthearts #CCArts #chimeraMADE

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May 23, 2020

Our final set of Curator’s Picks from the Humanities + Sciences division features work by @barbara_priolo, Lucy Ashton, and Ava Morton! Swipe to read thoughts on each project from #CCAfaculty curator Pallavi Sharma.⁠⠀
To learn more about Curator's Picks from the Humanities + Sciences division, follow the link in our bio! #californiacollegeofthearts #CCArts #chimeraMADE

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